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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Frisbee Moxie Witch House: 1906

Frisbee Moxie Witch House: 1906

Salem, Mass., circa 1906. "The Old Witch House." Spells, signs and portents, with an emphasis on signs. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Wondrous elixir.

"Dr. True's Elixir / Cures Children's Complaints / Expels Worms".

Good to know.

Daniel Low's Silver Catalogs

Many thanks to Bink, and, if you like odd silver and you've never seen a Low & Company catalog, y'aint seen nuttin yet! Salem's Daniel Low did for sterling silver sales what Richard Sears did for just about everything else. The Salem Witch spoons became a collecting fad because of Low's innovative and aggressive advertising and catalog promotions, placing mail order direct sales ads in hundreds of newspapers, and publishing an annual catalog. The illustrated catalogs featured a dizzying array of silver "toys," thousands of small personal accessories, gadgets and jewelry, with an emphasis on eye-catching novelty designs. Below is the Salem Witch page from the 1901 catalog, which is widely available in a facsimile reprint. Harvard's Baker Library has Low's entire 1917 "Fiftieth Anniversary" catalog online here.


Thank you for that link! Those spoons kick all kinds of butt.

Prop Department

That object holding up the top left window looks like a candle mold to me.

Witch House Parlors

Main entrance to the Witch House was through Upton & Frisbee.

I know that guy!

Hey! That feller standing in the Castoria window sure does look like Teddy Roosevelt, wouldn't you say?

To cure a cold in one day

and the formula has been lost to this day.

Whatever works

Interesting props for the two top windows--a vase on the right, can't tell on the left one.

Salem Witch Spoons

Beginning in 1890, touristic fascination with the Salem Witch House was matched by a contemporary craze for the sterling silver "Salem Witch" souvenir spoons designed and marketed worldwide via catalog sales by Salem's Daniel Low & Co. Although the witch spoons were not the first American souvenir spoons, they were so popular that the whole American souvenir spoon craze is usually credited to their introduction. Here's Low's "first and second Witch" souvenir handle designs. A detailed history can be found here.

Fletcher's Castoria

My mother had a bottle of Castoria castor oil. What in the world is predigested beef?

Brockton Fair

Yes, Brockton was a factory town. Once the largest maker of shoes around. The factories are gone but the Brockton Fair still takes place every year.


Removes Relieves, Inflammation, Eczema, Cold? Sores, and other stuff I can't read.

Postcard View

Found on Wikipedia.

[Note the added pedestrian. These colorized postcards were Detroit Publishing's bread and butter; the company owned the patent on the Photochrom process used to produce them. The starting point for each was a giant 8x10 glass negative, thousands of which now reside in the Library of Congress archives. The "view full size" images you see here are Shorpy are, generally speaking, the first time these photographs have ever been seen in all their high-resolution goodness. - Dave]

Dr. True

Looks like Abe Lincoln.

Parlor entrance

You will need a ladder to get to the second floor window entrance to the witch house parlors. Unless of course you are supposed to fly up on your broom.

[The main entrance was on a side street, through Upton & Frisbee. - Dave]

40 Proof

From the California State Journal of Medicine, November 1904:

Mulford's Predigested Beef -- "A concentrated predigested food containing the entire nutritive value of beef in a completely digested form, ready for immediate absorption into the system."

Analysis shows 19.72 per cent by volume of alcohol, 10.39 per cent by weight of total solids, which yield 0.20 per cent of mineral matter. The maximum administration recommended, that is, two tablespoonfuls every two hours, disregarding the proviso "or as needed," would yield daily about 1.25 ounces of nutriment and the alcoholic equivalent of about six ounces of whisky, which might well be regarded as hardly adequate as an exclusive diet, in the diseases above mentioned or in any other condition of the system. [One cannot but wonder whether the formulas of the above disclose the quantity of whisky equivalent contained in them. -Ed.]

Brockton Fair

There is a poster in the plumber's window for the Brockton Fair. Do you think a lot of people travelled from Salem to Brockton for a fair back in 1906? Maybe so, as the Brockton fair back then must have been more of an agricultural meeting place.

[Brockton was a factory town. - Dave]

True story

My grandfather was a travelling sales rep for Dr True's Elixir. It was a laxative, and my mother says it was delicious.

Prefer to digest it myself

Pre-digested beef? Yum.

Roger Williams House

Roger Williams fled Salem under religious persecution, and founded Providence Plantations, which eventually became The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It is the smallest state in the US, and has the longest name.

Interesting to see this image of his house in Salem!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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