Shopping with the Vintage Traveler – Midwest Edition

We’ve just returned from a trip through the Midwest, and while this was not a shopping trip, I did manage to sneak in a few antique malls and a really great vintage market in Chicago. The first mall was in Southport, Indiana, which is just south of Indianapolis. I loved this huge, rambling mall.  There was quite a bit of clothing, and I found some nice things for my collection. I’ll show them later, as today is all about what I didn’t buy.

Here we have two boxes full of promises. Nothing makes me happier than a crate of reasonably priced vintage patterns.  I bought three.

Here was a little treasure, and I would have bought this if I did not already have a similar one.  This is a Chimayo or Rio Grande woven clutch bag with a silver decoration. Best of all is the label.

Fred Harvey was a restaurateur who established a series of restaurants, hotels, and gift shops along the route of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. You might have seen the 1946 film, The Harvey Girls, starring Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse, and Angela Lansbury. In the film the “girls” worked at a Fred Harvey establishment in Arizona.

This little cardboard trunk looks like it was a toy box. I loved it, but could not justify the purchase.

Cases like this one require close examination. I found a pair of 1920s ankle socks with the original paper label.

Our next stop was Chicago. I didn’t plan this, but we were there the weekend of the Randolph Street Market, which I learned about on Instagram. I felt like this was not just a coincidence, but more like a sign that I needed to be there. Unfortunately I didn’t take many photos because I was just too busy looking. There were plenty of vintage clothing sellers, and I was able to see some really topnotch stuff. The rack above had some real gems.

Things like this great 1930s or 40s made in Germany sweater.  I wanted it, but my wallet said no.

I’m really sorry I didn’t take more pictures, as there were some spectacular pieces. I suppose I was just overwhelmed.

After leaving Chicago, we headed to Upland, Indiana to see Taylor University. My husband’s grandfather was a history professor there in the 1930s, and so his father spent part of his childhood in Upland. In the nearby town of Marion I found another good antique mall, Jake’s Antique Mall.  I spent way too much time looking through stacks of photos and other ephemera. The illustration above is from 1915.

I always look through old advertising cards because they often show women participating in sports. The two above have a textile theme, but I found it interesting that two different businesses in the same town used cards from what was obviously the same series.

Lastly, I spent three hours trying to make my way through three large malls in Springfield, Ohio. I knew what I was in for as I had been there before, but by the time the closing hour approached, I was pretty much running through in order to see it all. There was a lot of stuff to be seen.  I sort of mourned for the hatbox above, as it looked like someone prior had also cried and left tear drops on the lid.

Older fashion magazines are getting harder and harder to find, but even a 1915 Harper’s Bazar with severe water damage is not worth $66.

I’m always looking for old images of women participating in sports, but one can’t always believe what was shown in past illustrations. And look at those tiny feet!

This is always a good sign…

Someone loved this print so much that she bought it in two colorways. Aprons, not skirts, unfortunately.

I love old display items, and this glove hand was priced very reasonably, but it has a repaired thumb, and I was sure we’d destroy it before getting it home.

In Chicago I saw Making Mainbocher, an exhibition at the Chicago History Museum.  In 1947 designer Mainbocher redesigned the uniforms of the Girl Scouts of the USA, and this is an example of one of the dresses. It was really fun seeing this after having just seen a similar one at the museum.

That’s all for the shopping. Expect several museum posts in the near future.


Filed under Road Trip, Shopping

25 responses to “Shopping with the Vintage Traveler – Midwest Edition

  1. Reba Worth

    My husband’s great grandfather attended Taylor University in Indiana in the early 1900’s after he graduated from Drew Theological Seminary. He commuted from New York on the train. Taylor had to be among the first to promote distance learning; at that time the program was in partnership with the Methodist or Methodist Episcopal denomination. Taylor has several archived vintage yearbooks/bulletins online, and I found G GF Windeler’s name there along with some very funny rules and regulations! “If you smoke, QUIT before you come!!” Such a hOOt!

    I LOVE these pictures and appreciate how absorbing and time consuming shopping can be when you are trying to take everything in….


  2. Christine

    As a Chicagoan, I’m so glad you liked Randolph Street Market and “Making Mainbocher” and thank you for sharing the rest of your Mid-west travels with us!


  3. Christina

    I adore the printed design on the aprons.


  4. You do find some excellent things on your travels.


  5. Looks like the midwest shopping was fun! I love German sweater and the Daniles & Fisher hat box.


  6. Thanks for taking us along on your shopping trip–so much fun to peek along with your expert and discerning eye. I love hearing about the things you did choose (those socks!). My personal favorite? The trompe l’oeil quilt trade cards–they truly look made of fabric and sewn together! And yes–cool to see that two companies in the same town contracted with the same printer. I have an 1880s advertising fan (for a milliner) with the latest hat styles pictured on it, and found an online example of the same fan, advertising a milliner across the country! Vintage serendipidity is the best… 🙂


  7. That girl scout uniform really is a great design! Someone should make it up as a pattern.


  8. Amy Mayberry

    Next time you’re in Chicago, let me know, if you have time… 🙂 It was fun seeing all of your Midwest finds!


  9. What a vintage goldmine this was! Do please tell me you bought me that Edwardian dress on the mannequin, lol. Next time, I may have to stow away in your suitcase.


  10. Jewell

    Hi Lizzie – I always look forward your posts, I know I will learn something with each and every one! I have a treasure chest box exactly like the one you saw. It was originally a gift box for a bottle of Rum from Cuba, no doubt for the tourist trade.


  11. Thank you for “taking us along,” and am delighted you got to a Randolph Street Market! Looks like you had a marvelous time, saw many interesting things, and came home with … to be seen soon. Can’t wait!


  12. Deb Jordan

    So fun to hear you enjoyed the Southport mall which is just an hour north of my place. I wish we could have met. I have a fine growing collection of vintage 30s-40s dresses including several gym suits. Do you know anything about an Alcott label?


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