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About this collection

The Alice Marshall Women's History Collection (AMC), housed in Penn State Harrisburg Library's Archives and Special Collections, consists of over 150 advertising trade cards that showcase the 19th- and 20th-century woman as an entrepreneur. The cards in this collection were used as early forms of advertising in America and were given out to promote not only goods but also services. They are diverse in content and feature women working as dressmakers, hairdressers, shop and storekeepers, photographers, wine and liquor dealers, and even spiritual mediums! Many of the cards are embossed and brightly-colored examples of chromolithography, a printing technology developed and made popular during the mid-nineteenth century. During the late 1880s, advertising trade cards were extremely collectible and remain popular among paper and ephemera enthusiasts today. The trade cards in this collection are useful primary resources for students and researchers in numerous fields including American Studies, women's studies, advertising and business history, and the visual arts.

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