Highlighted Dates

National Mail Order Catalog Day

Date Pattern: Every August 18th

The History of Mail Order CatalogsImagine a world without online shopping, where ordering products from the comfort of your own home was not just a click away. Before the advent of the internet, mail order catalogs revolutionized the way people accessed products.

From the convenience of their own homes, customers could flip through the colorful pages and order everything from clothing to furniture. In this article, we will explore the history of mail order catalogs, focusing on key players like Montgomery Ward and Sears.

So, let’s dive into the past and uncover the fascinating origins of this now-forgotten phenomenon. 1.of Mail Order Catalogs

In the late 19th century, mail order catalogs emerged as a novel way for people to shop.

It all started with the realization that physical stores posed geographical barriers people living in remote areas or small towns had limited access to a wide range of products. Mail order catalogs bridged this gap and brought the world of goods directly to customers’ doorsteps.

2. Montgomery Ward and Sears Catalogs

Two names that played a pivotal role in the mail order catalog industry were Montgomery Ward and Sears.

Montgomery Ward, founded in 1872, was the first-ever mail-order business to offer a wide range of products. Their catalogs showcased everything from clothing and homeware to agricultural equipment.

Sears, another major player, began their mail order business in 1888 and quickly became Montgomery Ward’s biggest competitor. Montgomery Ward’s mail order catalogs were a remarkable success, reaching millions of households across America.

Their catalogs were filled with vivid illustrations and detailed product descriptions, making it easy for customers to make informed decisions. Similarly, Sears catalogs became an essential part of American households, with families eagerly awaiting their arrival each year.

3. National Mail Order Catalog Day

In honor of the mail order catalog’s impact on American consumerism, National Mail Order Catalog Day is celebrated every year on August 18th.

This day commemorates the date Montgomery Ward issued its first catalog in 1872. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of mail order catalogs and their significant contribution to the retail industry.

4. Transition to Online Shopping

With the advent of the internet and the rise of e-commerce giants like Amazon, the era of mail order catalogs gradually came to an end.

Online shopping provided customers with instant access to an even wider range of products, all with just a few clicks. Additionally, the transition to online shopping greatly reduced paper usage, contributing to environmental sustainability.


Mail order catalogs forever changed the way people accessed products, breaking geographical barriers and bringing the world of goods right to customers’ doorsteps. Montgomery Ward and Sears emerged as key players in this industry, with their beautifully illustrated catalogs becoming household staples.

While the era of mail order catalogs may be over, National Mail Order Catalog Day commemorates their impact on American consumerism. As online shopping continues to evolve, it is important to recognize and appreciate the pioneering role these catalogs played in shaping our world of commerce.

Celebrating National Mail Order Catalog DayNational Mail Order Catalog Day is a special occasion that pays homage to the bygone era of mail order catalogs and their impact on American consumerism. On August 18th each year, people observe this day by reflecting on the history of catalog businesses and finding creative ways to celebrate.

In this article, we will explore different ways to embrace National Mail Order Catalog Day, from embracing the traditional act of ordering through the mail to finding and repurposing vintage catalogs for crafts. So, let’s dive in and celebrate the enduring legacy of mail order catalogs!


Ordering Through the Mail

One meaningful way to commemorate National Mail Order Catalog Day is by partaking in the act of ordering products through the mail, just as people did in the past. While online shopping has become the norm, there is a certain charm in receiving a physical catalog and placing an order through traditional mail.

Consider exploring catalogs from various retailers and selecting a few items to order. This nostalgic experience not only connects you with the past but also brings excitement as you anticipate the arrival of your package.

2. Finding Vintage Mail Order Catalogs

Vintage mail order catalogs hold historical and sentimental value.

They offer a glimpse into the past and provide inspiration for various creative endeavors. One way to celebrate National Mail Order Catalog Day is by actively seeking out vintage catalogs.

These can be found in secondhand bookstores, flea markets, or even online auction websites. As you flip through the beautifully illustrated pages, you’ll be transported to a different time, marveling at the range of products and prices.

These catalogs can be treasures for collectors or simply serve as nostalgic mementos. 3.

Repurposing Vintage Mail Order Catalogs

Instead of letting vintage mail order catalogs gather dust, why not give them new life through repurposing? These catalogs can be used in various craft projects, adding a touch of vintage aesthetic to your creations.

Tear out colorful pages to create collages, decoupage onto furniture or walls, or use them for origami and paper crafts. Engaging in such creative pursuits not only celebrates the history of mail order catalogs but also contributes to environmental sustainability by repurposing materials that might otherwise go to waste.

4. Analyzing and Appreciating Mail Order Catalogs

On National Mail Order Catalog Day, take the time to examine and appreciate the catalogs themselves.

Analyze the layout, design, and the language used in product descriptions. Reflect on the significance of these catalogs in the history of retail and the impact they had on consumerism.

Share the catalogs with family and friends, encouraging discussions about the products, fashion trends of the past, and how shopping has evolved over time. Involving children in this process can be educational and fun, providing them with a glimpse into the past and fostering an interest in history.

By actively celebrating National Mail Order Catalog Day, we pay tribute to a significant era in retail history and ensure that the legacy of these catalogs lives on. Whether we choose to order through the mail, find and repurpose vintage catalogs, or simply analyze and appreciate them, we keep the spirit of mail order catalogs alive.

So, on August 18th, let’s embrace the nostalgia and creativity that these catalogs inspire and remember the impact they had on shaping the shopping experience we enjoy today. National Mail Order Catalog Day serves as a reminder of the influential role that mail order catalogs played in American consumerism.

From the convenience of ordering through the mail to finding creative ways to celebrate, this day allows us to appreciate the history and legacy of these catalogs. By exploring vintage catalogs and repurposing them for crafts, we connect with the past and contribute to sustainable practices.

Analyzing and appreciating the catalogs themselves deepens our understanding of their significance. So, on August 18th, let us honor the impact of mail order catalogs and cherish the memories and inspiration they continue to provide.

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