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January 20, 2011

From The Attic: The Evolution Of Advertising

A lot has changed since 1937 at the Chronicle. We’ve moved buildings, switched from typewriters to computers, film to digital cameras, black and white to color, and even dropped some disciplines from our coverage and added new ones. Advertising, despite its own changes in trend and style, has remained an integral part of our magazine since the beginning.

Flipping through the aged brown pages of our oldest bound volumes brings forth a poof of dust and inevitable sneezing, but you can find the history of the United States in the content that was carefully laid out by designers all those years ago. From the Great Depression, through World War II and on to the Cold War, the words and photos in our magazine reflect the best of times and the worst of times in our nation’s history seen through the eyes of horse folks.

Similarly, advertising is a snapshot of the attitude of the average American whose plight was not necessarily recorded by the history books. We see ads in the old Chronicles that tell readers not to call Washington, D.C., during the 1940s to help with the war effort. We find how-to articles on how to keep your animals safe from nuclear explosions in the 1960s editions.

Some of our favorite ads include black pony stallions, Absorbine’s transition from glass to plastic bottles and breeches that make your hips look like hot air balloons. And while we chuckle at the idea that people actually bought those breeches, I’m sure in 50 years, the next generation of Chronicle writers and readers will be chuckling at us.

We’ve put together a few of our favorites in a photo gallery. We hope you enjoy this inside look into the fascinating history of the Chronicle, but more importantly the foundation of who we are as a nation and equestrians.

One of web writer Coree Reuter’s favorite parts of working at The Chronicle of the Horse is adventuring up into the attic. While it's occasionally a journey that requires a head lamp, GPS unit and dust mask, nearly 75 years of the equine industry is documented in the old issues and photographs that live above the offices, and Coree is determined to unearth the great stories of the past. Inspired by the saying: "History was written on the back of a horse," she hopes to demystify the legends, find new ones and honor the horses who have changed the scope of everyday life with this blog.

Curious about anything in particular? Have a question or an interesting topic? Please e-mail Coree, she'd love to hear from you!

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