University of Delaware Library

Pfeiffer, Gordon A.

Finding aid for Gordon A. Pfeiffer nineteenth-century Delaware trade card collection

circa 1800-1900, 1974

(bulk dates 1800-1900)


Descriptive Summary

Identification: GRA 124


Creator: Pfeiffer, Gordon A.


Title: Gordon A. Pfeiffer nineteenth-century Delaware trade card collection


Inclusive Dates: circa 1800-1900, 1974


Bulk Dates: 1800-1900


Extent: 2 linear feet (8 boxes)


Abstract: Gordon A. Pfeiffer is a Delaware book, postcard, book art, and ephemera collector and an original founder of the Delaware Bibliophiles. The Gordon Pfeiffer nineteenth-century Delaware trade card collection comprises over one thousand trade cards of Delaware suppliers and merchants.


Language: Materials entirely in English.



Citation

GRA 124, Gordon A. Pfeiffer nineteenth-century Delaware trade card collection, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Shelving Summary

Boxes 1-8: Shelved in SPEC MSS binder boxes

Location

Special Collections, University of Delaware Library / Newark, Delaware 19717-5267 / Phone: 302-831-2229 / Fax: 302-831-6003 / URL: http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/

Source

Gift of Gordon A. Pfeiffer, 2014.

Processing

Processed and encoded by Dustin Frohlich, June 2014.


The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, http://www.lib.udel.edu/cgi-bin/askspec.cgi


Biographical Note

Gordon A. Pfeiffer is a Delaware book, postcard, book art, and ephemera collector and an original founder of the Delaware Bibliophiles.

Pfeiffer received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Delaware in 1956 and served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1957 to 1963. He retired in 1996 as senior vice president of Mellon Bank after 40 years of service. Pfeiffer has served on the board and was an officer of numerous organizations including the Historical Society of Delaware and the University of Delaware Library Associates. He is a 1977 founder of the Delaware Bibliophiles, a group of book hobbyists and collectors, and has served as president and treasurer of the organization as well as editor of their semi-annual newsletter, Endpapers. His own collecting interests include "the influence of William Morris on American printing with special emphasis on the work of Will Bradley; American publishers trade bindings; and Delaware ephemera including broadsides, postcards, and trade cards."

Sources:

"Wall of Fame." UDaily. http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2012/jun/alumni-wall-fame-060412.html (accessed June 18, 2014).

"Dedicated to Excellence." UDaily. http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2012/may/alumni-wall-of-fame-052112.html (accessed June 18, 2014).

Gordon A. Pfeiffer, Nathaniel H. Puffer, comps., The Delaware Bibliophiles: 1977-2002: a history and anthology (New Castle: The Delaware Bibliophiles, 2002), ix.


Scope and Content Note

The Gordon A. Pfeiffer nineteenth-century Delaware trade card collection comprises over one thousand trade cards (2 linear feet) of Delaware suppliers and merchants.

The collection of trade cards largely features merchants with addresses on or nearby Wilmington’s Market Street and demonstrates an increased availability of Delaware goods and services, particularly in downtown city-centers. In addition, the highly decorative and colorful trade cards reveal an increasing complexity in advertising that targeted a burgeoning Delaware middle class. Some cards also depict commonly held social attitudes towards race gender and class. The trade card collection maintains Pfeiffer’s original arrangement as two series, both arranged alphabetically: Merchants and Location.

Series I. consists of Delaware trade cards organized alphabetically by merchant name. Operating from Wilmington’s Market Street or nearby locations, Wilmington merchants used trade cards to advertise goods such as soap, boots, oysters, produce, dry goods, notions, harnesses, java coffee, hosiery, standard cures, and watches. Trade cards in this series advertised Shakespeare and comedy shows at Wilmington’s still operational Grand Opera House. Other trade cards sold train excursions from Wilmington to Atlantic City, offered advice on child-rearing, or marketed dyspepsia, worm, and other cure-alls. Some cards innovative designs suggest an increasingly sophisticated advertising industry. Decorative cards include those shaped as painter’s palettes, oysters, fish, and flowers and also in "puzzle" trade cards: Cards posing questions that, when held against light, reveal a solution (often the name of the business).

Series II. comprises Delaware trade cards organized alphabetically by location. Trade cards from the towns of Camden, Delaware City, Dover, Laurel, Middletown, Milford, Smyrna, and St. Georges, among others, are included in this series. In addition, many trade cards in this series were created with chromolithographic processes and exhibit bold, vibrant colors.


Selected Search Terms

Personal Names
Pfeiffer, Gordon A.
Topical Terms
Advertising--History--19th century.
Chromolithography--United States--History--19th century.
Geographic Names
Delaware--History--19th century.
Form/Genre Terms
Trade cards (advertising)
Chromolithographs.
Occupation
Collectors.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 121 Gordon A. Pfeiffer Delaware postcard and ephemera collection


The trade cards in the collection reflect Gordon A. Pfeiffer's original arrangement.

  • I. Merchants
  • II. Location

Detailed Contents List

Series I. Merchants

Series I. consists of Delaware trade cards organized alphabetically by merchant name. Operating from Wilmington’s Market Street or nearby locations, Wilmington merchants used trade cards to advertise such goods as soap, boots, oysters, produce, dry goods, notions, harnesses, java coffee, hosiery, standard cures, and watches. Trade cards in this series advertised Shakespeare and comedy shows at Wilmington’s (still operational) Grand Opera House. Other trade cards sold train excursions from Wilmington to Atlantic City, offered "Save the Baby," advice on child-rearing, or marketed dyspepsia, worm, and other cure-alls. The advertising industry’s increasing sophistication is demonstrated in decorative cards shaped as painter’s palettes, oysters, fish, and flowers and also in "puzzle" trade cards: Ad cards posing questions that, when held against light, would reveal a solution (often the name of the business).

Book 1, circa 1800-1900   [Box 1]

26 (1)

Book 2, circa 1800-1900, 1974   [Box 2]

26 (2)

Book 3, circa 1800-1900   [Box 3]

26a

Book 4, circa 1800-1900   [Box 4]

27*

Book 5, circa 1800-1900   [Box 5]

28*

Book 6, circa 1800-1900   [Box 6]

29 (1)

Book 7, circa 1800-1900   [Box 7]

29 (2)

Series II. Location

Series II. comprises Delaware trade cards organized alphabetically by location. Revelatory of greater-Delaware commerce, trade cards from the towns of Camden, Delaware City, Dover, Laurel, Middletown, Milford, Smyrna, and St. Georges, among others, are included in this series. In addition, many trade cards in this series were created with chromolithographic processes and exhibit bold, vibrant colors.

Book 8, circa 1800-1900   [Box 8]

30