Imagine it's the end of the nineteenth century, and, with one catalog, you can buy everything from beds and tools to clothing and opium. (Yes, opium.) Not to mention ear trumpets, horse buggies, and Bibles. The 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue is both a wonderfully fascinating collector's item and a valuable piece of American history. For every recognizable item included, there are plenty of others guaranteed to confuse or interest 21st century readerslike Bust Cream or Food and Sweet Spirits of Nitre. What was once standard household fare is today a sometimes strange, often funny look at what life was once like for the average American family. It's amazing to see that a Princely Shirt for Princely Men cost $0.95 or three for $2.75 or that a Complete Violin Outfit (with bow and case) cost only $2.00.
Sears, Roebuck & Co. was founded in 1886 in Chicago, Illinois. It published a general merchandise mail order catalog and consumer guide from 1888 until 1993. It is the author of the 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue and the 1908 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue.