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110 Years of the Subway

Advertising is everywhere in American culture. This phenomena is hardly new, and although the format has changed over time, advertising remains a common daily element in the lives of most. There are few better places to advertise than in the subway. The routine of work, school and weekend leisure activities, ensure that there are always observant viewers available. These historic ads, speak volumes about our history and culture. They also highlight a unique aesthetic, which developed as a result of the subway systems' distinctive infrastructure, architectural elements, and its broad and diverse audience.

Many of the advertisements in the gallery above, were designed as a part of an early IRT ad campaign. They were created in the style of a newspaper headline and titled, The Subway Sun. The posters were produced by the New York Subways Advertising Company for IRT lines (2nd decade of the 20th century through WWII).

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