Every North American knitter of a certain age knows about Mary Maxim sweaters. Indeed, you don't have to be a knitter to know these sweaters.
Mary Maxim is a yarn and crafts distributor that was established in Canada in early 1950s. They are best known for a particular style of sweater pattern.
You know them... the big bulky, shawl collared sweaters with designs on them. Hunters, vintage cars, bowling pins, hockey players, wildlife and native designs, that sort of thing. Bob Hope sports one above.
A bit of the company's history can be found here and here.
You can always find these sorts of sweaters at vintage stores, and every fall, a new batch of hipsters discovers them as a fashion item.
Mary Maxim is still a going concern, a mail order and online business, with a couple of retail locations. You can even still buy some of these sweater patterns. (They're mostly pretty mainstream in their selection, but I did get one ball of Kureyon for my Lizard Ridge from the Toronto retail location.)
I was given another big box of vintage patterns recently, and hidden amongst the Beehive baby books and 1980s-era Vogue Knitting magazines were these treasures... a handful of original Mary Maxim patterns, and even a catalogue. They're fabulous. Click the picture to enlarge it and see what there is.
The designs are all fully charted, in a great detail.
It's very clever... if you fold down the top of the sheet, the chart is shown for a raglan armhole rather than set-in sleeve.
A nice little extra was this... a booklet containing only charted letters and numbers for personalizing your sweaters...
The copyright dates on these are between 1955 and 1961. No indication on the date of the catalogue, but I have to assume it's that era, too. Although the catalogue does offer a selection of plainer, lighter weight sweaters for men, woman and children, a broad selection of yarn weights and colours, and some afghan kits, most of the 20 pages are taken up with a huge variety of designs for these Mary Maxim sweaters.
Whatever your interest, in the 1950s, there was a sweater for you... hockey, planes, boaats, archery, curling, square dancing, ice skating, fishing...
skiing, golf, wolves, dogs, horses, football....
and the selection for kids is even better -- kittens, puppies, trains, teddy bears, a hen with chicks, various fairy tale inspired designs
... and my favourite... "Outer Space"....
I feel a new project coming on...
Many, many thanks to Dora for this treasure trove.