Advertising Ink Blotters

This is a collection of advertising ink blotters, an absorbent paper used to blot the excess ink off paper and prevent smearing when using fountain pens.  With strong visual images on the front of the blotters, manufacturers and businesses gave them away to customers as free promotional items. Advertising ink blotters were used from the 1900s through the 1940s until the ballpoint pen was invented.

The collection is organized alphabetically by subject.  Many of the ink blotters feature pin-up art by artists such as Vargas and Gil Elvgren and from printing houses, including Brown & Bigelow and the Osborne Company.  These materials would be of interest to scholars studying advertising and graphic design.

This finding aid was prepared by Sarah Kuniakis, Student Assistant, and Dana Nemeth, Reference Archivist, in August 2019.


  • Anti-Discrimination
  • Banks
  • Clothing
  • Coal
  • Consumer Products
  • Environmental Protection
  • Food
  • Industrial Parts Manufacturers
  • Insurance
  • Medicine/Pharmacy
  • Miscellaneous
  • Services
  • Stores/Retailers

Updated: 06/05/2023 09:24AM