J. Walter Thompson Company. Joseph O'Donnell papers, 1947-1987 and undated, bulk 1986
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- J. Walter Thompson Company
- Founded in 1864, the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) is one of the largest and oldest enduring advertising agencies in the United States. Joseph O'Donnell was an executive with JWT and served as the company's Chief Executive Officer during 1986. The Joseph O'Donnell Papers cover the years 1947-1987, with the bulk of materials from 1986, the year O'Donnell served as Chief Executive Officer of JWT. The collection primarily consists of correspondence, memoranda, reports of company performance, presentations and company policy information. The collection also includes personnel-related records, photographs, and videocassettes of television commercials of JWT and competing agencies. Companies represented in the collection include Beatrice Foods; Kodak; Ford; Hyatt Hotels; IBM; Kellogg's; Kraft; Pepsi-Cola; Sprint; Unilever; and U.S. Air. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.
- 12 Linear Feet
- Material in English, Spanish
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
The Joseph O'Donnell Papers cover the years 1947-1987, with the bulk of materials from 1986, the year O'Donnell served as Chief Executive Officer of JWT. The collection primarily consists of correspondence, memoranda, reports of company performance, presentations and company policy information. The collection also includes personnel-related records, photographs, and videocassettes of television commercials of JWT and competing agencies. Companies represented in the collection include Beatrice Foods; Kodak; Ford; Hyatt Hotels; IBM; Kellogg's; Kraft; Pepsi-Cola; Sprint; Unilever; and U.S. Air.
Restrictions on Access: Files relating to personnel matters of JWT employees are closed to research for 40 years from the date of termination of employment, or 25 years from the date of the employee's death if termination date is unknown. In addition, original audiovisual materials are closed to research until use copies can be made.
- Biographical / historical:
Chronology Date Event 1942 May 11Born Joseph William O'Donnell, Newton, Mass. 1964B.A., Economics, Columbia University 1965-1971U.S. Marine Corps; attained rank of Sergeant 1967Columbia University Business School 1976Account representative, JWT New York Office 1978Office Manager, JWT Detroit Office 1982Promoted to head of JWT Chicago Office 1986 MarchChief Executive Officer of JWT 1987 JanuaryFired from JWT following a failed buy-out attempt 1987-1989Served as Chief Executive Officer of Campbell-Mithun-Esty 1988-1989Served as Chairman of Campbell-Mithun-Esty
Joseph O'Donnell began his career in advertising as a Traffic Department trainee at Doyle Dane Bernbach, later as an assistant account executive on DDB's Heinz account. O'Donnell advanced to become Account Executive, Account Supervisor and then Vice President of that account. He served as a partner at Cox & Company for two and a half years, where he headed the accounts of Burlington Sheets and Saab. In 1976, he began working for JWT New York, where his first assignment was with the Samsonite account. During his ten years at JWT, O'Donnell served in an executive capacity on several major accounts, including Ford; Kodak; McDonnell Douglas; Chrysler; Kraft Foods; Sears; Kellogg's; and Sprint.
Following his tenure at Campbell-Mithun-Esty, O'Donnell served as Chairman and Chief Executive of Consumer Research in Manchester, Vermont; and he also founded a cable television network called the Consumer Resource Network.
- Acquisition information:
- The Joseph O'Donnell Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 1993.
- Processing information:
Processed by Jessica Wood, October 2009
Encoded by Jessica Wood, November 2009
Accession 1993-0009 is described in this finding aid.
The collection is arranged into nine series: Administrative Files, Client Files, Correspondence, International Offices, Meetings, Personnel, Reports, Writings and Speeches, and Audiovisual Materials. The Administrative Files Series includes memoranda, correspondence, company policy information, leases, clippings, photographs and financial documents pertaining to the daily operations of JWT domestic offices. The Client Files Series includes campaign presentations, marketing plans, briefings, correspondence, agency reviews and annual reports pertaining to specific JWT clients, as well as general information on JWT client policies. The Correspondence Series contains correspondence and memoranda from JWT-sponsored charities, clients, newspapers and organizations, as well as memoranda between JWT employees. The International Offices Series contains primarily memoranda between JWT employees and clients in international offices, as well as some materials from international advertising conferences and meetings. The Meetings Series contains programs, correspondence, schedules, itineraries, and some presentation slides related to JWT meetings and events, as well as materials pertaining to general advertising events. The Personnel Series contains correspondence and resumes pertaining to company hires, terminations, salaries and bonuses, along with performance reviews and information on employee stock holdings. The Reports Series includes plans, company performance reviews, budgets and yearly reports relating to JWT and its subsidiaries. The Writings and Speeches Series contains scripts, notes and visual materials related to speeches and formal presentations given by JWT employees at company events, as well as at events of general advertising organizations. The Audiovisual Materials Series includes film compilations of advertising spots of JWT clients, as well as clients of competitive companies.
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- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
- Rules or conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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 executives -- United States
Advertising -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Advertising agencies -- United States
- Beatrice Foods Company
Ford Motor Company
Eastman Kodak Company
International Business Machines Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
J. Walter Thompson Company -- History
J. Walter Thompson Company
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
J. Walter Thompson Company
Kraft Foods Company
O'Donnell, Joseph William, 1942-
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RESTRICTED: Files relating to personnel matters of JWT employees are closed to research for 40 years from the date of termination of employment, or 25 years from the date of the employee's death if termination date is unknown.
Original audiovisual materials are closed to research until use copies can be made.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
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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. Joseph O'Donnell Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.