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John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-394-3790
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Alpaca Quotations

As you browse through our website you may notice the many quotations being displayed. Many people have asked where these come from.

Alpaca was ubiquitous throughout much of the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and the word shows up in much literature of that time.

My Grandfathers 1920 Funk and Wagnalls "Practical Standard Dictionary" gives the following definition:

al-pac´a, 1. A sheep-like ruminant of South America, having long, silky wool. 2. A thin cloth made of or in imitation of its wool, often mixed with silk or cotton.

Well known authors such as Aurthur Conan Doyal , Rudyard Kipling . Henry James, Horatio Alger, Joseph Conrad, F. Scott Fitzgerald, O. Henry, James Joyce and more have clad their characters in alpaca!

Alpaca apparel was known for its comfort and durability and was highly sought after.  It was perceived as a luxury item and a sign of stature.  As such, it was commonly worn by the successful and elite, including Presidents and other illuminaries, and commonly "worn out" by the common people.

For example, I recently came across these snippets extracted from letters written on the Oregon Trail in 1852.  Lucy Rutledge Cooke wintered outside of Salt Lake City and in letters to her sisters wrote:

" ....I swapt that calico dress which I had unmade at your house to Mrs. Hubbard for a black alpaca dress made as she wanted a calico so I made considerable by that trade I shall be glad of a black dress on the road I am quite out of under clothes & cannot get anything in the city. theres not a yard to be bought ..."

And,

 "......I've sold me satin dress to get Wm. an overcoat which is a good broadcloth very heavy & well lined also bound with silk binding in fact it's much too good for our purpose being valued at $25... still he needed one so bad & my frock was only in my way & of no use till we got to Cal I can then get another quite as cheap I got a new figured alpaca dress beside the cost $1 1/4 per yard I needed a second best dress to wear when at our journeys end ..."

While alpaca is less common in the 21st Century, it  maintains its reputation of quality and durability.

 
Alpaca Sales

"He smoked several pounds of my tobacco, and taught me several ounces of things worth knowing; but he would never accept any gifts, not even when the cold weather came, and gripped the poor thin chest under the poor thin alpaca-coat. He grew very angry, and said that I had insulted him, and that he was not going into hospital. He had lived like a beast and he would die rationally, like a man..."

Rudyard Kipling
Indian Tales
About the Quotations