October 10, 2022
A Note From The Founders...S

October is a favorite month for many. It brings a crispness to the air as days get shorter and snow arrives for parts of the country.

All month long we wait for the largest and most fun holiday of the year--Halloween! This time of year is about the scary, shocking and spooky.

While Perfume Passage is neither scary or spooky, there are some shocking and surprising perfume-related stories that are fun to share this month!

Jeffrey and Rusty 

October Days...
While Halloween is the focus of the month, there are several notable days to celebrate and acknowledge with the perfume and vanity themed items throughout our galleries!
Oktoberfest, ending on the third of the month after a two-and-a-half week beer festival, is not only a huge event in Munich, Germany, but includes celebrations around the world.

The first Oktoberfest was held on October 12, 1810 to commemorate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Their marriage was celebrated annually and was known as Oktoberfest. The mayor of Munich opens Oktoberfest every year by tapping a keg of beer appropriately called Oktoberfest for the festival. Perhaps the Cheers! Aftershave by Cussons of London is worn by those attending the event?
Our Canadian friends celebrate their Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October which will be the 10th of the month in 2022. First celebrated nationally in 1879, it has similarities to the US Thanksgiving and is one of the biggest Canadian holidays.

The day is focused around harvest season, and there are no Pilgrim decorations in sight. Families give thanks for the successful harvest and enjoy large feasts, often with turkeys and hams, and usually a side of Canadian bacon! Like the US celebration, the day is a time for reflection, giving thanks and enjoying time with family and friends.

A nice hostess gift to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner would have been these 1940s Canadian Apple Blossom Perfume by Palmers Distributors of Montreal or a bottle of Canadian Birchwood cologne produced in Toronto!
In the US we've been celebrating Columbus Day since 1792. The first Columbus Day celebration was held in New York city that year, commemorating the 500th anniversary of Columbus landing in 1492.

History and teachings have always focused on Christopher Columbus discovering America. However we know the Native Americans were already living on the land and other explorers had visited the area years before Columbus. So while Columbus did discover the "New World," and proved to many that the world wasn't flat, the focus of the second Monday in October holiday is now more on the discovery of the "New World," and not so much on Columbus.

Shulton, manufacturer of Old Spice, produced a coin decanter Christopher Columbus cologne in 1975. The front of the 6 oz. bottle has an image of Christopher Columbus and the back has the image of the Santa Maria ship. Of course Columbus didn't wear the scent on his voyages, but collectors can certainly wear it on October 10th this year!
Halloween History...
The October days all lead up to the last one--Halloween! A day with no stress, no harried events and a day for only fun.

The holiday tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain as people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off spirits. The Celts lived about 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that's now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France.

It was also the end of summer and harvest season and the beginning of winter, a time of year that the Celts often associated with death. They believed that the night before their new year the boundary between the worlds of the living and dead became blurred. They also believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth during the Samhain celebration.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. These prophecies were a source of comfort during their long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge bonfires and people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins.

When Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as the day to honor all saints in the eighth century, the day included some of the Samhain traditions.

The night before became known as All Hallows Eve and eventually it was called Halloween. Of course over the years Halloween evolved into a day of pumpkins, costumes and treat-or-treating.

Perfume Passage's Halloween themed exhibit will be on display throughout October.
Omen clear frosted head scent bottle with an inner glass stopper. The bottom of this mystery bottle is embossed Omen.
Immortal Men Eau de Parfum by the Close to You Company still sealed in the box, 2020.
2013 Christian Audigier Ed Hardy Skulls & Roses for Men, chalkboard edition as it comes with stick of chalk to draw on the skull head.
Ladies compacts from the 1920s-30s in appropriate Halloween colors, are displayed in the Halloween exhibit at Perfume Passage.
Now For The Spooky and Ooky...
Poison Accessories

Catherine de Medici was an Italian noblewoman and queen of France from 1547 to 1559, married to King Henry II. Her perfumer, Rene le Florentin was also an expert in poison potions. It's been said that Catherine asked him to make perfumed poisoned gloves to kill her rival Jeanne D'Albret. Jeanne became sick following a shopping trip, dying under suspicious circumstances.

