I have something wonderful to show you…a fabulous French treasure over 100 years old…a bound copy of all of the issues of the Parisian magazine La Famille from 1896! How it found its way there is a mystery, but it was waiting in a little antique shop when my friend Linda at Nina’s Nest noticed it. It was love at first sight for me, so Linda kindly let it come home with me! Merci, mon amie! And you will not believe what I paid for this amazing peek into Parisian life over a century ago…$20! Yes, you read that right…$20…a real steal for something so very special!
In fact, my treasure is so special that our seldom-seen CEO Ozzie is serving as our co-host today! Ozzie begs your forgiveness if I seem a little geeky, but the French teacher in me is coming out! Warning! Warning!
It’s a rainy afternoon and a little cool…finally…so I have been reading. I have cut a few of my somewhat battered Knockout roses to put in my new (old) finger vase and made some Russian tea. And I have pulled out my best vintage Wedgwood, hoping that you will join me. So settle down with a cup of tea and a croissant and let me give you a little peek inside my new treasure!
Isn’t it amazing…with embossed gold lettering and a lovely patina on the old leather spine. All of the issues for the year are bound in one book…one hundred and sixteen years old! It was a wonderful time in French history…la Belle Époque…a long period of peace and prosperity for the growing French middle class.
I found so much that I want to share that I have had to keep little tabs on the pages…so much that I will have to show you over multiple posts!
It is a weekly magazine, so I have 52 issues to read! And in each issue…advice and recipes for young wives, fun magic tricks to entertain your guests when the conversation lags at the dinner table, a summary of the news, financial advice, directions for creating lovely handwork, a chapter of a continuing novel…
…and wonderful engravings on the cover of each issue and scattered throughout the magazine. This is one of my favorites…and you will know why if you know how much I love my Quimper plates…a little Breton couple! I love their provincial dress!
It is so much fun to read history as it is being made! Here…a rave review of the fabulous Sarah Bernhardt…the darling of the French theater! Other interesting stories…excitement about the first-ever Olympic Games to be held in Athens, Greece that summer and the continuing work on the métropolitain…the Parisian subway system, to be completed in 1900. And equally interesting, but of no historical significance…the guards at the Statue of Liberty, a gift to the United States from the people of France ten years earlier, are reported to be frightened by strange noises coming from the interior and believe it to be haunted!
Perhaps the hardest story to read for me was the account of the first visit to France of the newly crowned Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra along with their little daughter Olga. They are reported to be a very charming and gracious couple, making the rounds of the European capitals to aid him in his understanding of foreign relations. Little do they know what lies ahead of them…murdered twenty-two years later along with little Olga and her yet unborn sisters and brother at the hands of the Bolsheviks…the future mercifully hidden from them.
On a much lighter note, each issue also contains numerous fashion plates and patterns, presenting the latest styles of the season! Just look at that tiny waist…
…which explains the numerous ads for corsets in each issue! This one was designed with the help of a doctor to protect the stomach while giving you a slim waist and “harmonious proportions.”
And speaking of sewing and fashions, I have something else special to show you…antique spools of thread from the brocante in France…a much-loved gift from my sweet friend Pat! Don’t you love the patina on the wooden spools and the sheen of the thread…almost like silk, although it is cotton. Why doesn’t our thread look like that? Fabulous!
And that’s it for now! I have lots more to show you so I will periodically post some more of the wonderful contents of the magazines. I have a post filled with fashions in mind and certainly more of those wonderful engravings. I haven’t tried scanning them yet because I am concerned about protecting the integrity of the spine of the book, so please bear with me if the quality is a little less than perfect. I hope you will enjoy my treasure along with me!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my frenchy treasures! Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Thrifty Treasures
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday
Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
See you next time! A la prochaine!