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Enlarge Poster artist at work, ca. 1905.

Poster Artist at Work, ca. 1905

WHI 9365

This online exhibit features more than 50 advertising posters selected from the McCormick-International Harvester Collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The International Harvester Company was the largest and most influential farm equipment manufacturer of the 20th century.

The McCormick-International Harvester Collection includes more than 3,000 advertising posters dating from 1849 to the 1980s.

The posters in this exhibition were chosen to represent the depth and breadth of that collection. They range in date from 1849 to 1951, and represent a wide variety of printing formats, graphic styles, manufacturers, implements, and marketing approaches.

Enlarge Printing McCormick Company posters, ca. 1900

Printing McCormick Company Posters, ca. 1900

WHI 9268

Posters as Evidence

Like any kind of artifact, advertising posters provide physical evidence of the intentions, perspectives, values, and tastes of the people who made and used them.

The posters in this exhibition tell us about how agricultural machinery evolved, how farm equipment manufacturers competed with one another and how they attracted customers, and how changes in printing technology and graphic design altered the visual culture of America.

There are over 4,000 advertising posters in the McCormick-International Harvester collection. Nearly 1,000 of these posters have been scanned and can be searched and viewed on our website.

While some treasures are posted on this site, many remain to be discovered. We do know, however, that this poster collection is one of the preeminent national resources for studying the history of 19th- and 20th-century advertising.

Art of the Draw has been made possible in part by a grant from the Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation.