Revisit Christmases Gone By With Wishbook Web

View holiday catalogs dating back to the late 30s!

Andrew Limberg
December 03, 2019 - 12:57 pm
Vintage toys

Getty

(Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Before the internet and online shopping, kids learned about the hottest toys and clothes through TV commercials and the much anticipated holiday catalogs.

In Pittsburgh, in the 1980s, kids couldn’t wait for the Hills toy catalog, because Hill is where the toys were!

One person has made it is mission for children of all ages to be able to take a walk down memory lane with Wishbookweb.com.

Hey gang, just added ELEVEN new vintage Christmas catalogs to WishbookWeb.com! It's over 5,500 scanned pages of vintage catalog content including a few 1990's editions! Woo-hoo! Special thanks for this update goes to WishbookWeb co-founder @alainsane #vintagechristmas #christmas #christmascatalog #vintagesears #vintagecatalog #vintagecatalogs #wishbookweb #1990s #90s #vintageshopping #vintageclothing #vintageclothes #vintagetoys

A post shared by Jason Liebig (@collectingcandy) on

The website has holiday catalogs dating all the way back to 1937 and has at least one catalog from almost every year you can click through all the way up through 1996

Jason Liebig, the creator of Wishbook Web says he tries to add new catalogs every year but hasn’t been able to get around to it this year due to his work schedule. 

When he’s not working on Wishbook Web, Liebig considers himself the nation’s foremost candy historian and sort of arbiter of the geeky appeal of that category of pop culture.

There are currently 25,617 pages of catalogs from Sears, Lord & Taylor, FAO Schwarz, JC Penny and more!

Liebig funds the site himself and uses Google banner ads to try to help cover costs but says he is quickly approaching a page limit and the next level hosting cost would be 1,000 percent higher than what he currently pays.

Wanted to show off a live demo of the newly relaunched and redesigned WishbookWeb.com (originally launched in 2006) This is a 60-second demo showing scrolling through the catalog navigation page, selecting the 1966 Sears Christmas catalog, going full-screen and after flipping a few pages and grabbing whole sections, doing a text search for "Barbie" that even brings up a tiny mention on the View-Master page! I forgot to show the double-click zoom, but it's in there! -- #Christmas #christmascatalog #wishbook #sears #searswishbook #catalog #vintagecatalog #1960s #60s #wishbookweb @flippingbook

A post shared by Jason Liebig (@collectingcandy) on

Liebig says the feedback he gets is “awesome.”  

“Some of the emails have been incredibly personal and touching.  A woman going through a catalog from her childhood with her dying mother and smiling, remembering the Christmases they shared.  I get those every so often.  So, the site serves as a wonderful touchstone for nostalgia, and if you believe that there is value in that, which I do, then that's a really good thing.  Beyond that, the site has taken on a life I could have never predicted.  Teachers use it as part of class projects and assignments.  Researchers have utilized it for... well... research. Collectors have been all over the thing and used it to identify pieces and so on.”

The origins of Wishbook Web have a simple start.

Liebig says he just wanted a place where he could look at old Christmas catalogs.

How did I get the idea to start?

“I had worked in the publishing business, in the geekier publishing business working for DC Comics and then Marvel Comics (overseeing the X-Men line of books).  And I collected toys and had a lot of love of personal nostalgia, so I remember soon after eBay launched in the late 90's, buying up a Christmas catalog or two, from the years of my formative youth.  And I just LOVED going through them.  It was fun.”

 

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