How To Use This Site

This site offers multiple ways to access information, which enables you to easily and quickly find the content you seek. These include:

  • Essays
  • Racial & Ethnic Groups
  • Right Sidebar
  • Search/Advanced Search
  • Time Periods


The Essays are helpful for users seeking to understand the history of advertising for racial & ethnic groups. Written by renowned scholars, the essays map the changes in advertising over the past 100 years. Essays include:

  • African Americans and Advertising
  • Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans in Advertising
  • Cultural Transformation and Chinese Figures in Nineteenth Century American Trade Cards
  • European Americans and Advertising
  • Jews and American Advertising
  • Latin Looks in Hollywood Over Time
  • Latinos and Advertising
  • Native Americans and Advertising
  • Sexuality, Race and Ethnicity in Advertising
  • South Asian Americans in Advertising

Within each essay, related images are shown toward the bottom of the page.

Racial & Ethnic Groups

This information is helpful when seeking content on specific racial & ethnic groups. There are eight different categories from which to choose:

  • African Americans
  • American Jews
  • Chinese Americans
  • European Americans
  • Japanese Americans
  • Latinos/Latinas (Hispanics)
  • Native Americans (American Indians)
  • South Asian Americans

Each category contains images associated with these categories. Images may be associated with more than one category.

[Note: If you do not see the racial or ethnic group that you are seeking, simply use the Search functionality.]

Image Detail Pages

The detail page for each image (or video clip) shows information about the images as well as cross-relational links that run searches so you can easily see images along any vector. Clicking on the image itself will display the full-sized image. Use the back button to return to the page.

The right sidebar of all image detail pages contains:

  • Navigation through either the Collection or Search Group, depending upon how you got to the page
  • Date (if known)
  • Brief description
  • Keywords and contexts (descriptions of unfamiliar & important terms)
  • Related essays
  • Image format (e.g. a black & white photograph or a postcard)
  • Repository or institution that owns the image
  • Collection (within the repository) where the image can be found
  • Tags (searchable categories that will lead you to similar content)

Search/Advanced Search

This site includes robust search functionality. The simple search runs a full-text search against all information on the site and returns first general pages, then image pages (exclusive of the text within the advertisement).

Advanced Search offers 16 different criteria (and combinations therein) in which to build a search. Note that the more criteria used in combination the narrower the return, to the point where your criteria may return zero results. In that case, reduce the number of criteria or start broad and then narrow your search.

Time Periods

The Time Periods functionality enables you to find images from 13 different historical periods, which are listed below:

  • Late 19th Century (1880-1899)
  • Turn of the 20th century (1890-1910)
  • Early Twentieth Century (1900-1919)
  • World War I (1914-1919)
  • After World War I (1920-1930)
  • Depression Era (1929-1940)
  • World War II (1939-1945)
  • The Cold War Era (1945-1990)
  • Modern Civil Rights Era (1950-1970)
  • Vietnam War Era (1960-1975)
  • Late 20th Century (1976-1999)
  • Turn of the 21st Century (1990-2010)
  • 21st Century (2000-today)

For example, if you are interested in advertisements that were produced during World War II (1939-1945) but not necessarily about World War II (1939-1945), you would click on World War II (1939-1945).

However, if you are interested in images about World War II, the Search/Advance Search functionality is your best entry point because it will grab all of the visual and textual content related specifically to World War II.

The Time Periods, then, refer to the historical time period in which the advertisements were produced but not necessarily to the content of the advertisements.

(Note: Several Time Periods overlap.)