Gypsy Hosiery, Hargadine-McKittrick Dry Goods Store, St. Louis MO Tip Tray, for E J Schroeder Breese, IL

The use of the word “gypsy” typically brings to mind negativity, deceit, or danger in most people’s mind.   However, one company used the word Gypsy to entice people to buy their product, and by doing so, were apparently very successful in establishing their ladies and men hosiery as one of leading selling brands in the early 1900’s.

One of the more colorful trays from the time period is from the Gypsy Hosiery brand.   This particular tip tray features a gypsy dressed in jewels and a pretty red dress.   The Gypsy Hosiery tip trays are a stock tray produced by the Hargadine-McKittrick Dry Goods Store, which was located at 911 Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis, MO.   This stock tray is often found with small towns stamped on the tray from both Illinois and Missouri.


Mr. Emil Schroeder whose name is stamped on the tray shown was born in 1881 and by 1908 he had established a dry good store on the corner of Third and Main streets in the small town of Breese, Illinois.   Breese is located in Clinton County which is approximately 40 miles east of downtown St. Louis, MO.   Mr. Schroeder’s business thrived, and by the mid 1910’s he was doing $27,000.00 a year in business, which was an astronomical figure at that time for a small town of less than 1,500 people. Mr. Schroeder married Cornelia Dorries in 1912, whose father was a well-known soda bottler in the city of Breese in the late 1800’s.   According to an old article, Mr. Schroeder’s store sold dry goods, groceries, queensware, hats, caps, gowns, shoes, shelf hardware, and clothing.   Obviously one other item he sold was Gypsy Hosiery, and his willingness to spend a few dollars in advertising his store and a product available at that time endures today with this beautiful advertising tip tray!