Peer Into NYC's Commercial Past With This Scrapbook of Trade Cards
The special collections of the Brooklyn Museum Library hold a variety of treasures, from thousands of glass lantern slides to a delicate album of seaweeds pressed like flowers. One of their most complete digital collections is a scrapbook of Brooklyn trade cards from the late 19th century, featuring local tailors, watchmakers, grocers, furniture sellers, florists, and other small businesses that once kept the city humming. The scrapbook serves as both a snapshot of Brooklyn's commercial past (a time when it apparently made perfect sense to advertise shoes with a robin carrying an egg on its back) as well as a treasury of graphic design. You can view some of our favorites below, or see the whole assortment here.