Every year, this Sunday brings to many Americans’ minds three things: football, advertisements, and eating.  Here’s my archival twist on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, includes the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center.  It holds more than 20 million document pages, 3 million photographic images, and numerous artifacts.

A notable archival collection of advertisements is housed by the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History in the David M. Rubinstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University.  They created a digital collection called Ad*Access, which includes over 7,000 images from the J. Walter Thompson Company Competitive Advertisements Collection and focuses on five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II.  These ads originally appeared in American and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955.  (And if you happened to miss any of the Super Bowl ads during the game, they are available at the NFL.com site.)

There are many ways that archives have demonstrated an interest in food.  In 2011, NARA opened a fascinating exhibition entitled What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? that investigated the impact of the US government on American eating.  (The previews of this exhibition are still available online.)  The presidential libraries are often queried about recipes in their collections; for example, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library has an FAQ for Lady Bird Johnson’s recipe for Pedernales River Chili.  The Library of Congress has developed a resource guide on Presidential Food.  In 2012, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History opened an exhibition about Julia Child’s kitchen.  And although it’s not an archive in a traditional sense, I learned about the Southern Foodways Alliance during Cliff Kuhn’s plenary speech at the Tri-State Archivists Conference last fall, and I’ve been impressed to learn about the oral histories and short documentary films that they collect in order to preserve the food traditions of the South.  Plus it’s hard not to appreciate an organization that calls its podcasts okracasts!

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