General Texts and Reference Books

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Agnew, Jean-Christophe.  “Coming Up for Air: Consumer Culture in Historical Perspective.”  Intellectual History Newsletter 12 (1990): 3-21.

Applegate, Edd, ed., Ad Men and Women: A Biographical Dictionary of Advertising. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.

    This hardcover reference book offers the reader brief biographical sketches, usually six to eight pages in length, of approximately fifty of the more famous or important figures in advertising in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Each entry, written by a communication scholar or ad professional, provides the salient basic facts such as dates of birth and death, which agencies they worked for or helped to found, the most famous clients and campaigns, innovations in copywriting or design, and notable publications.  Although none of the entries breaks new ground or provides incisive commentary, the book is useful as a one-stop general reference for basic information.  Also included are lists of suggested readings related to each person and a bibliography.  

Applegate, Edd.  Personalities and Products: A Historical Perspective on Advertising in America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Bartos, Rena, and Arthur S. Pearson.  “The Founding Fathers of Advertising Research.”  Journal of Advertising Research 17 (June 1977): 1-32.

Beard, Fred K.  “Hard-Sell ‘Killers’ and Soft-Sell ‘Poets’: Modern Advertising’s Enduring Message Strategy Debate.”  Journalism History 30:3 (Fall 2004): 141-149.

Belasco, Warren, and Philip Scranton, eds.  Food Nations: Selling Taste in Consumer Societies.  New York: Routledge, 2001.

Blank, David M.  “A Note on the Golden Age of Advertising.” Journal of Business 36:1 (January 1963): 33-38.

Blazczyk, Regina Lee, ed.  Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.

Boorstin, Daniel J.  “The Rhetoric of Democracy.” Chapter 4 in Democracy and its Discontents.  New York: Vintage, 1975.

Brown, Elspeth, Marina Moskowitz, and Catherine Gudis, eds.  Cultures of Commerce: Representation and American Business Culture, 1877-1960.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Calder, Lendol.  Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Cleary, David Powers.  Great American Brands: The Successful Formulas that Made them Famous.  New York: Fairchild Publishing, 1981.

Combs, James E.  “Political Advertising as a Popular Myth-making Form.”  Journal of American Culture 2:2  (Summer 1979): 331-340.

Cross, Mary, ed.  A Century of American Icons: 100 Products and Slogans from 20th Century Consumer Culture.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Cummings, Bart.  The Benevolent Dictators: Interviews with Advertising Greats.  Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Company, 1987.

Daunton, Martin, and Matthew Hinton, eds.  The Politics of Consumption: Material Culture and Citizenship in Europe and America.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

DeLorme, Denise E., and Fred Fedler.  “An Historical Analysis of Journalists’ Attitudes Toward Advertisers and Their Influence.”  American Journalism 22:2 (Spring 2005): 7-40.

De Vries, Jan.  The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Dotz, Warren.  What a Character!:  20th Century American Advertising Icons.  San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996.

    A thin, heavily illustrated book that shows a large collection of toys, dolls, and other objects based on popular advertising icons and characters.  Very little text or historical context.

Foster, G. Allen.  Advertising: Ancient Marketplace to Television.  New York: Criterion Books, 1967.

Fox, Stephen R. The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators. New York: Morrow, 1994.

Friedman, Monroe, ed.  Journal of American Culture 30: 1 (March 2007): 1-164.  Special issue on consumer culture.

Goldsborough, Robert.  The Crain Adventure: The Making and Building of a Family Publishing Company.  Linolnwood, Ill.: NTC Business Books, 1992.

    A thin self-published history of the Chicago-based business publication publisher.  Crain has published numerous trade magazines, including most notably Advertising Age, that are useful for advertising scholars.  Crain also has published many memiors of notable advertising figures.

Goodrum, Charles, and Helen Dalrymple.  Advertising in America: The First 200 Years. New York: Abrams, 1990.

    This is a large, heavily illustrated general history of print advertising over the last 200 years most valuable for its colorful images.  Goodrum and Dalrymple have selected a very nice variety of classic and noteworthy ads and provided useful basic information about the campaigns and their creators.  The book does include historical commentary and a short bibliography.  Organized around product types rather than chronologically, it has individual chapters on personal hygiene products, automobiles, travel, foods, public service campaigns, and other kinds of typical ads.  There is also a chapter on the use of art in advertising and reflection of changing styles in the art world as manifest in popular ads of the time.  Goodrum and Dalrymple touch on controversial topics, like tobacco advertising and stereotypical gender roles, but do not offer a lot of analysis.  

Glickman, Lawrence, ed., Consumer Society in American History: A Reader. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999.

Gordon, Ian L.  “Envisioning Consumer Culture: Comic Strips, Comic Books, and Advertising in America, 1890-1945.”  PhD dissertation, University of Rochester, 1993.

