Hot off the presses: Small Equals Keepsake box with image from a chromolithographed trade card from former  Burlington manufacturer Wells, Richardson & Co. Here are children painting their eggs with Diamond Dyes.

small equals keepsake box with image from Wells Richardson & Co, children painting easter eggs with Diamond Dyes

Small Equals Keepsake Box, paint your eggs with Diamond Dyes

For a tiny eco footprint...and less money than it would cost to send a dozen roses, why not send a box filled with seedbombs? Invest in the future with one small gift.

Available at Small Equals Online Shop HERE 


Keepsake box, small equals, chicken painting by Liza CowanSmall Equals Keepsake Box, chicken painting by Liza Cowan
For those readers who have been enjoying my ephemera and my art over the years - I'm now putting them on the Keepsake Boxes I've been developing for the past couple of years.
I have the boxes made for me in Vermont, of Vermont pine, so they are lovely and local. Small footprint for me, please. Vermont Wooden Box, the company that manufactures the boxes, is a tiny outfit on a dirt road about an hour's drive from my studio. Feels just right to me.
Small Equals Keepsake Box. Sew To The Moon. Cowan Ephemera Collections
I know there are a lot of needle pack lovers out there, and these make great sewing kits.  See more about needlepack HERE on this blog.
Box lacted food open
Small Equals Keepsake Box, Wells Richardson Lactated Food, Cowan Ephemera Collections

You can read more about Wells Richardson & Co. HERE on this blog.

Small Equals Keepsake Box, Trumpet Vine, photo Liza Cowan
These boxes and more are available at the Small Equals Online Store HERE



This summer marks the 400th Anniversary of Samuel Champlain discovering  invading the body of water known by the Abenaki as Biawbagok - the waters in between, and by the Iroquois as Caniadari Guarunti, the door to the country. The hoopla over the quadricentennial of Lake Champlain now begins.

Ephemera fans can rejoice not in Native American images but in a bounty of European-American images produced over the last hundred or so years. Here are but a few I've collected:

Steamboat Vermont 1809 postcard 

Postcard. Steamboat Vermont. copyright 1909. PSAW ephemera collections

Steamboat Vermont postcard back 

Postcard back.

"This is a picture of the first Steamboat on Lake Champlain. (and the second in the World) It was built and launched at Burlington Vermont, in 1808, just 200 years after Champlain had entered its waters in a birch bark canoe.

The owners and builders were two brothers, John and James Winans; it was called the "Vermont;" and it was 120 feet long, 20 feet beam, 167 tons measurement; with an engine of 20 horse power, and commanded by Capt. John Winans"

Lake Champlain, steamer Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain, burlington 

Postcard. Steamer Ticonderoga.  Ephemera Collections PSAW.

Steamboat Ticonderoga web

The Ticonderoga is now at the Shelburne Museum, Shelburne VT.

"Built in Shelburne in 1906, it operated as a day boat on Lake Champlain serving ports along the New York and Vermont shores until 1953. In 1955, the Ticonderoga was moved two miles overland from the lake to Shelburne Museum in a remarkable engineering effort that stands as one of the great feats of maritime preservation."

Rock Point, lake champlain, huge rocks, tall rocks, rocks on shoreline, pink sunset, hand tinted postcard, vermont 

Rock Point, Lake Champlain. Postcard. PSAW ephemera collections

lake champlain, red rocks, auto 1910, women looking over fence, island lake champlain, burlington vt

Lake Champlain from Red Rocks. Postcard PSAW ephemera collections.

Red Rocks is about a mile from Pine Street Art Works. 

Diamond dyes, 1890's, children's clothing. clothing dye, burlington vt, wells richardson & Co, pug, girls with doll stroller, girls with little dog, girl carrying basket, park bench, sad girl, haughty girl 

Wells, Richardson & Co, Diamond Dyes Trade card. PSAW ephemera collections

Wells, Richardson & Co was a huge business in Burlington during the late 1800's up to the 1930's. I've always imagined that this image takes place at Red Rocks. See the Lake in the background?


Wells:richardson building blog

The Wells Richardson Building on College Street is a Burlington, Vermont landmark. These days it houses Bennington Potters, but in it's heyday at the end of the 19th Century, Wells Richardson & Company patented, manufactured and distributed analyne dyes under the name of Diamond Dyes, as well as butter dye, baby food and proprietary medicines like Celery Compound.

