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Guide to the John and Jane Adams Trade Card Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Information:
  • Access Terms
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Scope and Contents

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: John and Jane Adams Trade Card Collection
    Dates: 1875-1915
    Identification: MS-0406
    Creator: Adams Trade Card Collection
    Physical Description: 0.67 linear ft
    Language of Materials: English French
    Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
    5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
    San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
    URL: http://library.sdsu.edu/scua
    Email: scref@rohan.sdsu.edu
    Phone: 619-594-6791
    Other Information:
    This collection has been digitized. Click the link below to access the digital collection.
    Additional information may be found at http://ibase.sdsu.edu/index.php?a=ViewItem&i=531

    Biographical Information:

    Trade cards, also known as advertising cards, were wildly popular collectibles in the latter half of the nineteenth century as consumer culture took over America. Advertising a huge variety of manufactured goods in bright chromolithographed colors, trade cards were produced by advertisers to encourage recognition of brand names and to stimulate demand for the products advertised. Though trade cards sometimes feature rather generic Victorian images of flowers or birds, these attractive pieces of ephemera often feature comic little vignettes with punchy slogans, or instructions for catchy games to be played using the card. Some are die-cut, and some have folding or moveable pieces--features that surely made great fun for their collectors. Trade cards were often issued in series to emphasize their collectible aspect, and this collection has many representatives from various series; for example, McLaughlin's Coffee "War Ship" series, or Arbuckle's "States" series.
    Trade cards often contain a separate advertisement for the local seller of the product, usually on the verso of the card.
    A huge variety of social and cultural topics are open for study using trade cards. Depictions of women and femininity, domesticity and the American home, advertising methods and consumerism, social mores, race relations, humor--all are made tangible in this type of American ephemera.

    Access Terms

    This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

    Genre/Form of Material:

    Digital Records

    Personal Name:

    Adams, Jane Ford -- Art collections
    Adams, John R., 1900-1994 -- Art collections

    Topical Term:

    Advertising cards -- Private collections -- California -- San Diego
    Advertising cards -- Specimens
    Advertising cards -- United States -- Specimens
    Trade cards -- Specimens

    Administrative Information

    Separated Materials:

    These materials were separated from the unprocessed John and Jane Adams Ephemera Collection, Box 6 (Advertisements).

    Conditions Governing Use:

    These materials are in the public domain. However, the nature of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    This collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation:

    Identification of item, folder title, box number, John and Jane Adams Trade Card Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

    Related Materials:

    John and Jane Adams Greeting Card Collection
    John and Jane Adams Autograph Album Collection
    John and Jane Adams Postcard Collection

    Arrangement of Materials:

    The collection is arranged alphabetically by type of product. Within each folder, cards are arranged alphabetically by name of product advertised. There is a "Miscellaneous Products" folder found at the end of the collection which houses cards not readily categorizeable. Cards that do not advertise a product, but were rather meant to serve as advertising for a business, are housed in the "Individual Businesses" folder.
    When a count appears in parentheses after a product listing in the finding aid (i.e., Union Sewing Machine (10)), this denotes that there are ten different cards advertising the Union Sewing Machine. There are no duplicate cards in the collection.

    Scope and Contents

    A variety of products are advertised in the collection. All trade cards in the collection are American except two French cards which can be found in the "Miscellaneous Products" folder.
    This collection has been digitized. Copy and paste this URL into your browser's address bar to access the digital collection: http://infodome.sdsu.edu/projects/tradecards/.