Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: B/A2445

Advertising and trade card collection of the Schlesinger Library, 1872-1974


Advertisements and trade cards depicting women or targeting female consumers.


  • Creation: 1872-1974

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Materials may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.25 linear feet ((3 file boxes) plus 3 folio folders, 1 folio+ folder)

Collection consists of recipe booklets issued by food processing or appliance companies as well as booklets on laundering, table and china ware, and interior decoration; trade cards and an advertising booklet for Demorest patterns, sewing machines, and magazine; trade cards for hose supporters, corsets, millinery, Kotex, ladies' tonics, beauty aids, wigs and hairpieces, laundry soap, Dunham's Concentrated Cocoanut, and labor-saving devices, etc.; advertising cards for Nevitsky Brothers of New York featuring semi-dressed women; and advertisements aimed at women. Also included are a Knit for Victory pattern book, 1943; Peterson's Magazine featuring embroidery and fashion plates, January 1881; a temperance song book advertising vinegar bitters; Woman's Suffrage Stove Polish, ca.1910; a catalog of woman suffrage literature and supplies by the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co., 1916; The Suzanne Shop, a fashion operetta by Lulu W. Gillum and Edna Marshall, 1931; The Literary Digest featuring a cover illustration by Laura A. Shafer, 1918; an illustrated leaflet advertising Rosa's Negro Character Dolls, 1945; milk caps advertising creameries, etc.; flash cards, greeting cards, visiting cards, and cards with Bible lessons; a Real Silk hosiery mending kit; a Ladies' Note Book and Calendar which addresses women's complaints and was distributed by the World's Dispensary Medical Association of Buffalo, New York; Lookout Mountain Songster No. Two advertising McElree's Wine of Cardui, a tonic for women, published in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Also includes matchbook covers with advertisements for family planning and Planned Parenthood clinics; contraceptive foam; sewing machines; and shapewear.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were given to the Schlesinger Library by the Chicago Historical Society in 1991; Mary Maples Dunn in 1996; Boston College in 2004; Deborah Kelley-Milburn in 2006; and Linda Lacy in 2007. Additional materials were acquired from An Uncommon Vision in 1995 and 1997; aGatherin' in 1997; Second Life Books in 1997; These Old Things in 2001; eBay in 2002; Geo. Gregory Smart in 2003 and 2006; Jim Day in 2013; Linda Lacy between 2019 and 2022. Folder #3.14 was transferred from the Schlesinger Library Printed Materials Department in October 2023.

Processing Information

Processed: July 2018

By: Johanna Carll

Last updated: March 2024

By: Johanna Carll

One folder of African American beauty product labels and one folder of African American beauty advertisements and catalogs were removed from this collection and transferred to the African American beauty collection of the Schlesinger Library.

Advertising and trade card collection of the Schlesinger Library, 1872-1974
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA