EAA: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why does the site cover only the 1850s - 1920s?
  2. Why does the Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920 (EAA) include only eleven categories instead of ads and items for all sorts of things?
  3. Will there be more advertisements added to this site?
  4. Why am I having trouble getting a clear image when I try to enlarge the thumbnail? Can I print a clear image from this site?
  5. How can I get a non-electronic copy (e.g. slide, color photocopy) of an advertisement from this site, or a copy of an advertisement or publication that is in the Hartman Center's collection but not on the Web?
  6. I want to publish an advertisement, or a chapter from a book found on this site. What do I do?
  7. Where can I find information about the companies and products that are included in this site?
  8. Does the Hartman Center have other advertisements and publications from the 1850 - 1920 time period that are not available on the web?
  9. Has Duke created any other web sites on advertising history?
  10. How can I find out about other collections of advertisements or books printed after 1920 at the Hartman Center that are not up on the web?
  11. Are there are other on-line projects that are part of the Library of Congress/Ameritech Library Competition? How can I find them on the web?
  12. How can I find other historical advertisement collections on the web?
  13. How can I find out about advertisement collections in other libraries?
  14. I found a mistake in an advertisement image or information. How can I let you know?
  15. I have some old advertisements - are they worth anything? Whom do I contact if I would like to donate ads or other advertising historical items to your collection? Will they be put up on the web site, too?
  16. What should I do if I have comments about EAA or more questions that are not answered here?

1. Why does the site cover only the 1850s - 1920s?

Due to copyright concerns, the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition specified that only materials in the public domain be used in the project, and more specifically only those within the date range of 1850-1920. During the course of developing this project, we determined that there were some items dated after 1920 that were especially relevant in illustrating the growth of advertising in early twentieth century. After obtaining permission from the Library of Congress, and determining and contacting the copyright owners when possible, we included some additional advertisements and publications. For use of any items included in this project, please see our Copyright, Citation and Reproduction page for more information.

2. Why does the Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920 (EAA) include only eleven categories instead of ads and items for all sorts of things?

Rather than create a web site with just a few examples of advertising items for all possible products and companies, we decided to limit EAA to eleven categories that clearly illustrated the trends and ideas developing during the time period from 1850 to the 1920s. That way, researchers can find hundreds or sometimes even thousands of examples that have some unity. Even though the title of the project states the date range as 1850 - 1920, the project actually includes a few items from as early as 1840 and a few as late as 1929.

3. Will there be more advertisements added to this site?

There are no current plans to add additional advertisements to this site. EAA was generously funded through the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. With that funding now at an end, we consider the project complete. To learn more about how the content of EAA was determined, see FAQ #1.

4. Why am I having trouble getting a clear image when I try to enlarge the thumbnail? Can I print a clear image from this site?

Users of Internet Explorer 6 are likely to have initial difficulty getting a clear image when trying to expand some of the thumbnail images to either 72dpi or 150dpi. To resolve this problem, turn off the automatic resizing feature. From the Tools menu, select Internet Options, go to the Advanced tab, scroll down to the Multimedia section, and uncheck Enable Automatic Image Resizing. Click OK (you may also have to reload the page).

Printing depends wholly upon your system and the type of software and printer you have. Best results are usually obtained by using a laser printer and the 150 dpi "large" images available on the site. Many of the 150 dpi images, however, are too large to fit on just one standard page; most of the 72dpi images will print on one page.

To print from Internet Explorer and Netscape version 3 and above, choose "Print" from the File menu at the upper left. For images in the Nicole Peterson Di Bona Cookbooks Collection and the Early Advertising Publications category, be sure to first select the right frame by clicking within it (you can tell it is selected when it has a black border running around the inside of the frame).

Additionally you may choose to save the image and print it from a graphics program of your choice. However, please keep in mind the requirements of our statement on Copyright, Citation and Reproduction.

5. How can I get a non-electronic copy (e.g. slide or color photocopy) of an advertisement from this site, or a copy of an advertisement or publication that is in the Hartman Center's collections but not on the Web?

To obtain a copy of an advertisement contact the Hartman Center Reference Staff by phone (919-660-5827), fax (919-660-5934) or e-mail Hartman-Center@duke.edu.

Please note that we charge for the cost of reproductions we make for you. If we do extended searching on your behalf there are hourly research fees, as well, and in some cases rush charges may apply. We can supply a copy of our fee schedule on request.

6. I want to publish an advertisement, or a chapter from a book found on this site. What do I do?

To publish an item from this project, you will need to first contact the Research Services staff of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. They will be able to provide information on requirements or restrictions that may apply to specific items. Issues relating to copyright or other use restrictions may affect certain uses of some advertisements or publications.

7. Where can I find information about the companies and products that are included in this site?

General background information on many companies and products can be found on the World Wide Web. Search engines such as Yahoo! or Google may provide links to companies or to special interest pages dedicated to a particular company or product. Many companies' official corporate websites include a link to the company history.

Books or articles about companies—especially the larger ones or their popular products—are sometimes also available. General reference books, and books written about a particular industry, are also a possible source for information about a product or company. EAA includes a brief history or description of each of the eleven categories that are included in this project, followed by source information. The project also includes a Bibliography. See the Research Guide to find out "More Info" about a specific category.

8. Does the Hartman Center have other advertisements and publications from the 1850 - 1920 time period that are not available on the web?

The Hartman Center and the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library have thousands of items produced and published during this time period that have not been placed on this web site. Information on collections available for research here is available from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library home page.

