10 Great Moments in Advertising! Chronicling America

We continue our Throwback Thursday #TBT celebration of Chronicling America, our free, online searchable database of historical U.S. newspapers, with interesting stories from the archives as selected by reference librarians in our Serials & Government Publications Division.

Today we return to our historical newspaper archives to veer off from the normal journalistic endeavors and examine the bold and sometimes peculiar world of newspaper advertising. Here are some ads that caught our eye:

"Help! Help! Help!" illustrated advertisement from the Pascagoula (Miss.) Democrat-Star, April 20, 1888.

“Help! Help! Help!” illustrated advertisement from the Pascagoula (Miss.) Democrat-Star, April 20, 1888.

Help! Help! Help!
W.G. Tebault has an “immense stock” of dry goods to sell, and it takes, well, a freakishly large hand to sell them. Pascagoula (Miss.) Democrat-Star, April 20, 1888.

Wrigley’s: Six Reasons Why It’s a Good Friend
Chewing gum not only steadies your nerves but also is economical—two fine traits in a good friend. Carrizozo (N.M.) News, May 24, 1918.

Puss in Boots
A rather alarming kitty in a fine bowler hat hawks footwear for the Manufacturer’s Shoe Company. Pacific (Honolulu) Commercial Advertiser, Feb. 12, 1895.

The Most Wonderful Endorsement Ever Given Any Product
A strong boast! But when march composer and bandleader John Philip Sousa and all 66 members of his band sing the praises of Tuxedo tobacco, you must be on to something. “All the vim, energy and enthusiasm we put into the playing of the ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ we find in the steady use of Tuxedo.” Lexington (Mo.) Intelligencer, Feb. 11, 1916.

The Largest and Handsomest Dental Parlors in All America
The hyperbole continues and the illustrations become a little more alarming in this ad promoting the fine practice of Dr. W.J. Hurd, “the friend of suffering humanity.” St. Paul (Minn.) Daily Globe, Dec. 10, 1894.

"The Largest and Handsomest Dental Parlors in All America," illustrated advertisement from the St. Paul (Minn.) Daily Globe, Dec. 10, 1894.

“The Largest and Handsomest Dental Parlors in All America,” illustrated advertisement from the St. Paul (Minn.) Daily Globe, Dec. 10, 1894.

Are You Summer Tired?
Run down, no appetite, tired in the morning and sallow of complexion? Well, Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey will put a stop to that. A great summer medicine! Omaha (Neb.) Daily Bee, August 18, 1905.

To Weak Men
If the whiskey doesn’t do it, there’s nothing that improves the nerves, invigorates the muscles and clears up the skin better than an electro-magnetic belt, says Dr. Sanden. Two settings, mild and (ouch) strong. San Francisco Call, Dec. 25, 1895.

“Won’t freeze, won’t break, won’t spill, won’t spot clothes.” Appears to be for “bluing” laundry. And very easy to use. “Directions for use: Wiggle stick around in the water.” Topeka (Kan.) State Journal, Feb. 20, 1904.

Conspicuous Nose Pores
Yikes! The less said about this, perhaps, the better. Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, June 13, 1915.

Shaving Saloon
We close today with jaunty verse, courtesy of the tonsorial concern of Cornsh & Francis in the Cumberland (Md.) Civilian and Telegraph, May 19, 1859:

All who have beards to cut or hair to crop
Just call on us at our New Shop,
At noon or eve, by night or day,
Or any time that you can stay;

Our room is neat, our towels clean,
Our scissors sharp and razors keen,
And everything we think you’ll find
To suit the taste and please the mind.

And then we move our hand as true
As any barber e’er can do.
With rapid touch we’ll smooth the face
And dress the hair with equal grace.
And all that art and skill can do,
Your money will procure for you.

Launched by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2007, Chronicling America provides enhanced and permanent access to historically significant newspapers published in the United States between 1836 and 1922. It is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a joint effort between the two agencies and partners in 40 states and territories. Start exploring the first draft of history today at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov and help us celebrate on Twitter and Facebook by sharing your findings and using the hashtag #ChronAm.

A Hamilton Mixtape, Library of Congress Style

Nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards, “Hamilton” the musical swept the ceremony winning 11, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score and a handful of best actor/actresses. The show is based on the Ron Chernow biography on founding father Alexander Hamilton, which Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical, had picked up on a whim […]

Library in the News: May 2016 Edition

The month of May saw the Library of Congress in a variety of headlines. In April, the Library announced that THOMAS.gov, the online legislative information system, will officially retire July 5, completing the multi-year transition to Congress.gov. David Gewirtz for ZDNet Government wrote, “You have to wonder what Thomas Jefferson would have made of the […]

New Online: Education, Folklife, Wartime Collections

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.) Educational Outreach This month, we’re very happy to have a new release in the excellent series of Student Discovery Sets produced by the Library’s Education Outreach team. Designed for classroom use on Apple’s iPad platform, Student Discovery sets “bring […]

Rare Survivor of Pacific War

(The following story was written by Mark Hartsell, editor of the Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette.) Before he boarded the ship carrying prisoners of war across the ocean to a forced-labor camp, George Washington Pearcy divided his diary and gave the pieces to two comrades staying behind. If he didn’t survive the journey, […]

Pic of the Week: American Artists View WWI

On Saturday, the Library of Congress opened the new exhibition, “World War I: American Artists View the Great War,” highlighting how American artists galvanized public interest in World War I. Drawn from the Library’s Prints and Photographs Collections, the works on display reflect the focus of wartime art on patriotic and propaganda messages—by government-supported as well as independent […]

Happy 180th Birthday to Col. Nathan W. Daniels

(The following is written by Michelle Krowl, a historian in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.) On May 10, 1867 Colonel Nathan W. Daniels celebrated his 31st birthday. He noted in his diary, “Learned to day that I had been recommended and nominated by Chief Justice Chase as Register under the Bankrupt Act for the […]

Trending: The Mother of Mother’s Day

(The following article by Audrey Fischer is from the May/June 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM, soon to be available here. In the meantime, make sure to catch up on all our editions!) One West Virginia daughter succeeded in memorializing mothers everywhere. Greeting cards, flowers, candy, dining out—Mother’s Day is big business. Sales […]

New Online: Walt Whitman, Heritage Months & Blogs

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.) DIGITIZED COLLECTIONS New online this month are two manuscript collections featuring the poet Walt Whitman. The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman papers consists of approximately 3,000 items spanning the period 1842-1937. Most of the items date from 1855, […]