This tale was somewhat believable, but never proven, as perfumed gloves were very popular at the time. Although a great death by scent rumor, science suggests that she really died of natural causes.
Centuries later perfumed gloves were once again in fashion! Hollywood actress Rita La Roy shows off the latest style where a small silk scented sachet bag was inserted and buttoned inside the bottom of the gloves. This press photo is dated 1930.The photo is included in the ephemera collection at Perfume Passage, credited to Int'l News Reel, Los Angeles Bureau.
Poison Perfumes

France's King Louis XIV used heady fragrances daily and his sickly nature led him to use perfumes for medicinal purposes. He was supposedly so fascinated by perfumes that he was nicknamed "le doux fleurant" (sweet flowery one).

Some accounts said that he could only stand the scent of orange blossoms in his later years and so he had perfumers extract the scent from the oranges grown at his Versailles palace. He would also have his servants spray the entire palace with scent as well as having his shirts doused in perfume.
No visible poison perfume bottles on the witch's vanity table on this vintage Halloween greeting card!
During his reign (1643-1715), a murderer supposedly used poisoned perfumes to kill so many royal courtiers (workers in the king's royal court) that it sparked a witch hunt and sensational newspaper headlines, captivating and alarming the public, who became even more fascinated by perfumes!
Human Soap

Leonarda Cianciulli (1894 - 1970) was an Italian serial killer. She was better known as The Soap-Maker of Correggio, as she murdered three women in the town of Correggio, Reggio Emilia, in 1939 and 1940, and turned their bodies into fragrant soap (using caustic soda) and teacakes!

Found guilty of her crimes, she was sentenced to 30 years in jail and three years in a criminal asylum.

Artifacts from the case, including the pot in which the victims were boiled, are on display at the Criminological Museum in Rome.

Perfume Passage certainly doesn't approve of or support Leonarda, but scents are vital when making soaps, and this 1999 book on how to make soaps can be found in the Perfume Passage Library!

Four year old Charley Ross and his five year old brother Walter were kidnapped from the front yard of their Philadelphia home on July 1, 1874.

A buggy pulled up to the house and two men offered the boys candy and fireworks if they took a ride with them. The boys agreed and Walter was given a quarter and instructed to go inside a store to buy fireworks. Walter did so and when he came outside, the carriage along with his brother Charley were gone.
The family offered to pay a ransom through ads in the newspapers and the kidnappers were eventually caught, but little Charley Ross was never seen again.

The 5" bottles below were produced so the public would be aware that Charley was still missing. The bottles have an embossed bust image of Charley on the front along with his name. It is believed that these bottles were used for cologne or perfume, with the idea that the bottle would sit on a dresser and keep the story of his kidnapping alive and perhaps someone would come forward with information.

There were several variants of the Charley Ross bottles and we haven't discovered any information as to who made the bottles, but it is assumed they came from one of the Philadelphia glass houses.
The kidnapping made national headlines, even inspiring musicians to create a song called "Bring Back our Darling,” written for Charley’s bereaved parents.

This was a highly publicized event as it was the first time a child had been kidnapped in the US and held for ransom and it was also the first time a missing child had been put on a bottle. Perhaps the idea of putting information about missing children on milk cartons came from the Charley Ross bottle.

A fascinating bottle of historical importance marks this sad event. The warning "don't take candy from strangers" is said to have originated from Charley Ross' kidnapping.
Hotel Ghosts

In 1929, the Baker Hotel opened in Mineral Wells, Texas. For over 25 years the Baker was one of the country’s most glamorous hotels with 14 floors and 450 rooms. The hotel offered a wide variety of guest amenities including dining, boutiques, salons and complete spa services.

Another draw for the Baker was the variety of well-known entertainers that appeared nightly including Lawrence Welk, Guy Lombardo and Herby Kay among others. In addition, famous guests would visit the hotel including Judy Garland, Clark Gable, Roy Rogers, Ronald Reagan and Helen Keller. In addition, the Three Stooges and Bonnie and Clyde supposedly stayed overnight at one time!

Opened just weeks after the 1929 stock market crash, visitors also flocked to the area and hotel for the purported health benefits of the mineral-rich waters the town was known for. Many Texas markets still sell the town's bottled water called "Crazy Water."
The hotel closed in 1972 and quickly began to deteriorate and in 1982, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2008 a group of developers took an interest in the hotel and plans are underway for a complete renovation and they hope to open again in 2024.
Theodore Brasher Baker built the hotel and is believed to haunt the Baker Suite on the 11th floor as he was said to have died in his room. It's also been said that his spirits continued to walk the floors over the years and people had claimed to smell his cigar smoke.
In the 1950s Baker was thought to have a mistress who lived on the seventh floor and she supposedly jumped from her window to her death. Afterwards she was spotted by a number of guests and they reported smelling the scent of her lavender perfume in the hallways! Hotel maids claimed that on several occasions they found glasses in her room with red lipstick on the rims. No one was occupying the room at the time.

