• “The Jim Crow Jubilee,” 1847. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Jim Crow jubilee
    • Date
    • 1847
    • Creator
    • Bufford's Lith
    • Description
    • Title from item, from additional material accompanying item, or from information provided by the Boston Public Library. Music title page is part of sheet music for History ob de World, composed by Augustus Clapp. Date from item. Bufford's Lith.
    • Rights
    • No known restrictions on use. Rights status not evaluated.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • “Schenck's Seaweed Tonic,” ca. 1885. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Take Schenck's Seaweed Tonic for dyspepsia and debility
    • Date
    • 1870-1900
    • Description
    • Title from item. Date supplied by cataloger. J. H. Schenck & Son.
    • Rights
    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • A Kendall's Spavin Cure advertisement featuring exaggerated African American dialect, ca. 1885. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Kendall's Spavin Cure - "Golly! I nebber will let dat pickaninny ride dat yar hoss agin unless he stops usin' Kendall's Spavin Cure, ' cause it limbers him up so. In all my 'sperience in the hoss line I nebber seed sich 'provement in a animile afore. Facts am stranger dan fiction."
    • Date
    • 1870-1900
    • Description
    • Title from item. Date supplied by cataloger. B. J. Kendall & Co.
    • Rights
    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • "Cuticura Remedies," ca. 1885. Asian American were also portrayed using cultural stereotypes. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Cuticura Remedies
    • Date
    • 1870-1900
    • Description
    • Title from item. Date supplied by cataloger. Weeks & Potter.
    • Rights
    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

Patent medicine advertising, and nineteenth-century advertising in general, helped to perpetuate popular American racial and cultural stereotypes of the period. In addition, the chromolithographic process was ushering in a new era in American advertising. Full color images depicting caricatures and other stereotypical material delivered messages with an even greater impact than simple line drawings or text-based newspaper advertisements.

Two groups were frequently targeted: African Americans and Native Americans. Advertisers employed stereotypical images of subservient black Americans featuring exaggerated dialect and facial features. They presented Native Americans as "noble savages," a type exemplified by the iconic cigar store Indian and used to sell a wide of products, including patent medicine.