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"Canvas Jimmy" Hawkers Catalogue

Handmade travelling salesman's stock book, (cover) ca. 1915-1925

Books come in all shapes and sizes and this hand-made hawkers catalogue is one of the more interesting  examples recently acquired by the Library. This book was made by an unknown travelling hawker who cut images from a variety of printed catalogues or magazines and then pasted them into the pages. Prices and information was then annotated by hand and the whole book bound in a metal and canvas cover.

This was essential as the book presumably accompanied the hawker on their travels around the countryside. The book was clearly well-used, with the thumb-mark worn into its cover a result being carried over many miles by its owner.  

The products in the book were the kinds of household goods and gadgets that people on remote rural properties might need and the ones listed in this book suggest it was constructed sometime between 1915 and 1925.  The donor, whose grandfather was a hawker, said the owner of this kind of book was colloquially referred to as a ‘Canvas Jimmy’. The term 'book canvasser' has also been used to describe this kind of travelling salesmen. 

Link to Library Catalogue
Handmade travelling salesman's stock book, ca. 1915-1925, State Library of NSW, MLMSS 9910

Handmade travelling salesman's stock book , ca. 1915-1925, State Library of NSW, MLMSS 9910,

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