First edition of this charming advertising pamphlet for Clark's O.N.T. spun cotton thread, with interesting examples of Western colonial attitudes, written and illustrated by BROWNIES creator Palmer Cox.
Very good plus.
"When Royal garments show their age / And patches there must be, / Oh 'tis grand to have at hand / A spool of ONT."
Established in Scotland in the mid-18th century, Clark's thread has long been a fixture of sewing baskets – now called Coats and Clark, it remains one of the most popular brands of sewing thread available. When personal sewing machines became more widespread in the mid-to-late 19th century, Clark's was one of the thread brands recommended for use with them; business boomed, and Clark's set up a US factory in 1863. In the 1880s, Clark's "O.N.T." (Our New Thread) "was widely advertised in national publications" and other formats, of which RHYME & REASON is an example (Mock). With rhymes and illustrations by Palmer Cox – who would go on to find fame and fortune with his BROWNIES – this little booklet would have been particularly appealing to children.
Beyond being an attractive example of artistic advertising, RHYME & REASON is an interesting snapshot of 19th-century Western attitudes towards non-white peoples. Written as the US government continued to violently push west into Native American land, and during a time when "the sun never set" on the British Empire, four of the eight illustrations in this slim booklet are racial caricatures of People of Color using Clark's O.N.T. thread in culturally stereotyped projects. Native Americans, Africans, Inuit, and Turkish people using this thread is portrayed as both humorous and as evidence that the spread of Western culture could uplift other peoples. Given that RHYME & REASON's target audience was children, it also reinforced Western cultural ideals under the guise of entertainment.
A bright piece of ephemera with a lot of history packed into its small frame; this cataloguer still sews with Coats and Clark thread!
Read more: Gary Mock, "Clark Thread Co," Textiles History.
New York: Lindner, Eddy & Clauss, [circa 1880s]. 5'' x 3.75''. Original color lithograph wrappers. 8 full-page lithographs.  leaves. Wrappers with a touch of edgewear, a few tiny spots of soil. Leaves with a few spots of toning to margins. Illustrations sharp.
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