Some of the Hartman Center's collections are listed in detail on the Center's website. Others may be mentioned briefly in the Center's newsletter Front & Center, all issues of which have been mounted on the web. After reviewing these information sources, please contact the Hartman Center Reference Archivist or the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Research Services staff as appropriate.

9. Has Duke created any other web sites on advertising history?

Yes, the Library mounted Ad*Access in October 1999. It includes over 7,000 print advertisements from mainly U.S. newspapers and magazines covering the period 1911 - 1955. Those 7,000 ads are, of course, a tiny subset of ads printed during those decades. To provide researchers with coherent bodies of images to study, we selected five subject areas to include: Beauty & Hygiene, Radio, Television, Transportation, and World War II. The Ad*Accesss site looks and functions very much like this EAA site.

10. How can I find out about other collections of advertisements or books printed after 1920 at the Hartman Center that are not up on the web?

See FAQ #8 for information about additional collections in the 1850 - 1920 time period covered by the EAA project.

Most of the collections from which this project is drawn are much larger than the selections included here and cover longer periods of time. The Hartman Center holds the archives of three major advertising agencies that contain extensive files of magazine and newspaper advertising that they created for their own clients. The three are: J. Walter Thompson Company (1880s-1990s),DMB&B (1930-1990s), and Wells Rich Greene (1966-1990s). In addition, the Center has several smaller collections that are valuable sources for advertising images such as the Baden Collection of Print Advertisements. The Outdoor Advertising Archives includes thousands of images of poster and billboard advertisements from the late 19th century nearly to the present.

Many of the Hartman Center's resources are included on its collections page; others are mentioned in issues of the Center's newsletters. All the issues of the Front and Center newsletter, begun in 1994, are on the web. For the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives there is a page of Collection Guides, which provides links with graphics and text describing a selection of JWT collections.

Researchers are welcome to visit Duke University to use any unrestricted collections. For people who cannot come to Duke, the Hartman Center Research staff can do brief searches at no charge or more extended work on a fee-for-service basis. There are charges for photographic reproductions, as well. You may request a fee schedule.

11. How can I find other sites included in the Library of Congress/Ameritech Library Competition?

Visit the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition Award Winners page for access to the institutions and projects that have won this award. The award was given out for three years, beginning in 1996 and ending in 1998.

A related site, The Library of Congress' American Memory page, provides access to over 70 collections focusing on historical materials including maps, books, photographs, and even animated films.

12. How can I find other historical advertisement collections on the web?

Besides Duke's EAA and Ad*Access, there are few other collections of old advertisements that we know of on the web. There is a contents list (no images) of the vast D'Arcy Collection at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the web. Some companies include a selection of historic advertising on their corporate websites, and some hobbyists have put up sites with ads that interest them. A new site, as of 2000, is adflip.com. As stated on its web page, it is "the world's largest searchable database of classic print ads."

13. How can I find out about advertisement collections in other libraries?

Among the largest collections of 19th and 20th century U.S. print advertisements in libraries other than Duke University are:

A list of Selected Repositories with Advertising Collections is also available.

14. I found a mistake in an advertisement image or information. How can I let you know?

Please send mail to the Hartman Center Reference Archivist (hartman-center@duke.edu) and let us know what the error is. Please include the URL, or the item number.

Please note that some of the original advertisements that were scanned for EAA, especially some that appeared in newspapers, are in poor condition. They may be torn or discolored by age and the effects of acid in the paper. All images are the best quality we were able to produce at the resolutions used in the project.

We are eager to hear from anyone who identifies mistakes or omissions from the information about an advertising item so that we may provide the most accurate information about the item.

15. I have some old advertisements. Are they worth anything? Whom do I contact if I would like to donate ads or other historical advertising items to your collection? Will they be put up on the web site, too?

If you have old advertisements cut or torn from magazines and newspapers, they usually have limited monetary value. You may wish to contact a local dealer in antique paper/paper ephemera or go to a flea market vendor to learn more. If you have an unusually large or old collection that is in good condition and well organized, it may be worth more. Duke University does not appraise items or collections for their monetary value, but a dealer may be able to assist you.

Please note that we think of advertising history much more broadly than just advertisements. The Hartman Center collections are rich in documents and publications that illustrate the business of advertising, the work of ad agencies and of talented individuals who worked in the business. For a broader idea of the types of materials that help libraries and archives preserve the story of advertising, see the Hartman Center Wants list page.

If you have advertisements or any sort of advertising historical material that you are considering donating to a library, you are welcome to contact Jacqueline Reid,  Director of the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University; she can be reached at j.reid@duke.edu. Please note that not all materials are appropriate for addition to the Hartman Center's collections. For example, we rarely acquire 3D items such as advertising collectibles (dolls, dishes, etc.). Also, like most archival repositories, we build our collections mainly by gifts rather than purchase. If what you have is not of interest here, we will try to make alternate suggestions to help you find a suitable home for what you have.

Our purpose in acquiring advertising historical collections at Duke is to increase the resources available for research and study, and to promote understanding of many aspects of advertising in society. We organize and describe the collections we have to make it possible for researchers to locate and use them. We place the descriptions and lists on the web. At the present time, only very limited portions of our collections appear on our web sites, and no guarantees can be made about what may be included in future projects.

16. What should I do if I have comments about the Emergence of Advertising in America project, or more questions that are not answered here?

For specific questions about the advertising items in this database, please read the About page first. If you still have a question, please contact the Hartman Center Reference staff (Hartman-Center@duke.edu).

For technical questions, please read the Technical Information section of this site first; if your question is not answered there then contact Lynn Eaton at lynn.eaton@notes.duke.edu.

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