Category Descriptions

The items included in Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920 (EAA) are from eleven categories. Representative samples dating from the mid 1800s to the 1920s were chosen from various collections. The categories are listed below with a brief description and links to the database for browsing and searching, and to pages with more complete information on each category.

Advertising Ephemera Collection:

686 items, 3,500+ images; 1853 - 1921. (About half of the items have no date.)

This category contains ephemera (items designed to be useful for only a short period of time) such as trade cards, calendars, almanacs, postcards, flyers and leaflets for a multitude of products. A number of U.S. cities and businesses are represented in this collection, with the greatest number in the south. The advertising ephemera items are organized by subject.

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Broadsides Collection:

400 items, 760 images; 1840 - 1921 (about one-quarter undated)

Broadsides advertised commercial products and services, and were printed for placement on walls, sides of buildings, fences, etc. Medical products, buggies, and raising money for the Washington Monument all have advertisements in this section. The broadsides are organized by subject.

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Nicole Di Bona Peterson Collection of Advertising Cookbooks:

82 cookbooks, 1360+ images; 1878 - 1929

Advertising cookbooks are a means for food companies and appliance manufacturers to promote use of their products by providing recipes and home hints. Whereas early examples often are simple and printed in black and white, later booklets increasingly were attractively printed with color art or photographs. Advertising cookbooks provide information about American foodways, kitchen technology, gender roles in the household, and much more. The Title Page and Table of Contents or Index for each cookbook have been transcribed and are searchable.

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Early Advertising Publications:

50 books, 1800 + images; 1870 - 1925

This category consists of books and pamphlets created by advertising agencies to promote the concept and methods of the new advertising industry. The database incorporates among other information the names of companies whose advertisements are included in each book. The Title Page and Table of Contents or Index have been transcribed for each book, and are searchable. The books in this category are listed by title, and can also be accessed by author name.

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J. Walter Thompson Company "House Ads":

160 items and images; 1889 - 1925

The J. Walter Thompson Company, one of the largest advertising agencies in the U.S. (and around the world), is also the oldest one still in existence. Founded in 1864 in New York, it was by the late 19th century already one of the most innovative companies, a leader in moving toward providing "full service" advertising and marketing for its clients. The "house ads" in this category illustrate how the JWT Company promoted its name and its work at a time when using an outside advertising agency was not routinely assumed to be part of doing business. The ads are organized by date.

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Ellis Collection of Kodakiana:

554 items, 559 images; 1886 - 1923

The advertisements included in EAA include some of the earliest Kodak print ads. The first year for the Kodak camera was 1888. George Eastman's Kodak camera represented a major breakthrough, as photography in the late 19th century was a cumbersome and complicated process requiring glass plates, chemicals, and bulky equipment. The advertisements are organized by date.

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Lever Brothers' Lux Soap (Flakes):

83 items; 1916 - 1925

Lux Flakes, a laundry product, was advertised with attractive artwork and included text instructing homemakers on the care of mass produced clothing. Silks, woolens, and baby clothes, among others, are highlighted in these ads as being safe to wash with Lux Flakes. The advertisements are organized by date.

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R. C. Maxwell Company Collection:

564 items and images; 1909 - 1929.

This category consists of black and white photographs of billboards and signs created by the R. C. Maxwell Company, the oldest existing outdoor advertising company in America. There are a number of images of the Atlantic City, New Jersey Boardwalk as well as Asbury Park, New York City, and Philadelphia. The images in this category are organized by date and place.

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Pond's:

203 Ads and Images; 1882 - 1925

Print advertisements for medicinal products, beauty products and shaving products manufactured by the Pond's Extract Co., now part of Chesebrough-Pond's, make up this category. A few of the ads also include the Polly and Peter Ponds' characters. The advertisements are organized by date.

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Scrapbooks:

4 scrapbooks, 166 images; no definite dates

In this category, scrapbooks refer to decorative albums composed of "scraps," collectible cards, and trade cards, which were sometimes arranged quite artistically on a page. It was fashionable for young women to include bright colored advertisement cards when creating these scrapbooks in the late 19th century. Advertisement and business cards are included in the four selected books. The images undereach scrapbook are listed as they appear in the scrapbook itself.

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Tobacco Advertising:

516 items, 779 images; 1872 - 1918. (The majority of items have no date.)

This category contains a sampling of 19th and early 20th century tobacco ads, leaflets, posters, and tobacco insert cards and flags. Many of the tobacco insert cards contain images of popular contemporary actresses. These advertisements are organized by the name of the tobacco company and then by the product advertised.

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