Special Collections and Archives Opens Exhibit on Advertisements

Posted: March 2, 2011 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: March 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

By Leah Donnelly, research services coordinator, Special Collections and Archives

Print advertising is a ubiquitous mode of communication that has been in existence for centuries. The images and ideas found in advertisements reflect the spirit, values and norms of society and exploit this aspect of the human experience for commercial gain.

University Libraries Special Collections and Archives staff selected advertisements from the 20th Century Women’s Magazine collection and the Charles Rodrigues Playbill collection that exemplify advertising as a historical record.

The advertisements in this exhibit, titled “Ours the Greater Luxury: Gender and Gentility in Early 20th-Century Advertisements,” present a number of different themes in order to appeal to the consumer, including gender roles, refinement and the goal of attaining  “the good life.”

Through copy and imagery, the ads demonstrate important changes affecting the traditional societal roles of men and women in the early half of the 20th century.

The exhibit is on the second floor, C wing, of Fenwick Library.

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