National Mail Order Catalog Day – August 18: History, Activities & Quotes

In the digital age, where online shopping has become the norm, there’s a day that takes us back to a simpler time, when flipping through glossy pages of a catalog was an exciting way to shop.

National Mail Order Catalog Day, celebrated on August 18, pays homage to the era when mail-order catalogs held a special place in our lives.

National Mail Order Catalog Day is a nostalgic celebration that takes us down memory lane, reminding us of the time when mail-order catalogs were the gateway to discovering and purchasing products without leaving the comfort of our homes. This day not only commemorates the catalogs themselves but also the anticipation and excitement they brought to people of all ages.

History of National Mail Order Catalog Day

National Mail Order Catalog Day is an unofficial holiday that celebrates the history and impact of mail-order catalogs. It is observed on August 18, which is the anniversary of the first modern mail-order catalog, which was published by Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1872.

The roots of National Mail Order Catalog Day can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when mail-order catalogs emerged as a revolutionary way to shop. Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck are two of the most iconic companies that popularized this shopping method. These catalogs provided a wide range of products, from clothing and household items to farming equipment, allowing individuals in remote areas to access goods that were otherwise out of reach.

National Mail Order Catalog Day Activities

Catalog Displays:

Many libraries, museums, and historical societies set up displays showcasing vintage mail-order catalogs, allowing visitors to take a trip back in time and explore the products and trends of bygone eras.

Themed Parties:

People often host themed parties where guests dress up in styles reminiscent of different catalog eras, fostering a sense of nostalgia and camaraderie.

Catalog Swaps:

Enthusiasts and collectors gather to swap vintage catalogs, promoting the preservation of these cultural artifacts.

Craft Workshops:

Creative individuals use old catalog pages to create unique crafts, giving new life to these pieces of history.

Why We Love National Mail Order Catalog Day

National Mail Order Catalog Day holds a special place in our hearts for various reasons:


It reminds us of a time when browsing through catalogs was a delightful experience, sparking our imagination and anticipation.


In a world dominated by digital interfaces, this day celebrates the simplicity of a tangible catalog and the tactile experience it offered.

Cultural Significance:

Mail-order catalogs played a significant role in shaping American culture and lifestyle, making this day a tribute to our heritage.

National Mail Order Catalog Day Quotes, Wishes & Messages

“Flipping through a mail-order catalog was like embarking on a treasure hunt of desires.”

“In the pages of catalogs, dreams turned into tangible items, and wishes became reality.”

“Wishing you a day filled with the joy of discovering hidden gems, just like in the catalog days!”

5 Fascinating Facts About Mail Order Catalogs

Diverse Offerings:

Early catalogs featured an astonishing array of items, from livestock to automobiles, catering to every aspect of life.

Innovative Marketing:

Montgomery Ward was the first to offer a money-back guarantee, a groundbreaking marketing tactic at the time.

Kit Houses:

Sears Roebuck sold entire house kits through their catalogs, complete with pre-cut materials and step-by-step instructions.

Social Impact:

Catalogs played a role in bridging the gap between urban and rural lifestyles, bringing modern products to even the most remote areas.

Educational Tools:

Catalogs were not only for shopping; they also served as educational resources, offering books, tools, and materials for self-improvement.

National Mail Order Catalog Day Dates

2023August 18Friday
2024August 18Sunday
2025August 18Monday
2026August 18Tuesday
2027August 18Wednesday


Q1: When did the mail-order catalog trend begin?

The mail-order catalog trend began in the late 19th century, gaining momentum in the early 20th century.

Q2: Are there any famous mail-order catalog companies still in operation?

While the prominence has diminished, a few companies still distribute print catalogs alongside their online platforms.

Q3: What role did mail-order catalogs play during wartime?

Catalogs provided soldiers with a connection to home, offering products and reminders of civilian life during periods of conflict.

Q4: How did mail-order catalogs impact rural communities?

Catalogs helped bridge the gap between rural and urban areas by bringing modern products and trends to remote regions.

Q5: What’s the legacy of mail-order catalogs in today’s digital age?

The legacy of mail-order catalogs is seen in the evolution of e-commerce and online shopping, which has its roots in this historical shopping method.


National Mail Order Catalog Day is more than just a nostalgic celebration; it’s a reminder of how innovation and imagination have shaped our shopping habits and culture. From their humble beginnings to their lasting impact, mail-order catalogs have left an indelible mark on our society. So, on August 18, take a moment to appreciate the simple joy of flipping through pages, a portal to dreams and desires of yesteryears.

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