We're getting in the spooky season mood with a 1938 catalog from the King Novelty Company, which features a variety of occult goods, supernatural accoutrements, and magical paraphernalia.
The Chicago-based company was founded in the 1920s alongside its sister company, Valmor Products Company, by Morton Neumann (1898-1985), a young chemist working in the toiletries trade. The two businesses primarily catered and advertised to Black consumers; King Novelty Company marketed products typically associated with Hoodoo spiritual beliefs, while Valmor's two branches of operations operated a blues record label and sold beauty and personal care products.
All of Neumann's enterprises, which also operated collectively under the Famous Products Distribution name, were marketed via catalogs distinctively and eye-catchingly illustrated by the company's Black illustrators, artists Charles C. Dawson (1889-1981) and Jay Jackson (1905-1954), who also provided the artwork for products made by the companies.
The businesses, which Neumann ran along with his wife, Rose (1900-1998), turned the couple into mail-order millionaires noted throughout Chicago for their substantial art collection and patronage of Pablo Picasso. Lucky Mojo, indeed; maybe there's something to that black cat sachet powder after all.
To view the catalog in full, click here to visit its page in Hagley Library's Digital Archives.