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Trade Cards: An Illustrated History

If you're looking for inspiration from the graphic sensibilities of the late-nineteenth century, this digital collection by Cornell University Library provides it. As more and more manufactured goods became available to American consumers after the Civil War, producers of these goods looked for ways to promote their products, and trade cards - "small pasteboard cards colorfully printed with a company's name, address, and an eye-catching image to stick in the customer's mind" - were the answer. Some examples of these eye-catching images included a chef poised to step out of a pickle, holding a tureen and a can of Heinz tomato soup. Other trade cards on display advertise a wide variety of consumer products, such as hair tonic, Pabst beer, baking powder, and tinned corn beef. This online exhibition is equipped with an image viewer that allows visitors to zoom in on selected cards. The trade cards are from the Waxman Collection, donated to Cornell University by Nahum (Nach) Waxman and Maron Waxman in 1915. Nach Waxman is an alumnus of Cornell, and the founder of Kitchen Arts & Letters, a New York City bookstore specializing in cookbooks and publications related to food and drink.
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Date of Scout Publication 2018-01-12
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