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Understanding Historical American Ads (20th Century): Databases Tutorials

This LibGuide will help you find ads printed in the United States, navigate through Advertisement databases, and, finally, analyze the ads that you found.


If you are struggling to navigate through the databases, this page is full of step-by-step instructions. On the right-hand side, there are the instructions with accompanying pictures of the left-hand side. While this page is specific to the Women's Magazine Archive, the instructions can be applied to other databases.
If you need any help with executing searches, please feel free to email me or contact the library through the Ask a Librarian service.

Women's Magazine Archive

Women's Magazine Archive image of the home page

Advanced Search

image of advanced search
image of advanced search

Better Homes and Gardens

Step-by-Step Instructions

Homepage for the Woman's Magazine Archive: Image 1

From this page, there are three different search options:

Option 1: Advanced Search; see image below for help

Option 2: Search by Publication; see image below for help

Option 3: Basic Search: this is where you can do some quick keyword searches for the magazine's content. You cannot limit the results to the document type like advertisements. Do not treat the quick search like a Google search; search by combining keywords like 'cleaning products' and 'women,' not 'cleaning advertisements aimed at women.'


Advanced Search: Image 2

Advanced Search allows for clearer use of keywords, and it is easier to use Boolean Operators by using the drop-down menu next to each search line. You can limit where you want certain keywords to appear on the document like showing up in the title or anywhere in the text. 

There are more ways to limit the results at the bottom of the page; this is the easiest way to limit the document type to 'Advertisement,' but you must ensure you have checked the box.




Searching by Publication: Image 3

If you have a specific kind of magazine you want to utilize for your research, searching by publication is a great option! 

1. You can search within the entire publication by keywords. This will give you results from the entire coverage of the magazine, not just a specific issue.

2. You can search within the specific issue of the publication by keywords. You can change the issue from the drop-down menu above the 'Search within this issue' option. 

3. Scroll through the different documents that are in the issue. This option has the least amount of search control so this would be a great option if you are just wanting to see what the content of that issue is.