I had a great time looking through old exhibit catalogs from the Detroit Architectural Club and the Thumb Tack Club of Detroit. I never put much thought into what went into publishing these books, but quickly realized that advertising was just as prevalent in the early 1900’s as it is today.
Each book had a few advertisements near the front, but the majority of them were restricted to the end of the book. There were elaborate indexes that listed all the advertisers and the advertisements comprised one-third to one-half the size of the entire publication.
Most ads were placed by contractors or suppliers highlighting specific building projects that they were involved with. One ad caught my eye that portrays an architect with a sharply-defined jaw discussing where to place a Murphy In-A-Dor Bed (now called Murphy Beds). The architect bears a strong resemblance to either Albert Kahn or William Kapp, who ran Smith, Hinchman, and Grylls ‘ architecture department at the time.
While some of the ads included photography, most included exquisite illustrations of Detroit’s most prominent buildings. Don’t overlook the Otis Elevator Company illustration done by Hugh Ferriss.
I’ve included a few more of my favorites.