First Visit to the U.S. Library of Congress

I finally went to the U.S. Library of Congress yesterday, which is just 25 miles from my house.  For anyone not familiar with the Library, it is located in Washington, D.C. near the Capitol, and encompasses three large buildings connected by underground tunnels.  Most of the collections are open to the public.  All that is required is registration with a photo ID.  There’s much more information about the library available online at the Library’s Web site, if you’re interested.

I went yesterday with the purpose of getting registered and talking to a collection expert about any Bulova materials they might have.  The answer was “a lot”.  I threw out some things like Sears catalogs, and the response was that they have them all—same with the Saturday Evening Post and many other advertising vehicles.  Materials related to watches and watch companies are housed in the Business and Science Reading Rooms, which together occupy one of the three buildings.  Reproduction facilities are available right there in the collection rooms.

Yesterday, I started in the Newspaper & Current Periodicals Reading Room, in search of articles on topics of particular interest to me.  While doing that, I also took a look at newspaper advertisements for Bulova watches that came up in my searches.  The ads below are the result.  There were many more ads than this small collection, but some were of insufficient quality to be useful, some we already have, quite a few did not give model names, and some showed watches that are already well documented.  I was looking specifically for anything that might provide new information.

I’m confident that this is just the tiniest, insignificant tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the Library has to offer.  Yesterday, I didn’t have time to look at all the newspaper ads for Bulova—not even close--nor did I explore what might be on microfilm. And that’s just one of the many reading rooms.  As stated above, the true mother lode of information will be in the Business and Science rooms, not where I was yesterday.  There’s just so much there.  I’ll report back with finds from future trips, which I hope to make quite soon.

Below I’ve provided excerpts from the ads so that you can see the watches better.  The full page of print with publication source and date information will be sent to Stephen.

If anyone wants a close-up of a particular watch, let me know either here or via PM.


There are a few items I want to highlight in the ads below, namely:

- A very early ad that refers to watches worn in WWI

- A very early Lone Eagle ad

- Some previously unseen Academy Awards, including the "X", "Y", and "S"

- A 1929 ad for a tonneau shaped Ambassador, which supports the Ambassador ID in the "Complete Guide", which was discredited in a previous discussion on the basis that the only 1929 Ambassador was a square model

- A 1929 ad for a Westfield that looks an awful lot like the Piping Rock look-alike we were discussing last week

- We now have an ad for the Berkshire and Lady Berkshire

- We now have an ad for the "Photo Watch" (two actually)

- A 1929 ad for the Lafayette may be the answer to the two not quite identical versions of the "Governor"

- 1940 ad for the Lone Eagle that specifies a gold case (no stainless back mentioned), so maybe we can finally stop arguing about whether case composition, rather than case and crystal size, are the proper distinguishing factors between the LE and Ambassador.


July 14, 1918 - Los Angeles Times (Ad in two parts for clarity)

June 17, 1927 - New York Times

Dec. 9, 1927 - Boston Daily Globe

May 21, 1929 - The Atlanta Constitution

May 17, 1929 - Daily Boston Globe

Oct. 18, 1929 - The Atlanta Constitution

Dec. 20, 1929 - Daily Boston Globe

Dec. 15, 1935 - The Hartford Courant

Nov. 21, 1940 - The Atlanta Constitution

March 24, 1950 - New York Times

March 24, 1950 - Daily Boston Globe (Part 1)

From left to right - Academy Award "X", "T", "W", and "Y".  ("Z" is in the box at the bottom.)

March 24, 1950 - Daily Boston Globe (Part 2)

From left to right - Academy Award "B", "A", "F", "D", "C".

July 8, 1950 - New Journal and Guide

Feb. 17, 1951 - New Journal and Guide

March 31, 1951 - New Journal and Guide

Dec. 15, 1951 - New Journal and Guide

Dec. 20, 1951 - The Hartford Courant

April 26, 1952 - New Journal and Guide

Left to right, top to bottom:  Academy Award "OO", "NN", "S", "K", "O", "FF", "R", "MM".

Oct. 11, 1952 - New Journal and Guide

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted May 24, 2012 - 1:15pm

Wow Jackpot!

