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The Story of The Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection by Earl J. Arnold-- page xv

updated 27 April 2020

Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection scrapbook held by Earl J. Arnold

"It was in the cold and bleak days of February, 1885,..."
Direct from Earl J. Arnold's typewriter comes the
story of Emma Jane Arnold's compilation of her scrapbook,
which became

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"This scrapbook is priceless in that it tells the story of the skills of the early days printing industry, the ingenuity of artists, the almost unbelievable artistry of lithographers of the 1800s and the genius of script writers."
(There is no need to strain your eyes on the typewritten text below. Each panel is an image which can be enlarged by clicking on it.)

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"It was in the cold and bleak days of February 1885 that Robert Earl Arnold, a Civil War Veteran,

Arnold, Earl listed on Calvary Company M roster
Catalogue of Connecticut volunteer organizations, (infantry, cavalry, and artillery,) in the service of the United States, 1861
and a war casualty with throat, bronchial and Lung trouble, recently returned home from Lake Speculator NY, answered the final call.
multiple images from Speculator NY
Speculator NY, Google image search
Speculator NY on Google maps
Google Maps, Speculator NY

Earl Arnold born  Nov 12 1845 died Feb 6, 1885
Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 25 January 2019), memorial page for Earl Arnold (12 Nov 1845–6 Feb 1885), Find A Grave Memorial no. 75708807, citing West Cemetery, Bristol, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by C. Greer (contributor 47180683).
"From the front lines he was given the lighter duties of assisting in the stable of President Lincoln in Washington DC. Returning, he was sent to Speculator, hoping the pine-covered areas would stay his affliction.

"Arnold had been one of four children, who when their mother died at the age of 36, were separated and taken into the homes of relatives and friends.

"Just before passing on, he had requested that his wife [Emma Jane (Bailey) Arnold] do her very best to keep her four children, aged 9 months, 5, 7 and 9 years, together.

"The mother, member of an old Bristol family, kept her promise and with little more than to pay funeral expenses, but with a house and lot, started to work.

"This was in the days--the late 1800's--when there were few recreation or entertainment features for youngsters. It was before the phonograph, trolley, electrical current, radio or movies had become available for amusement. Comic strips in newspapers were practically unknown.

"How to keep four youngsters happy. That was a problem.

"During the 1800's newspapers in small towns were far short of the newspapers of the 1900's. Magazines had not yet hit their stride. Yet, business and industrial firms had to get notice of their wares and services to the buying public.

"But, there were artisans in those early days, lithographers who, taking sketches of artists evolved advertising post cards of great beauty. Other imaginative souls produced humorous subjects, some running in sequence, thus making the collection of the cards an interesting pastime."
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"These advertising post cards were produced in a wide variety of subjects, colors and combinations and ran from the small type as used by cigarette manufacturers to the more acceptable form of approximately the size of the government post card. Then on to the more pretentious 5 by 7 and the 7 by 9 inch cards, these latter generally carrying posed portraits of celebrities, particularly those in the opera field or prominent government officials.

"Bulk US Postal mailings were not available in those early days and thus the advertiser sought distribution through various mediums. One was the passing out of cards at country and agricultural fairs.

"It was in this era that Mother Arnold thought of an entertainment program for her four small children. She amassed a large collection of these advertising cards and pasted them in methodical form in a large scrapbook.

"Encased in a hard-bound scrapbook, the mother found that her children were entranced with the pictures and colorful artistry and they would spend many quiet hours going from page to page.

"This scrapbook was used for years. Her children coming in from play periods out-of-doors or from their duties caring to the family garden or from collecting and delivering the family washings the mother did for neighbors to keep the family together,--found restful enjoyment.

"So, the years rolled by. The children grew, sustained by day-old bread Bought at 5 cents per loaf when the mother was too busy at the Washboard or ironing, and with other plain but nourishing food such as corn meal mash, clam chowder or beef stew with now and then a sweet apple upside down concoction or on festive days an old-fashioned strawberry shortcake.

"And finally came the day when the youngsters, one after the other, found outside jobs mowing lawns, shoveling, all these at the then current rates of 15, 20 or 25 cents, not the $3, 5 or $10 rate of the present day."

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"School days finally arrived, and this Bristol mother worked by day and night so that her four children could enter the Bristol High School.

"The beloved scrap book of pictures found its way to the book shelf as added daily duties claimed the attention of the young folks.

"Finally, it, with other mementos of strenuous early days, found its way to the attic. As abodes were changed by the children and their families, the book continued to be treasured and retained. Fortunately, it was located in the attic of the only daughter of the family.

"The book has been rebound in a rich red and gold coloring and will undoubtedly become a museum piece.

"This scrapbook is priceless in that it tells the story of the skills of the early days printing industry, the ingenuity of artists, the almost unbelievable artistry of lithographers of the 1800s and the genius of script writers.

"Some of the comic cards of those early days would qualify the creators for recognition as successful by-line artists of the present comic page of leading metropolitan dailies.

"This fantastic collection of old advertising cards is now in the possession of Earl J. Arnold, former well known Chamber of Commerce worker in Bristol, Hartford and Willimantic Connecticut, and for 32 and a half years executive director of the Waltham, Massachusetts chamber.

"Kindergartners have expressed interest in the collection as it evidences precise pasting of pictures, aaembling episodes and subjects in sequence. It serves to instill appreciation for proper combinations of colors for crayon and brush work. It creates sustained interest by youngsters during their first years in school.

"As Arnold reminiscences on his early perusal of the book he thinks of the impress it may have had, in a most subtle manner, on his later years of activities and efforts."

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"Did the study of those early days advertising cards work on his subconscious mind to influence his many later years of activities in the newspaper and feature story writing for leading Connecticut dailies and Sunday editions, as well as  direct connection with his nearly 60 years of promotional activities and the varied programs of active Chamber of Commerce work?

"Possibly the precise workmanship of the artists who created the drawing of those cards made an impression upon Arnold's two older brothers, both of whom became master workmen in their chosen fields as Master Plumber, Master Tinsmith and Master heating experts.

"Even to this day men entering many a structure in Bristol are apt to remark, "You need not mention who installed this plumbing or this heating system. Those lines of piping, the poper grades and the complete workmanship mean that it was either Walter or Ray Arnold who did the work."

"And the fashions, the colorings of beautiful garments and the chapeaux or millinery shown with such artistic conception and ability... Did they influence the one daughter of the family of four children, Mrs. Grace (Arnold) Brightman in her successful work as one of the three outstanding clerks of the former age-old A.J. Murray & Co. store in Bristol where Mrs. Brightman was connected with he sales force in post-High School days and also as an able assistant in the millinery department of that store?

"And, how interesting to old established Connecticut families as they might study these old advertising cards and recall leading firms of many a Connecticut as well as New England emporium, as well as manufacturers who produced articles of great value! Those names are legion as one studies this large volume."

I thought  there was one interesting little detail about Earl Arnold's early employment missing from the above, which is noted below for those who have not read the article on page xiv already.

According to an article about the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection appearing in the

Summer 1965 issue of Food Marketing in New England (First National Stores, v. 26 no. 1 p. 22):

snip from article in Food Marketing in New England, v.26 no.1 p.22 Summer 1965

For more information about the life and career of Earl J. Arnold, see

There is also a public record on If you are not already a member, you may have to sign up for a free account to see it.

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