For themselves, they decided to buy a present together, something they could both use and enjoy. After much studying of Montgomery Ward’s catalogue, they chose to get a set of glassware. They needed it for the table and there was such a pretty set advertised, a sugar bowl, spoon-holder, butter dish, six sauce dishes, and a large oval-shaped bread plate. On the bread plate raised in the glass were heads of wheat and some lettering which read “Give us this day our daily bread.”
When the box came from Chicago a few days before Christmas and was unpacked, they were both delighted with their present.
~Laura Ingalls Wilder, in The First Four Years
As a collector of things that Laura owned and loved, I was interested in finding this particular set of glassware. In searching through an 1885 Montgomery Ward catalog, I found this advertisement:
The first thing I noticed in the ad is the difference in the pictured bread plate and the bread plate on display in the museum at Rocky Ridge Farm. If you look carefully, you will see that they are not identical.
The one in the ad has deeper sides and appears bowl-like. Also, the lettering wraps around in a circular fashion, as opposed to the lettering going from left to right on both top and bottom of the plate, as the one at Rocky Ridge does. I have seen this bread plate before, and own several. The plate is definitely deeper than the one we all attribute to Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Look at the photos below. To me, the first one more closely resembles the Montgomery Ward ad; the second image is like the one on display at Rocky Ridge.
Several reasons for the discrepancy come to mind:
1. Montgomery Ward substituted the different bread plate in the shipment.
2. The original bread plate was broken and Laura replaced it with the one now on display.
3. The different appearance is perhaps due to shading in the artwork.
What do you think?