The Bartleys ad (2nd to last) is showing a Gent's round 'AA'.

Very cool, the ad quest is greatly appreciated.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 29, 2012 - 2:32am

Club 5000Panel Member

And another ad for the solid gold Grant   like here

Posted May 24, 2012 - 1:15pm

Panel Member

WOW! Awesome finds Lisa. I am super impressed. Can't wait till you start finding the color ads in magazines and catalogues

bobbee's picture
Posted May 24, 2012 - 1:40pm

Amazing stuff, Lisa! You are really doing great things for this site, and we will all be indebted to you.

Posted May 24, 2012 - 1:42pm

Super Finds Lisa,

I have a feeling that the people in the Library of Congress will be seeing a lot of you in the next few months, If I lived that close, they would probably have banned me by now!

Great Job!

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 24, 2012 - 1:43pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Great work!  Wow.  And this is the tip of the iceberg?  That's good news.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted May 24, 2012 - 1:46pm

Also showing the previously unidentified 'ELLSWORTH' and 'EVEREST'

Posted May 24, 2012 - 2:16pm

Posted May 24, 2012 - 1:55pm

The Library is amazing and very well organized.  When you register, you get the opportunity to sit down with a collection expert and discuss what you're looking for and where best to find it.  The atmosphere is relaxed, unhurried, and clearly geared toward being helpful and friendly rather than just shuffling people through the process.  The approx. 75-year-old woman I met with was incredible in her knowledge of the Library.  I said a few lines about Bulova, business documents, advertisements, history, and she took off, giving me lists, maps, directions, specific advice on what to look for and where. . . basically everything I needed.  Every time I asked her a "Do you have this. . ." question, her answer was "Yes, we have everything".  Each of the collection rooms has its own search advisors, and I found the one in the Newspaper room to be very helpful as well.  She sat me down at a computer and walked me through how to search the various collections. I expected to feel lost in such a huge place, struggling to make sense of it all, but my experience was, happily, quite the opposite. 

Posted May 24, 2012 - 2:55pm

Note this excerpt from the Sept. 15, 1951 Journal and Guide.  Now we're going to have to figure out whether we have the "Carla" or the "Lady Berkshire".  I wish they had named it the "Baby Berkshire".

Posted May 24, 2012 - 10:24pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I like!!

Posted May 24, 2012 - 2:13pm

Here are a few more excerpts from the Sept. 15, 1951 Journal and Guide.  That ad, in particular, is difficult to make out.


bobbee's picture
Posted May 24, 2012 - 2:22pm

Looking at the ad, I would say "Carla" only if the watch has the expansion bracelet Lisa. The "Lenox" has different bezel numbers, not "exploding" like the Berkshire.

Posted May 24, 2012 - 2:37pm

I'm not comparing the Lenox to the Berkshires.  They are clearly different models.  I'm comparing the Carla to the Lady Berkshire, and it appears to me that the Carla is smaller.

bobbee's picture
Posted May 24, 2012 - 2:23pm

Did I sound like someone else just then?

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted May 24, 2012 - 2:25pm

Club 5000

Lisa, Fantastic job! Thank you so much.

Do you think the difference between the Carla and the Lady Berkshire is the expansion bracelet?

Posted May 24, 2012 - 2:56pm

I'm looking at the ad that shows the Carla, Lady Berksire, and Berkshire.  It looks to me like the Carla is smaller than the Lady Berkshire, but that could just be the perspective of the ad.  However, when I look at the watches in the center, gray portion of that ad--which can be viewed in the full image posted above--they look like they are sized pretty consistently, so I'm thinking the Carla is smaller.

Posted May 24, 2012 - 5:18pm

Club 5000Panel Member


You... maybe for the first time evah... have made me speechless.

Posted May 24, 2012 - 8:18pm

Atta girl, you rock... Hurry and get to the sears catalogs so we can see what new treasure we can find.

Thanks and good work.

