Graduating Gifts Begin to Sell

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 24, 1905

Graduating Gifts Begin to Sell

Some Hints for the Purchaser Who is Anxious to Please His Friends.

Books Flowers and Jewelry

A Local Merchant Says That Nine Out of Ten Buy Fans Every Year – Be Original This Year and Get Something Else.

When, in May and June, you see a shopper with even more anxious expression than at other times; when you notice the very young man absently scanning every lace (Editor’s note: “place” perhaps), hazily wondering where he is going to find it, you may readily decide that “it” is a graduation present. And not only does fate will it that they shall come in June when people would rather forget material things in the joy of nature, but there are also weddings galore, which must be remembered, but that is no task compared to the graduating present.

A bride can be given anything, anything that will do in a home, and that affords large possibilities, but the girl of eighteen, who is to be launched into the world, wants either something to wear, use, in her wardrobe, or to read. The boy is even worse and at first thought it seems there is nothing for him. There are practically the same things to give every year, but one of the local jewelers says that people get a fad for one thing to give and the rest lie idle and unsold.

“Now,” he said, “Cuff buttons aren’t selling at all this spring. I don’t know why, but they aren’t. Neither is any kind of ebony goods, for toilet articles. Cut glass never comes in for graduation presents because it contains scarcely any articles appropraite (sic) for anything for a married-person.

“But we always sell lots of stick pins, and this year the craze for gold crosses and beads that has kept up so steadily for several years is still going and we sell any number of them. A good many people are buying watches too, I think that women and girls are wearing them lots more now, since they have begun to make them smaller.

“Then we sell lots of forks, and souvenir spoons. It used to be all spoons but girls are beginning nowadays to get collections of forks and other pieces of silver, just as much as spoons. Pearl handled pens always come in for their share of the trade for graduation presents, too, and for the boys, we sell all sorts of stick pins and fobs. You never sell a watch chain any more for boys.

“Then there are all sorts of lockets and brooches, and shirt waist sets sold, and rings seem to have a run on the signet style, and they are very pretty too. Then there are lots of pins, too.”

Another place frequented almost as much as the jewelry store by those in quest of such presents, is the book store, and a local merchant who deals in this line of goods says: “We count as much on our book trade at graduation time, as we do at Christmas, but we plan on a different class of books almost entirely. At Christmas, we sell lots of fancy books and lighter literature, but at this time everyone looks to the standard works and usually gets something very well made and bound. They seem to think that their gifts should be appropriate to the season and when everything is in gala attire, some light novel is good, but to present to the dignified seniors who are making their debut into the world something from the old and standard authors alone, is safe from the elevated noses of the learned recipients of the gifts.

“Sometimes I wonder what they do  for books when they have finished college. They they probably present them with Plato, Socrates, and perhaps Dante, in the original.”

“The poor girls get so many fans that if they wanted to they could take their collections to the theater the night of graduation and pass them around thru the entire audience for use during the evening,” said the dry goods man, when interviewed. “Honestly everybody gives fans, nine out of every ten give fans? Of course, there are many things that we might sell that we would not know were to be presents. Nice handkerchiefs, ribbons, dress patterns and gloves. Yes, lots of people buy gloves and they make a very nice present. But they all buy fans? People, beware of fans.”

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