I’ve posted about this great box before, but I’ve known all along that I had more to say about it. I bought this in an antique mall several years ago, and it was opened up so the interior was showing. I can only imagine the surprise of the person who found this, probably stuck back in an attic or basement (The side has a hand-painted label: Christmas Ornaments). That’s because this ordinary box opened up to this:
I just makes me wonder how many things we pass by, thinking they are perfectly ordinary, or even ugly, without being able to see inside.
Being hidden, in the dark, is what saved this wonderful print. The colors are crisp, and like new, even better than my photos show. This box is almost 90 years old, and so does have a few age spots, but otherwise, the print is in great shape.
It might seem odd to us for these very dressed up people to be socializing on a beach, but it helped get across the message that the summer-weight woolens were appropriate even in the warmest climates.
A bit about Detmer Woolens:
The company was formed in 1885 (some sources say 1886) by Julian Francis Detmer of Cleveland. They were importers and distributors of woolen yard goods, not the actual makers of it. In 1908 a fire broke out in the Detmer office, located in the Parker Building in New York City. The fire destroyed the building, and it was originally blamed on a revenge plot involving a group of Turks who had a rug import business in the building. This was later proved not to be the case.
Evidently the wool import business was profitable, as the Detmers spent their summers at the Breakers, and they maintained a large yacht. But all was not well, as in 1934 the second Mrs.Detmer traveled to Reno to obtain a divorce (predating The Women by five years!).
The next year, Julian Detmer retired from his business and along with a staff of 35 gardeners, developed Detmer Nurseries on his 40 acre estate in Tarrytown, New York. In 1938 he was featured in Dale Carnegie’s column, billed as “one of the happiest men [Carnegie] had ever met.” Carnegie credited this happiness to his enthusiasm with flowers and trees.
Detmer died in 1957, and his grand house stood empty. In 1971 it burned. The gardens were destroyed as the land was developed.