Comments and Tags

Be the first to comment on this item!

Advertising ➔ Box, Compliments Of Herpolsheimer's Blue Tag Sale

Rectangular cardboard box contains a cotton boll wrapped in blue tissue paper. The top flap of the box features an illustration of the Herpolsheimer department store. The words "Compliments of Herpolsheimer's Blue Tag Sale" are printed in black under the image. Three of the side panels feature reproductions of hand tinted photographic images of African-Americans in cotton field picking cotton. Each image has a caption that when they are read from left to right in a sentance states: Darkies Picking Cotton in Dixieland." The back panel is completely covered in text that talks about how cotton is grown, and processed. It than tells the reader to feel the enclosed boll of cotton inside the box. The bottom panel and inside opening flaps also contain the same type of hand tinted photo reproductions. Inside the box is a wad of cream colored cotton that is still attached to its outside seed pod and stick. This boll is loosely wrapped in blue tissue paper.;This piece was a give-away to customers that came to the Herpolsheimer Department Store's blue tag sale which most probably featured bed and bath linens. Most linens at the time were made of cotton. This giveaway contains a boll of cotton inside. On the outside are photographic images of African-Americans working in cotton fields. Each picture is given a caption - the three along the sides of the box can be read as one sentence stating: Darkies Picking Cotton In Dixieland. There is a photo of an elderly man with a walking stick sitting on a crate - this is titled "An Old Time Darky." This box illustrates the manner in which white society viewed African-Americans in the early 20th century. It is important that when or if this object is utilized on exhibit, it be displayed and labeled in a context that does not reinforce these negative stereotypes but strives to put it in a historical context or challenges them.;Printed along top flap edge: Copyrighted 1912 by Ezra Johnson, Bowdon, GA.;***Care must be used when exhibting this object so that it is displayed and labeled in a manner which does not reinforce these stereotypes.
circa 1920
Cardboard, Cotton, Paper
3.5" h 2.75" w 2.75" d
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Gift Of Carl R. Nold
Artifact GR (2012 – 2013)
Artifact GR was a project which invited members of the community into the archives of the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and asked them to write about their experiences.  The resulting submissions were cataloged in an interactive website ( and in a published book (
In 1865, William G. Herpolsheimer and Charles G. A. Voigt, two young businessmen, established the Voigt, Herpolsheimer & Company, a dry goods and carpet store in Michigan City, Indiana before relocating to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1870. The partnership between Voigt and Herpolsheimer ended in 1902 with Voigt taking over the flour mills and Herpolsheimer the store. Herpolsheimer's Firm continued to operate department stores until it was sold in 1987 making it one of the longest-running retail establishments in West Michigan.

Nold, Carl R.