Western Novelty Co.

Logo for Contact page of The Halloween Retrospect.

Archives across the U.S.

While working toward a Library and Information Science degree (scant time before publishing The Halloween Retrospect, Volume 1) opportunities arose to visit with some of the professional archives, libraries, and museums of the United States from coast to coast. One highlight was being first from the public to return (in May 2022 during the waning days of the pandemic) to pass back through the doors of the National Museum of American History Library – Smithsonian Libraries, Washington D.C. And closer to home, I had a great time perusing the Archives of History Colorado during the chilly days of February in Denver. (And, while there are too many archives visited to name in this particular entry – I think I can say without overstepping into a grey area of conflicting interest, that anywhere staff was available, they were friendly, helpful, and completely professional).

The banner samples the 1936 cover’s art-deco graphics, and above is the 1938 cover art for Western Novelty Co. Importers and Wholesalers. The latter image didn’t find room in the pages of The Halloween Retrospect, Volume 1 magazine. Both image come from copies found in the catalog collection of History Colorado.


While the article about Western Novelty Company of Denver is the most brief in The Halloween Retrospect, Volume 1, this is simply a reflection of the limited Halloween-specific content from a company in that time and place (which, by the way, exists from 1928 and as recently as 1990). In fact , if you are in the area and have personal areas of interest concerning the history of early American novelties for entertainments, I would recommend a visit to the the archive to peruse this amazing collection of catalogs (both chronological and seemingly complete)!

Bookeye 5 scanner by Image Access is used by the archive of The Halloween Retrospect library.

The logo above is a link to the History Colorado website (of museum and sites). As I had only time to visit the archive in a minimal timeframe, there is plenty more to see upon a return visit


Okay, so, as an example of other rich treasure found in the pages of the Western Novelty Company catalog collection (in this case not specific yet loosely relative to the celebration of the Halloween season), this author was delighted to discover a few years of availability of toys by Miller Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio – particularly since the The Halloween Retrospect has a couple of this company’s full-color toy catalogs on the shelves. These company catalogs have much more specific toys to the Halloween season including some fun black cats and Jack O’Lantern characters (and it is hoped there will be an occasion to show those in future when time allows).

Above, from Western Novelty Company catalog of 1928 – a selection of Miller Inflated Rubber Toys and Miller Rubber Squawking Toys with such characters as devils, and skeletons. This image comes from the copy found in the catalog collection of History Colorado.

the halloween Retrospect

As indicated The Halloween Retrospect, Volume 1 does offer some small samples of the Halloween items found in the collection of Western Novelty Company in the second article “Western Novelty Co. 1928-1990: Carnival, Concession, and Bazaar Supplies – Colorado.”

Here is a link to more website info about The Halloween Retrospect, Volume 1 (a new research-based guide on the vintage market of Halloween collectibles) and here is the link to purchase a copy via Etsy checkout.

Logo for Contact page of The Halloween Retrospect.

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