PLACE: Burlington, VT Feed


Burlington, Vermont native Edward P Hatch bought NYC department store Lord & Taylor in 1879. He also owned the Lake Champlain estate, Red Rocks, that became one of Burlington's most beautiful and popular public parks.

I've been writing and posting about Red Rocks this week, so a couple of days ago my daughter G and I decided to take a hike up the Red Rocks trail. It's not far from our house, and we've hiked it before - she many more times than I - but I never bothered to read the sign before:

  Red Rocks Park sign, south Burlington Vermont

Sign at Red Rocks Park, South Burlington, Vermont.

"Beginning in 1888, this large property was part of an annual summer retreat for the family of Edward Hatch, Jr. who managed the famed Lord & Taylor department store chain in the late 1800's. Mr Hatch took up residence for several summers in the former Hotel Vermont adjacent to City Hall Park in downtown Burlington. The City of South Burlington subsequently purchased the site with federal assistance from the Land And Water Conservation Fund in 1970."

Wait a minute!! Lord & Taylor??? I practically grew up in Lord & Taylor. It's was one of the oldest  department stores in New York City when I was a girl in the 1950's. I'm sure I remember riding the rickety old wooden escalators to the upper floors of it's now landmarked building at 38th and 5th.

“The department store began in an era of a hub-and-spoke transportation system for cities, before the automobile,” Tedlow says. “In Chicago, for instance, the large downtown department store, Marshall Field’s, became in and of itself The Brand. And for a store like that in, say, 1870 or 1880, the competition was basically mom-and-pop shops. Department stores were a new mode of retailing. They became destinations—they became places where you shopped not solely for procurement but for entertainment."  Adam Gopnik, Under One Roof, The New Yorker, Sept. 22, 2003

Lord & Taylor began as a dry goods store on Catherine Street (Manhattan's Lower East Side) in 1826. Subsequent moves brought it further and further north, to Broadway and Grand, then to Broadway and 20th Street, which became part of  the "Ladies Mile" destination.

Lord & Taylor, ladies mile, James H. Giles architect, 19th century department store, shopping NYC "The architect James H. Giles developed a five-story mansard-roofed scheme in cast iron that was widely praised. The building rises like an expanding crystal structure, an intricate pattern of crisply decorated blocks and spiky plant forms that seems to prefigure the William Morris patterns of the 1880's. The entire corner tower is angled, with a tall rectangular mansard pavilion on top, and the roof line still has much of its original, lacy cresting."  Christopher Grey NY Times May 7, 1995


So, Lord & Taylor is in its new digs in the beautiful cast iron building when, in 1879, Eward Hatch, of Burlington Vermont, takes over the reins. 

 Edward P

Edward P SEPT 21, 1909- Burlington VT, Edward P. Hatch, for many years President of the dry goods firm of Lord & Taylor, New York, died at the Van Ness Hotel in this city to-day from heart disease, at the age of 77. He had spent the Summer here for the last forty years. ....Edward P. Htch was born in Norwich, Vt. on July 11, 1832. He was the son of a village physician, Dr. Horace Hatch, whose own father had been one fo the pioneers of the town and had helped to clear the forest for his home with his own hands...When Edward Hatch was 15 years old he entered a store at a salary of $4 a month, one of his chief duties being the packing of wool [? wood?] Two years later he came to New York and entered the store of Robinson & Co. on Broadway as an entry clerk....[goes on to work for Wilcox and Gibbs sewing machines, makes a forturne, retires and...] In 1879 however, the opportunity came of reorganizing and carrying on the affairs of the house of Lord & Taylor, and Mr. Hatch, as the head of the reorganized firm, entered the world of business again. Being impressed with the commercial value of the firm's name he retained it, and only a small part of the general public knew whose brain it was that was working behind the old firm name. Until five years ago he carried the firm on alone. Then he organized it into a corporation capitalized with $2,500,00 preferred and $3,000,000 common stock, he being the President.... Many years ago Mr. Hatch purchased Red Rocks, a splendidly wooded estate on Lake Champlain, south of Burlington. He constructed a permanent stone road for many miles near Mallet's Bay. Along the road he set many drinking fountains. His interest in making improvements of this kind throughout Vermont continued to the time of his death. His body will be buried near Lake Champlain." Meanwhile, back in Burlington, Red Rocks had - and still has- some great swimming places, from a tame beach to massive cliffs for the foolhardy to jump from. If  bathers were to buy their suits in 1879, the year Hatch took over Lord & Taylor, this is what they'd have been wearing

