Tuesday, February 7, 2012

March Madness: Early American Advertising Conference

Compliments of the American Sewing Machine Company: Manufactory Phil[adelphia], PA. Sales Room 1318 Chestnut St. (Philadelphia, 1876). Chromolithograph.

The evolution of modern advertising in this country continues to garner attention from the scholarly community and the popular media, as well as to influence contemporary visual culture. Paying homage to this ongoing fascination with how we advertise, to whom, and why, VCP at LCP is sponsoring the conference Before Madison Avenue: Advertising in Early America, March 15-16, 2012, with the Center for Historic American Visual Culture. For the second leg of a program begun at the American Antiquarian Society, November 4-5, 2011, panelists will continue the thought-provoking discussions inspired by the remarks of the keynote speaker, independent scholar Wendy Woloson, about advertising comprising a part of a "persuasion complex" for consumers during the 19th century.

Spearheaded by an address by Peter Benes, director of the Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife, about woodcut newspaper advertisements, the nine additional panelists  will explore the social, cultural, and economic effects of advertising on 19th-century society. Presenters will discuss the sewing machine industry and sign-making trade, professional penmanship, educational reforms, suburbia, and representations of Native Americans through advertisements, broadsides, periodical illustrations, store signage, and political cartoons. The conference panels will serve as a forum to better understand, within the context of visual culture, the marketing and consumption of goods and services, as well as the promotion and perception of environmental and cultural ideals, and social stereotypes, before the development of Madison Avenue. To learn more about the program, including registration, please visit http://www.librarycompany.org/madisonave/index.htm.

This Sheet Contains Samples of Real Penmanship from Gaskell's Complete Compendium of Elegant Writing ([Manchester, N.H.?], ca. 1878?). Engraved broadside.

Dr. George Stuart's Botanical Syrup and Vegetable Pills, The Greatest Family Medicine in the World (Philadelphia: P. S. Duval, [1849]). Lithograph.

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