R.C. Maxwell Company records, 1891-2001 and undated 135 Linear Feet — 118,350 Items
The R.C. Maxwell Company Records span the years 1891-2001 and include photographs and negatives, videocassettes, ledgers and account books, scrapbooks, correspondence and legal papers relating to the company's operations in outdoor advertising. Photographs and negatives in several formats (film, glass negatives, polaroid prints) document billboard designs for a variety of advertisers as well as depicting billboard and electric sign structures and their location relative to the surrounding environment. Urban locations include Times Square in New York and the Atlantic City, N.J., Boardwalk, where a number of photographs also document the Miss America beauty pageant parade and other parades in which the R.C. Maxwell Company participated. A few photographs document billboard construction and erection; there are also photographs of the Maxwell family and of Maxwell company staff and employees. Scrapbooks contain images of billboards and wall paintings produced by the Maxwell company as well as by David L. Clark, a High Point, N.C. artist and sign painter who was R.C. Maxwell's guardian. Other scrapbooks document primarily Coca-Cola signs of the early 20th century, as well as World War I support efforts including the U.S. Food Administration (under the direction of Herbert Hoover), the U.S. Fuel Administration, and Liberty Bond campaigns. Companies represented in the collection include the Boardwalk Advertising Signs Co., C&B Electric Signs Co., Trenton Advertising Co., and Trenton Poster Advertising Co.
Approximately 15,000 photographs, dating up to around 1952, have been described in the searchable ROAD Database (Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions). The numbered and indexed black-and-white photographs and negatives (along with a limited number of glass negatives) include images of billboard and electric spectacular executions (illuminated billboards); road shots showing the approach views to billboard structures; images of Maxwell advertising structures; and images of urban and rural billboard displays in various states, primarily Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including a number of images of Times Square in New York and the Atlantic City, N.J. boardwalk. Because the majority of photographs show the billboards in their surroundings, the images provide a snapshot of the people and buildings near the billboard.