History Hangout: The World in Color

Friday, June 12, 2020

It’s hard to imagine not being surrounded by color in the human-made things around us. But the addition of color to everyday printed items—advertisements, posters, programs, playbills, ticket stubs, calendars, bookmarks, greeting cards, product packaging—came into being during the middle part of the nineteenth century, thanks to a printing technology called chromolithography. Working on the principle that oil and water repel each other, this method was both successful and profitable; by the end of the century, chromolithography had made a tremendous impact on how people experienced the world.

In our latest addition to the Hagley History Hangout series, processing archivist Diane Bockrath uses examples from Hagley’s collections to explore how a printing process changed the way businesses approached advertising and how we as consumers engaged with the visual landscape around us.

Watch the "World in Color: Chromolithography, Advertising Ephemera, and the Visual Landscape":

This series is part of our Hagley from Home initiative.

Diane E. Bockrath is a processing archivist at the Hagley Library.​