Museum of the City of New York collection on advertising, 19th – 20th century (Bulk 1870-1900)

Extent: 10 boxes and one oversize drawer (3 linear feet)
The collection on advertising is an artificial collection compiled by Museum staff since the Museum’s earliest decades of operation in the 1930s to the present. The primary formats represented in the collection are trade cards, two-dimensional advertisements, cigar box labels, catalogs, and three-dimensional promotional items.

Historical Note
Advertisements for goods and services have been part of the American culture of buying and selling since the colonial era. With the increased availability and affordability of lithographic print services in the mid-19th century, the advertising industry boomed.   Added technological developments in printing, including the development of color lithography, revolutionized the advertising industry by the late 19th century, introducing a wide variety of visually engaging graphics into the marketplace. New York had a vibrant printing industry located in Lower Manhattan in what is now considered the Financial District; the majority of the material in this collection was printed locally in New York City.

Scope and Content
The Museum of the City of New York’s collection on advertising is an artificial collection compiled by Museum since the 1930s. The primary formats represented in the collection are trade cards, two-dimensional advertisements, cigar box labels, catalogs, and three-dimensional promotional items spanning the mid-19th through mid-20th centuries. This collection not only includes an assortment of different advertising media across two centuries, it also presents a variety of advertising philosophies, ranging from advertisements with a very straightforward approach of presenting information about available goods, to adding visual and verbal wit and sentimentality to the message.

Series I: Trade Cards, ca. 1870-1900
Sub-Series A: Food and Hospitality
Sub-Series B: Home Goods and Services
Sub-Series C: Clothing
Sub-Series D: Accessories
Sub-Series E: Shoes
Sub-Series F: Healthcare
Sub-Series G: Books and Stationery
Sub-Series H: Personal Care
Sub-Series I: Tobacco
Sub-Series J: Art and Music
Sub-Series K: Transportation
Sub-Series L: Professional Services
Sub-Series M: Toys and Novelties
Sub-Series N: Unidentified
Sub-Series O: Assorted

Series II: Advertisements, ca.1810-1910
Sub-Series A: Home Goods and Services
Sub-Series B: Clothing
Sub-Series C: Accessories
Sub-Series D: Stationery and Publishing
Sub-Series E: Art and Music
Sub-Series F: Food and Hospitality
Sub-Series G: Healthcare
Sub-Series H: Tobacco
Sub-Series I: Entertainment
Sub-Series J: Assorted
Sub-Series K: Unidentified

Series III: Cigar Box Labels, ca. 1870-1910
Sub-Series A: Gift of Jacob Voice (35.300)
Sub-Series B: Gift of William G. Schmidt, Esquire (40.70)
Sub-Series C: Reproductions

Click here to view the entire finding aid for the Collection on Advertising

You may also request the container list as an excel document from research@mcny.org.

The Museum is grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities; this collection was reprocessed as part of the NEH project Illuminating New York City History through Material Culture: A Proposal to Process, Catalog, Digitize, and Rehouse the Ephemera Collections of the Museum of the City of New York.
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2 responses to “Museum of the City of New York collection on advertising, 19th – 20th century (Bulk 1870-1900)

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