Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Lady Managers & Exposition Tea
What is latched away in this box? A brief history lesson inspired by a terrific antique store find! Now I'm having another tea this weekend and thus have been spending lunch hours trolling places I might find party favors and thrifty decor. Yesterday, I was in a local antique store and saw a display of vintage tins and boxes. I almost never look on top of cabinets and shelves, but yesterday I did and boy am I glad! This antique tea chest was just peering down begging to come home with me, I know it, and since the picture is rather small here's the wording: "F.P. Garrettson & Co., 119 Front St., N.Y., 16 & 20 Washington Sq., R.I., Exposition Tea, Trade Mark Registered June 20 1899, This Tea Was Chosen By the Board of Lady Managers of the New York State Building at the World's Fair."
Oh! My! Goodness! This 10-inch tall, deep and wide chest, while obviously worn, is in good condition, the latch works great, and I am just delighted at the bit of history I learned once I set to Googling its provenance. I found a New York Times article from 1892 which told how the Board of Lady Managers (don't you love that "Lady Managers" bit?) had recently been created and had "dignified woman." (So women weren't involved already? Who supplied the casseroles, for Pete's sake?)
But I'm not sure exactly WHICH World's Fair this refers to. The date of the trademark is 1899, which I suppose could (but doesn't necessarily) mean the chest could have been in circulation at the time of the 1900 World's Fair in Paris. In 1904, the St. Louis Exposition was held in Missouri, which of course would place the tea chest much closer to us here in Newnan, Ga. I have already e-mailed a World's Fair expert I found on the Internet asking for help. (Mr. Terry, are you there?) At any rate, I am just delighted at this bit of memorabilia and couldn't wait to share it with my fellow tea lovers. If any of you World's Fair collectors can add to what I've shared, please comment! I'd love to know more!