New Hampshire Christmas Gifts and Events of 100 Years Ago (1916)

In December of 1916, one hundred years ago, the Portsmouth (NH) Herald offered tidbits of local information along with advertisements for Christmas gifts and food. These offerings are a window into New Hampshire’s past.

On a national level, the United States was still at peace (it would enter WWI four months later on April 6, 1917). Prohibition was still three years away, so the newspapers advertised more than just Christmas spirit(s), including Bonnie Rye whose slogan was “every swallow makes a friend.” And so you will realize that Portsmouth was already high tech, I’ve included an ad by the North Church. They presented a service that included musical exercises and included ‘pictures’ of “The Christmas Hope” using a stereopticon.

For general amusement, the local Colonial Theater offered “Town Hall Follies“–a Musical Comedy Revue that contains Dazzling Girly Girls, Fun-Makers and Whistling Tunes. It’s an Act That Makes the World Look Brighter. This is exactly what we need today. This same venue included the famed Tommy Ray, “The Singing Fireman of the Lusitania.”

The newspaper column called “LOCAL DASHES” offered the following list of Christmas gifts, food and local gossip that you would have been interested in 1916. My personal editorial comments are shown in [brackets].

Kodak advertisement from 1916 Portsmouth Herald.

“This is real Christmas weather [see my official New Hampshire “weatha” glossary].
. Were you in on the celebration last evening?
. Fish of all kinds at Clark’s Branch. Tell. 133.
. More snow is promised by the weatherman.
. Buy your Xmas Kodak at Montgomery’s. [The Kodak Brownie camera was particularly popular in my family].
. Ribbon and other seasonable candies at Nichols’.
. Stable blankets at Wood Bros., cor. Chestnut and Congress streets.
. Mackerel, halibut, salmon, haddock, at Clark’s Branch. Tel. 133.
. Get your Christmas gifts at M.E. vestry tonight. Reasonable prices.
. Saving money on your Christmas shopping by trading at Everybody’s Store.
. Street blankets at Wood Bros., cor. Chestnut and Congress streets. [This was a covering for work horses].
. Finnan Haddie at Clark’s Branch. Tel 132. [cold smoked haddock, a Scottish specialty]
. Odd Ladies’ food sale, Saturday afternoon at Brown’s Market, from 3 to 6. [I suspect these were Odd Fellow’s auxiliary and not necessarily strange women].
. Nine more days, counting down, in which to complete your Christmas shopping.
. Special for this week at Everybody’s Store, $15 coats, $9.95, and $25 coats for $15.50.
. Lobsters and fish of all kinds, caught by our own boats, fresh every day. E. Jameson & Sons, Tel. 245.
. The electric railroad [trolley] is obliged to remove some of the frozen mud on Miller avenue in order to move their cars.
. Save money; buy your wood by the barrel: 5 bbls for $1, or 25c for a single barrel. Portsmouth Kindling Co., tel 467W 87-1/2 Hill Street
. COUPLE, no children, want light house-keeping, rooms with private bath. Address W, this office.
. Black Opposum muffs valued at $9, special for this week at Everybody’s Store, $5.95.
. Fancy boxes of chocolates are always appropriate gifts. You can find the kind that pleases at Nichols’ Candy Store.

Advertisement from a 1916 Pittsburg Gazette focusing on “waists” which were women’s blouses.

. Buy your lobster, fresh and salt fish of all kinds from the Portsmouth Fish Co., Broughton’s Wharf. Tel 750. Auto delivery.
. Sheehan’s Dancing School, Moose Club Hall, High Street, Thursday night.
. Make it a Kodak this Christmas. All styles at Montgomery’s.
. Antique and modern furniture upholstered. Hair mattresses renovated. Margeson Bros. Tel 570.
. Georgette crepe waists, valued at $9, special at Everybody’s Store, $5.95 [see advertisement.  I had no idea that a ‘waist’ was a lady’s blouse.
. NAVAL OFFICER and wife want furnished house with garage. Address K, this office.”

[Wishing all my readers and friends happy Holidays].

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5 Responses to New Hampshire Christmas Gifts and Events of 100 Years Ago (1916)

  1. Amy says:

    So much fun to read these ads and also to see how much things cost. A $15 coat for $9.95 sounds like a good buy to me! Merry Christmas, Janice! I hope you get everything on your 2016 list. (Did you change something on your blog, or is it my computer?)

    • Janice Brown says:

      Well, my spotted cow has a Santa cap until New Years, is that what you mean? No, oh not sure. I used to sometimes see it in a smartphone format until the template was recently updated. Was it like that? Thanks as always for visiting and letting me know!

      • Amy says:

        No, it was the whole site. All the font was really small as were the images, the background color was yellow instead of white. Earlier today the site wasn’t responding at all!

  2. Amy says:

    OK, that’s weird. Once I entered my comment, your blog format reverted to its old ways. When I first opened it, the font was smaller and everything looked completely different!!

  3. Thanks, Janice! Our MUSE (MUseums Sharing Experiences) group is really enjoying your WWI era posts. Happy Holidays!

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