See explanations below this image about the green-shaded ads for more information about the words used and hear the ad being read aloud.
John Campbell White
Column 1, ad 3:
words: fire work
caption: Today we call them fireworks, not fire work, but they were the way to celebrate the 4th of July even in 1810, when the United States was only 34 years old! The advertised spectacle would be impressive even by today’s standards. This display was also to be accompanied by an orchestra, which suggests that “sound and light” shows are not as new a development as we might think.
Column 2, ad 1:
words: calico, chintz, cambric, muslin
caption: Generations before there were stores like Jo-Anne fabrics and even clothing stores, people bought their clothes and the fabrics for them in a different way. At this early period of American history there was almost no manufacturing of cloth, no distribution network for selling it, and in fact very few places where ready-made clothing could be bought. The people of Baltimore kept a keen eye out for ads like this one that told them when a ship carrying newly imported fabrics had come to port.
Watch the ad being read.
Column 2, midway down
caption: Do you ever play the lottery? If so, you’re engaging in a time-honored occupation. The people of Baltimore, though they did not have a Maryland lottery, had the opportunity to buy tickets in the New York lottery, in the hope of winning vast sums of money.
Column 3, ad 2
caption: You have probably seen the kind of handkerchief called a bandanna. The word in this ad, bandanoes, is the original. It denoted a kind of tie-dying, in which the parts of the fabric that were tied remained white because they received no dye. A modern bandanna is printed with a typical pattern, one feature of which is the white spots that were also found on the original fabric.
Column 4, ad 1
caption: A private bath at home that contained a bathtub was a luxury that few people had even heard of in 1810. People used public baths to get clean. It was an activity that people were likely to engage in about once a week rather than once a day, so public baths advertised the many facilities they had to make visitors enjoy their stay.
Watch the ad being read.
Column 5, ads 3 and 5
words: insolvent debtors
caption: It was a lot easier to declare yourself bankrupt in the early 19th century than it is today: people declared their bankruptcy by putting a notice like this in the paper. They would still face the same problems that people today deal with: an inability to get credit afterwards.