J. Walter Thompson Company. Domestic Advertisements collection, 1875-2001 and undated, bulk 1920s-1990s
Using These Materials
- Collection is open for research.
- J. Walter Thompson Company and J. Walter Thompson Company
- Founded in 1864, the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) is one of the oldest and largest enduring advertising agencies in the United States. It is headquartered in New York. The Domestic Advertisements were collected from JWT offices in the United States, primarily from New York, Chicago and Detroit.
360 Linear Feet
- Collection ID:
- Scope and Content:
The Domestic Advertisements Collection consists of print advertisements created by U.S. offices of the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT). The bulk of the collection dates from the 1920s and after, but a few examples are available from as early as 1875. Print advertisements appear in a variety of formats--magazine, newspaper, color, black-and-white, proofs, tearsheets, negative transfers, clippings, along with a limited number of sketches for outdoor advertising installations. Some of the advertisements feature work from notable artists, such as Norman Rockwell, and photographers like Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, and Baron De Meyer. In addition to the actual advertisements, the files dating from the 1910s to 1950s often contain "insertion schedules" that provide the dates and names of the magazines or newspapers in which a given advertisement appeared. In general, proofs for JWT's long-time clients have been saved more systematically than those for accounts that JWT did not hold for a long time. The collection does not include advertisements which have been transferred to microfilm (see the JWT Microfilm Collection). Also, advertisements created for clients that JWT lost prior to the 1940s are less likely to have been saved, although some were microfilmed and are still available in that form. For some JWT clients there are no print advertisements at all in this collection. Among the most extensive files of print advertisements are those for the following JWT clients: Champion Spark Plug, Chesebrough-Ponds, Eastman Kodak (Instamatic, Pocket Instamatic, and Disc cameras, Kodak film), Ford Motor Company (consumer and dealer advertisements), R.T. French, Irving Trust Bank, J. Walter Thompson Company ("house advertisements"), Kraft Foods (including Kraft cheeses, Miracle Whip, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and Velveeta), Lever Brothers (Lifebuoy, Lux, Close Up, Mrs. Butterworth), Pan American World Airways (passenger jet travel, cargo transportation), Radio Corporation of America (RCA) (RCA Victor recordings, consumer goods, National Broadcasting Company), Reader's Digest, Scott Paper, Seven-Up, Standard Brands (Chase and Sandborn, Fleischmann, Royal, Tenderleaf tea), and Warner-Lambert (primarily Listerine, including advertisements produced by the Lambert and Feasley agency).
The Collection is organized into three series--Main Files, Small Files, and Oversize Materials--that reflect both the size of the holdings for each client as well as the physical location of the advertisements. Within each series, clients are arranged alphabetically and then the advertisements are arranged chronologically. The Main File Series includes clients for which at least one box have been preserved. A separate Small Files Series is maintained for clients for which less than one box of advertisements, and often much less, has survived. The Oversize Materials Series includes many of the clients found in both the Main and Small Files Series.
Chesebrough Ponds, 1875-1968. Proofs from the 1920s to 1950s feature testimonial advertising for Pond's Cold Cream. Noted socialites endorsing the product were photographed by well known photographers, including Edward J. Steichen and Baron DeMeyer.
Eastman Kodak Company, 1930-present. Organized into two categories--Consumer and Trade advertisements--that correspond to Kodak's two major marketing areas. Consumer advertisements feature photographs by well known photographers, famous slogans and trademarks, and depict the American family over several decades in settings where the cameras are used. Introductions of new camera models are well represented, including the Instamatic in 1963, the Pocket Instamatic in 1972, the Instant camera in 1975, and the Disc camera in 1982. At different times JWT handled both film and cameras (still and/or movie) or just Kodak films. Trade advertisements include campaigns for medical and industrial films, Kodel fibers, and Eastman Chemical, as well as advertisements aimed at Kodak dealers. Additional Kodak advertising may be found in the Wayne P. Ellis Collection of Kodakiana.
