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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Anne Stapp

Christmas Ads of Old

Genuine settlers might have been the minority of the California Gold Rush-era population, but in the years before the gold discovery hundreds of families had arrived in covered wagons, and more were still coming. Transplanted easterners were a stable, growing market for town merchants, who naturally hastened to let these folks know that they could celebrate Christmas in style with items selected from the shopkeeper’s wares.

Under the heading “Santa Claus’ Headquarters” a Stockton merchant waxed poetic while announcing what he had available for gift giving in this San Joaquin Republican advertisement, December, 1852:

At A. Kohler’s Toy store, Stockton Street near Jackson

All you who love the babies

And would not see them cry,

Just walk right up to Kohler’s

And when you get there—buy


Old Santa Claus himself, perhaps;

He is the King of Toys,

And where he holds his court, you know

There’s something for the boys.

The largest assortment of Toys and Fancy Goods ever imported to this market, as follows:

100,000 marbles of all kinds; 5,000 kid and wax dolls; Ladies’ work and fancy baskets, work patterns worsted; perforated cards, etc.; drums, wagons, bedsteads; stoves; tea and coffee sets, china, crockery, wood and pewter; together with thousands of toys of every description.

Country dealers would do well to examine this stock before purchasing elsewhere. For sale, wholesale and retail.

Musical instruments, instruction books for all kinds of instruments, sheet music, together with a large assortment of Italian violin and guitar strings, bow hair, bridges, etc. at wholesale and retail.

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