Vintage “Back to School” Victorian Trade Card Ad


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August is closing in on us fast – and this fall, “back to school” is going to be very traumatic a little sentimental for me. My oldest is going to be a senior in high school, my middle child is starting junior high, and this year is my youngest’s last year in elementary school. I’ve always loved this time of year, but I gotta admit, it’s bittersweet this time around. I might have to drown my sorrows in chocolate and wine on that first day of school! :'(

But anyway, I found this really interesting and adorable Victorian trade card in one of my old scrapbooks recently, and realized this is probably one of the earlier examples of ‘back to school’ shopping advertising. It’s from the late 1800’s, and I’ve included two versions. The first is how the trade card appears originally – it was stamped with the name of the “Bush & Bull” New York Emporium – a store that was founded in 1871 by Solomon R. Bush and James V. Bull. The handwriting on the trade card says, “Compliments of Fred B. Robbins” who, interestingly enough, is named on this list of volunteer Civil War soldiers from New York and was wounded around 1861. I wish I knew more of the story behind this card and this man… but suffice it to say that the art and the history makes the card pretty darn fascinating no matter what!

Vintage Back to School Late 1800's Advertising Trade Card - Click for larger art to print

Vintage Back to School Late 1800's Advertising Trade Card - Click for larger art to print

Here’s an alternate version for you without the store stamp and signature, in case you want to use this vintage art as a frame or border for your own message!

Vintage School Children Art - Blank Frame

Vintage School Children Art - Blank Frame - - Click for larger art to print

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