  Lord & Taylor, bathing suits, june 14 1879
Bathing suits at Lord & Taylor's, 1879

If the bathers, or picnickers wanted to get around the estate in those days, or a bit later, they could have ridden in a buggy like this

  View of lake champlain from red rocks burlington vt
View of Lake Champlain from Red Rocks, Burlington VT. Postcard from PSAW ephemera collections. This is the same image as on the Red rocks sign.

Alas, when daughter G. and I hiked up to recreate the view, we found the trees had filled in most of the roadway, and we ended up with this.

  G at red rocks, view at red rocks, south burlington vermont, lake champlain
Red Rocks, view over Lake Champlain. Photo Liza Cowan

But we were happy, and the view is still spectacular. Maybe next time we'll find some old fashioned bathing costumes.


I just can't get enough of these vintage postcards. The graphics...the history. So good. Here are some more I got today:

  Postcard burlington vt scene in battery park Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections
Scene In Battery Park, Burlington VT. Postmarked 1907. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

 Built as a military camp during the War Of 1812, Battery Park history may be martial, but contemporary use is recreational.  In the summer there are concerts, there's a playground that my kids used to love. And the view, like so many views of Lake Champlain, is breath taking.

  Battery Park Burlington Vermont 1906 detail, couple on bench,
Scene In Battery Park, Postcard detail.

  Postcard vermont lake champlain and adirondacks from Burlington liza cowan ephemera collections
Vermont, Lake Champlain and Adirondacks from Burlington. Postmark 1906. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

  Postcard  2 burlington vermont rock point liza cowan ephemera collections
Rock Point, Burlington VT, no postmark. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

Rock Point is to the North of the city. Much celebrated in postcards, this thrust fault rock formation is geologically interesting:

One of the geologically most famous localities in Vermont (along with the world’s oldest reef in the Champlain Islands) is the Champlain Thrust, visible along the shoreline of Lake Champlain at Lone Rock Point, in Burlington, Vermont. In order to understand its significance we need to first understand what a “thrust” is. A “thrust” (geological shorthand for a “thrust fault,”) is a type of fault. A fault is a fracture in rocks where there has been movement. There are several types of faults and a “reverse fault” is one where older rocks have been pushed up over younger rocks. Geologists call a reverse fault where the fault is at a low angle to the Earth’s surface, a “thrust fault”." source

  Postcard burlington vermont rock point liza cowan ephemera collections

Rock Point, Burlington VT, postmark 1908. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

  Postcard burlington vermont sunset rock rock point liza cowan ephemera collections
 Sunset Rock, Rock Point, Burlington VT Penny Postcard, no postmark. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

  Sunset rock, rock point, burlington vt, detail
Sunset Rock, Rock Point, Burlington VT Detail. I love the guy at the railing.

In the South End of the city is Red Rocks, which I've shown before, but here are a few images I got recently:

  Red rocks summer house 1
Rock Road Summer House, Red Rocks Burlington VT. on Lake Champlain postmark 1927. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

  Red rocks summer house detail
Rock Road Summer House, Red Rocks, Burlington. Detail

That's it for today's tour. More to come for sure.


I've been rawther busy lately, plus my printers and scanner were on the fritz. But I've been busy gathering images, and here are a few of my recent treasures.

  Postcard burlington vermont dock scene liza cowan ephemera collections
Dock Scene, Burlington VT  Liza Cowan ephemera collections

The postmark on this card is 1968, but the image and probably the printing are earlier. You never see wooden boats any more in the harbor, which I think is a shame.

   Postcard burlington vermont Harbor liza cowan ephemera collections
Burlington VT postcard, Harbor, early 20th Century. Liza Cowan ephemera collections

This one is not postmarked, although it is addressed an written on. It calls for one penny postage. Most of those industrial buildings are gone, and in their place is a lively mixed use waterfront, bikepath, restaurants, businesses.

  Burlington_waterfront circa 2009
Burlington Harbor in a more recent view.

