Saturday, December 22, 2007

Walter P. Webber, Mail Order System

Walter P. Webber's of Lynn, Mass. was established in 1890. They sold both iron-on and perforated patterns, along with pre-stamped goods and fancy work materials. According to the 1880 census, Walter P. Webber was born in 1859, and was working as a telegraph operator. He was single and 21 years old, making him 31 when he started his mail order service.

I did some research using the Lynn, Mass. directories (they can be found at ). Several stamping pattern companies were located in Lynn - J. F. Ingalls, T.E. Parker and Walter P. Webber that I know of.

Webber's was still listed in the 1934 directory. The address in both the 1934 and 1917 city directories is: 73 Harwood Road.

In 1893, they published Webber's Illustrated Catalogue of New Stamping Outfits. (I unfortunatley do not have it.) According to 'A Guide to American Trade Catalogs, 1744-1900,' By Lawrence B. Romain, Page 115:

1893 Lynn NNMMWEBBER, WALTER P. Webber's ill. catalog of new patterns for fabrics, stamping outfits and supplies. 44pp. of designs and ills. In wrap.

What I do have is the 1913-14, Walter P. Webber's Catalog of Modern Embroidery. In this catalog, they are sold both iron-on and perforated patterns. They have a child's 'kindergarden apron' that is stamped with a Bernhardt Wall image from his 'summer sunbonnets' postcard.

The other one I have is The Art of Embroidery and Illustrated Description of Fancy Stitches, Tinted Art Novelties and Linen Stamped Goods. This booklet is undated, but there is a calendar page from April 29, 1896 inserted in it.

The Directories:
Webber is in both 1he 1917 and the 1934 directory. The directores list the person's name, occupation, address of employment and living address. Doing a search on the company address yielded names of the people who worked there (and lived in Lynn, Mass.).

1917 Lynn City Directory
Webber Walter P (Lizzie L) embroideries 73 Harwood h 75 do
Ashworth Anna M designer 73 Harwood bds 10 Jones ter
Knowlton Helen J clerk 73 Harwood b 33 Bloomfield
Robinson Dorotha clerk 73 Harwood bds 48 Whiting
Stevens Mildred J clerk 73 Harwood b 75 do
Story William P com tray 73 Harwood h at Salem

1934 Lynn City Directory
Webber Walter P (Mildred J) embroideries 73 Harwood h 75 do
Arnold Irene clk 73 Harwood r 33 Brimblecom
Keating Lester E (Alice E) stamper 73 Harwood h 48 Barrett
Legro Luella F forwmn 73 Harwood r 671Western av
Mess Lydia A Mrs stitcher 73 Harwood r 274 Boston
Packard Esther M Mrs bkpr 73 Harwood h 5 Chase
Smith Alice M Mrs stitcher 73 Harwood r 604 Essex
Smith Paul T ctr 73 Harwood r 5 Chase

TAX LIST - April 1, 1919 - April 1, 1920
Webber, Walter P., 75 Harwood 60 1.30
Webber, Walter P., Inc., 75 Harwood 1550 33.64

b or bds - boards; bkpr - bookkeeper; clk - clerk; ctr - cutter; do - ditto; h - house; rd - road; rms - rooms

An interesting thing to note, is that Walter Webber lived next door to his business, and in the 1934 directory, the 1917 clerk, Mildred J. Stevens - who also lived in his home then, was now listed as his wife.

In the 1910 census, Lizzie S. is listed as Walter's spouse, whereas in the 1920 and 1930 census, Mildred J. is listed as the spouse. Some where between 1917 and 1920, either Lizzie died, or something, but by 1920, Mildred was now the wife.

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