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John Paver papers, 1920-1979, bulk 1938-1971 33.1 Linear Feet — 16,105 Items

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The John Paver Papers span the years 1920 through 1979, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1938 through the year 1971. The collection documents Paver's career in the outdoor advertising industry, especially his years as president of the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau (NOAB), and his work writing a textbook on the outdoor advertising medium. Series include the Biographical Files Series; Writings and Speeches Series; NOAB Files Series; Subject Files Series; Personal Files Series; Miscellaneous Files Series; Photographs, Negatives, and Slides Series; and Oversize Materials. Researchers interested in the following subjects may find this collection especially helpful: management in the advertising industry, more specifically the outdoor advertising industry; the outdoor medium itself; and traffic and advertising. Common formats in the collection include paper files such as correspondence, meeting minutes, writings, memoranda, printed materials; and photographic prints and negatives. The Resource for Outdoor Advertising Descriptions (ROAD) database, which holds searchable information about the images in this and other outdoor advertising collections will be available in early 2003.

Paver was instrumental in the establishment of standards for traffic measurement and, later, standards and the quality of billboards, topics all reflected in each of the collection's series, especially the Writings and Speeches Series, the NOAB Files Series, and the Subject Files Series. He pioneered research determining the relationship between traffic or habitual movement and trade activities. This work culminated in the publication, Traffic and Trade (McGraw-Hill, 1935), co-authored with research associate Dr. Miller McClintock, and in the founding of the industry authority for measuring outdoor advertising circulation, the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB). His contributions in the area of window display (show windows) advertising, and, more generally, the outdoor medium are significant as well; all are documented within the collection. A large part of his career was spent in service to the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau before and after World War II; he led the organization for about seventeen years and became a prominent figure in the outdoor advertising industry. The papers document well Paver's work on an outdoor advertising textbook through draft copies and research materials. Through this activity, Paver grew to become a respected authority on poster and painted display advertising in the United States, and served as a speaker and consultant in the last years of his life. For more detailed information about Paver's life and career, see the Biographical Note above as well as the Biographical Files Series. All collection series are further described within the container list.

At the end of this finding aid is a list of publications removed from the collection and cataloged separately. Closely related collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library include the John Brennan Papers, the John Browning Papers, the Duplex Advertising Co. Records, the H.E. Fisk Collection of War Effort Mobilization Campaigns, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Records, the Outdoor Advertising Poster Design Collection, the Outdoor Advertising Slide Library, the Garrett Orr Papers, the R.C. Maxwell Company Records, the Howard Scott Papers, and the Strobridge Lithography Company Photographs.

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The Outdoor Advertising Association of America Poster Designs are comprised of black and white poster designs (for billboard or other transit advertising), some printed on cards and some photographed and mounted in volumes, that document the advertising design holdings of several outdoor advertising companies from 1934 through the 1940s and possibly later. The majority of the designs in the collection are stock posters in preliminary sketch form with simple lines, but the collection also includes finished designs with brief information on exhibition and award status. Stock designs were created without actual brand names so more than one advertiser could use them by simply inserting their own brand name or product into the ad. The designs include work created or acquired by the Donaldson Lithographing Co., Foster and Kleiser, General Outdoor Advertising Co., and the AD-VER-TIS-ER, Inc.

These designs provide a snapshot of American consumerism during the interwar years by demonstrating how advertising professionals in the 1930s and 1940s represented products in order to entice shoppers. As well, the designs document the production of commercial art during this time period, in both the artistic process of creating ad artwork for billboards or other transit advertising space, as well as in the relationship between ad agency and client. Proven designs were available to the ad agency as sales tools to prospective clients, and these stock images could be reused, so there was less need to customize advertising campaigns for individual clients. The designs are organized into two series: Printed Poster Designs and Stock Poster Photograph Volumes.

The Printed Poster Designs Series consists of a card file of designs including some more polished billboard images, all arranged into product or service categories. The Stock Poster Photograph Volumes Series consists of twelve volumes of designs, also organized by product or service type.

Closely related collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library include the Outdoor Advertising Slide Library; the John E. Brennan Outdoor Advertising Survey Reports; the John Paver Papers; the John Browning Papers; the Duplex Advertising Co. Records; the War Effort Mobilization Campaigns Collection; the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Records; the Garrett Orr Papers; the R.C. Maxwell Company Records; the Howard Scott Papers; and the Strobridge Lithographing Company Photographs.