Ford Motor Company, 1945-present. Key campaigns include "There's a Ford in Your Future" (1945-1948), the "Peanuts" campaign (1960-1962) and the launch of the Mustang (1964). In addition to print advertisements showing the introduction of new models, photostats of outdoor billboards in the 1940s and early 1950s are included. Truck and dealer advertising can also be found. A separate collection, the JWT Detroit Office's Ford "Collateral Literature," houses showroom brochures, and diverse sales materials in many formats.
Irving Trust, 1918-1986. Fine line drawings, often of New York City locales, appear in 1920s newspaper advertisements.
J. Walter Thompson Co., 1917-present. These "house" advertisements are an important source of information about the Company's operations and philosophy.
Kraft Foods Corporation, 1922-present. Advertisements for products including Miracle Whip, Velveeta, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, other cheeses, salad dressings, etc. and a number of lesser-known early products are present. Includes many advertisements with recipes and many trade advertisements directed at grocers.
Lever Brothers, 1900-present. The earliest advertisements are for Lifebuoy Soap. J. Walter Thompson Co. introduced Lux Flakes in 1915 and Lux Toilet Soap in 1925. The early Lux Flakes advertisements employed the talents of fine illustrators. Comic style advertising appeared in the 1930s ("Peggy Lux" and others). The Lux Toilet Soap campaigns began featuring movie and stage star testimonials in 1927. One noteworthy campaign dates from 1953-1954 when Irving Penn photographed some of Hollywood's most famous stars. The Lever Brothers advertisements for both Lux products also include photographs of car cards (subway and bus posters) from the 1920s. Other Lever products represented in the collection include Stripe and Close Up toothpastes, Mrs. Butterworth syrup, and Lever 2000 bath soap.
Massachusetts Mutual Insurance Company, 1951-1967. Although few in number, many of the advertisements contain Norman Rockwell illustrations. The original art work has been retained by the client.
Pan American World Airways, 1942-1974. Contains advertisements prepared for both U.S. and international consumers and includes the introduction of jet passenger travel. Cargo advertising also can be found.
RCA (Radio Corporation of America), 1943-1976. In addition to consumer products, advertisements for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) programs can be found in this group.
Reader's Digest, 1945-present. Many of the advertisements since the 1960s highlight articles appearing in the current month's issue. Examples of corporate advertising for international editions of Reader's Digest are also present.
Scott Paper Co., 1927-1983. Numerous product introductions are represented.
Seven-Up, 1944-1978. Shows the changes in positioning this beverage from a family drink to "Wet 'n' Wild" to the "Un-Cola."
Standard Brands, 1925-1984. Advertisements cover a range of products, including Fleischmann's Yeast, Chase and Sanborn, Tenderleaf Tea, and Royal Pudding and Gelatin.
Warner-Lambert, 1915-1997. Advertisements consist primarily of proofs and tearsheets. There are no advertisements present for the years 1945-1947 or 1949. The vast majority of the advertisements are for Listerine Antiseptic, with other products represented beginning in the late 1960s. Listerine was manufactured by the Lambert Pharmacal Company beginning around 1915. William Warner acquired the company in 1955, merged it into his own pharmaceutical business and changed the name to the Warner-Lambert Co.
Warner-Lambert is the only client file in this collection that includes the work of an agency other than JWT. Until 1962, Listerine advertising was handled by the Lambert and Feasley agency in New York, the house agency for the Lambert Pharmacal Co. (St. Louis) up to 1955, and for its successor the Warner-Lambert Co. (Morris Plains, N.J.), from 1955-1962. When JWT obtained the Listerine account in October 1962, the back files of Listerine advertisements were transferred to JWT.
- Biographical / Historical:
Beginning in 1919 the New York Office of the J. Walter Thompson Company began to systematically retain the advertisements it had created. The Statistical and Information Department, renamed the Information and Records Department in the 1920s, arranged the advertisements in scrapbooks. Initially, most of the advertisements preserved were tear sheets, the actual advertisements clipped from newspapers and magazines. By the 1930s, however, the department retained the final printers' proofs for magazine advertisements. The scrapbooks therefore began to be called "proof books."
In the 1950s the responsibility for creating proof books fell to individual account groups. In addition to the account group proof books, a file clerk under the supervision of the Traffic Department maintained proofs. When no longer of current use, the file clerk transferred the proofs to a storeroom or records center. Throughout these years, individuals who helped create campaigns or who managed an account sometimes would maintain personal proof books.