Even after the hotel was vacant, the locals reported seeing windows left open one day and closed the next.

Mineral Wells is located about 100 miles from Rockwall, site of the 2023 IPBA convention, so if you're adventurous and believe, perhaps a trip to the area for Crazy Water and a glimpse of the Baker will be on your list.
A fun 1930s Aro-Mizer perfume mister with "The Baker Hotels of Texas" etched on one side. Most likely it was sold in the gift shop of the hotel.
Poisonous Spiders
Venomous spiders that are found in the US include the black widow and the brown recluse. These spiders can be dangerous to outdoor workers and do occasionally find their way inside buildings--none at Perfume Passage! Most spiders usually aren't aggressive and bites often occur because spiders are trapped or are unintentionally touched. While we can educate ourselves about the risks of poisonous spiders, it's much more fun, interesting and less icky to educate ourselves about spider-related perfume bottles and vanity items!
A fun silverplate 1930s compact with inside mirror/powder area.

A 1930 spider shaped perfume presentation. The bottle is the body of the spider and contains the fragrance "Cyprus Extract." Guido Cantele in Padova, Italy introduced the scent in 1930.
This great 1930s atomizer perfume has a spider web design!
Halloween Scents to Wear...
Fragrances can be mysterious and unique and sometimes their names and notes can evoke the memories of Halloween!
  • Christian Dior’s Poison is elegant and juicy, with a spicy hint of cinnamon. It's the revolutionary fragrance that became a legend since its 1985 launch.

  • Ange ou Demon was introduced by Givenchy in 2006 and is a mysterious and alluring scent.

  • Dark Obsession by Calvin Klein is an amber woody fragrance for men launched in 2013.

  • Hypnotic Poison by Christian Dior is an amber vanilla fragrance for women launched in 1998.
  • Halloween is an amber floral fragrance for women launched in 1997 by J. Del Pozo, dedicated to the mysterious vampy woman! They also introduced an eau de toilette for men in 2012.

  • Witchy Woo by Vyrao is a woody floral musk fragrance for women and men, launched in 2021.

  • In Pursuit Of Magic by Diane Pernet is a citrus aromatic fragrance for women and men introduced in 2014.

Lip Smackin' Candy...
About 9 out of 10 parents admit to sneaking candy from their kids treat bag!

Candy Corn was created in the 1880s by George Renninger and its white, orange, and yellow stripes are supposed to resemble a corn kernel. Because corn was used to feed chickens, the candy was originally called "Chicken Feed," and the box included a colorful rooster image!

Mars, the candy manufacturer started producing mini candy bars in 1961, specifically targeting trick-or-treaters, and coined the phrase “fun size” in 1968. Their first fun size bars were Snickers and Milky Way. When the Curtiss Candy Co. began making fun size Butterfingers and Milky Way candy bars, Mars sued and lost.
Tootsie Rolls were included in soldiers' field rations during World War II to give American troops quick energy. They also held up well under changing weather conditions and could be used to patch holes in cars and equipment.
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Perfume Passage Journal Subscription...

In an effort to share our collection and to create reference material that is both useful for research and beautiful as a coffee table magazine, we have developed the Perfume Passage Journal.

Published three times a year, the magazine includes articles and information about the known history of specific companies and items in our galleries.

We recently launched an annual subscription program, beginning with the Summer 2022 publication on fashion illustrator and artist Rene Gruau. The annual subscription will include three print versions of the magazine. Click here to visit our website and subscribe!

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Our mission is to preserve the history, beauty and artistry of perfume bottles, compacts, ephemera and related vanity items. Through education, outreach, and awareness of the Perfume Passage collection and library, our goal is to inspire art lovers, collectors, archivists and curators to keep this history alive. 
We Hope To See You Soon!

Types of tours include:

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In accordance with local updated guidelines, Perfume Passage no longer requires proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or masks for museum visitors. However, we strongly encourage all of our guests to wear masks while in the building.