Collecting Salem on Etsy

Time for another Etsy post, motivated by finding one of my very favorite Salem books on the site:  Salem Interiors by Samuel Chamberlain (1895-1975).  Chamberlain was a Marblehead-based photographer, artist and author, whose books of New England photographs are now classics–and very collectible.  The 1950 edition on Etsy looks like it is in great condition and is very reasonably priced.  Just click on the image (and those following) and you’ll get to the Etsy listing.

I’m not one to promote Salem witch items, but there is an amazing collectible plate on Etsy right now:  an early (circa 1900) souvenir plate rimmed with 18 little witches made by the Petersyn Company of Passaic, New Jersey.  For a witch plate, this one is quite charming, relatively rare, and well-priced. This is one of the earliest porcelain expressions of “Witch City”.

There are some lovely Hawthorne editions on Etsy now, including several that are very collectible, like a 1930s edition of Tanglewood Tales with illustrations by the short-lived artist Virginia Francis Sterrett, whose flying dragon seems like a good companion for the Salem witches.

Lots of carte-de-visite and cabinet cards from Salem’s many turn-of-the-century photographers:  a “young dark-eyed woman in a walking suit” taken by the Cook Photograph Studio in the 1890s, a “beautiful Victorian woman in a romantic, angelic pose” from the 1880s, and a “lambchop whiskered” man (love these Etsy descriptive titles!) photographed by the Bonsley and Moulton Studio. I tend to like the typography as much (or more) as the photography.

Vintage Game collectors can always find Parker Brothers products on Etsy.  I have never seen or heard of this “reading” game called Peter Coddle’s Trip to New York but it looks interesting, and I’m intrigued by all these scraps of ephemeral paper; it’s a miracle they survived this long.

And finally, some amazing pieces of advertising ephemera:  three advertising fans, in French, for the Peabody’s Dry and Fancy Goods Bazaar in downtown Salem.  Salem had a large and growing French-Canadian population in the first half of the nineteenth century, and I suppose this was the target audience for the fans, which feature a stag, a pony, and (of course), a kitten.

7 responses to “Collecting Salem on Etsy

  • Nelson Dionne

    One book that should be in every Salem collectors library is “Salem Witchcraft & Souvenirs” by Pamela Apkarian-Russell. , Schiffler, 1998. Pam has been collecting Salem with items for 40 or so years, and is also an antiques dealer. This 130 page full color book is a fantastic look at all the “junque” sold over the years with the Salem Witch on it.
    BTW, Chamberlain mostly took photos of historic buildings that never changed. However, his “Salem in Four Seasons”, Hastings, 1938, has a nice view of the Market, the City Almshouse and street-scape views of Charter St and Church St showing buildings lost to parking lots. He also has a nice shot of the Arabella’s stern. All long gone.

  • Thoughts on Design

    Definitely going to have to check out the Salem Interiors book! Thanks for the tip!


    • daseger

      I can’t believe you don’t have this book already, John; it’s a must-get for you and Sally. My favorite photographs in the book are the shots of the private homes, which are “undecorated” and full of the most casually displayed antiques. Old family stuff.

  • MarkD60

    My grandfather was born in 1895 and died in 1976.

    The woman in the picture is beautiful

    great post as usual!

  • downeastdilettante

    Samuel Chamberlain is one of my household Gods, and has been from an early age. Before I even saw the places, I learned to love them as a child from his lovely and loving photographs.. I have about 40 of his titles, from the very fine cookbooks to the almost heartbreaking books of New England interiors and landscape. For years, his were my grandmother’s yearly appointment books, and I’ve even saved them (and touched I am that for one week in July, many years ago, her usual round of bridge, charity work, bird and garden notes are not filled in, but simply on a certain Wednesday the notation “Brad is born”).

    The witch plate is pretty marvelous.

    PS, one of the houses in Salem houses is of the home of the very interesting Count Philip von Saltza, who adopted Salem as his home, and painted murals after Corne. He summered up here, and there is intact a house decorated by him

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