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Pamphlets and Advertisements Collection (C283)

Advertising blotter distributed by The Hartt & Adair Coal Co. (detail), about 1900. Pamphlets and Advertisements Collection C283, C283/B4,1.1 © McCord Museum

Coal: "Clean" energy

"Here is a lady all dressed in white
Who is shovelling this anthracite --
A Montreal girl with a winning smile,
Attractive and pretty, with plenty of style,
She could shovel coal in an evening gown,
In a country, village, or grimy town --
For our coal, as you can see,
Is as clean and bright as coal can be.
The Hartt & Adair Coal Co. - 146 Notre Dame St., West - Montreal"

Was this rather unusual image of an elegant young woman handling a coal shovel meant to be provocative, at a time when the feminist movement was taking off? Or was it simply part of an advertising strategy aimed at women, who were in charge of the domestic realm and, consequently, heating costs?

The mineral coal praised for its cleanliness by young Montreal company The Hartt & Adair Coal Co. was one of Canada's primary sources of energy at the turn of the 20th century. Widely used in residential heating, it had also been the primary fuel for industry since the mid-19th century. It was not until the 1950s that Canada began reducing its consumption of coal in favour of fuels like oil, natural gas, and hydroelectric power.

C283 Pamphlets and Advertisements Collection. - [1812-1985]. - 27 cm of textual records.

Scope and Content

This collection focusses on the promotional efforts of various industrial, commercial and consumer-oriented sectors, primarily in Montreal and Canada, during the 19th and 20th centuries. It contains numerous printed blotters, which were commonly used as both desk pads and as blotters to absorb the excess ink produced when writing with a pen. Several of these blotters show traces of ink, indicating they were indeed used. The collection is also made up of brochures, flyers, posters, paper grocery bags, wrapping paper, printed fans, catalogues and discount coupons, all used to promote a specific company, business, product, service, or even event. The primary fields covered by these documents are food, residential, commercial and industrial activities, finance and insurance, communications, tourism and transportation.

Source of title proper: Based on the contents of the collection.

Immediate source of acquisition: The pamphlets and advertisements contained in this collection come from various sources. Some were part of David Ross McCord's original collection, while others were donated by collectors like Marcel Paquette (2007), Brigitte Gener (2016) and François-Xavier Dutoy (2016).

Arrangement: The documents in the collection were organized according to an initial classification scheme in 2004. This was followed by a second classification exercise in 2016, when some documents were filed in other collections, notably Recipes and Food (C265), Second World War (C311), Fashion, Textiles and Clothing (C609) and Games and Leisure (C778).

Language: The documents are in English and French.

Accruals: Other donations are expected.

Groups of related records: The McCord Museum holds several fonds and collections that contain advertising documents, such as the John Wardrop Ross Fonds (P217), the John Warden Fonds (P741), the Expo 67 & Man and His World Collection (C146), the Menus and Gastronomy Collection (C285), and the Eddy Echenberg Collection (C586).

The fonds is divided into the following series, subseries and files:

  • C283/A Food
    Digitized documents

      • C283/A,1 Ice suppliers
      • C283/A,2 Food products
      • C283/A,3 Grocery stores
      • C283/A,4 Restaurants

  • C283/B Residential, Commercial and Industrial Activities
    Digitized documents

    • C283/B1 Real estate
    • C283/B2 Furniture and accessories
    • C283/B3 Maintenance
      • C283/B3,1 Cleaners
      • C283/B3,2 Exterminators
      • C283/B3,3 Cleaning and maintenance products
      • C283/B3,4 Window cleaning services
    • C283/B4 Energy use
      • C283/B4,1 Coal
      • C283/B4,2 Electricity

  • C283/C Drugs and Health Care
    Digitized documents

  • C283/D Finance and Insurance
    Digitized documents

      • C283/D,1 Insurance
      • C283/D,2 Finance and banks
      • C283/D,3 Trustees

  • C283/E Education
    Digitized documents

      • C283/E,1 McGill University
      • C283/E,2 Other schools and organizations

  • C283/F Communications
    Digitized documents

      • C283/F,1 Communications by telephone or cablegram
      • C283/F,2 Printing companies and stationery shops
      • C283/F,3 Writing instruments
      • C283/F,4 Publications

  • C283/G Alcohol and Tobacco
    Digitized documents

      • C283/G,1 Alcohol products
      • C283/G,2 Tobacco products

  • C283/H Tourism and Transportation
    Digitized documents

      • C283/H,1 Travel agencies
      • C283/H,2 Luggage
      • C283/H,3 Accomodation
      • C283/H,4 Transportation
      • C283/H,5 Parking
      • C283/H,6 Fuel

  • C283/I Arts and Culture
    Digitized documents

      • C283/I,1 Musical instruments
      • C283/I,2 Photographers
      • C283/I,3 Associations and social clubs
      • C283/I,4 Special events

  • C283/J Mechanics and Maintenance
    Digitized documents

      • C283/J,1 Mechanics
      • C283/J,2 Home improvement, renovation and hardware items
      • C283/J,3 Fabrics and shelters

  • C283/K Arboriculture and Horticulture
    Digitized documents

      • C283/K,1 Garden centres
      • C283/K,2 Seeds for markets gardeners

  • C283/L Others
    Digitized documents

      • C283/L,1 Antiques
      • C283/L,2 Firearms
      • C283/L,3 Retail businesses
      • C283/L,4 Storage
      • C283/L,5 Scientific instruments
      • C283/L,6 Personal care
      • C283/L,7 Miscellaneous and unidentified


Last update: August 30, 2017