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Advertising, Art, Industry, Brooks Bank Note Company, Springfield, Mass., Antique Broadside, c. 1895


Brooks Bank Note Advertising Broadside
Brooks Bank Note Company, Springfield, Massachusetts: c. 1895
17 x 22 inches, overall

This large broadside advertises Brooks Bank Note Company, a printing plant based in Springfield, Massachusetts. It incorporates examples of their designs for letterheads, business cards, and billing forms for companies around the U.S. in a trompe-l’oeil collage design. The samples incorporate decorative typography typical of the era and frequently include finely drawn, detailed illustrations of products and buildings, such as a factory. The designs can be quite elaborate, such as that of The Central Cycle Manufacturing Co. of Indianpolis, “Makers of Ben-Hur Cycles,” which includes a scene of chariot racing in the Colosseum in Rome. The Gloucester Mackerel Co. is represented by the words “Salt Mackerel” superimposed over a large fish. The Hotel Chamberlin is depicted in a view from the water, with a sailboat in the foreground.

Product description continues below.


In the top center, a decorative shield explains, “This sheet is a sample of Syndicate Bond,” a high grade paper that lends itself to both typewriting and pen use … for general commercial work, for checks, drafts or for fine correspondence.” Beneath the company name at the bottom of the broadside is the address of its Boston office.

Brooks Bank Note was founded by Joshua L. Brooks (c. 1868-1949), an entrepreneur who arrived in Springfield, Massachusetts from the Boston area to open a storefront engraving business. From a $1,400 investment, he grew the company into one of the biggest employers in Springfield. In 1914, Joshua Brooks also had a vision of making Springfield the site of a large annual agricultural and industrial fair that would showcase New England businesses and also attract the National Dairy Fair and large manufacturers such as Westinghouse, General Electric, and Rolls Royce. This became the Eastern States Exposition, New England Fair, where six states still participate and also hold plots of land on which a replica of their statehouse stands. Brooks served as president of the fair from 1914 to 1942. Today the ESE is a 17-day event attracting more than a million visitors, and a plaque commemorating Brooks stands at the entrance. In 2016, the fair marked its 100th year. Nonetheless, Brooks Bank Note Company was eventually sold to the American Bank Note Company in the 1960s.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling, and wear. Old folds as issued, with slightly greater wear and toning at folds and intersections.


Brunson, Chris. “View from Here: ESE CEO Gene Cassidy…and the Founder of it All.” Moo Dog Press Magazine. 10 September 2015. (31 December 2020).

“Joshua L. Brooks.” New York Times. 17 February 1949. p. 23 (31 December 2020).

Additional information


19th Century