From 1884, a note on sparrows. While not considered quite as evil as the cottonwood tree, I'd venture to say they have not grown in appreciation in the past century and thirty.
In 1888, Albany's Horse Shoe Clothing House was advertising a deluge of bargains, perhaps "the grandest bargains ever known in this city." They offered "enough kinds and sizes to fit all and disappoint no one; got up in graceful sacks and elegant stylish 3 or 4 button cutaways, any one of them worth $20 (some worth $25) slaughtered and sacrificed at Fifteen Dollars."
And for boys' and children's suits, a ball and bat given with each suit!
The store was at 48-50 South Pearl Street, just opposite the Leland Opera House.
Historians of comedy, please take note. Hoxsie has found an important moment in the evolution of The Joke. The Altamont (N.Y.) Enterprise of July 21, 1888, featured on its front page what is clearly an early evolutionary form of one of the most important jokes of the 20th century (and beyond). Like most predecessors, it looks both familiar and yet not quite right. The punchline has almost reached its final form, though the pronoun and verb will eventually be cast off, brevity being the soul of wit, and the preposition will shift, as prepositions are wont to do. The set-up, however, is clearly from the Pre-Humorous Period. The "rooster" of this set-up will be replaced by the less specific "chicken," always presumed to be a hen and much more likely to be found by the side of ... well, not by a fence. The fence proved to be an insufficient separation to provide much humor, and flight too easy a way to get from the set-up to the punchline. The tense will shift to the past, where all 1-2, Q&A jokes reside. But somewhere, somewhen, an oldster has to have told a youngster, "You know, in my day, that joke was about a rooster flying over the fence." And he liked it better that way.
Be assured, Albany's Bicentennial Loan Exhibition of 1886 wasn't all Indian relics. For instance, there were also Civil War relics! Rebel bullets, rebel flags, and cannon-balls, among hundreds of other odd souvenirs such as "Book, cut in twain by shell." There was a large collection of "Oriental Ware" loaned by the American Art Association of New York City, including Japanese swords, lacquer boxes, cloisonne enamel vases, and so on.
And, historical and family china. And French ware. And Dresden work, and Delft ware.
There was a little bit to do with actual Albany history. For instance there was a copy of the original charter of the city, with the explanation that it was not actually printed until 65 years after printing was ordered, presumably because they couldn't get the job done cheaply enough.
The catalog of the Bicentennial Loan Exhibition explained that the purpose of the Exhibition, held in the Albany Academy building in July of 1886, was to demonstrate the growth, development, and historic past of Albany, but it quickly allowed that "it includes any thing of interest in connection with the colonial or State governments of New York and surrounding commonwealths, and all articles of value or artistic worth, such as pictures, prints, statuary, ceramics, glass, ivories, old furniture, ancient dress, Indian relics, bric-a-brac, silver, bronzes, personal ornaments, books, pamphlets, manuscripts, maps, etc." In other words, pretty much anything that a prominent citizen of the area wanted to show they owned.
In case you thought that perhaps the mechanics of artifact borrowing was less refined in the late 19th century, consider this description from the catalog:
"All articles are moved free of expense, and by expert workmen. Receipts are given for all articles received. After the closing of the exhibition, articles belonging to parties who are out of town will be stored with the Safe Deposit Company, to await the owners' return. A general insurance against loss or damage by fire, as far as practicable, has been effected on all articles; and a specific insurance on specific articles at the request of their owners, and at such valuation as they have desired. Watchmen are employed day and night to guard the collection. Small articles of special value are exhibited in glass cases, locked and guarded. The building itself, as is well known, is a substantial, detached, stone structure, affording a minimum of fire risk."
Pictured is only the first of 12 pages of "Indian Relics," which displayed no end of fascination with flints, celts, arrowheads, and stone pipes, but also included some rattles, quill ornaments, and portraits of Red Jacket and John the Corn-planter. And then some more flints and arrowheads.
Back in 1886, Albany celebrated its bicentennial (dating back to its charter as a city, not its founding) with a grand exhibition held at the Albany Academy. That building, where Joseph Henry figured out inductance while teaching schoolboys, still stands in Academy Park.
This exhibition, unfortunately, had little or nothing to do with Albany itself, but was a way to show off items of supposed historic or cultural importance that were borrowed from local collections.
"The exhibition is designed especially to illustrate the growth, development and historic past of Albany . . . and to awaken an interest in the men and events which have made the city famous throughout the United States. At the same time it is not limited in scope to historic Albany. It includes any thing of interest in connection with the colonial or State governments of New York and surrounding comonwealths, and all articles of value or artistic worth . . . ."
"The exhibition is in the Albany Academy building, which, from its central location near the Capitol, is admirably adapted for such a purpose." It was open from July 5 until July 24, Sundays excepted. Admission was twenty-five cents, or season tickets ("not transferable") were available for $1.00.
"There are seven general departments of the exhibition proper. The Department of Pictures, Prints and Statuary occupies the east room in the second story. On account of lack of space many of the Prints have been placed in the Book and Manuscript room. The Department of Old Furniture, Ancient Dress and General Relics, the south-east room on the principal story. The Department of Ceramics, Glass and Ivories, the north-east room on the principal story. The Department of Bric-a-brac, Old Silver and Personal Ornaments, the east room on the second story. The Department of Books, Pamphlets, Maps and Manuscripts, the north-east room on the principal story. The Department of Indian Relics and the Department of Relica of the Civil War, the south room on the second story."
You know you want to go to the Department of Old Furniture, Ancient Dress and General Relics.
Next: What was displayed.
This is an advertising card that appeared in Easton, Pennsylvania, sometime around 1870. It was printed for a local retailer, which may be how it actually gets the name of Thomas Fearey & Sons entirely wrong, calling the firm instead "Joseph Frarey & Son."
Well, if you can't get the manufacturer's name right, is anything else in the ad true?
We've spoken of Fearey before. Howell's tome on 1886 Albany has this to say:
"Fearey Manufacturing Company - This, the largest boot and shoe manufactory in Albany, was founded by Thomas Fearey in 1844. Up to 1854 goods were manufactured only to supply the several retail stores conducted by the founder. In this year the manufacture of boots and shoes was begun at the foot of Beaver street to supply the wholesale trade. In 1865, his two sons, Thomas H. and George D. Fearey, became associated with the founder under the firm name of Thomas Fearey & Sons. At this time large apartments were secured at Nos. 51 and 53 Liberty street. In 1867 the firm purchased the building Nos. 9 and 11 Liberty street, and removed to that location. These frequent removals were made for the purpose of accommodating their growing business, but this last location was soon found too small, and in 1869 they completed and first occupied their present quarters on Union, Division and Liberty streets. This plant covers nearly an entire square, upon which are erected two large four-story brick buildings. The capacity of the factory is about one thousand five hundred pairs of shoes per day. About five hundred operatives are employed."
Today, let's just enjoy this delightful Fairy "children's vehicle," available from Albany Hardware and Iron Company, the successor to Maurice Viele's hardware store.