Trade Catalog Information
The Hagley Library makes available for research a collection of more than 60,000 trade catalogs spanning from the mid-19th century to the present. Currently, there are two ways to search for trade catalogs online:
1) Search our online catalog
2) Browse an inventory of a subset of our Trade Catalog collection
If you have a question or would like to use our trade catalogs for research contact us at (302) 658-2400 ext. 227 or us our Ask Hagley form
What is a trade catalog?
Trade catalogs are manufacturers' or wholesalers' publications aimed at the vendor of consumer goods rather than the individual consumer. They can range from describing tools and industrial machinery to items such as home and office furnishings, clothing, domestic appliances and housewares.
While trade catalogs tend to be mined for illustrative purposes, they are under-utilized as scholarly resources in their own right. Trade catalogs combine interesting visuals with statements of corporate self-image and often describe now-obsolete technologies, artifacts and office practices. Both the products and the corporate methods of advertising shed light on the manufactured needs and desires (real or imagined) of contemporary consumers.
Assistance for off-site researchers
The Imprints Departments will provide copies and scans of our trade catalogs for a fee. Please visit our fees for service page for more information or contact the Imprints Department.