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Special Collections: Historic Advertising Archive

Lucky Strike cigarettes advertisement, Saturday Evening Post, 1932. Colin McArthur Collection @ Middlesex University.

Pears' soap advertisement, The Sphere, 1916. Colin McArthur Collection @ Middlesex University.

The Colin McArthur Collection of consumer magazine tearsheets

The Colin McArthur Collection of consumer magazine tearsheets or Historic Advertising Archive was originally purchased from Colin McArthur by Middlesex University in 1997. Colin was a former teacher of film studies at Middlesex University and an avid collector of printed advertisements. He ran his collection as a business called 'Half-Brick' which involved the accumulation of press advertisements for a particular company, which were then sold back to the company. It is a fascinating collection of printed advertisements taken from British and American magazines.

Scope of the Collection

The collection comprises over 300 boxes with thousands of advertisements organised by company, ranging in date from the 19th century to the 1970s. Subject areas include clothing, cosmetics, tobacco, vehicles, services, leisure, food and drink, travel, and health.

Access and Use

We currently store the archival material related to Clothing, Cosmetics, and Illustrators & Cartoonists in the Materials Room. The rest of the collection is kept in a reserve store, but the boxes of adverts can be brought to the Library on request. This means there may be a delay in accessing the collection. The advertisements are a valuable resource for all students and researchers of all aspects of design history.

The Materials Room is usually open from 12 pm to 3 pm Monday to Friday during term time, when specialist help is available. Contact for more information.

Historic advertising Archive - INDEX

Image: Museums Victoria: Unsplash

The link below gives a listing of the categories and companies included in the Historic Advertising Archive.