See Rock City. Smoke Camels. Chew Wrigley's Gum. Eat at Stuckey's.
Like them or not, billboards are part of the American landscape. They educate, entertain, and frustrate us, cluttering up the landscape and guiding us to fresh coffee and clean restrooms. Unavoidable as they are, they also provide a fascinating window on American popular culture. Now more than 27,000 images of billboards and other outdoor advertisements have been digitized and made available online by Duke University Libraries.
The new Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions (ROAD 2.0) brings together a vast collection of historical advertising images from the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Marketing & Advertising History, part of Duke’s Special Collections Library. The images, most of them taken between the 1930s and 1980s, include not only billboards but also wall paintings, electric “spectaculars” (such as the neon signs New York’s Times Square), bus shelters, taxi displays, and behind-the-scenes shots of outdoor ads under construction and sign painters at work.
You can find the ROAD 2.0 digital collection at http://goo.gl/7HLaC.
If you enjoyed this article, Tweet it, share it on Facebook or on your preferred social network. Republishing of this article in newsletters, blogs, and elsewhere is allowed and encouraged. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/hoHH1.
Of course, if you haven’t done so already, you should join my email newsletter mailing list to stay current on my latest articles and announcements. You can also cancel at any time within seconds. I promise to never, ever send you any unrequested e-mail, other than newsletter updates.