Old Curiosity Shop
Charles Dickens' 1841 novel, The Old Curiosity Shop, was no doubt the inspiration for the name of this curio store at 115 Chambers Street in Manhattan. In fact, no less that 17 such "Old Curiosity Shops" existed in Manhattan, and six more in Brooklyn, in 1880, according to Trow's Business Directory. The name became virtually generic, as shown by an article in the February 5, 1899 issue of The New York Times entitled "How to Start an Old Curiosity Shop." Nevertheless, such shops were generally devoted to antiques and bric-a-brac; it seems unusual that one would carry decent mineral specimens for the collector.
Interestingly, in the Label Archive there is a label for Albert Wuesthoff, New York. The name “Albert Wuesthoff” is crossed off and “C. Drake” is written in its place. Below where it says “New York” is written “115 Chambers St.,” the identical address as the Old Curiosity Shop! This is unlikely to be a coincidence, but the relationship between the parties is as yet unknown.
BUCKLEY, P.G. (2004) A cabinet of curiosities: The Old Curiosity Shop and the New Antique Store; A note on the vanishing curio in New York City. Common-Place, The Interactive Journal of Early American Life (www.common-place.org), 4 (2).
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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