Christmas ads for long-gone Brooklyn businesses

There was no such day as Black Friday in late 19th century Brooklyn, of course.

But the commercialization of the Christmas holidays was certainly in full swing, with businesses on Fulton Street—the city’s premier shopping drag at the time—coming up with homey images of Santa Claus and Christmas trees to sell their wares.

This card, from a grocery and tea dealer at 493 Fulton, shows as heartfelt a holiday scene as any ad you’ll see today: a well-dressed mother, a candlelit tree, a little girl watching from behind a curtain.


S. A. Byers Fine Boots and Shoes, at 527 Fulton, was trying to sell “elegant slippers for the holidays” by giving us a jolly Santa, crackling fire, stockings filled with gifts, and holly leaves.

These ads come from the Fulton Street Trade Card Collection, a database of old business cards made available by the Brooklyn Public Library.

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4 Responses to “Christmas ads for long-gone Brooklyn businesses”

  1. ray4goodkarma Says:

    Hi! Great site, it is good to see how things kind of change and remain the same. The Santa Claus Outfit with the green jacket in the card image as an example, is a good illustration (no pun intended, really!), of the way Santa was imagined in the past. Somehow in this age, Santa only has a Red Jacket as part of his costume, but the beard and jolly image survive.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks–you have a good eye for details! Now I’m curious if Santa wore a green jacket back then. I wonder how his suit became all red.

  3. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Coca Cola helped to create Santa

    http://www.coca-colaconversations.com/my_weblog/2008/01/did-coke-create.html

    http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/cokelore_santa.html

    Ho Ho Ho!

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