Marguerite Mills Advertisement Card Collection

 

Windsor Historical Society

96 Palisado Avenue, Windsor, CT 06095

Copyright © 2006 Windsor Historical Society of Windsor, Connecticut, Inc.

 

 

Creator:  Marguerite Elizabeth Mills

Dates:  1870-1910

Extent:  1.2 linear feet

 

Accession #: 1986.75.900

Location: Document Storage

 

Historical Note  

            Trade cards were a product of the late 19th century.  Advertising cards in colonial America had been costly to print and were used mostly to promote luxury goods.  The 19th century invention of lithography, a printing process that uses stone rather than engraved metal plates, allowed printers to create limitless, cheap prints.  By the 1870s retailers were using lithography to create attractive trade cards targeting American consumers. 

Trade cards were most popular between 1880 and 1900. About the size of playing cards, trade cards used images and witty text to advertise brand name goods from food to farming equipment. Manufacturers gave stacks of cards to stores that sold their merchandise. The stores then gave the cards to customers with their purchases.  Shoppers and their children collected the colorful cards and often pasted them in scrapbooks.

Some manufacturers designed specialized trade cards for their products, but most bought stock cards printed with generic scenes.  The manufacturers then personalized the stock cards by printing their product’s information in blank spaces on the cards. A single trade card design could advertise a wide range of products from medicine to children’s shoes.

 

Scope and Contents

            The collection of over 1000 loose trade cards (mostly chromolithographs) was assembled by donor Marguerite E. Mills.  It is probable that Marguerite inherited the cards from a close, older relative since collecting trade cards was most popular in the two decades before Marguerite’s birth in 1903.  The collection features a wide variety of products and focuses on Hartford, Connecticut area businesses and merchants.  The date range of the cards is 1870 through 1910. Of special interest are trade cards from the 1893 Columbian World’s Fair in Chicago, including the complete set of 12 cards from American Cereal Co, and a complete set of 8 trade cards from the Allyn, Blanchard and Latimer Company entitled “The Story of Bluebeard and his Wife.” Some of the cards feature blacks, Native Americans, and people of many different nationalities. Several trade cards have early images of baseball, ice hockey, and other sports, several fold out to demonstrate the results of the product advertised, and others reveal a hidden image when held to the light.

 

Organization

            The collection is organized by topic or advertised product.  Within each category they are arranged alphabetically by manufacturer’s name and then in order by the merchant’s business name.  The box list includes extensive cross references to other categories within the six box collection.  Blank (stock) cards do not have any manufacturers or local business imprints.  There are less than a dozen trade cards from other donors included in the boxes.  Each of these cards has been catalogued individually.

            A Microsoft Access database has been created to facilitate access to the collection.  Fields include category of product, product name, manufacturer, local retailer, card style, and card producer. In addition, cards were classified by the type of image.  Examples include seasons, children, floral, fantasy, and animals.

 

Box I   A-L

 

Box 2  Clothing

 

Box 3  Food

 

Box 4  M-P

 

Box 5  S

 

Box 6  T-Z, Miscellaneous, Blank cards 

 

Box and Folder Lists

 

Box 1

           

            Art Supplies: see Printing, Box 4

 

Alcohol: see Food: Alcohol and Tobacco, Box 3

 

Birds: see Holiday Goods, Box 1

 

Books and Magazines

           

Boots: see Clothing, Box 2

           

Carpet Cleaning and Carpet Sweepers

           

Cement

           

Ceramics: see Dining Wares, Box 1 and Holiday Goods, Box 1

 

Clothing: see Box 2

           

Clubs and Organizations

 

Coffee House: see Dining Room, Box 1

 

Cologne: see Perfume, Box 4

 

Diamonds: see Jewelry, Box 1

 

Dining Rooms, Coffee Houses and Restaurants

           

Dining Wares

                        China, Crockery, Glassware, Iron Ware, Silverware

           

Dolls: see Holiday Goods, Box 1

 

Dyes: see Laundry, Box 1

 

