Skip to Main Content

HIST 118a: The History of American Advertising

Chicago Citation Format

Cite Historical Advertisements

While the Chicago Manual does not provide precise guidelines for citations citing historical advertisements, their guidelines can be adapted for different types of sources.

Examples for citations for historical advertisements

Example format

Company name. "Title of Ad."  Format. Title of publication that ad appeared in, date. Source, Collection. URL.

Examples for different types of sources

Pluko. "Pluko will Straighten Your Hair. Try it Today!" Advertisment. New York Amsterdam News, April 16, 1930. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. 

American Airlines Incorporated. "He Commands Your Flagship and Your Confidence." Advertisement. Life, 1949. From Duke University Libraries Ad*Access.

Clinique. "1985 Clinique Twice a Day Photo by Irving Penn." Advertisement. 1985. From Ad Vault Archive.
Allen Carpet. "Allen Carpet Commercial." Film, n.d. From Internet Archive, Prelinger Archives.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • The citation should provide some historical context about the ad. Where and when did it originally appear? What was it advertising?
  • The citation should provide context about where the student find the citation. An ad may have been published in 1949 in Life, but where did you find the ad? Including information about the digital archive you used, such as Ad*Access, will allow the reader to locate the ad if necessary. 
  • You won't always be able to find every piece of citation information, but try to include as much information as possible to provide context for the reader. 
  • If an ad doesn't provide an exact date, you can use the no date abbreviation (n.d.). This abbreviation could be followed by an estimated date.

More resources

Questions? Ask a Librarian! Chat with us during service hours or email Laura Hibbler at