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Jay T. Last Collection of Household Prints and Ephemera: Finding Aid
priJLC_HHD  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Jay T. Last Collection of Household Prints and Ephemera
    Dates (inclusive): approximately 1835-1921
    Bulk dates: approximately 1850-1900
    Collection Number: priJLC_HHD
    Collector: Last, Jay T.
    Extent: approximately 7,915 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Jay T. Last Collection of Household Prints and Ephemera contains over 7,900 printed items advertising household items, products, and related businesses in the United States from the 1830s to the 1920s, with the bulk of the items spanning from 1850 to 1900. The collection consists largely of lithographed ephemeral items produced for American businesses affiliated with the manufacture, distribution, and sale of furnishings, appliances, cleaning products, and related tools and supplies. Pets and pet products are also found here.
    Language: English.
    Note:
    Finding aid last updated on January 10, 2018.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item title, Call number]. Jay T. Last Collection of Household Prints and Ephemera, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    This collection forms part of the Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts and Social History, which was donated to the Huntington Library by Jay T. Last in 2005 as a gift in progress. The bulk of the beverage prints and ephemera were transferred to the Library between 2010 and 2013.

    Background

    The Jay T. Last Collection is an unparalleled archive of printed paper artifacts that documents American lithographic, social, and business history. The collection began in the early 1970s when physicist and Silicon Valley pioneer Jay Last moved to Southern California and started collecting citrus box labels he found at local flea markets and rummage sales. As his collection grew, Last realized that these labels conveyed important information about commercial printing, graphic design, and social history, and he expanded his collection to include other forms of American visual culture. Today this collection contains more than 200,000 lithographic prints, posters, and ephemera of mostly nineteenth- and early twentieth- century American origin and represents works by more than five hundred lithographic companies.

    Scope and Content

    The Jay T. Last Collection of Household Prints and Ephemera contains over 7,900 printed items advertising household items, products, and related businesses in the United States from the 1830s to the 1920s, with the bulk of the items spanning from 1850 to 1900. The collection consists largely of lithographed ephemera produced for American businesses affiliated with the manufacture, distribution, and sale of furnishings, appliances, cleaning products, and related tools and supplies. Pets and pet products are also found here.
    Materials are arranged in two series: small-size items (11 x 14 inches or less) and large-size items (more than 11 x 14 inches). Small-size items are described broadly at the series level; large-size items and select small-size items are fully inventoried and all printers, artists, and publishers are indexed by name. The collection includes over 80 large-size items comprised mainly of lithographed advertising prints and leaflets for cleaning products, furnishings, tools, and appliances. Small-size items number approximately 7,835 and contain a variety of promotional materials including trade cards, handbills, leaflets, and printed billheads and letterheads with and without manuscript text.
    Materials are further divided into four subseries: cleaning products, furnishings, pets, and tools and appliances. Cleaning products include soaps, polishes, bleaches and ammonias, starches, and pest control. Furnishings include lighting, furniture, clocks and art objects, tableware, doors and other architectural components, as well as the manufacturers and retailers of these goods. Pets include depictions of domestic animals as well as the supplies and products used for their care. Tools and appliances include brooms, irons, and kitchenware as well as refrigerators, freezers, sewing machines, stoves and ranges, and washers.
    The collection supports various fields of research relating to home decorating, housekeeping, laundering, and washing including products used to adorn interiors and exteriors, clean and maintain clothes, polish and preserve household objects, tidy living spaces, cleanse the human body, and care for family pets. The images provide a resource for studying American domesticity and related industries in the 19th and early 20th centuries, along with the evolution of advertising strategies. The items also offer insight to consumer buying habits, brand loyalty, and popular use for a variety of household items and products. As graphic materials, the collection highlights developing techniques and trends in printmaking while documenting the artists, engravers, lithographers, printers, and publishers involved in the creative process.
    Note: Food starch and laundry starch are grouped together because both were often made or distributed by the same companies and advertised together.

    Note

    The Jay T. Last Collection is a gift in progress. Container numbers may change as the collection expands.

    Alternative Form of Materials Available

    Visit the Huntington Digital Library: Jay T. Last Collection   to view digitized items from this collection.

