Another of the old family journals… this one for the year 1899… seems to be mostly an accounting of what the weather was like on a given day, when animals on the farm were born or sold, crop information, and prices for various items… including many references to the subscription-only Sears, Roebuck multi-page grocery list. Apparently a yearly subscription to this list cost 13¢ and six updated lists were sent out to subscribers every year.

I would guess that the family mostly used the Sears grocery lists to set prices for the cheese, maple syrup, honey, and other items they made and sold themselves, although there are several closely written pages at the end of this journal tracking items they had purchased and any increases or decreases in the prices they had paid. For many of the items, prices have been crossed out and rewritten so many times, the final entries are often hard to read. It appears that there was quite a bit of variation in prices from list to list.

Some of Sears’ 1899 prices…

A twenty-pound box of crackers — 97¢
Ten pounds of cheese — $1.61
A fifty-gallon barrel of maple syrup — 89¢ per gallon
Half barrels (thirty gallons) of fancy molasses for cooking or baking — 39¢ per gallon
Pure strained clover honey — $1.35 per gallon
Extracted honey — 21¢ per pound
A hundred-pound box of shelled Spanish peanuts (unroasted) — 7¢ per pound
A fifty-pound box of shelled unsalted peanuts (roasted) — 9¢ per pound
A fifty-pound box of almonds — 16¢ per pound
A fifty-pound box of walnuts (in the shell) — 13¢ per pound
A fifty-pound box of mixed nuts — 14¢ per pound
Ten pounds of “our own roasted coffee” — $2.08 for the coffee plus a decorated enameled canister
Ten pounds of “specially selected high-grade tea” — $3.70 for the tea plus a decorated enameled canister
A twelve-pound box of premium chocolate — 20¢ per pound
Laundry soap — $2.95 for a box of one hundred bars (with a notation next to this price, “around town 4 to 6¢ per bar”)

Don’t you wish? :o)