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Trade Card of Hawks & Reed-Clothiers

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This trade card was for Hawks and Reed, a clothing store in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Albert Hawks came to Greenfield when he was twenty-one and in 1877 founded a clothing store with his brother-in-law, Frank Reed. They operated the store together until Hawks' death in 1908. Reed then operated it alone until he sold out in 1917. The trade card format was the most common type of advertisement used by local businesses in the 19th century. Trade cards began in England in the 17th century and were used by businesses catering to the wealthy both there and in the American colonies throughout the 18th century. The drop of the cost of printing beginning in the 1820s led to an explosion of trade cards. They were increasingly decorative. When lithography became inexpensive, images like the one shown here became widespread. This was one of a series of images published by the Osborn Company, which would sell cards like this to businesses. The businesses would then have a local printer emboss the card with their name.


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