Fancy Goods: see Holiday Goods, Box 1

 

Farming Supplies and Gardening Supplies

                        see also: World’s Fair, Box 6

           

Florist

 

Food: see Box 3

           

Frames: see Furniture, Box 1

 

Furnace: see Stoves and Furnaces, Box 5

 

Furniture and Furnishings

                        Furniture, Frames, Lamps and Accessories

                                    see also: World’s Fair, Box 6

           

            Gardening: see Farming, Box 1

 

Glass: see World’s Fair, Box 6

 

Glassware: see Dining Wares, Box 1

 

Holiday Goods

                        Birds, Dolls, Ceramics, Fancy Goods, etc.

           

Insurance

 

Ironware: see Dining Wares, Box 1

           

Jewelry and Diamonds

           

Lamps: see Furniture, Box 1

 

Laundry: Dyes, Starches, and Wringers

                        Laundry Soap: see Soap, Box 5

           

Lawn Mower

           

Livery: see World’s Fair, Box 6

           

Luggage and Travel

 

 

Box 2

 

            Clothing

 

Box 3

 

            Food: General

                        see also: World’s Fair, Box 6

           

            Food: Alcohol and Tobacco

 

Box 4

 

            Magazines: see Books and Magazines, Box 1

 

Medicine

 

            Musical Instruments

                        Pianos, Organs

 

            Oil

                        Astral Oil, Finishing Oil

 

            Organs: see Musical Instruments, Box 4

 

            Organizations: see Clubs, Box 1

 

Perfume and Cologne

 

            Photography

 

            Piano: see Musical Instruments, Box 4

 

            Polish: see Oil, Box 4

 

Printing, Stationery and Art Supplies  

                                    see also: World’s Fair, Box 6

 

Box 5

 

            School

 

Sewing:  Thread and Machines

                                    see also: World’s Fair, Box 6

 

Shoes: see Clothing, Box 2

 

            Silverware: see Dining Wares, Box 1

 

            Soap

 

            Starch: see Laundry, Box 1

 

            Stationery: see Printing, Box 4

 

            Stoves and Furnaces

 

Box 6

 

            Theater

 

            Thread: see Sewing, Box 5

 

            Tobacco: see Food, Alcohol and Tobacco, Box 3

 

            Travel: see Luggage and Travel, Box 1

 

            Twine

 

            World’s Fair

see also: Farming, Food, Glass, Furniture, Livery, Printing, Sewing

 

            Wringer: see Laundry, Box 1

 

            Miscellaneous

 

            Blank Advertisement Cards

 

Custodial history 

            Marguerite Elizabeth Mills (1903-1985) bequeathed her extensive collection of family heirlooms to the Windsor Historical Society. The collection contains items from several generations of the Mills and Phelps families and includes furniture, decorative arts, documents, and ephemera.  Portions of the manuscript collections have received minimal processing.

 

Related Materials

Scrapbooks of trade cards:

            L. P. Wilson Scrapbooks:

                        2 scrapbooks with spine label J 828 Wilson

                        1 scrapbook with spine label Q 828 Scrapbook Wilson

 

            Flora Thrall Scrapbook

                        Q 828 Scrapbook Thrall

 

            Mary Kavill Mather Scrapbook

                        1987.56

           

Unidentified Scrapbooks

                        1 scrapbook lacking spine label

                        1 scrapbook labeled Q 828

                        1 scrapbook labeled J 828

 

Marguerite Elizabeth Mills Collection (1986.75)

 

Subject Terms

            Advertising cards -- Connecticut

            Clothing and dress – History -- 19th century

            Food – History -- 19th century

            Patent medicines

            Mills, Marguerite Elizabeth, 1903-1985

            United States – Social life and customs – 1865-1918

 

Administrative history

Collection processed by Erin Stevic and Betty Tonucci, Summer 2005

Microsoft Access database created by Nancy Clark, Winter 2006

Finding aid compiled by Erin Stevic and Barbara Goodwin, December 2005

 

 

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