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Communication Studies *: Ads

Research Guide for Communication Studies

Finding Advertisements

Other Ad Sources

Try looking in Google's digitized magazine collection for images from advertisements. The title list includes: Los Angeles Magazine, Jet, Life, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Billboard, Out, Spin, Vegetarian Times, Weekly World News, Vibe, Runner's World.

The University of Washington Libraries has a terrific collection of ad resources.

You can also find advertisments from historical newspapers by searching for keywords occuring in the advertisement. Go to "advanced search." Change the first search box to 'document type' and type in "ad." Enter your search term in the second box. Type in "display ad" in 3rd box for no classifieds.This search will look through:

Atlanta Constitution (1868 - 1945)
Atlanta Daily World: (1931-2003)
Boston Globe (1872 - 1927)
The Boston Globe (1872-1927)
Chicago Tribune (1849 - 1987) 
The Christian Science Monitor (1908-1996)
The Hartford Courant (1764 - 1985)
Los Angeles Sentinel: 1934-2005
The Los Angeles Times (1881-1987)
New York Amsterdam News: (1922-1993)
Pittsburgh Courier: (1911-2002)
The Baltimore Sun (1837-1985)
The Chicago Defender (1910-1975)
The Guardian (1821-2003)
The Observer (1791-2003)
The New York Times (1851-2007)
The New York Tribune (1841-1922)
The San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922)
The Wall Street Journal (1889 - 1993)
The Washington Post (1877 - 1994)
Times of India (1838 - 2001)

Old/Historical Advertisements

Television Commericals


The Duke University Special Collections Library has made more than 1,500 historic TV commercials from the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History available on iTunes U in a collection called "AdViews." The collection is freely available and viewable at
    The first 1,500 digitized television commercials, mostly from the 1950s and 1960s, are part of the Hartman Center's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B) advertising agency archive. It includes 12,000 commercials total, some produced as recently as the late 1980s. Duke plans to make the remaining commercials available by the end of 2009.
    The commercials pitch everything from shampoo and toys to dog food and coffee. New York agency DMB&B produced the ads for iconic American companies such as General Foods, Texaco, and Kraft.
    "I was looking at some of the commercials that are now being digitized at Duke, and they almost provide a history of U.S. culture," said George Grody, a former Procter and Gamble marketing executive, now a visiting professor at Duke. "You can see how the roles of women have changed over the years, the role of the family has changed; African-Americans in advertising in the late '60s, where they weren't so present in the early '60s."
    An interactive quiz about the ads is available at

Subject Guide

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Chimene Tucker
Doheny Memorial Library
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