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Business Advertisements Online
All resources are freely available unless otherwise noted.
Ad* Access Project (1912- 1950s)
Database of digitized online images of American print advertisements, focusing on the subjects of beauty/hygiene, radio, television, transportation, and World War II. Information about date, publication source, company being advertised and target audience is provided.
AdFlip (1940- )
Commercial site with indexed digital images of ads from 1940- present. To access the whole collection, you need to buy a subscription (available for a range of lengths of time and prices), but about 500 ads (about 5% of the total collection) is viewable for free.
AdRespect Ad Library (1917- )
Searchable collection of GLBT-themed television and print ads. From the library overview: "Our collection focuses on mainstream corporate advertising and its incredible power to affect how the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community is perceived. We collect worldwide corporate ads with direct references to GLBT people or a GLBT theme, including political ads and those from government and health agencies, nonprofits, gay and anti-gay organizations." Includes resources related to marketing to GLBT demographics.
Ads of the World
An archive of images and videos of over 60,000 ads in a variety of formats from over 50 countries. You can limit by medium, country, region, or industry. Full-text search does not currently appear to work.
adverlicious: online advertising and marketing archive
Searchable archive of online advertisements, both images and videos.
The Advertising Archives (c.1830- )
Collection of 100,000 primarily British and American advertisements, posters, and magazine covers. Mostly commercial images, but some political ads and posters are also included. Optional free registration to see larger images.
Advertolog (1990- )
International collection of print ads and television commercials. Full collection is browseable and key-word searchable for free, but advanced searching requires a paid subscription.
The American Package Museum (early 20th century)
"The primary objective of this website is to preserve and display specimens of American package design from the early decades of the 20th century." Photographs of product packaging including a dime placed next to the item for size comparison.
American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera (18th- 20th century)
Database of digitized online images of broadsides and other printed ephemera from the collections of the Library of Congress. The genre search option allows for limiting searches to advertisements, menus, programs, catalogs, etc. Information about date, publication source, and company being advertised is provided for each image.
Baseball Card Collection from the Library of Congress (1887- 1914)
Collection of early baseball cards sponsored by cigarette companies.
"This collection presents a Library of Congress treasure—2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914. The cards show such legendary figures as Ty Cobb stealing third base for Detroit, Tris Speaker batting for Boston, and pitcher Cy Young posing formally in his Cleveland uniform. Other notable players include Connie Mack, Walter Johnson, King Kelly, and Christy Mathewson."
Coca-Cola Television Advertisements (1950- 2000)
Fifty Years of Coca-Cola Television Advertisements: Highlights from the Motion Picture Archives at the Library of Congress.
Coloribus (c. 2000- )
International collection of advertisements in a variety of media. Browseable and keyword searchable for free. Advanced search requires a paid subscription.
Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850- 1920
Database of digitized online images of American print advertisements. Along with general search options, the ‘Special Features’ search option allows for searching by specific themes and media genres. Information about date, publication source, company being advertised and target audience is provided for each image
The Geography of Slavery in Virginia: Virginia Runaways, Slave Advertisements, Runaway Advertisements (1736- 1803)
"A digital collection of advertisements for runaway and captured slaves and servants in 18th- and 19th-century Virginia newspapers. Building on the rich descriptions of individual slaves and servants in the ads, the project offers a personal, geographical and documentary context for the study of slavery in Virginia, from colonial times to the Civil War."
The Gender Ads Project (mid-twentieth century- )
Collection of print ads organized around themes. Browseable by theme but not searchable. Bibliographic information not included for ads. Includes a bibliography of scholarship on gender and advertising.
The History Project Image Collection: 1920's Advertisements
A project of U. C. Davis, this collection includes approximately 100 annotated images of 1920's product advertisements from the United States.
Images from the History of Medicine (National Library of Medicine) (15th- 21st century)
Try a browse search for advertisements to see the most complete list of records. This database is especially useful for its collection of 19th century advertisements for medical items.
Internet Archive: Moving Image Archive (20th century)
A number of fascinating collections of historic visual material. Includes thousands of "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films, vintage cartoons, newsreels, and similar resources.
Medicine and Madison Avenue (1850- 1920)
Database of digitized online images of American print advertisements relating to medicine, focusing on the subjects of household products, over-the-counter drugs, personal hygiene, institutional and pharmaceutical advertisements, cigarettes and ‘supplementary documents.’ Information about date, publication source, company being advertised and target audience is provided for each image.
Miss Frank E. Buttolph American Menu Collection, 1856-1930
Digitized collection of American menus from the New York Public Library. Search the entire collection or browse by date. Information about date and physical description is provided for each image. Search by typing in Buttolph and information to which you want to limit your search.
Popular Graphic Arts Collection from the Library of Congress (c. 1835- 1900)
"About 15,000 historical prints (ca. 1700-1900) created to document geographic locations or popular subjects and sometimes used for advertising and educational purposes. Most are by American printmakers (e.g., Baillie, Currier & Ives, Sachse & Co.), but publishers in many other countries are also represented (e.g., Antonio Vanegas Arroyo). Subjects vary widely, from city and harbor views, street scenes, and manufacturing plants to genre scenes, historical events, religious iconography and portraits."
To find advertisements, you can do keyword searching or browse images by subject (here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/pga/index/subjects/ ) Most ads are indexed under "advertisements," but some are also indexed under the products they advertise.
Trade Cards from Harvard University (c. 1875- 1914)
A collection of about one hundred trade cards , mostly 19th century, digitized and made available from Harvard University. Do a search for 'trade card' and limit the search to records that have digital images.
Triptych: Early Advertising Cards (1790- 1910)
The Early Advertising Collection contains American and European (primarily French and Dutch) printed advertisements dating from 1790 to 1910. The majority of the collection are trade cards of the late nineteenth century.
Philip Morris USA, Inc. Advertising Archive (20th century)
More than 55,000 color images of tobacco advertisements, dating back to 1909.
Vintage Ad Browser (c.1800- )
Collection of print ads organized by theme and keyword-searchable. Also searchable by color. Bibliographic information is not included, but each image includes a link to its source.
From the "about" section: "This site aims to collect vintage ads from a variety of sources, including comic books, CD-Roms, websites, APIs, your submissions, book, magazine & comic book scans, and more. At the moment, this site contains 123,311 ads."
Women Working, 1800- 1930
Collection of digitized trade catalogs of businesses that were run by women or that produced products for women and women's magazines, as well as books, pamphlets, diaries, memoirs, institutional records, and photographs related to women at work during this period.
Collections of Advertisements in Print
Links to Franklin catalog records.