Artifact of the Month: Advertising cards

In honor of the polar vortex that left us shivering and the chilly days to come, the North Carolina Collection Gallery has been looking for a way to enjoy a winter wonderland without having to bundle up in blankets and coats. Our solution? We present to you January’s Artifact of the Month: an assortment of winter-themed advertising cards.

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Although many of us have seen our share of postcards and notes (let alone text messages and tweets), few have ever received cards like these in the mail. Almost from the moment people realized the ease and accessibility of postcards, companies began to see them as a quick and cheap way to send their holiday cheer (and shopping tips) across the nation.


Picture post cards began to be mass developed in 1870 in Europe, but it wasn’t until 1897 that commercial companies were allowed to print their own cards.
And so began the day of the advertising cards… back when junk mail still had some class.


From the idyllic to the iconic to the downright idiotic, the North Carolina Collection has collected dozens/hundreds of these fascinating cards — not only winter wonderland scenes, but bear hunts gone awry, warnings about ingesting worms, picture games, and miracle tonics that could make your hair soft, complexion bright, and maybe your head spin.​

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