A Grocery List for St. John in the 1930s

Desmond Holdridge and his fiancee came to St. John 1934. They previously lived in New York City where he was a writer and she worked in a museum of modern paintings. They were married at the Battery in Cruz Bay and rented a small house overlooking Trunk Bay. The following is a record of their expenses for groceries for one month:

From St. Thomas
3 cans mushroom soup —————.42
6 cans tomato soup——————.84
1 can Klim (large)——————-1.50
1/2 Lb.. American cheese————–.15
1 can black pepper——————-.08
2 cans butter (1 lb. each) ————-1.20
Cloves—————————–.05
1 Shredded Wheat ——————–.25
1 Corn Flakes ———————-.16
1 can pure lard (5 lbs.) —————1.00
2 cans cocoa————————30
4 lbs. macaroni ———————-60
1 jar mayonnaise (small) —————.18
2 bottles Ketchup ———————.30
5 lbs. rice —————————.25
5 lbs. granulated sugar —————–.15
10 lbs. wheat flour———————.35
6 cans pork and beans—————–.33
1 can kerosene oil (5 gal.) ————-1.00
1 cake yeast (large)——————— .40
1 bottle stuffed olives—————— .28
2 lbs. black tea ————————.50
1 box salt —————————-.14
1 can coffee (Bokar)——————— .45
1 can Quaker Oats ———————-.25
3 cans sweet corn ———————-.54
5 lbs. corn meal ———————–.20
2 pkgs. Bran————————– .40
12 Octagon soap ———————–.60
12 cans Evap. Milk———————1.20
10 lbs. onions————————–.30
1 box raisins —————————.12
1 jar peanut butter ———————–.25
1 can peach jam ————————-.27
2 cans apricots (large) ——————–.58
2 cans peaches (large)——————– .48
1 pkg. corn starch ———————–.05
12 oranges—————————– .20
2 lbs. split peas————————–.20
2 lbs. white beans————————.14
2 lbs. garbonzos ————————-.26
2 cans corned beef————————.24
6 cans tomatoes————————–.45
1 can oleomargarine (5 lbs.)—————– .75
1 can clam chowder ———————–.12
3 cans lima beans————————- .48
1 can red salmon————————– .25
1 Can tuna fish—————————- .20
4 grapefruit——————————-.12
2 cabbages——————————-.30

3 lbs. fresh tomatoes———————– .18

Total ———————————$21.08

From St. John
6 doz. eggs @ $.03————————-2.16
15 “straps” of fish @ $.10 ——————- 1.50
Miscellaneous vegetables and meat————-5.00

Total ———————————–$8.66

From St. Thomas—————————21.08
From St. John——————————-8.66
Total for month—————————$29.74

“To this add about ten dollars for rum, tobacco, and cigarettes. The rum was two dollars and a half a demijohn and the cigarettes of the standard brands were sixty-five cents a carton. Four or five dollars a month went in payment for small services to the boys and about eight dollars to those unreliable and almost insolent sloop captains, Also, eight dollars a month to Agnes (Sewer) for cooking and laundry, and six dollars a month for the use of two horses and their attendants.”

From Desmond Holdridge, Escape to the Tropics, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York 1937.

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