How can I find historical advertisements on certain subjects?

There are books on the history of advertising that contain reproductions of advertisements.  A HOLLIS search using the terms "advertising" and "history" will retrieve these books.

There are also some online periodicals that index advertisements. The ProQuest historical newspapers, such as the  New York Times, can be limited by "document type--advertisement" in the Advanced search. The same is true for Godey's Lady's Book,which can be searched on the e-resource Accessible Archives; the Vogue Archive; and the 19th Century British Library Newspapers among others.

There are several archives on the web:

Ad*Access (1911 and 1955) the world's largest searchable database of classic print ads (not active as of 3/12/21)

Advertising Archives has both American and British ads.

Ads Through the Ages

Early Advertising Collection (1790-1910) contains European and American printed advertisements, largely late 19th century trade cards. Dates often approximate.

Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920

Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History

John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera (18th-20th centuries). Collection, housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, documents everyday life in Britain. Includes section on advertising.

Medicine & Madison Avenue (1850-1920)

Additional links:
History Matters (search advertisements) and University of Washington libraries images guide


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