American Consumer Culture

Search Database

American Consumer Culture is a cross-searchable portal to three complementary databases of primary source material that explore the history of American consumer culture via three key themes: research into consumer motivation, the advertising process and the products themselves.  The collection is interdisciplinary, providing essential documents relating to American consumerism and business and marketing history.  Examples include market research reports, highly visual catalogues and leaflets, fabric samples, ‘how to’ manuals, memomoranda, meeting minutes and research.

Three individual databases comprise  American Consumer Culture: They can be accessed from the A-Z Databases page.

  • Market Research and American Business, 1935-1965 presents reports produced by Ernest Dichter that attempt to reveal consumers’ innermost desires and motivations.
  • J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America presents how advertising is produced and how it interacts with consumer culture through the archive and workings of one of the world’s oldest and largest advertising agencies.
  • Trade Catalogues and the American Home presents domestic life and material culture by detailing the products sold in the domestic sphere.

Coverage: 1850-2000

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