All-American Ads of the 40s

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This volume’s engaging overview of advertisements evokes the nostalgic sentimentality of a bygone era, ranging from wartime to prosperity and optimism in American life over the course of the 1940s. The omnipresent advertising campaigns saturated a burgeoning consumerism, from fashion and food to beauty and beverage, and everything in between.

At the beginning of the decade, America was at war. Patriotism was an integral part of everyday life, with the sentiment mirrored in advertising. As America emerged victorious out of the darkness of World War II in 1945, the economic boom of the era helped usher in the most dramatic rise in quality of life, excess, and consumerism. The war’s end also brought unprecedented pride and prosperity to the American people, and nothing reflects the new wave of consumerism and progress more than the ads of the time. Spending power dramatically increased in the decade’s second half, with plentiful jobs and higher wages. Because of the new GI Bill, affordable housing was made available to returning war veterans for the first time. People were ready to embrace the idea of the American Dream. The postwar era represented a flood of products and services for every need and occasion, reaching every corner of society. Everything from entertainment to travel and automobiles, alcohol and tobacco, fashion and beauty, and food and beverage was in high demand and within reach. This period opened the floodgates of buying as advertisers sought to meet the needs of a population recovering from years of rationing. This engaging collection edited by Jim Heimann dives into the frenetic, lively, and brilliant era of American life and advertising in the 1940s.

Edited by Jim Heimann. Published by Taschen in 2023. Hardcover, measures 10.3 x 8.2 x 1.6, 640 pages. ISBN 9783836588584

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