Avery’s Architectural Ephemera Collections

Trade Catalogs > Trade Catalogs


Avery Classics has a collection of over 15,000 catalogs from the American building trades. Also known as manufacturer's catalogs or commercial catalogs, these trade catalogs were produced by companies to promote their products and services. Today the catalogs serve as primary resources for the study of building materials, decorative elements, and industry trends during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although most of the collection concentrates on American companies, a small number of international companies are represented because their goods were also sold in the United States.

Trade catalogs were usually published as books, pamphlets, or brochures, but it is not uncommon to find bound or packaged samples within the collection. Unique objects such as a puzzle set advertising Sherwin Williams Paints (Avery Classics AT6050 SH58 1887 F) occasionally turn up as well.

The trade catalogs are searchable in CLIO, the online catalog of Columbia Libraries, and available for consultation by appointment.

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library / 300 Avery, M.C. 0301 / 1172 Amsterdam Avenue / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-3501 / avery@libraries.cul.columbia.edu