Yearbook Outtake: Ads of Few Words, Shanghai 1937

My mother grew up in the European part of Shanghai, China, in the 1930’s until her family emigrated to the US before World War II. I have a copy of her older sister’s high school yearbook, from June 1937, and in it I found some images that may be of interest here.

My American yearbooks 30+ years later certainly didn’t have ads, but the Public School for Girls, which I believe was an English school although located in the French Concession, certainly accepted advertising. Even cigarette ads! Quite a few of the ads had sophisticated graphics and copy, but the two car ads in the yearbook kept it simple. Dodge, above was merely “dependable”. (Apologies for the added graffiti, probably courtesy of my then-ten-year-old mom.)

Ford was a little more verbose, but still made modest claims. The dealership principal was Freddie Bills, hence the lack of apostrophe in the name. I learned more about it here. Apparently as recently as 2017 it was still a dealership, but now for Skoda. By the way. these are color scans, not sepia-toned. Either the yearbook was printed this way, or the paper and ink have aged gracefully.