Ads From Sylva’s “The Ruralite” in 1932 Show Some Familiar Products

A newspaper ad for Velveeta cheese with an illustration of a Velveeta blockWhat year would you guess Velveeta cheese was invented? The answer: 1918—making it 104 years old. It was bought by Kraft Foods Inc. in 1927, and that’s how we came to see this advertisement in the February 23, 1932 issue of The Ruralite from Sylva, N.C. This issue is one of the many from a batch of papers that was just uploaded to our site thanks to the Jackson County Public Library. This batch contains issues from 1926-1935—a great time period for newspaper advertising, apparently.

While Velveeta cheese (or, technically, “pasteurized prepared cheese product”) almost seems anachronistic for 1932, it isn’t the only familiar item advertised in the pages of The Ruralite. Since we’re in cold and flu season, you may be considering a trip to the drug store for a little medicine—and you might even buy the same item as your parents or grandparents.

A newspaper ad for Vick's with an illustration of a woman putting medicine underneath her nose with a dropper.It’s unclear whether today’s VapoRub is the same as 1935’s Va-tro-nol, but the cost of Vicks has certainly changed over the past 87 years. And medicine isn’t the only product that has gotten pricier; a list of goods from Sylva Supply Company, Inc. from 1932 lists “Kellog’s” corn flakes for $0.15/two boxes, Gerber’s “strained fruits and vegetables” for $0.11/can, and bath towels for $0.09 each.

There are also advertisements for Bayer aspirin and Camel cigarettes (of course). While it has changed media, perhaps advertising retains some of the characteristics it had in the 1930s.

You can see all of our digital issues of The Ruralite here or browse our North Carolina Newspapers collection by location, type, and date. To see more materials from the Jackson County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.

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