At the turn of the last century Burlington's Waterfont was home to many businesses. Not the  tourist, tech and green economy businesses we are famous for now, but real manufacturing. Lumber was big.

Dock frontage of 4,000 feet, Shepard & Morse Lumber, Burlington. Burlington Board Of Trade 1889

But with all the beautiful water and scenery, pleasure boating is always popular.

Lake Champlain Yacht Club Building, Burlington Board of Trade 1889

A bit farther south from the Waterfront you will find Red Rocks, a particularly scenic park. I've shown you other vintage images of Red Rocks from my collections, and now here's a recent acquisition.

  Postcard burlington vermont lake champlain from red rocks women taking photo liza cowan ephemera collections
Lake Champlain from "Red Rocks", Burlington, Vt. Postmarked November 10, 1908. Liza Cowan ephemera collections.

And check out how the gal on the left is snapping a photograph.

  Postcard detail burlington red rocks women taking photo circa 1906 liza cowan ephemera collections
Burlington Red Rocks Park, gals snapping a photograph, 1908. Liza Cowan ephemera Collections.


  Brownie Camera Ad, Duke University Collection
They could have been using this Brownie Camera from Eastman Kodak.


Pine street art works, art gallery, carol golemboski, gallery layout
Pine Street Art Works, Main Gallery, Carol Golemboski Show, April 2010

If you want to give a shot at reading the things at Pine Street Art Works, I'll give you a hint: Spring Cleaning. Yes, after a long winter here in Burlington, with the gallery set up as a wonderfully crowded and fun store, I decided to go simple for Spring. Intern Par Excellence, Daniel Weinberg, and I spent a couple of days moving furniture and products, art and artifact. Grueling, but worth it. So welcome to Spring on Pine Street in Burlington Vermont's Arts District. Why the interest in reading objects? Carol Golemboski's amazing show here at the Gallery: Psychometry (the ability to divine the history of objects through physical contact.)

If Wishes Were Horses
Carol Golemboski, If Wishes Were Horses, toned silver gelatin print


Object Lesson in Heads
Carol Golemboski, Object Lesson. Toned  silver gelatin print.

Next big project: The street garden. Charlotte Albers of Paintbox Garden Design is planning something special, and I'll keep you posted.


Maltex Building Renovation 2010

For four years I have been staring out the window of Pine Street Art Works at what was surely the ugliest section of a building in the city of Burlington, VT : the pink cinder block wing of the Maltex Building.

The Maltex building itself is one of the handsomest buildings in town, so it was particularly irksome. It looked like a big pink band aid. I've groused  about it nonstop, so when renovation started on it a couple of months ago, I was delighted.


Maltex wing construction feb 2010

Maltex Building, Burlington, VT,  wing renovation. Feb. 2010.  Photo Liza Cowan

I'll take corrugated metal and wood over pink cinder block any day. I'm not in love with it - I wish it were better integrated with the  19th Century brick building, but at this point, it's so much better than the band-aid that I'm happy. I'm sure it was a challenge turning a cinder block box into anything aesthetically pleasing.

We here in Burlington's South End are proud of our industrial history,  and love the architecture left by those industries. Many of the buildings have been retrofitted, gone green and are re-purposed for retail, offices, artist's studios, and light manufacturing. Our neighbor,  Dealer.Com, will be moving their annex into this new space soon.



Maltex building burlington vt

Renovation on wing of Maltex Building, Burlington, VT.  February, 2010.  Photo Liza Cowan

Built in 1870, the Maltex Building was the factory headquarters of the Malted Cereal Company, later known as Maltex, which produced cereal and other malted products through the early 1970s. The company was famous for its maple-flavored cereal called Maypo. The building was built by William J. Van Patten, president of the company and a prominent citizen who also served as mayor of Burlington and a state senator. Van Patten was a seriously busy man:(note that in addition to Malted Cereal Company and all the others, he was also a partner at Wells Richardson & Co.

