By Suzanne Norquist
I found the following work-from-home ad in several Colorado newspapers from the 1880s. I’m sure publications from all around the country carried similar ads.It reminded me of the scams we avoid today. “No risk.” “Many are making fortunes.” I don’t believe it for a minute. “Ladies make as much as men, and boys and girls make great pay.” Sounds sketchy to me. The ad doesn’t say anything about how one will get rich. It piqued my curiosity, so I investigated.
Similar adds boasted catchy titles like,
“BEST business you can engage in”
“WIN more money than anything else”
“HELP for working people”
“AN AWEFUL DOOM of any nature is usually avoided by those who have foresight”
“$200,000 In presents given away”
“GOLD A great chance to make money.”
Some ads mentioned “agency.” Others mentioned books. One difference between these ads and today’s is that the company making the offer can’t hide behind the anonymous internet. Most were based in Portland, Maine. Inquiries could be sent to H. Hallett & Co. or George Stinson & Co.
These were not fly-by-night operations. Both were printers of books and color lithographs.In the November 5, 1881 edition of the Mountain Mail in Salida, Colorado, an article sings the praises of the art available through these new publishing companies, George Stinson & Co. in particular. Art that used to only be available to the rich could now grace the homes of ordinary people. The size of the company was described by the $120,000 they spent on postage.The Hallett Book Company was recruiting salespeople—I mean agents—for books like The Lives of All the Presidents of the U.S.
”Mending Sarah’s Heart” in the Thimbles and Threads Collection
Four historical romances celebrating the arts of sewing and quilting.
Mending Sarah’s Heart by Suzanne Norquist
Rockledge, Colorado, 1884
Sarah seeks a quiet life as a seamstress. She doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers, and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?
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of a BBQ Ph.D.