About Emergence of Advertising in America (EAA)

The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920 (EAA) presents over 3,000 items relating to the early history of advertising in the United States. The materials, drawn from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University, provide a significant and informative perspective on the early evolution of this most ubiquitous feature of modern American business and culture.

Research Guide

Please consult our Research Guide for Emergence of Advertising in America.

Preferred Citation

Emergence of Advertising in America - Ad #R0108
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
Duke University David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library


Copyright Information

Research, Teaching, Private Study, General Interest User Information:

The images and texts on this web site have been made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. For these purposes you may reproduce (print, make photocopies, or download) materials from this web site without prior permission, on the condition that you provide proper attribution of the source in all copies (more...)

This site includes historical materials that may contain negative stereotypes or language reflecting the culture or language of a particular period or place. These items are presented as part of the historical record.

About the Project

Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920 (EAA) is a project made possible by grant funding to Duke University from the 1998 Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. The award has enabled the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, in cooperation with the Duke Library's Digital Scriptorium, to make rare advertising history resources available via the World Wide Web. Duke University is greatly honored to be a recipient of one of the 11 LC/Ameritech grants awarded in the 1997/98 competition. EAA presents over 3,000 items that illustrate the rise of consumer culture, especially after the American Civil War, and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry in the United States.

The images are drawn from over a dozen separate collections in the Hartman Center and Duke's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The project organizes the materials into eleven categories. In most of those categories the images shown represent only a portion of a particular collection or series. For EAA we selected representative images, including primarily items or pages that are especially informative and visually interesting. We chose not to scan some items that are "near duplicates," some pages of dense text from books and pamphlets, and items that are very large (technically challenging) or significantly damaged. The purpose of the project is to make a range of important, interesting, and rare advertising items widely available for study and research, enhancing the usefulness of the illustrative material with essays, a timeline, and bibliographies. Advertising, as has been noted by many commentators, is such a pervasive feature of American life that our culture from the late 19th century onward cannot be fully understood without studying ads and the industry that created them.


The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920 Project (EAA), generously funded through the Library of Congress/Ameritech Digital Library Competition, is the result of teamwork and coordination between two centers at the Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript & Special Collections Library, now the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The majority of advertising materials are part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History; the staff of the Hartman Center provided selection, subject and processing information. The Digital Scriptorium staff dealt with the digitization of the ads, file management, image and data conversion, and placement on the web.

Staff Members:

Digital Scriptorium Staff:

  • Lynn Eaton: EAA Project Manager

    Overall project management including workflow and scanning, interface design and Web site creation, quality control of images and data, EAD and TEI encoding, and student management.

  • Stephen Miller: Project Manager for the William Gedney Photographs and Writings Project

    Assisted the EAA Project with Perl scripting, Dynaweb programming, and image conversion.

  • Paolo Mangiafico: Director of the Digital Scriptorium

    Assisted the EAA Project with Java scripting, Dynaweb programming, image conversion and quality control.

  • Steve Hensen: Consultant

Hartman Center Staff:

  • Ellen Gartrell: Director of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. EAA Project Director
  • Ginny Daley: Hartman Center Technical Services Archivist
  • Jacqueline Reid: Hartman Center Reference Archivist

Special thanks to all of the Duke University students who worked on the EAA Project:

  • Andrew Barco
  • Lydia Boyd
  • Adrienne Brueggemeyer
  • Jordan Capps
  • Teresa Chung
  • Ryan Denniston
  • Justin Essig
  • Eliza Glaze
  • Sunil Hari
  • Brian Leach
  • Shu Wen Ng
  • John Royall
  • Cat Saleeby
  • Brad Siegele
  • Amardeep Singh
  • Shannon Smith
  • Sunil Soman
  • Kristen Stenvall
  • Heather Swagart
  • Rosalyn Tang
  • Jonathan Torrens
  • Kelly Woo
  • Amy Yuen