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The Outdoor Advertising Association of America Slide Library spans the years 1891 through the 2000s, with the bulk of the collection originating in the 1950s and later. The collection documents over a hundred years of outdoor advertising primarily in the United States, plus some international campaigns from several other continents. The Slide Library is a large collection, almost entirely comprised of slides of billboards, exhibiting a grand range of graphic artistry, advertising campaigns, and marketing strategies. A smaller group of images supports the ad collection with views of artwork, billboard construction and other related images. In addition to over 62,000 slides, there are a few early glass slides, as well as transparencies, a small number of paper files, and six audiocassettes accompanying slide presentations. Many images were submitted by outdoor advertising companies over a number of years to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) as entries in annual national competitions to determine the best poster designs. The OAAA currently sponsors the OBIE Awards, which were preceded by awards programs under various names and sponsorships starting in the early 1930s. The award is modeled after the ancient Egyptian obelisk, considered by many the earliest form of outdoor advertising. Indeed much of the collection can be seen as evidence of this awards program although only the Award Nominees Series contains slides labeled as such. Other slides probably were transferred to OAAA when companies cleaned out their back files, though the precise sources of many items are unknown. The slides were maintained at OAAA primarily as a large supply of creative examples for member companies. Researchers interested in the following subjects may find the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Slide Library especially helpful: the outdoor advertising medium itself, advertising awards, advertising design, billboard construction, and commercial art, as well as the many outdoor advertising companies, advertisers, and advertising campaigns represented.

The images, designed to attract mass audiences, depict part of American society's history - a history of consumer attitudes and desires. The collection is therefore a valuable tool in formulating not only a pictorial development of the outdoor advertising industry but of societal norms and opinions. The ads speak to the creativity of artists and designers, but they also convey a rich story of how these creators saw society at large, especially in the United States. Perhaps more importantly, ads reveal how corporations and designers felt America wanted to see itself. Such visual richness underlies the primary goals of selling goods and services and promoting ideas for the public good. There are thousands of product advertisements but also many public service ads, political issue ads, and even Happy Birthday greetings in the collection. Billboards are one direct link from corporate America, various interest groups, and their advertising specialists to consumers; and a succinct one-sided conversation designed to spur them to action.

In contrast to other types of advertising, outdoor ads were designed with the fast-moving traveler in mind. The collection documents well the evolution of the billboard's attempt to reach those on the move, especially drivers. With careful thought to what would quickly provoke interest, advertisers presented a huge range of thought from text-free images of abstract artwork to direct discourse (e.g. Vote for Nixon). Because posters were displayed for only limited time periods, and because their physical size makes them impractical to store, photography is the primary method of capturing billboard images. Most billboard photos - whether print or slide - were created to document the work of the company which posted them for their business use.

Within the Slide Library, the creative output of many outdoor advertising companies is documented, although particular creators of many of the ads are unknown. Foster and Kleiser is well represented in the collection. Other companies named in the collection include Naegele, Pacific, Turner, Eller, Donnelly, Columbus, General Outdoor, Patrick, Gannett, Lamar, United, and many others. Thousands of national campaigns are represented, but many local ads are present as well. Outdoor formats range from 19th century posters to "multi-vision" boards that automatically change views with the use of three-sided boards. Most images are of actual billboards, posters, and other outdoor advertising formats in the field, while a sizable portion are just images of the ad design itself with a plain background. There are some slides of stock posters ("Your brand name here") and other forms of outdoor advertising such as bus cards, street furniture, and truck side advertising. The vast majority of the advertisements are in English.

The first three series make up the bulk of the collection: the Award Nominees Series, the Chronological Series, and the Topical Series (by far the largest of the three). These series are made up almost completely of slides showing advertisements, usually in billboard format. All series are described further within the container list. The only other series with a sizable number of advertisements is the International Posters Series. This is where the largest concentration of international ads is found, although there are a few scattered within the other main series. Ads may also be found scattered throughout the Presentations and Presentation Slides Series.

Several additional small series contain images of related content, providing support and context to the advertisements. These include the Construction and Creation Series, the Artwork Series, the Street Scenes and Approaches Series, and the Other Outdoor Advertising Related Images Series. The Presentations and Presentation Slides Series adds insight by showing some of the internal conversation between directors and trainees, advertisers and advertising creators, and more.

The most direct route to locate any identified ad is through the Resource for Outdoor Advertising Description (ROAD) database, available in early 2003. Information about most slides in the collection has been added to this database. Researchers will be able to search for specific attributes of ads such as brand or company name, product type, and headline, as well as other types of information including slide number, date, collection name, image type, image color, outdoor advertising type, and special notes. Many database records also contain a searchable field with the outdoor advertising company's name (posting company), a field indicating if the billboard is in a rural or urban setting, information on the presence of women, children, ethnic individuals, or famous people in the ad, and the billboard's geographic location. Various slide series were entered into the database differently. Multiple searches may be required for comprehensive searching. For more information, consult Research Services Staff (special-collections@duke.edu).

For more contextual information, use this collection in conjunction with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Records, especially that collection's Physical Structure Series, and Photographs, Slides, and Negatives Series. Closely related collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library include the John Brennan Outdoor Advertising Survey Reports, the John Paver Papers, the John Browning Papers, the Duplex Advertising Co. Records, the H.E. Fisk Collection of War Effort Mobilization Campaigns, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Records, the Outdoor Advertising Poster Design Collection, the Garrett Orr Papers, the R.C. Maxwell Company Records, the Howard Scott Papers, and the Strobridge Lithographing Company Advertisements.