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Before Amazon: Mail Order in Appalachia

A virtual exhibit exploring mail order in Appalachia through the Artifacts in the Appalachian Artifacts Teaching Collection

In rural Appalachia, like all of rural America, the advent of mail order shopping was hugely impactful.  Evidence is found in the array of things people owned and used—the material culture of Appalachia.  Below is a selection of mail order objects found in our Appalachian Artifacts Teaching Collection.

The "Ideal" Bread Pan

This bread-baking pan is from an unknown household in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  It was used by placing dough inside, closing the lid, locking the clasp and burying it in hot coals in a fireplace.  It could also be used in an oven.  It is artifact number 1969.1.1185 in the Edna Lynn Simms Collection.



From the 1908 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogue:

Blue Glass Tumbler

This drinking glass is from an unknown household in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  It is artifact number 1969.1.214 in the Edna Lynn Simms Collection.  The catalogue image is from the 1902 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogue:


 

Scalloped - Tubed Cake Pan

This scalloped and tubed cake pan goes beyond basic needs and is more likely to be used in a iron stove oven than a fireplace oven.  It is from an unknown household in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  It is artifact number 1969.1.1187 in the Edna Lynn Simms Collection.



From the 1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalogue:

Pickle Dish

This pickle dish is from an unknown household in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  It is artifact number 1969.1.235 in the Edna Lynn Simms Collection.



From the 1902 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue: