Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More contest ponies in real life - and a literal Pony Book

Advertisement from a January 1916 issue of Farm Journal, taken from Google Books.

A magazine called The Farmer's Wife used Shetland Ponies as the grand prize to encourage children to sell subscriptions, back in the day of industrious childhoods, long before Girl Scouts sent their parents out to sell their cookies for them. In part, the ad above reads:

We Have Given Away 342 Ponies If You Want One Write Quickly

We have a big Pony book full of pictures and stories of Shetland Ponies written by happy boys and girls to whom we gave them. Send your name and address for free copy. You never read such a wonderful book. 342 boys and girls already made happy with one of these darling Shetland Ponies, each with buggy, harness, saddle, bridle and blanket, all free, sent prepaid. Outfit is easily worth $200. Who is the next boy or girl to have one? Speak quickly children or have your parents write; we want to give away 100 more but they won't last long. Every child has an equal chance no matter where you live. Write us a postcard or letter today.
Don't you just ache to send that postcard? Or at least send away for the book? Happily, there is still a contest to be entered. The blog Farmer's Wife Quilt is giving away copies of the author's latest book, The Farmer's Wife Pony Club Sampler Quilt. According to the blog:

The Farmer's Wife Pony Club Sampler Quilt will contain a letter and one or two photographs of each Lucky Pony Winner, and complete instructions for making a 90-block queen-size sampler quilt.
I'm not sure exactly how one makes a quilt, but the photos and letter sound irresistible. It seems to be one entry per person, and open to Americans and non-Americans alike.

About the publication
North Dakota journalist Edward A. Webb was already running a small media company when he bought a Minnesota newspaper in 1903 and handed it over to his sister, Ella. The family sold the paper in the 1939 to an agribusiness magazine familiar to me from its incongruous location on elegantly urban Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia - Farm Journal. This magazine folded the women's newspaper into a mere section of itself and eventually changed it to Farm Family Living. Farm Journal itself was an early practitioner of using databases and aggressive subscriber research to narrow their focus - and thus appeal to their advertisers.

1938 Time article on The Farmer's Wife
Nostalgiaville images of The Farmer's Wife covers
Minnesota Historical Society - The Webb Company
Farmer's Wife Quilt (blog) on Farm Journal history

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