The Commission’s archives are housed in the old Darlington County Jail. The top two floors are where we keep the majority of our files and artifacts, and every time I climb those steep steps, I start to feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I get so excited about what I might discover in those rows and rows of filing cabinets that my heart starts to beat faster and faster.
This morning, I unearthed a file on The Book and Toy Company. Boasting the sale of “all sort of toys, sporting goods, fancy goods and holiday goods,” this store opened in 1890 and was situated on the East side of the Public Square right here in Darlington. Later, in 1909, W.B. Oakes purchased the business and had his son, W.J. Oakes, manage the store.
Among pictures, receipts, old journals, and other items, I found this charming advertisement in the newspaper on December 12, 1911:
On Friday night Dec. 22, the Book & Toy Co., in accordance with their usual custom, will send up a large balloon with a small doll in it, and the finder upon presenting the doll at their store will be allowed to select free of charge, any doll in their stock.
The Book & Toy Co.
WJ Oakes, Mgr.