Selling Ottumwa: Advertisements 1880 to 1970

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Businesses pay for advertisements to inform consumers and persuade them to buy products – but years later, those same advertisements are like a time capsule of a community. Ads show how a business develops, how commerce changes, and how the economy waxes and wanes as years go by. The ads reproduced in this book were originally published in city directories listing residents and businesses in Ottumwa, Iowa, and show the development of a community through 90 years of advertising.

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