Mr. Van Patten came to Burlington in 1864 and was in the retail drug trade with A. C. Spear for four years. In 1868, he became connected with the wholesale drug house of Henry and Company. In 1872 he became a partner in the firm of Wells, Richardson & Co., later being made secretary and still later, treasurer of that company.
Mr. Van Patten held many offices of importance in the city having been president of the Champlain Manufacturing company; president of the Malted Cereals Co., director of the Queen City Cotton Co., and president of the Burlington Building and Loan Association.
He was actively interested in the municipal affairs of the city having been mayor in 1894-5. In 1906 he was state senator from Chittenden county. He had been from 1903 to 1911, chairman of the Board of Park Commissioners; chairman of the board of cemetery commissioners from 1898-1911; a trustee of the Fletcher Free Library and of the Mary Fletcher Hospital; president of the Forestry Association of Vermont for two years. He had long been a member of the First Congregational Church. He had been president of the Y.M.C.A., and a director of it for years. He had been a president of the United Society Christian Endeavor for four years; director of the National Brotherhood of Congregational church and World's Christian Endeavor Union. He was president of the Burlington Commercial Club for two years; a member of the Algonquin Club; of the Vermont Fish and Game League; Vermont Society, Sons of the American Revolution and the Society of Colonial Wars in Vermont.
In recent years he had been actively engaged in the Malted Cereals company of which he was president and manager."      Source

Pine street burlington june 13, Louis L. McAllister photo, UVM historical photo collections
Pine Street, Burlington, looking North, 1913. Maltex Building on the left. UVM collections. Across the street is the building that was the AE Whiting Company and now houses Pine Street Art Works (flanked by Fresh Market and Speeder & Earl's)



Maltex Building. Circa 1950. You can see the "band aid" wing on the right.

Maltex blotter, pine street art works collections
Blotter, giveaway from Maltex. Pine Street Art Works ephemera collections

At its peak, Maltex was producing up to 300 cases of cereal a day, and was a desirable place of employment at the turn of the century. Employees were treated well and had access to affordable lunches and other benefits rarely granted to employees of that era. Later, Maltex was acquired by another company and the building became home to other industries. Then in 1984, a federal grant helped to transform it into a thriving business haven filled with historic high-ceilinged office space and light manufacturing facilities. Maltex Building Website


Maltex, schoolroom, pine street art works collections,
Maltex cereal special insert. Pine Street Art Works ephemera collections


Maypo cereal box, markey maypo, i want my maypo, pine street art works Maltex is most famous for Maypo, the maple flavored hot cereal. In 1956 the Maltex company was bought out by Heublein,Inc. and the new owners needed business losses to offset gains. They hired Faith and John Hubley (creators of Mr. Magoo and zillions of other amazing animated cartoons ) to do their TV ads. Faith Hubely writes:

"They didn't want it to be successful, which is why they hired us. They were a liquor company; they made mixers for drinks or something like that. Maybe vodka. I don't remember, but whatever it was, they bought the Maypo company to offset their profits. So they asked us to make an anti-commercial, where the child hates the product. I don't think that's ever happened before. It's like Christmas in July, and it's just terribly funny. So we finished it and gave it to them, and we were well-paid. We had a contract you wouldn't believe. We owned everything, we had all the rights, and, because we had used our son [Mark], they couldn't do any advertising without our permission. So the damn thing takes off, and they are fit to be tied! They had to keep making more. They tried to make the product taste better: It was a healthy cereal, and they wanted to add sugar coating. It was unstoppable. So much for advertising. When people try to make things to sell, it ain't necessarily so. But if you make something out of truth..."


Tick Tock, time to think about holiday shopping

 Blog pop clock tempus fugit
Tempus Fugit, pop out clock by Timeworks, Inc. Available at PSAW for $17.75

As I posted on my sandwich board today, "Tick tock, time to think about holiday shopping" Actually, as a retailer, I've been thinking about holiday shopping since mid summer. Truth be told, as a consumer I enjoy buying presents for my loved ones, but it's even more fun selling fabulous things to my customers. In this economy we're all being careful of what we spend, so I've worked at getting great stuff at reasonable prices. By reasonable, I try to mean under $50. Often under $25.

  Blog pop out clock
Pop Out Clocks from Timeworks, Inc. Seven different clocks available here.

These clocks are super cute and a brand new product from the Timeworks, Inc. Clock Company from Berkeley, CA.  They come in a reusable box and  assemble in a jiffy,  really.  I think they are made of melamine. The clock runs on a battery. Great little gift for under $20, easy to send, too.


