Advertising Trade Cards
[Charlotte Perkins Gilman, designer]. Soapine Advertising Trade Cards. Providence: Kendall Manufacturing Co., [circa 1880-1884]. Seventeen original lithographic trade cards for Soapine brand household and laundry soap products. Trade cards (2.75 x 4.25 inches; 75 x 110 mm.). Colorful lithographic illustrations, typically on golden backgrounds, with text printed on the versos (letterpress or engraved, one blank). Some general mild spotty discoloration, including a couple with slightly heavier soiling; some trivial foxing, mostly just noticeable in the margins; a couple cards with tiny bruises; corners barely softened, a few minor creases or closed tears. Some versos faintly discolored form offsetting; some bruising and adhesive residue in the corners. Very good or better. See Kevin Mac Donnell's "Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Trade Card Design" on the ABAA website, originally published in The Advertising Trade Card Quarterly 8:3 (Fall) 2001.
"One amusing source of income was the painting of advertising cards for Kendall's Soap Company. Cousin Robert Brown was in that business, and the fashion of distributing small lithographed cards to attract customers had just begun. Robert had a fertile imagination, he devised the pictures he wanted and I drew and colored them. I did not know how, did not do them well, but neither of us minded that. One of their established figures was 'The Soapine Whale,' this animal I labored with repeatedly. Another of his involved a big gray-dappled horse which used to lead in pulling freight-cars through the city, and with much effort I drew him, my first horse" (Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The Living of... An Autobiography. Redditch: 2014, accessed online). Both cited examples present.
"Charlotte Perkins Gilman attempted to support herself for a while in the early 1880s, when, with her cousin Robert Brown, she designed trade cards for several soap companies, including Curtis Davis and Company and the Kendall Manufacturing Company, producers of Soapine. Her original sketches are preserved among her papers (Radcliffe Institute)..." (Kenneth Florey. Women's Suffrage Memorabilia. Jefferson: 2013. p. 14). (#10349).