52 for 150: What’s So Special About Your Library’s Trade Card Collection?

It’s week 28 of our Kansas sesquicentennial video series and we’re taking a closer look at our Trade Card collection.

Trade cards were an early form of advertising and marketing and have existed since the early 17th century. Made from paper, these handouts contained information about a business’s location and the goods it offered. They can also reveal the era’s cultural values. “During the height of popularity for the chromolithographic trade card, from 1880-1900, popular culture was an inspiration for many of the designs.” [1]


About 52 for 150

Every object has a story, and stories build history. To celebrate 150 years of Kansas statehood we’re featuring 52 objects (or collections of related objects)—something new each week throughout the year—from the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s 130-year-old special, and permanent collections, that represent our collective state history and cultural diversity.

Our collections are available for teachers, students, researchers and general interest, and we hope this online video program will provide insight into what’s so “special” about Special Collections. Your library’s commitment to collecting art and preserving local history makes it possible for users today and in the future to have immediate access to invaluable research material and cultural artifacts.

To make an appointment to see our collection of local Trade Cards, or get help finding other books or videos related to this topic, call or stop by the Topeka Room (785-580-4510) on the Library’s second floor. We’re located at the top of the stairs on your left.

[1] http://www.philadelphiauniversity.edu/library/digitalcollections/ct_tradecards.htm


Heather Kearns

I've been the Sabatini Gallery's associate curator since 2004 and social media coordinator since 2008. My passion is helping people “get“ art, and by that I mean creating an environment both in-house and online which fosters a greater understanding, confidence, and sense of enjoyment from the art experience. Art should be easy to access and available to everyone. I take helping people very seriously.