  • Blog pop clock alice
  • Blog pop clock bear in a bottle
  • Blog pop clock football
  • Blog pop clock love grows
  • Blog pop clock time flies
Blog pop clock time flies

Check out the clock faces. Click the small image and it will pop up!


 Blog card boxes
notecards, portfolios, labels, sticky notes etc. at PSAW

I've been a stationery lover my whole life. Mostly I've collected postcards and notecards, but anything with pretty images and shapes will catch my eye. Now that our local paperie, Scribbles, has closed (alas) I'm trying to fill the void a tiny bit. Above are some sets with images by Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol, Geninne D. Zlatkis. I also have Lotte Jansdotter and  Paul Frank as well as assorted classic botanical images.


 Blog mini prints
Canetti Museum magnet frames and PSAW mini prints

Not new to PSAW but one of my favorites, the Canetti Museum Magnet Frame. At $28 these are a sensation and very popular with my customers.  Made of pure acrylic and tiny magnets by a small company in New York, (although manufactured in Thailand) these are the original  Magnet Frame. They inspired me to offer PSAW mini prints by PSAW artists, made to fit the frames. At $20 a pop, these are also a fun and charming gift.


 Blog kornbluh pendant
glass pendant by Marc Kornbluh at PSAW. Aprox 2" diameter. $45

No two of these pendants by Marc Kornbluh are alike. Marc used to live in Burlington and his glass studio was one of my favorite places. Now he lives. in Nebraska, but I'm lucky enough to be able to sell his lamp-work jewelry. At $45, this is a gift that will be loved for generations.

 cigarette tin, sixty, liza cowan photo, yellow, tobacco, collectible
Vintage cigarette tin. $16.

I've been collecting typewriter tins and cigarette tins, lovely for both their shapes and graphics. No two alike, only while stock lasts since buying them is a random operation. But I've got a bunch here now.


 AO! Glass, Snow men, glass snow men, handblown glass,
Sno Folk by AO! Glass

AO! Glass, whose retail shop is right here at PSAW (separate store - common roof) are in high production for their very popular little Sno Folk. Great, perfect holiday gifts, they can be a tabletop decoration, or hang from a tree or mantle. Tove Ohlander also will custom etch the bowls and other pieces that she and her partner Rich Ahrentzen make.

There's more, but I'll leave that for another post. Just come on buy and check us out. Tick Tock.




 Blog sign 

We write our sign daily. Then the rain washes it away. True ephemera.

It's been a slow week. I'm busy stocking up for the holidays, but meanwhile...ain't nobody shopping much. Rainy day, listening to Rufus Wainwright and the soundtrack of Wicked.  Here are some random shots from the day.

 Blog kornbluh 

Pendants by Marc Kornbluh. TMNK paintings in the background.

 Blog moleskine 

Moleskine journals. Nakki Goranin's American Photobooth. Liza Leger painting.

 Blog card wall 

Card wall. Cards by me, from my ephemera collections. Ever changing.

 Bog typewriter ribbon tins 

Vintage typewriter ribbon tins.

 Blog shinzi in foreground 

Shinzi Katoh in foreground. Then Flashbags, then cards. TMNK paintings on the wall.


TMNK the me nobody knows, pine street art works, photo liza cowan, art hop, burlington, Vermont

TMNK-The Me Nobody Knows, hanging his show at PSAW, Sept. 11, 2009

Art Hop came and went. About 2 million 1,000 people passed through these doors on Friday and Saturday. We had a blast and everyone adored the work of NYC artist TMNK, The Me Nobody Knows.  He blew them away. As predicted. 

TMNK the me nobody knows, pine street art works, burington, vermont, photo liza cowan

Nobody's window. The mannequins are wearing his T Shirts and bandanas.

I always have four personae at these events:  Sergei Diaghilev, the impressario; Dolley Madison, the hostess; Hazel, the maid; and Ron Gallella, the paparazzi. I'm good with the first three, horrible with the last. Hence, I have almost no photographic evidence that the event actually happened. You'll just have to take my word. Or send me your pictures.

Rootstein mannequin, art is my weapon, TMNK, photo Liza Cowan

Diane, the Rootstein mannequin, wearing Nobody's T Shirt. Photo Liza Cowan


Art Hop, Friday September 11th 5-10 in the evening and Saturday Sept 12, 10-5 daytime.


