I have always liked unusual, quirky items when it comes to books. There are a few favourites
that I will share with you from time to time. Interestingly, just this week a customer who had just
bought some beautiful art books asked how I could part with them. My answer was - I am a
businessperson and once I make the decision to sell a book it is easy. But there are some, I just can not part with, like this rare little item.
The Art of Window Dressing, published by Sprague, Warner & Company, Chicago, 1902. Not
only an esoteric topic but the cover design is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau – another of
Written 117 years ago, product has changed, technology has changed, what is accepted has
changed and certainly how window dressing has changed – or has it?
From the preface – “This book is published in the hope that it will awaken your mind to the
necessity, advantage and profitability of appealing to the public mind by means of proper
window displays. In the great libraries, one can find books upon almost every other branch and
department of merchandising, store-keeping, advertising, etc., but window dressing has been
And further on – “The object of a window show is to cause people to stop, look and think. This
accomplished, they will come into the store and talk about the attraction to others."
The book is well illustrated showing the bad and the good. And the book also has a number of
full-page adverts that are dated and amusing as well.
The book also has a section of Snappy Suggestions:
If you have any telegraph poles or other posts in front of your store, box them up and
use them for sign-boards
Put up a large white sheet on the building across the street and from one of your
upstairs windows cast your ads upon it at night by a magic lantern, interspersing with
Get several hard-shell turtles, paint their shells white, then in black
letters print the words, “We’re in the Swim Here” and put the turtles in a small tank in
your window” (Try this one today!)
Paint the word “snakes” on the side of a barrel, put a screen on top, put your ad on the
bottom and set the barrel out in front.
And I will close with one last window dressing suggestion that might still work today