Temple of Fancy: Pease's Great Variety Store

November 19, 2011–November 18, 2012

Before F. W. Woolworth’s, or Whitney's, or even Macy's department store, there was Pease Great Variety Store, located in the Temple of Fancy at 518 Broadway in Albany. From the 1840s to the 1860s Pease's store was something of an upscale "five and dime," where Albany families could purchase fancy goods, toys, household items, children's books, and games. The building still stands at the corner of Broadway and Pine Street.

Richard H. Pease and (later) Harry E. Pease were proprietors of the store and also noted printers. They printed the first Christmas card in America in 1851 (only one of which exists, at the Manchester Metropolitan Museum in England) and they also produced the hand-colored lithographs of fruit for Ebenezer Emmons’s book Agriculture of New York State, published between 1846 and 1854.

The exhibit draws from the collections of the Albany Institute and includes photographs, prints, children's books, card games, and puzzles.