Preparing for the Christmas Holiday in 1929

Are you feeling overwhelmed by your list of things to do before December 25th?  Step back in time and visit toys from the 1920s from JCPenney. Although JCPenney started in 1902, by 1929, the company was operating nationwide, had 1,395 stores, and was just beginning to pursue colorful advertising.  This special 1929 Christmas booklet included a poem as well as illustrations of the toys for sale.  Different from today’s advertisements, it also included activities—a paper doll, a maze, and a Christmas poem.


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Another 1929 advertisement featured a JCPenney toy brand for boys called “Little Jim.” The sturdy, metal, moving toys in this line were tested and studied by teachers and doctors so they would be educational as well as fun.  Popular toys included a firetruck, dump truck, and sports car.

JCPenney’s “Mary Lu” brand toys were made especially for girls. Educators designed them so that girls would learn how to become future homemakers and mothers. A 15-piece percolator set for 98 cents had cups, saucers, plates, sugar, creamers—everything to make a perfect cup of “play” coffee.

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Today toys still top the present list for boys and girls of all ages. But the real present for researchers is our collections.  We will be open for business through Thursday, Dec. 22, so that you can hunt for just that perfect piece of information that you need.  Call first, Santa (or our librarians and archivists) needs to know which boxes you want to peek in.