At a Glance


Can I interest you in a metallic artificial leg?


19th Century Advertising, Harper's Weekly

Advertisement, "The Race of the Time-Keepers Elgin Ahead," 1872

Harper's Weekly was the leading illustrated American periodical between 1857 and 1872. This site allows all registered users free access to an online archive of 40,000 advertisements that appeared in Harper's Weekly. Without registering, visitors have access to 33 ads divided into seven categories, such as foreign travel and insurance. Two of the most compelling categories are "Civil War products," featuring ads for metallic artificial legs and bulletproof vests and "consumer goods," including advertisements for appliances, packaged goods, and pest killers. Although the ads include text and images, a 100-word introduction provides the only historical context for the advertisements on this site. For those studying 19th-century advertising and consumer culture, the site will be of interest.