Wells richardson butter color adPrint Advertising was a part of their marketing strategy. Before the advent of color ads in newspapers and magazines manufacturers and distributors relied on trade cards and medical pamphlets -featuring their own cures - to sell their products. These they made by the gajillion, and distributed nationwide. They would be distributed for free in retail stores or any public venue where they might drum up  business.  Trade cards were hugely collectible, even in those days, and would often end up in scrapbooks, which were also the rage. The trade cards and pamphletss were printed by chromolithography, and retain their brilliant colors to this day.

Two links in the above text are from The Library Collection of Philadelphia, which has great collections. Check out their website.


Images below are from the Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

Diamond dye kitchen stove
Diamond Dyes, Wells Richardson trade card. 1890's Vermont. Cowan ephemera collections.


Diamond dye kettle detail blog
Diamond Dyes Trade Card. Detail.


Diamond dyes cousin john's wife blog
Diamond Dyes booklet. Cousin John's Extravagant Wife, A Story. 1890'st. Cowan ephemera collections.

Diamond dye cousin john detail 2 blog

Diamond dye cousin john detail blog
Diamond Dyes booklet, detail.

Diamond dyes boys blog
Diamond Dyes. Unequaled for making Ink, or for color
ing any articles any color. Cowan ephemera Collections.

Diamond dyes boys detail blog

Diamond Dyes, detail.

Diamond dyes class tryptich blog
Diamond Dyes booklet, front and back covers. Cowan ephemera collections.

Diamond dyes egg color blog
Diamond Dyes, back cover detail. Dying Easter eggs.


Diamond dyes egg detail girl blog

Diamond Dyes, back cover detail. Easter eggs.



Diamond dyes class blog
Diamond Dyes booklet, front cover

Diamond dyes color your children's clothes detail blog
Diamond Dyes, back cover detail. Color your childrens clothes with  Diamond Dyes.

Diamond dyes detail girl with doll stroller log 

Diamond Dyes booklet, detail. She's sad because her clothes haven't been dyed with Diamond Dyes.


Lactated -girl in can blog
Wells, Richardson & Co. Lactated  Food.


Lactated food babies blue back 2 blog 

Wells Richardson & Co. Lactated Foods, What Are These Babies after. Die cut trade Card. Cowan ephemera collections.


Lactated food babies blue back 1 blog  

Wells Richardson & Co. Lactated food. Die  cut trade card. Cowan ephemera collections. The background here is blue because I scanned it on  a piece of blue paper. 


Lactated orange baby blog 

Wells  Richardson & Co Lactated food trade card. Cowan ephemera collections.

Paynes Celery Compound probably contained opiates or other drugs, which were perfectly legal. Before the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, manufacturers didn't have to list ingredients or prove their effectiveness. This Wells Richardson & Company ad from the 1889 book from Burlington Business Association.

Wells:richarson celery blog

In this ad it is touted as a cure for Nervousness, one of the most "popular" diseases of the 19th Century middle class. Here is a link to a good post about 19th Century Nervousness from  the blog (what is this).

I did my Master's Thesis in Anthropology on 19th Century American Uterine diseases, in which I write a lot about middle class women and nervousness or neuresthenia. Someday I'll write more here about it.

Diamond dyes trade cards seen on SeeSaw a blog by liza cowan





Yesterday I posted a couple of details from Jello recipe books. I'm enamored of the way the details of the lithography breaks down into dot patterns. Here are some more.

Jello girl what 6 famous detail Jello Booklet, detail.
You can see that someone wrote over the "W" with pencil. People leave mysterious traces of themselves.

Jello girl red detail blog Jello recipe booklet, detail

Jello a door hand detail Jello Recipe booklet, detail

Jello telephone detail
Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello and hand detail blog
Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello house jello built detail blog Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello girl gv Jello recipe booklet, detail

Jello hands and letters Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Marbled jello Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Spanish jello detail blog Jello Recipe booklet, detail

Sew and stitch detail blog Needle pack, detail. made in Japan.

Sweetheart needle detail Needle pack, detail. made in Japan.

Needle detail head
Needle Pack, detail. made in Japan

Needle face close
Needle Pack, detail

Needle girl face detail
Needle Pack, detail. made in Japan.

Broadway needle face
Needle Pack, detail. made in japan

Broadway needle kitten close
Needle Pack, detail, made in Japan

Happy home needle book detail blog Needle pack, detail

Rolling chairs-women detail blogAtlantic City Rolling Chair Postcard, detail

Rolling chairs-detail blog Atlantic City Rolling Chair Postcard, detail

Corset-secret-open detail blog Corset trade card, detail

Diamond dyes detail blogDiamond Dyes Trade Card, detail

Eureka health corset detail blog Corset trade card, detail