D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Archives, 1929-1995 and undated 152 Linear Feet — 30,220 Items
The D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B) Archives consists of advertising agency records spanning the years 1929 to 1995. The bulk of the material dates from the 1950s to the mid-1980s. The Archives includes material that documents aspects of three advertising agencies: D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B), Benton & Bowles (B&B), and D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius (D-MM).
The Archives as a whole provides a comprehensive overview of Benton & Bowles advertisements (1932-1995) and commercials (1950s-1980s), primarily those created by the agency's New York office. Other major topics include the advertising careers of William B. Benton and Atherton W. Hobler; research and publication about the history of Benton & Bowles by Gordon Webber and Frank Smith; television programs created by B&B in the 1950s; aspects of employee training, recruitment, and management; and marketing research. The Archives also documents the merger of the D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius agency with Benton & Bowles to form DMB&B in 1985. There is very little information in the Archives about the D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius agency prior to the merger. Also, material about Benton & Bowles offices other than New York is limited, and found mostly in B&B house organs.
The D'Arcy-MacManus Masius Files comprise a very small amount of materials in the Archives. Although the D'Arcy agency had its roots in 1906, the Items gathered here date only from 1972-1985, mainly 1981 to 1985. They consist of corporate publications, notes, and clippings. The 75th Anniversary edition of "Between Us" contains an overview of the history of D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius, especially of the D'Arcy Advertising Company, and its clients. Profiles, a resource book, provides information on all of the divisions of the D'Arcy -MacManus Masius Worldwide group of advertising agencies.
The Benton and Bowles Files are by far the largest part of the Archives. They include primarily print advertisements (the largest series in the Archives), but also over 500 films, significant documents relating to the work of the agency, photographs, and corporate publications. The Benton & Bowles Files span the years 1929 to 1985, although most of the material dates from 1950s and after. Item types in the collection include internal memoranda; reports; speeches; printed material (manuals, leaflets, pamphlets, and house organs); photographs; research notes; credentials; employee training material; press releases and clippings; book manuscripts; audio tapes of oral history interviews; and financial papers. The Benton & Bowles Files provide documentation of the history of print and television advertising; television programming; the history of the B&B agency and its corporate culture; corporate communications; marketing research; and advertising executives.
The earliest Items in the B&B Files are two small bank books recording account activity of the fledgling agency from 1929 to 1935 and copies of William ("Billie") Benton's long letters to his mother, 1929-1938, in which he confides details of his new advertising agency as well as family matters. A small number of other Items date from the 1930s and 1940s and illustrate isolated aspects of the agency's business in that period.
Long series of various agency house organs begin in 1947 and provide the most complete and continuous views of Benton & Bowles, its clients, advertising campaigns, personnel, and various offices in the U.S. and abroad.
The Advertisements Series is the largest section of the Archives and contains comprehensive files of print advertising campaigns developed mainly by Benton & Bowles from 1932-1980. The series includes primarily proofs, along with some tearsheets, of consumer and trade advertisements, most from U.S. magazines and newspapers. Files for a few clients include unusual material, such as packaging or client newsletters. Most of the advertisements were removed from large scrapbooks into which B&B employees had pasted them; many have suffered glue damage, but they remain an invaluable source for studying the development of a number of advertising campaigns over long periods of time. Longtime clients of B&B included Procter & Gamble and General Foods, among many others. Neither the Advertisements Series nor any other part of the Archives contains substantial documentation of the creative processes behind the advertisements and advertising campaigns.
For additional information about the Advertisements Series, see the data collection sheets in the Information Folders about the DMB&B Archives. The data collection sheets provide notes about: languages, other than English, used in the advertisements; countries, other than the United States, for which advertisements were produced; the use of celebrities in the advertisements; themes or social and political issues that can be studied in the advertisements; and the use of comic illustrations. The data collection sheets also note the existence of collateral literature for certain advertising campaigns. The Information Folders also contain a list of Benton & Bowles clients and the dates of agency-client relationships.
The Audiovisual Series (RESTRICTED) contains over 500 reels of 16mm film varying in lengths from 200' to 1600'. The majority of the films are compilations of commercials created mainly by Benton & Bowles for many different clients. Also included are several dozen reels of vintage television programs (shows created or sponsored by B&B), several stockholders' meetings, speeches, new business presentations, and outtakes. At the time of this writing, most of the films have not been viewed in their entirety, indexed, or reformatted. However, a selection of films has been reformatted for research use.
Addition (accession #2001-0103) (554 items, 7.5 linear ft.; dated [ca. 1950s]-[1980s]) comprises 16-mm film reels of commercials. Brand names and clients include Crest, Post cereals, Scope, Yardley, Hardees, Grape Nuts, Hasbro, and Pampers. Viewing of commercials is restricted until videocassette use copies are made. For a container list, contact Research Services.