Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Tue, Sept. 15,1926: Monday Dad, Ma and I went to town. Today, Len wanted to go to Dubuque as Raymond's family [Leonard's brother and family] and his folks were going. So Ruby, Ma & I went along. We took Len's car and went to Scales Mounds and nearly to Shullsburg, Wisconsin. Then we drove through New Diggings and etz. We It was about ten oclock when we got over to Dubuque. I bought a winter coat and hat. Coat is wine color bolivia*. The hat is also about the same color. Coat cost nineteen-fifty and hat six dollars. It was about dark when we got home."

Dubuque, Iowa seemed to be the Trudgian family's favorite place to shop. It appears to be it was like going into Chicago from the suburbs. The big city with so many choices. Lillian is always very detailed with what she bought and how much she paid for it. Where her money came from I will never know. In Vol.I she mentions when her mother or Ruby pays for Lillian's items, so it appears she did have a source of income. And she does write about little projects she works on like the bouquet of flowers she makes and sells. But the whole family often went on shopping trips and Lillian hardly ever comes home empty handed. I don't think her flower bouquets footed her bills. Every year she sat down and created a list of everything she spent money on. Another Trudgian house treasure was finding a stack of these lists. I can tell you how much almost anything a woman needed in the years 1916-1928 cost. I love these little extra views into the time period.

*bolivia - I tried to research this word. Everything tells me that Bolivia is not a color or a fabric, but a country - another time I need that old dictionary. My best thought cames from an Wikipedia article on Chicha which is a term used in some regions of Latin America for several varieties of fermented beverages. In the country Bolivia,amaranthus chicha is traditional and popular. Amaranthus is collectively known as amaranth or pigweed and is a cosmopolitan genus of herbs. Approximately 60 species are recognized, with inflorescences and foliage ranging from purple and red to gold. Not only is it used for a beverage, but also for a dye. I think the "wine color bolivia" blended the whole beverage/dye/chicha concept together and is meant to portray a reddish-purple wine color. Let me know if you come up with a better explanation.


  1. I married into the Trudgian clan and have read their genealogy. "Lillian's Diaries"added alot of details and helped to better understand the genealogy. Being of the generation immediately following Lillian's I found many familiar sayings.

  2. So, do you know or want to guess what the wine color bolivia is? Welcome to the blog. Hope you will add your insights.

  3. When you grow up in a small town like Elizabeth, IL as I did, or on a farm outside of Galena, IL as Lillian did, you shop for essentials locally but go to the big city for real shopping and entertainment. Even today people from Jo Daviess County drive to Dubuque for movies, shopping and restaurants. When I was growing up 300 years ago (or so) we always took the 11:00 a.m. Greyhound bus from Elizabeth to Dubuque to go to the big city and returned on the 6:30 p.m. bus, time enough for lunch, shopping, a movie matinee and a quick snack before heading back home.

  4. I found mention of "Georgette waists and a Bolivia coat" in a book on Google books - don't know if this will work, but here's the link:


  5. oh goodness...here's a picture of a bolivia coat


    on page 3/5

  6. What a find Debbie....I scanned the page and will try to get it in a post sometime this week!
    Thanks so much.....I had Googled it as a color and didn't find very much....I think it is either a style or a way to process wool. What do you think?

  7. From pg 83 of the Merchant's Manual of Advertising, 1921 (on Google Books):


    I'd say it might be both a fabric and a style.