Karen lives in Jackson, MS with her husband and son, and works as an accountant. She enjoys writing, reading, and D&D role playing game.
The Old Sears Catalog
This is a fun topic for me to talk about, but I must say I also hate to see that Sears may be closing its doors soon.
I hope in some small way the attention from this lens helps to at least keep the catalog business running for many years to come.
Why write an article on a catalog? The old Sears Catalog is not just any catalog. Sears and Roebuck were the first to mass produce catalogs and sell through mail order. The industrial revolution helped to make Sears a huge success.
If you are over 50, you probably have childhood memories of the Sears Catalog like I do. I remember my brother and I going through the catalog every year around Thanksgiving and circling every single thing we wanted in the whole book, which was something like 500 pages back then.
Somehow Santa magically got all those circled pages and managed to get at least some of our wishlist under the tree every single year!
Another funny memory is my Nana and Papa remodeled an old home and kept the old outhouse in the backyard as a kind of funny conversation piece. Nana put an old Sears Catalog in the outhouse for authenticity. I did not know for many years what that was for......but apparently the old issues made excellent toilet paper!
The 1943 Sears News Graphic wrote that the Sears catalog,
"serves as a mirror of our times, recording for future historians today's desires, habits, customs, and mode of living."
The roots of the Sears catalog are as old as the company. In 1888, Richard Sears first used a printed mailer to advertise watches and jewelry. Under the banner "The R.W. Sears Watch Co." Sears promised his customers that,
"we warrant every American watch sold by us, with fair usage, an accurate time keeper for six years - during which time, under our written guarantee we are compelled to keep it in perfect order free of charge."
We pretty much expect that sort of guarantee today, but I guess it was a big deal back then. I suppose we have Mr. Sears to thank for expecting quality!
Using the Sears Catalog
A nice article from the SEARS archives
- History of the Sears Catalog
Sears has opened the doors to its vast archival collection and invited the public to peek inside. More than 100 years of stories, product and brand histories, photographs, catalog images and more are now available online.
What? A House? From a Catalog? SEARS had it all!
2018 - SEARS files for Bankruptcy: Will we ever see another SEARS catalog?
Hopefully at least some stores will remain open. I would hate to see this long-lived and rather large slice of Americana relegated to the History books!
I guess time will tell.
Thayer Barn: Built from a Kit - from the Sears Catalog!
Here are a few articles and stories on why we love to remember these tattered old pages of the Sears Catalog
- Sears Catalog Home - Wikipedia
- An Abundance of Kit Homes in Tulsa (Updated!) | Sears Modern Homes
Sears Homes in Tulsa? That was my first thought when Rachel Shoemaker of Tulsa contacted me. She said that she thought there were several homes in her
- dimland: world's coolest toys pt. 1
The Ghost of Captain Kidd - complete with original Sears box!
My Favorite Stuff to order from the Catalog - When I was a kid
There was practically no limit on what you could order in the Old Sears Catalogs. I have a few favorite things I used to look for first when the new catalogs came out.
- Fuzzy Slippers
- fun Pajamas
- Winter coats
- Baby Dolls
- Stuffed Animals
- Sunday dresses
- Stereos and record players
Thumbing Through - 1984
Love these old Hats! - Can you imagine?
Do you remember the Sears catalog? - What was on your wishlist?
Karen Kay (author) from Jackson, MS on August 27, 2015:
You're most welcome Larry! Thanks for stopping by!
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on August 24, 2015:
Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
Karen Kay (author) from Jackson, MS on November 03, 2014:
That is so fun, Warrior! I bet she had a blast!
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 03, 2014:
It's so cool for me to read this. My mother modeled for the Sears and Roebuck catalog in the early to mid '50s. Then she married and had me in 1957. I forgot all about that until I read this hub.
Karen Kay (author) from Jackson, MS on October 21, 2014:
I'm so glad to know it still brings smiles!
thebrownbear on October 21, 2014:
My daughter and I just picked up the Wishbook yesterday and looked through the toy section. Reminded me of when I was a child. :)
Thanks for reminding me of the good old days.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 17, 2014:
I loved the arrival of the Sears catalogue in my home when I was a teenager. It was so exciting to see all the interesting items and to think about what I would buy if I could afford it. I remember finding the clothing especially appealing. Thank you for the memories!
Tanya Jones from Texas USA on October 16, 2014:
I loved the toy issue.
Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on October 16, 2014:
I used to have one of those fire trucks too. It was a great memory.
Karen Kay (author) from Jackson, MS on October 16, 2014:
Thanks so much Don! That's a cool memory. Love it!
Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on October 16, 2014:
I grew up in a large city with both Sears and Wards warehousees. This allowed us to make catalog purchase at the store and get our purchase while we waited for it. Both companies had good reputations for quality, as well. voted up and shared
Karen Kay (author) from Jackson, MS on October 16, 2014:
Thanks Billy. I had fun writing it.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 16, 2014:
Talk about dredging up some old memories. I would literally spend hours thumbing through the Sears catalog as a kid. It was great entertainment and the stuff that dreams are built on. Thanks for the memories.
anonymous on January 08, 2012:
My first pair of boots came from the Sears catalog, they were lace ups with a small pocket knife on the side in a pouch. We lived on a ranch at the time and places to shop were 30 miles away.
Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on September 25, 2011:
Oh yeah, many hours were spent flipping those pages. Great bit of nostalgia.
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on September 04, 2011:
Oh my, indeed I do! Would you believe I have saved all of the Sears Christmas Wishbooks from when my children were little. I saved them for the exact reason you wrote about. Their precious little hands marked every item they wanted that year. I can easily recall them being stretched out on the floor, heads together, pens in hand and circling their choices. They did have to put their initials by them so Santa would know for sure which child was making the request :)
poutine on September 04, 2011:
I certainly do. Plus, here in Canada, we had the Eaton's catalog and the Dupuis & freres from Montreal.
Many hours were spent dreaming with those catalogs in hand.
hsschulte on April 08, 2011:
A significant part of American history. Thanks!
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on October 29, 2010:
My sister and I loved flipping through the old sears catalogs choosing all the items for our future home.
Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on October 21, 2010:
Yep, I sure do. My parents always had one around when I was very young in the mid- to late 70s. Somewhere along the line, though, it disappeared, never to be seen in our household again.
glenbrook on October 12, 2010:
Yes. When I was a kid I used to love looking at the Sears Christmas Catalog and making my "gift list." In some ways it was even more fun than opening presents on Christmas morning. I lived in a small town and a lot of the stuff my parents bought was ordered through catalogs.
WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on October 08, 2010:
I have been a loyal Sears customer forever! We have still have the catalogs delivered to our home in BC (Canada). I received one this week. (Gosh! I just booked travel through Sears yesterday!) When I was a contract newspaper delivery driver...I also delivered the Sears catalogs to the carriers! (I left that position last fall.) It's hard to believe the catalogs may be discontinued! Thanks for your memories of Sears catalogs!
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on February 01, 2010:
Yep, we used to cut out the clothing models to play paperdolls. We cut out the furniture from the Sears catalog too.
anonymous on September 29, 2009:
Cool I actually had one of the little fire trucks you have on here! Thank you for the memories!