Illustrated Trade card of William Jackson’s Brazen Head shop, c.1769
William Jackson, a general merchant in Boston, Massachusetts, operated a shop called the Brazen Head that stood next to the Town House, the town's commercial center. This elaborately engraved trade card would have informed consumers of the variety of goods available at his shop. These included textiles, cutlery, glass products, and spices. In the 18th century, cards such as these served as a type of advertising and often had receipts for merchandise written by the merchant on their reverse.
This source is a Boston merchant's trade card advertising his business to his customers. Where did he get, or import, the items he sold? What things did he sell? What does this tell us about the types of things American colonists bought at this time? How can this source show us how the Americans were connected to the British? If we just looked at this one source, would you think that the Americans would want to rebel against Britain? Why or why not?
This source highlights the ways that the colonies and Britain were directly connected via trade goods. The American colonies made up almost 40 percent of the trade from Britain. William Jackson immigrated from Britain to Boston in the 1760s to become a merchant. This source also emphasizes the flow of people, along with goods, across the Atlantic. Teachers may ask students to consider how this source exemplifies the direct connection between people and goods across the Atlantic. Students can practice developing an interpretation to the question, In what ways were the colonists dependent upon Britain? Teachers may want to note that Jackson accepted "small Furs" in payment, linking this advertisement to the long history of the fur trade in North America between Europeans and Native Americans. Students should use this trade card as evidence to answer the question, Why did colonists start to rebel against Britain?
at the BRAZEN HEAD next ye TownHouse
Imports from London and Bristol,
Cloths of all kinds, Linnens of all sorts, Callicoes,
a great Variety of Stuffs, Silks of different
kinds, all sorts of Hosiery, with a full and
General Assortment of English peice Goods,
Brass Kettles, London Pewter, Nails, Shott, Lead,
Powder, Steel frying pans, wth a full Assortment
of London & Birmingham & Sheffield Hardwares,
Window Glass, Looking Glasses, Tea, Spices, Starch,
Pepper &c. &c. NB. Money given at said Store,
for all kinds of small Furs.