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John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera for Historians: Local history

A general guide to the John Johnson Collection for Historians

Trade cards

Trade cards are a major resource for local historians, documenting tradesmen of the past and often showing premises since demolished or modified. Trade cards can be searched through our online catalogue and through the interactive project Zegami, which also includes a searchable map.


Trade card for William Horton, Birmingham, [1830s]

Trade card for William Horton, Birmingham, [1830s]

(C) John Johnson Collection: Trade Cards 26 (15)

Searching by place

The Collection is an excellent resource for local history. 

Sections arranged (or sub-arranged) by place include Bill Headings, Education, and topographical postcards (not catalogued) and Note Headings (topographical), Theatre, and Trade Cards (catalogued). 

Towns Towns are indexed in our Online catalogue, whether trade addresses, venues of events or places illustrated.  Once you have searched by place, be sure to keep scrolling down through the index entries as we have not completed our authority work on places. You will currently find (for example) Exeter and also Exeter (England). Entries in the index are further broken down into venue (where applicable) and then by date or [s.a.] if unknown.   This avoids having too many entries against a single place.   Our trade card project on Zegami gives access to our trade cards through a map.

Addresses We always record addresses wherever present. These will display in the bibliographic form of the record (only) and cannot be searched in the Johnson online catalogue. For those sections included in the JISC-funded project The John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera, street names can be searched through the ProQuest site (including full text searching).

Images Trade cards, for example, often show premises. To search for this specifically in our online catalogue use the search facility. Using the scroll bar select Places and key in the town.  Using the other scroll bar, select Subjects, Trades, Products and enter premises.  Where there is a ProQuest icon instead of the image, you will need to do the search again on the ProQuest site. Trade cards, with the exception of Oxford trade cards are not on ProQuest. 

Images of premises can also be searched in Zegami, through Image index with the subject term Stores and shops.

Trade card for Hugh King, linen draper, hosier, etc of Bournemouth, showing his premises

Trade card for Hugh King, Bournemouth

(C) John Johnson Collection: Trade Cards 21 (110)


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Julie Anne Lambert
John Johnson Collection
Bodleian Libraries
Broad Street
+44 (0)1865 277047