Scope and Contents
This collection contains business and trade cards ranging from 1887 to 1908 and undated from businesses, proprietors and local agents for out-of-town companies that engaged in commerce in Indianapolis, Indiana. The cards advertise a variety of businesses, including dry goods stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, florists, druggists, dentists, coffee dealers, and wagon and farm implement dealers. Some products advertised on the cards include the Esterly binder, Fleichmann & Co. yeast, the Gardenville feed and ensilage cutter, Hoover & Gamble Excelsior binders and binding twine, the Klinefelter & Dillman Company’s corn planters and check rowers, the Kauffman Buggy Company, shoes from Reed & Weaver of Rochester, New York, Waters’ improved tree pruner, Fleming’s Mikado Cologne, Crudoform rheumatic liniment, Dr. C. McLane’s Liver Pills, the Lautz Bros. & Co. Gloss Soap, D.S. Morgan & Co. Triumph binder and steel mower, Aeolian organs, Owen, Pixley & Co. clothing manufacturer, White sewing machines, and the Whitely steel mower and binder.
Conditions Governing Use
Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Biographical / Historical
The trade card was a popular form of advertisement during the late 19th century and was used to advertise everything from soap to medicine to farm implements. With the invention of color lithography, mass production of color printed cards became an inexpensive way to reach consumers. The cards featured a variety of illustrations and reflected the popular culture of the time. By the turn of the century, businesses moved on to advertising in magazines and the use of trade cards dwindled and postcards became the new collectible.
O’Connor, John T. 1989. “The Art of the Trade.” Harvard Business Review 67 (4): 102. EBSCO Management Collection (8909250512).
PBS.org. “Trade Cards.” History Detectives Special Investigations. http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/trade-cards/.