Pamphlets or brochures are small lightweight publications, generally under 50 pages in length, which are typically printed for free distribution. Smaller brochures are produced by folding single sheets printed on both sides into halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, or sixths. Larger pamphlets are produced by attaching multiple folded sheets to each other by staples, thread or glue. Pamphlets may be distributed door to door, be mailed, or placed in information racks or on information tables to attract readers.
The pamphlets most associated with prairie history were those produced by the Dominion government and railroad companies to spur the agricultural settlement of the west. The pamphlet has been a favorite low-cost vehicle for advocacy and advertising by governments, politicians, social activists, and promoters of the tourist industry.
Recipe booklets have long been used for promotional purposes. A familiar type of prairie cookbook is the fundraising community cookbook featuring the most prized recipes of local women. These have been produced at least since World War I by churches, women’s organizations, schools, and sports groups. The charities raise funds both from the sale of the books and of the advertising space within. These ads can provide a good picture of commercial and social activity within the community.
Almost all manufacturers of brand name food products have distributed recipe books featuring well known and novel uses for their products. Those issued by flour mills and sugar refineries were among the most substantial and heavily used of these cookbooks. Manufacturers of appliances such as home freezers, pressure cookers, and microwave ovens have utilized cookbooks to introduce their products to new generations of homemakers. Sask Power sponsored one of Saskatchewan’s most memorable promotional campaigns employing home expert ‘Penny Powers’ to encourage women to adopt electrical appliances in conjunction with that company’s rural electrification program.
Informational pamphlets that convey advice about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of many diseases and conditions, are available in most health clinics and doctor’s offices. The costs of some of these are underwritten by pharmaceutical companies that produce drugs that might be prescribed as treatment of these conditions. The same offices offer many other public health brochures promoting healthier lifestyle choices, on such issues as diet, exercise, sexual activity and the use of alcohol and drugs.