About the Collection

The R. C. Maxwell Company was incorporated in 1894. Until its sale in 2000, it was the oldest surviving outdoor company in the U.S. The company retained thousands of 8" x 10" professional photographs of its billboards and other advertising. Dating from 1917, the earliest images are on glass negatives. Most of the scenes show places in New Jersey, with smaller numbers from Pennsylvania and other localities. Because the excellent photos show outdoor advertising in its urban or rural setting--with cars and people, movie theaters and shops, boardwalks and beaches--they record valuable vignettes of American culture in the early part of the 20th century.

Duke University Libraries originally created the descriptive metadata for the collection as part of the Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions (ROAD) database, an NEH grant-funded project to provide access to Duke's outdoor advertising material.

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Copyright & Citation

Most of the advertisements digitized as part of the the ROAD: Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions Project were published after 1923. Therefore, the majority of advertisements represented in this resource are not in the public domain. The advertisements may be viewed and printed out by anyone for research, teaching, private study, or general interest. For any other uses of these advertisements please refer to the Copyright & Citation policy for the ROAD project.
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