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Yankee Peddler

By Richard Sheaff

In an earlier blog, I made the point that the “separate hobbies” of collecting paper, stamps, postal history, prints, and antique objects are often—perhaps always—part of the same historical trail, one encompassing hobby. Some folks chose to focus in one or another aspect, others collect a bit of everything.

The merchandising artifacts of H. W. Carter of New Hampshire provide one example of rather diverse items each contributing to the same historical story. I will post just a few Carter items from the many that can be found.

Note: After I finished writing this, I came across an article on the Historic New England website, complete with a very informative video, entitled Connecting the Threads: Overalls to Art at the H. W. Carter Sons Factory, which can be seen at:

http://www.historicnewengland.org/events-programs/everyones-history/everyones-history-projects/copy_of_ava-carter/connecting-the-threads-overalls-to-art-at-the-h.w.-carter-sons-factory

Henry Wood Carter, born in Concord, NH set up shop out of his house and barn in Lebanon, NH. Dubbed “The Merchant Price”, Carter became a wide-ranging traveling peddler, driving a series of colorful horse-drawn wagons all around the region. He sold a very long list of notions domestic and foreign, dozens and dozens . . . watches, jewelry, cutlery, combs, thread, silk, buttons, perfumes, soap, wallets, guitar strings, boxes, stationery, brushes, fans, “segars”, you name it.

Along the way, he dropped paper trails.

An early broadside folder, with an extensive list of available notions inside . . .

A mailed advertising cover, which contained the broadside above . . .

A different, somewhat later illustrated advertising cover, sent on the road, mailed in the town of Hillsboro Bridge, sent to the town of Henniker . . .

An 1864 billhead with Civil War revenue stamp (Carter’s place in Lebanon is pictured, though the billhead was made out to an individual in Concord, on the road) . . .

An 1870 billhead (made out to a business in Sutton, on the road) . . .

Meanwhile, Henry having ceased his traveling merchant days, H. W. Carter & Sons for several generations made and sold work clothes . . . coats, overalls, shirts. The business continued under the Carter family and then the Jackson family until 1985, when production at the Lebanon factory ended when new owners moved the business to the South.

A postcard . . .

A Carter’s railroad uniform button . . .

In 1869, Carter’s nephew William S. Carter and a disaffected former salesman named Frank C. Churchill set up a competing operation very nearby HW’s place, which displeased him greatly. In 1880, the Carter & Churchill Company started to make clothing, under the “Profile” label, named for New Hampshire’s famous “Old Man of the Mountain” profile. They later moved exclusively into ski clothing, still labeled “Profile”.

A Carter & Churchill woodcut trade card . . .

An advertisement . . .

An 1896 billhead . . .

A stock trade card (a preceding card shows the photographer setting up to photograph the alligator) . . .

Today, the former Carter & Church factory is a thriving art studio and gallery venue named Ava Gallery, which itself produces modern ephemera of various sorts . . .