Answered By: Katie Hutchison
Last Updated: Dec 20, 2016     Views: 182

There are several places one can look for historical advertisements and commercials:

  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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. Created by Duke University.
  • Coloribus (c. 2000- )
    International collection of advertisements in a variety of media. Browsable 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 Gender Ads Project (mid-twentieth century- )
    Collection of print ads organized around themes. Browsable 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
    A project of U. C. Davis, this collection includes approximately 8600 annotated images of us history. Searchable by keyword, such as "1920s" or "advertising."
  • 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.

 

For more related and other more specific advertisements and themes:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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