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The J. Walter Thompson Company World War II Advertising Collection documents the war-related activities of the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) advertising agency during 1940-1948, including a few post-war assessments. In particular, it shows JWT’s contributions to the war effort by its in-house documentation and work on government, civilian, and war-supporting charitable organization accounts. Materials include lists, memos, press releases, correspondence, notes, and advertisement tearsheets and proofs. Many of the materials in this collection are products of campaigns conducted under the auspices of the War Advertising Council, as well as those sponsored by civilian clients. These advertisements and pamphlets supported food rationing, fuel and rubber conservation, the purchase of War Bonds, the United Services Organization (USO), military recruitment, and women's employment in war-related jobs. Other advertisements arose from JWT's work in 1941 and 1942 for the Navy Relief Society. Items produced by the JWT London Office supported British War Relief (Ministry of Food, 1940-1941) and the Food Facts series (recipes and cooking tips for foods available despite rationing).

The collection includes corporate-sponsored advertisements relating to the war effort. Companies represented include: the American Association of Playing Card Manufacturers (recreation for convalescent service-men, in cooperation with the Red Cross); Anthracite Industries, Inc. (fuel conservation); Eastman Kodak Company (U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps); and the Institute of Life Insurance (ads to fight inflation produced in cooperation with the Office of Economic Stabilization, and a "Keep Well" campaign). Other advertisements were backed by Lambert Pharmacal Co. (women's employment); Libbey Glass Company (recruitment of women Marines and nurses' aides); National Retail Dry Goods Association (nurse recruitment); Owens Illinois-Glass Company (paper salvage); Petroleum Industry War Council (campaigns for saving tires, rubber, and gasoline); Shell Oil Company and other petroleum and rubber companies (salvage of scarce materials); and Textron (nurse recruitment).

Related materials may be found elsewhere in the J. Walter Thompson Co. Archives, including the papers of JWT executives such as Samuel W. Meek, Walter O'Meara, Helen Lansdowne Resor, Stanley Burnet Resor, Ruth F. Waldo and James Webb Young. Similar materials may also be found in the R.C. Maxwell Company Outdoor Advertising Archives; the War Effort Mobilization Campaigns Poster Collection; and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) Archives.


The War Effort Mobilization Campaigns Poster Collection spans the years 1942-1945 and contains miniature reproductions of billboards designed by the War Advertising Council that advertise various government campaigns during World War II. A broad range of campaigns are represented in this collection, including war bonds, civilian employment, women’s Naval Reserve (WAVES) service, food rationing, civil defense, and fire prevention. Campaigns were approved by various government agencies. The Treasury Department is the most heavily represented agency in this collection, but other agencies such as the Office of Civilian Defense, the War Food Administration, the War Manpower (or Man Power) Commission, the National Housing Administration, and the Office of War Information are also included. Most of the posters are in full color and feature images depicting scenes involving military activity, civilian and family life, women’s war contributions, and patriotic symbolism. Many of the posters come with attached promotional literature or form part of "sales kits" designed to encourage businesses to purchase and sponsor a billboard to promote war effort campaigns in their community.

Included in the collection are examples of outdoor advertising for the Second through the Seventh War Loan drives. Examples of advertising for the First Bond drive (which was primarily promoted through newspapers and radio advertising) and the Eighth War Loan campaign may be found in the Ad*Access collection on the Web.

The War Effort Mobilization Campaigns collection consists of two series. The H.E. Fisk War Poster Collection Series contains war effort posters collected in a scrapbook by H.E. Fisk, an executive of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). The War Effort Sample Posters Series contains a wide range of war effort posters. There is some overlap between the two series.

Related materials may also be found in the R.C. Maxwell Company Records, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Archives, the J. Walter Thompson Co. Archives: World War II Advertising Collection, and the Advertising Council Records. For additional information on advertising campaigns during World War II, please see for an article titled "Brief History of World War II Advertising Campaigns." This article, part of the Ad*Access on-line image database, highlights six major advertising initiatives including the conservation, V-mail, and war bond campaigns.

Collection consists of ration coupons, stickers, permits, and certificates for tires, bicycles, typewriters, sugar, shoes, fuel oil, gasoline, and food which were issued by the Office of Price Administration between 1942-1946. There are duplicates for a few items.