In 1977 the New York Office established a Creative Library. Its responsibilities included the preservation on microfilm of all print advertisements, which was done for most of the 1980s. Imprints are located in the JWT Microfilm Collection; the originals were apparently destroyed after microfilming. The Creative Library has made an effort to create files of work from all major U.S. offices, so work from Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., is better represented in the collection from the late 1970s and after. Where known, the office that created the advertisements is noted in the container list. In addition, JWT subsidiaries such as Brouillard Communications or Lord Geller Federico and Einstein (LGFE) are noted where their work has been identified.
- Acquisition Information:
- The Domestic Advertisements Collection was initially transferred to the Rubenstein Library from the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) in 1987 and has had additions each year since then.
- Processing information:
Processed by Craig Fleishman
Encoded by Richard Collier, Craig Fleishman
Completed February 23, 2001
Processing of this collection was supported in part by gifts from the J. Walter Thompson Company Fund and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.
A supplementary container list provides greater intellectual access by rearranging the alphabetically-sequenced clients of this list into broad product categories. It is appended to this document.
This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.
- Physical Location:
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Related Material:
Related materials within the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives:
Other related, non-JWT collections:
- World War II Advertising Collection.
- Microfilm Collection--contains 104 reels of advertisements dating from 1906 to 1960, and includes West Coast offices from 1916 to 1928 and international offices from 1927 to 1933.
- Newsletter Collection, especially those dating from 1946 and after.
- Publications: J.Walter Thompson Advertising, Thompson Red Book, and Thompson Blue Books, 1887-1912.
- Account Files Collection.
- Client Lists.
- Competitive Advertisements Collection. Although these primarily contain advertisments of non-JWT clients (i.e. competitor's advertising), this collection sometimes contains JWT advertisements. May also include advertisements of various JWT clients before or after they worked with JWT.
- International Advertisements Collection. Especially strong in advertisements from JWT offices in Montreal (1940-1980) and Frankfurt, Germany (1950s-1980s) and small numbers of advertisements from many other JWT offices worldwide.
- Mounted Advertisements Collection.
- Review Board Records.
- Atlanta Office. United States Marine Corps Account Records.
- Chicago Office. Account Files.
- Chicago Office. Hyatt Hotels Corp. Account Files.
- Chicago Office. Quaker Oats Account Files.
- Detroit Office. Ford Collateral Literature.
- Detroit Office. Ford Dealer Association Records.
- Frankfurt Office. Advertisements.
- New York Office. Best of the Month Slides.
- Wayne P. Ellis Collection of Kodiakiana (for Kodak-related materials).
- Liggett and Myers Collection.
- Lightner Collection of Antique Advertisements (for early automobile advertisements).
- Gary P. and Sandra G. Baden Collection of Print Advertisements.
- Outdoor Advertising Association of America Slide Library (image descriptions for this vast collection are accessible through the ROAD database).
- War Effort Mobilization Campaigns Poster Collection.
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
Advertising -- United States -- History
Advertising -- Transportation
Advertising agencies -- History
Advertising -- Automobiles -- United States
Advertising photography -- United States
Advertising -- Food -- United States
Advertising -- Soap
Clippings (information artifacts)
Proofs (printed matter)
Advertising, Outdoor -- United States
Reader's Digest Association
Standard Brands Incorporated
Scott Paper Company
Radio Corporation of America
R.T. French Company
Pan American World Airways, Inc.
Lever Brothers Company
Kraft Foods Company
Lambert and Feasley (Company)
J. Walter Thompson Company
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office
J. Walter Thompson Company. Detroit Office
J. Walter Thompson Company. Frankfurt Office
J. Walter Thompson Company. Atlanta Office
J. Walter Thompson Company. Chicago Office
Ford Motor Company
Irving Trust Company
Eastman Kodak Company
Champion Spark Plug (Company)
Steichen, Edward, 1879-1973
Rockwell, Norman, 1894-1978
De Meyer, Adolf, Baron, 1868-1949
Using These Materials
Collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
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- PREFERRED CITATION:
[Identification of item], J. Walter Thompson Company. Domestic Advertisements Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.