Ad Blast from the Past
April 14, 2008 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Duke University has three image collections of old U.S. and Canadian advertisements. Ad*Access a database of over 7000 print ads from 1911 to 1956. Emergence of Advertising in America has 9000 images of ads from 1850-1920. Medicine and Madison Avenue has 600 medical ads and documents from 1911 to 1958. You can browse the collections by product, company, subject, year and categories or you can use the search function. Here are some of my favorites: Miss Clairol, They're Both in the Swim Today, Fancy Goods and Toy Bazaar, Sky Blue Pink, SAS Makes Airline History, A Montgomery Ward Hat that Becomes Nearly Every Woman, Radiant Peony and Hitler's Death Warrant.
posted by Kattullus (11 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
My gosh did they guilt people into buying war bonds.
posted by Kattullus at 7:58 PM on April 14, 2008

Also, Sears Roebuck goes North Korean. "...we, together with all loyal Americans, know that the wants of our Government are supreme."

We sure were racist back then, part 209820.43
posted by Avenger at 8:20 PM on April 14, 2008

That Phillips' laxative ad was horribly disquieting. I know that word choice for that particular service can be rather difficult, but was it really necessary to describe their product as "thorough"? Maybe it's just me, but that seems to call to mind quite a vivid mental image.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 8:29 PM on April 14, 2008

That Ad*Access site is amazing. Beautiful stuff.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:00 PM on April 14, 2008

Paleo Keds
posted by doctor_negative at 11:05 PM on April 14, 2008

I love looking at this stuff. When I was a young lad my folks had stacks of National Geographic magazines from the 1910s through the '30s. After exploring the world through the stories (and pictures of topless native women), I'd browse the ads and imagine what life was like then.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:56 AM on April 15, 2008

If only.
posted by oaf at 5:42 AM on April 15, 2008

great stuff, thanks!
posted by pantufla at 6:02 AM on April 15, 2008

Good heavens. The "Montgomery Ward Hat that becomes nearly every woman" would make me look like a schizoid Anne of Green Gables.
posted by orange swan at 6:15 AM on April 15, 2008

Thanks for wasting my entire day. Great links!
posted by tiburon at 12:53 PM on April 24, 2008

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