The 19th-Century Trade Card
Baker Library holds more than 8,000 trade cards representing the full range of products and businesses advertised through this medium from the 1870s through the 1890s. As one of the most popular forms of advertising in the nineteenth century, and an indicator of consumer habits, social values, and marketing techniques, trade cards are of interest to scholars across many disciplines, including business history, American studies, graphic design and printing history, and social and cultural history.
To provide better access to the trade card collection, the Historical Collections Department has completed the cataloging and digitization of 1,000 trade cards that are representative of our collections and of the genre itself. This undertaking was one of the first five projects funded by Harvard University's Library Digital Initiative, an effort by the Harvard University Library to create an infrastructure to support the "collecting" of digital resources at Harvard. Additional funding for the trade card project has come through the generous support of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and Arnold Communications, Inc.
For information concerning access and use of the trade card collection, please contact the Historical Collections Department.