Scope and Contents
This material consists primarily of printed advertisements from magazines, bills/receipts, scattered correspondence on letterhead stationery, price lists, business cards, handbills, labels, premiums, advertising cards, leaflets, patents and trademarks from manufacturers and distributors of soap. There is a substantial amount of material from some of the larger soap manufacturers which include Procter & Gamble, Lever Brothers and Colgate. Soap manufacturers tended to distribute products to consumers. There are some businesses that created products for manufacturers and exporters. There are also a number of references to perfumers, chemists and dermatologists.
A large majority of the soap manufacturers also tended to make candles. These businesses sold other products including baking powder, yeast, baking soda, saleratus, blacking, polish, leather preservatives, grease, swine, neats foot oil, hides, scraps, stocks, tallow and wool skins. Products associated with the laundry including starch, bluing, washing powders and washing fluids were also sold. Personal products such as perfumes, creams, and lotions were available.
There is a wide variety of soap consisting of bars, powders, liquids, crystal and granulated types, The soap was manufactured for personal hygiene, commercial laundry, household, chemical and medical purposes.
Images are found predominantly on the advertising cards. Most of these images are of different ethnic groups and tend to be stereotypical in nature. Irish, Native American, German and African American images represent the majority of these images. Women, children and pets, birds and scenic vistas are also visually represented.
Most of the publications are included with company related materials. Many of these publications discuss the history of the company. Other publications include a copy of Consumer Report and a book of photographs of soap bars available prior to 1940 and the wrappers published by the National Soap Sculpture Committee in New York.
Materials are organized alphabetically by name of company. There are a number of materials arranged by type including official documents, patents, trademarks, recipes, photographs and import/export documents.