John JP

Posted May 24, 2012 - 9:52pm

Hi Lisa, and thanks for sharing all this information and images. I have long been intrigued by the LOC, and finally made my first visit in Sept. 2009. I was on a tight schedule, so did not have time to register, let alone start researching. But I did have time to take the "overview" tour that they provide for casual tourists. This of course was in the Jefferson buildiing with the big rotunda that most people recognize as "the library." Like you, I was kind of awe struck and wishing I could simply take a year off, take a lease on an apartment somewhere close to a Metro train station, and just immerse myself in the library's holdings. Ah, perhaps someday! As an aside, I had lunch that day in the LOC's cafeteria, which is located on the top floor of the James Madison Building. If you're in need of sustenance during those long days at the library, I highly recommend this place. It's open to the public, and the food there is quite good. And it keeps you in close proximity to the library "campus" so you don't spend a lot of "commute time" trying to find a restaurant off the Mall. Apparently, they want to keep their librarians well nourished with an excellent selection of truly good and healthy food, not the usual "cafeteria crap" you might expect. Also, after I got back from my visit, the History Channel aired an excellent program on the library. It's well worth looking into if anyone would like to get a general sense of what the LOC is about, its history, and so forth. And of course, the LOC's own website has a lot of good "overview" information as well. It is truly "America's Library." Your tax dollars support it, so you should not feel intimidated by using it, if you are so inclined!

Anyway, thanks again, Lisa. It's good just to know where the bulk of this material is (the  Business and Science Reading Rooms), so I know where to start if I ever go! And I know I speak for everyone here when I say I'm looking forward to future installments!



Posted May 24, 2012 - 10:30pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Bruce , if you ever decide to take that year off let me know as I'D LOVE to do the same thing and join you and spend all me time in the LOC scowlling for Bulova ads!!

Posted May 25, 2012 - 12:03am

Well, I was going to try to round them all up for you in the coming weeks, but if you'd rather I saved the task for you. . . .

Posted May 24, 2012 - 11:20pm

Panel Member


You have definately surpassed our super sleuth Jerin for ads. Tip of the iceberg?? I think you've only uncovered an ice cube so far. I wish I could take the time and spend a month or so researching Bulova with you. What an awesome time that could be. Now I'll have to look into some kind of Canadian equivelent that may be closer.

Posted May 25, 2012 - 12:19am

Thanks, but I still give Jerin that title.  I'm just going to one place where all the ads are waiting to be gathered.  Jerin has spent countless hours (and dollars) searching and finding ads from every conceivable location.  He has done a great job and made a contribution to the site that I may surpass in numbers but not in effort or ingenuity.

Posted May 25, 2012 - 7:46am

Panel Member

This is too true, from his humble beginnings Jerin truly embraced collecting Bulova's and the mybulova site. He took us leaps and bounds over the past year and I'm sure he's still hunting down new material as we all are.

Let's just say you 2 are a dynamic duo when it comes to your efforts here at mybulova.

Posted May 25, 2012 - 9:04am

Club 5000Panel Member

Awww... you guys are awesome!  Thanks for the kudos.... and wow.. what great finds by Lisa.


Posted May 25, 2012 - 10:53pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I'll add all new model names into the model listing soon.

The NewYork Times advert for the Lome Eagle is the very advert I have searching for for 6 years.! WOW

Now I have a release date to go on and confirmation of the box it came in. This is an important ad for me personally. Thanks Lisa!

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 26, 2012 - 2:22am

Club 5000Panel Member

This is a very pivitol ad, and it has the box, and the text about all.  This is just great.  And where there's one...they are likely others.  I don't know if we will find earlier...but this one is sooo close to that May 21st.  I'm still digesting all this. 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted May 26, 2012 - 10:23am

Not to change the subject but I'm stoked over the WWI Military ad !

I must have one.

Posted May 26, 2012 - 10:25am

The WWI watch appears to be a modified pocket watch, doesn't it, with the crown at the top?

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
Posted May 26, 2012 - 1:34pm

It does, a crossover piece produced in a period when most Men carried a Pocket Watch.

I've seen these Old 'Trench' Watches with the Crown @ 1 O'Clock'ish also but never a Bulova, this ad is the first.

Posted May 27, 2012 - 7:12am

Club 5000Panel Member

200, now that's a limited edition!

I wonder if they were stamped Bulova on the dial. could explain why we haven't seen any..or have we?