Jacobs, Meg.  “State of the Field: The Politics of Consumption.”  Reviews in American History 39:3 (September 2011): 561-573.

Jones, John P.  Fables, Fashions, and Facts About Advertising: A Study of 28 Enduring Myths.  Thousand Oaks, Cal.: Sage, 2004.

Koehn, Nancy.  Brand New: How Entrepreneurs Earned Consumers’ Trust from Wedgewood to Dell.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2001.

McDonough, John, and Karen Egolf, eds.  The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising.  3 vols.  New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003.

Mandell, Lewis.  The Credit Card Industry: A History.  Boston: Twayne, 1990.

Meyers, Cynthia B.  “Media History and Advertising Archives.” American Journalism 37:2 (Spring 2020): 244-255.

Mihm, Stephen. “Accept No Imitations: The Campaign against Counterfeits, Past and Present.” Common-Place 4 (July 2004)

Moskowitz, Marina.  Standard of Living: The Measure of Middle Class in Modern America.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

Parkin, Katherine.  “Exploring Advertising History in Online Archives.”  Advertising & Society Quarterly 19:1 (2018).

Phillips, Barbara J., and Barbara Gyoerick.  “The Cow, the Cook, and the Quaker: 50 Years of Spokes-Character Advertising.”  Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 76:4 (Winter 1999): 713-28.

Pollay, Richard W.  Information Sources in Advertising History.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979.

    A reference book that lists a wide variety of materials, including books, journal articles, trade publications, memoirs, statistical sources, archival sites, and textbooks, available for the study of advertising history.  The book offers a wealth of material published before the late 1970s broken down into categories, alphabetized, and briefly annotated.  The section of biographical writings is comprehensive.  The text suggests a wide variety of sources for data on circulation, expenditure, exposure, and other statistical material.  Also useful are several bibliographic essays, including a stellar review of the development and availability of advertising trade publications.  Perhaps less valuable, but equally interesting, are a listing of advertising satires and works of fiction which feature advertising men or women as characters.  

Pollay, Richard W. “The Subsiding Sizzle: A Descriptive History of Print Advertising, 1900-1980.” Journal of Marketing 49:3 (1985): 24-37. 

Pollay, Richard W. “The Distorted Mirror: Reflections on the Unintended Consequences of Advertising.” Journal of Marketing 50:2 (April 1986): 18-36. 

Pope, Daniel.  The Making of Modern Advertising. New York: Basic Books, 1983.

Richards, Jef I.  A History of Advertising: The First 300,000 Years.  Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2022.

Riggs, Thomas, ed.  Encyclopedia of Major Advertising Campaigns.  Detroit: Gale Publishing, 2000.

Romaine, Lawrence B.  A Guide to American Trade Catalogs, 1744-1900.  New York: Bowker, 1960.

Rutherford, Paul.  The Adman’s Dilemma: From Barnum to Trump.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press 2018.

Schudson, Michael.  Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion. New York: Basic Books, 1984.

Segrave, Kerry.  Endorsements in Advertising: A Social History.  Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2005.

Seiter, Ellen.  Sold Separately: Parents and Children in Consumer Culture.  New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1993.

Sheffield, Tricia S.  “Totemic Desires: The Religious Dimensions of Advertising in the Culture of Consumer Capitalism.”  PhD dissertation, Drew University, 2005.

Shimpach, Shawn.  “Mad Men is History.” Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television 37:4 (December 2017): 722-744.

Sivulka, Juliann.  Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes: A Cultural History of Advertising.  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1998.

Smulyan, Susan. “Absence and the Advertising Historian.” Journal of Historical Research in Marketing 8:3 (2016): 473-480.

Steigerwald, David.  “All Hail the Republic of Choice: Consumer History as Contemporary Thought.”  Journal of American History 93:2 (September 2006): 385-403.

Strasser, Susan, ed.  Commodifying Everything: Relationships to the Market.  New York: Routledge, 2003.

Tankard, James W., Jr.  “The Effects of Advertising on Language: Making the Sacred Profane.”  Journal of Popular Culture 9:2 (Fall 1975): 325-330.

Telser, L.G.  “Some Aspects of the Economics of Advertising.” Journal of Business 41:2 (April 1968): 166-173.

Trentman, Frank.  “Beyond Consumerism: New Historical Perspectives on Consumption.”  Journal of Contemporary History 39:3 (July 2004): 373-401.

Vinikas, Vincent.  Soft Soap Hard Sell: American Hygiene in an Age of Advertisement. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1992.

Wood, James P.  The Story of Advertising.  New York: Ronald Press, 1958.

Zieger, Robert H.  “Uncle Sam Wants You…to Go Shopping: A Consumer Society Responds to National Crisis, 1957-2001.” Canadian Review of American Studies 34:1 (2004): 83-103.

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