Baker Library's collection of trade catalogs ranges in date from the early nineteenth century through the first half of the twentieth century, with the greatest concentration of materials falling between 1870 and 1900. The collection includes a number of catalogs for such items as stoves, sewing machines, and refrigerators, providing a resource for the study of technology in the American home. Advertisements for consumer goods also shed light on the introduction of consumer products in the home.
The collection also includes catalogs representing businesses owned by women, including Miss Sarah M. Spiller of Salem, Massachusetts, agent for E. Butterick and Company (1871); Mrs. M. M. Smith of Concord, New Hampshire, also an agent for E. Butterick and Company (1870 and 1871); the Co-operative Dress Association of New York City, founded by Kate Field (1881); and Miss C.H. Lippincott's Flower Seeds of Minneapolis, Minnesota (1898).