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    Arrangement

    Items are arranged broadly by size in two series, which have been further arranged in four subseries according to product type:
    • Series I. Household Prints and Ephemera (small size)
      • Subseries A. Cleaning Products (small size)
      • Subseries B. Furnishings (small size)
      • Subseries C. Pets (small size)
      • Subseries D. Tools and Appliances (small size)
    • Series II. Household Prints and Ephemera (large size)
      • Subseries A. Cleaning Products (large size)
      • Subseries B. Furnishings (large size)
      • Subseries C. Pets (large size)
      • Subseries D. Tools and Appliances (large size)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Genres

    Billheads.
    Business cards.
    Chromolithographs.
    Ephemera.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 20th century.
    Engravings.
    Leaflets (printed works).
    Letterheads.
    Lithographs.
    Printed ephemera.
    Promotional materials.
    Relief prints.
    Trade cards.
    Views.

    Subjects

    Advertising -- Cleaning compounds.
    Advertising -- Clocks.
    Advertising -- Food.
    Advertising -- House furnishings.
    Advertising -- Perfumes industry.
    Advertising -- Soap.
    African Americans -- Pictorial works.
    Babies -- Pictorial works.
    Children -- Pictorial works.
    Cities and towns -- Pictorial works.
    Cleaning machinery and appliances -- Pictorial works.
    Cornstarch industry.
    Dwellings -- Pictorial works.
    Factories -- Pictorial works.
    Families -- Pictorial works.
    Footwear -- Pictorial works.
    Furnaces -- Pictorial works.
    Furniture -- Pictorial works.
    Gas light fixtures industry.
    Horse-drawn vehicles -- Pictorial works.
    Industrial buildings -- Pictorial works.
    Kitchens -- Pictorial works.
    Laundry -- Pictorial works.
    Locomotives -- Pictorial works.
    Men -- Pictorial works.
    Refrigeration and refrigerating machinery -- Pictorial works.
    Sewing -- Pictorial works.
    Sewing machines -- Pictorial works.
    Sewing-machine industry.
    Soap -- Pictorial works.
    Starch -- Pictorial works.
    Storefronts -- Pictorial works.
    Stores, Retail -- Pictorial works.
    Stoves -- Pictorial works.
    Women -- Pictorial works.
    Wringers -- Pictorial works.

    Printer, Publisher, Artist Index

    The following is a complete list of printers, publishers, and artists represented in the large-size items in this collection.
    Allan, J. N.
    Alvord, Johnson Mahalah, 1819-1863
    B. Wilkins & Co.
    Baptist & Taylor
    Carqueville Litho. Co.
    Clay, Cosack & Co.
    Corr, Bernard, 1828-1923
    Cosack & Co.
    Crump, S. (Samuel)
    DeVaudricourt, A.
    Donaldson Brothers (Firm)
    Eckstein, Hoffmann & Porr
    Endicott & Co. (New York, N.Y.)
    Ferd. Mayer & Co.
    Ferguson, Hiram, 1828 or 1829-1912
    Folger, William B.
    Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company
    Geo. H. Walker & Co.
    Graham, C. B. (Curtis B.)
    Graphic Company
    Hatch & Co.
    Hatch Lith. Co.
    Howland, Alfred R.
    Hughes & Johnson Litho.
    International News Company (New York, N.Y.)
    J. Mayer & Co.
    J.H. Bufford & Sons
    Jenison, H. S.
    Ketterlinus Printing House
    Ketterlinus, Eugene, 1824-1886
    Kollner, Augustus, 1813-1906
    Krebs Lithographing Company
    Kuhl, Frederick
    Lakeside Press (Chicago, Ill.)
    Lewis, Charles E. (Lithographer)
    Liddle, John B., 1792 or 1793-
    Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann
    Moss Engraving Company
    Murphy, W. (William)
    National Bureau of Engraving (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    Nichols, Thomas Parker, 1830-
    Parsons, Charles, 1821-1910
    Rease, W. H.
    Richmond & Co.
    Ringwalt & Brown
    Russell & Richardson
    S.N. Dickinson & Co.
    Samuel S. Smith & Son
    Sarony, Major & Knapp Lith.
    Shearman, J. A.
    Shober & Carqueville
    Strobridge & Co. Lith.
    Strobridge Lithographing Company
    Thoubboron, J.
    Van Benthuysen Printing House
    W. J. Morgan & Co.
    Wagner & M'Guigan
    Wales, James Albert, 1852-1886
    Weed, Parsons & Co.
    Worley & Bracher
    Wyman, Charles E. (Engraver)