01 Mr. R. W. Sears, President Sears, Roebuck & Co., at His Desk1
Dear Customer: – I take pleasure in handing you herewith, with my compliments, a stereoscopic view showing a corner of my office with the writer at his desk.
This is one of a series of fifty stereoscopic views which I have had taken embracing various offices, storerooms, a large number of interior views of our plant showing the most interesting activities, the movements of merchandise through our institution, including our freight packing, outfreight departments, mailing, printing, our train shed and railroad track system, engine rooms, interior stereoscopic views of our various buildings, including the Administration, General Merchandise, Printing and Power buildings, stereoscopic views of our grounds and park system outdoor views showing our people coming to and from work, a series of fifty stereoscopic views, no two alike, but which together gives one a much better idea of the inner workings, outward and inner appearance of our plant and institution, that it would be possible to gain except by a day’s visit through our various departments.
Each one of these fifty stereoscopic views has a most complete and interesting description plainly printed on the back, and my friends have told me that it not only gives one a knowledge and understanding of our institution, what it is alld what it stands for; as nothing short of an extended personal visit will give, but thoy also say that these fifty stereoscopic views with their carefully printed descriptions cn the back, are very instructive and vnluable in an educational way, giving people generally a comprehensive idea of how large business institutions are in a modern way conducted.
I had a few of these sets gotten out originally for the express purpose of giving them to a few of my intimate friends, but the call for them has been so great that I have later gotten them out by a somewhat cheaper process, hut nevertheless almost equally as good as a genuine photograph, all exactly like this sample, and I only wish I could afford to send the complete set of I1fty free to every customer with my compliments, but as these sets are quite expensive to get out in this style, and as we have upwards of four million customers, I cannot possibly gratify such a wish, but this much I will gladly do:
If you think you would be interested in one of these complete sets of fifty stereoscopic Views, of which the one I am now handing you with my compliments is a sample, and you will send 35 cents direct to our company to partly cover the expense of the view, packing, shipping, etc., asking for Stereoscopic Set No. 20B2519, I will be pleased to send you the complete set of fifty different stereoscopic views, of course, with the understanding that big you are not entirely satisfactory and pleasing to you, you can return them at our expense, and we will immediately return your 35 cents.
Understand, at the price (35 cents), which partly covers cost and expenses, I offer to send you the fifty views only, and if you haven’t a stereoscope I will furnish you a very nice stereoscope for 15 cents extra. In which case you should send 50 cents.
Without a stereoscope you can get no idea of the depth and detail of this picture, for it is strictly a stereoscopic view. and to get anything like the value of the picture you must see through a stereoscope.
Therefore, I ask you to kindly view this sample view through a stereoscope, and if you haven’t one, possibly you can find one at your neighbor’s, for this work can be appreciated only when seen through a stereoscope.
If you would like me to send you the complete set of fifty different views, kindly mention No. 20B2519 and enclose 35 cents.
If you would like me to send you the complete set of fifty different views with a nice stereoscope, then please mention No. 20B2518 and enclose 50 cents.
Remember, we are not offering these views for sale in a regular way. They are a special set that was gotten up for a special purpose, but combined, it comes so near to a day’s visit through, in and around our institution that I feel like offering these views to such of our customers as would be interested only asking just enough to partly cover the cost.
Very truly yours,
Richard W. Sears
1On the left, the catalog on Mr. Sears’ desk is probably the Fall 1905 edition. This style of cover was used in the 1906 and 1907 editions as well.
The 1914 advertisement on the right notes that Sears purchased 300 Automatic Telephones on August 7, 1905, which means this photograph was probably taken shortly after the new devices were installed.
The telephone is a 1905 Strowger Automatic “Potbelly” Candlestick. This is considered to be the first dial telephone. The operation of this technological marvel is described in detail at 15 Automatic Telephone Switchboard