TMNK The Me Nobody Knows, Bird, graffiti, street art, too many ants, urban bird, exhibit pine street art works

TMNK Art Hop postcard. Art: TMNK, design Liza Cowan 2009

Art Hop is almost upon us. Art Hop is  one of the biggest- possibly THE biggest - outdoor/indoor art fair in New England. We expect around 20,000 visitors one weekend every September in our otherwise modest little neighborhood in the South End of Burlington, Vermont. Hosted and produced annually by the South End Arts And Business Association (SEABA) Art Hop is well worth the trip. Lots of art, a fashion show, music, outdoor sculpture and demonstrations make it a family worthy destination.

TMNK, The Me Nobody Knows, graffiti, street art, contemprary art, My Boombox,  

TMNK-The Me Nobody Knows: My Boombox Plays The Sound Of Music. Sold. Used by permission of the artist.

This year the New York City artist TMNK- The Me Nobody Knows, will be the solo artist at Pine Street Art Works. I've written a lot about TMNK this past year, so I will refer you to previous posts for more information about him.

NOBODY will be here in person with his art on Friday and Saturday. If you live within driving distance, I urge you not to miss this rare Vermont opportunity to meet Nobody and see his work. 

And  check out Nobody's blog as well.

See you next week!


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?


Design sponge logo

Paige Russell, maker of the wonderful vessels we have for sale at Pine Street Art Works, is doing a guest blog at Design*Sponge this week.  Today she wrote about Burlington VT shops and artists, and featured some stores in Burlington's South End, including us!

Design*Sponge is one of the top design blogs in the country, and it's really rather thrilling to be mentioned on it. And it originates in Brooklyn, my former home. Yay Brooklyn.

Paige used to work next door at The Lamp Shop, and had a studio further down Pine Street, but, alas, she moved back to Canada.

paige russell, ceramic vessel, pottery, white pottery, liza cowan photo
Paige Russel Vessels. Photo Liza Cowan.

So hats off to Paige for writing about our little city (especially the South End, which is often treated like the Siberia of Burlington,) and to Design*Sponge for having the good taste to invite Paige to guest blog.

Check out Paige's blog, it's always worth a read.


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 liza cowan ephemera collectiosn
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 Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections
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 trade card Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections
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 wells richardson & Co. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections 

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


Lactated food wells richardson & Co. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections 

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





Yay! School's out, and that's always a good thing. But today was also an emotional last day at Champlain Elementary School in Burlington, VT, where my kids have gone for the last five years. Today was the last day for the visionary school leader, principal Nancy Zahniser, who will be retiring after many years as a teacher and administrator.

Waiting for ms z
Parents and students at Champlain Elementary wait for the final bell to ring to say goodbye to Ms. Z.

Robert resnick

Local celebrity musician/radio host/librarian and alumni dad Robert Resnick came to seranade the crowd and Ms. Z with his accordian in a rousing version of a school favorite, The Chicken Dance . And trust me, you are very sorry that you never got to do this dance with Tammy Charbenau and Ms. Z leading it.

Champlain Elementary is always a joyous place. The wonderful, inspired teachers stay year after year, the halls ring with laughter and the kids enjoy learning. What makes a great school? Great leadership. And that we had.

Ms Z
Nancy Zahniser on the right,  greeting the crowd  with a typically enthusiastic gesture. On the left, beloved teachers Tammy Charbeneau and Coleen Cowell.

Ms. Z is the principal who knows every kid's name, who is out on the steps to greet each child and parent every morning with inspired music mix cds which she makes and then and plays on the steps of the school so the kids can dance - and you should see some of the inspired line dances the kids do on that makeshift step/stage.  Even the kids who play 4 Square or chat while waiting for the school bell  are enfolded into a  rhythm for the day.

Ms. Z  lead her faculty and administration into creating an environment where education flourishes. I don't usually wax enthusiastic about our educational system. (Don't even get me started talking about Edmunds Middle school.)  So it is with great and rare pleasure that I can say these wonderful things about Ms. Z and Champlain Elementary.

Click here to see a news clip from local channel WCAX TV about a Burlington history project that the fourth / fifth grades did this year.

Goodbye ms z
Everyone gathers around at the top of the steps for a final hug.

So thank you Ms. Z. We love you.