Iowa Alumni Magazine | June 2013 | Features

Advertisements Across the Ages

By Kathryn Howe
Advertisements from the Daily Iowan document changing places and products—and times.

Fun, campy, nostalgic, and heartwarming. A flip through a century's worth of newspaper ads offers about as much schooling on the past as any book or relic.

Advertising has long existed for one primary purpose: to persuade consumer behavior toward the purchase of a good or service, perhaps to act on behalf of a worthy cause. How they appeal to the masses often reflects changing politics and social mores, shifts in gender equality and economic health, revolutions in values and technology, and the altered physical landscape of a community itself.

Ahh, the days of soda fountains, old school appliances, eight-track tapes, and disco. The weary years of war and protest. The inspiring new age of nifty hand-held gadgetry.

Many of the ads pictured here reflect simpler, less complicated times. Others remind of hard challenges that have been overcome. Some spark a hearty chuckle. Whatever this collection evokes, we hope you enjoy this scrapbook of Iowa City memories.

To view the photo with captions, click on the photo.