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Monday, February 27, 2012


As we come to the end of Black History Month, and with the memory of the recent groundbreaking for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture still fresh, a sample of 19th century advertising provides a reference point for American social progress.  This soap advertisement from 1882 highlights African American domestic servants, employing racial stereotypes, although in a comparatively restrained manner.  This maid praises the virtues of David's Prize Soap while she dreams of winning a "house and lot" in New York in the company's contest.  If she had actually won a house, we can only imagine exactly where it might have been located.

Advertisement for David's Prize Soap, 1882.  From the Soap series,
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Archives Center
David Haberstich
Archives Center
National Museum of American History

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