Document Type


Publication Date



N. T. Swezey, N.T. Swezey’s Son & Co. Flour, Advisement, Stereotypes, Derogatory Representations of African Americans in Advertising, Racism, Racist Caricature, Pickaninny Stereotype



N. T. Swezey (Noah Terry) (1814-1888) was a flour merchant in New York City. He ran a successful business for over forty years at 176 South St., and was one of the founders of the New York Produce Exchange. This collection contains a reproduction of a sign advertising Northwest Consolidated Milling Company flour. The sign depicts the figure of a black child standing behind and slightly below the figure of a white child. The white figure is sitting on a container of the Northwestern Consolidated Milling Company’s flour and is holding a slice of white bread. Both children have flour stains on their hands; the black child also has a white handprint on his cheek. Next to the children is an open flour sack. The text in the upper left hand corner reads: “Only Perfect Flour Makes Perfect Bread.” The text on the right reads: “N.T. Swezey’s Son & Co. Flour; 224 Produce Exchange, New York; Telephones, 63 Broad/971 ". The sign measures 12.5 inches by 17 inches. Historically, the image of an African American child relies on racist stereotypes that were frequently depicted on advertisements, postcards, and other ephemera from about mid-nineteenth century into the early decades of the twentieth century.

Date Range:

ca. 1980s

Size of Collection:

2.5 ft.



The N. T. Swezey's Son & Co. Tin Sign was donated by Dietlind Vander Schaaf in 2002. He recovered the sign from the basement of his aunt’s house in Brunswick, Maine. The sign was purchased in the 1980s by his aunt at a flea market in Michigan.

Ownership and Literary Rights:

The N. T. Swezey's Son & Co. Tin Sign is the physical property of the University of Southern Maine Libraries. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the creator or his/her legal heirs and assigns.

For further information, consult the Head of Special Collections,



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.