Joe McKibben papers, 1940-1997

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McKibben, Joe, 1921-1997
Joe McKibben (1921-1997) was a white artist who worked in commercial advertising. He was also a World War II veteran. Collection consists mostly of black-and-white photographs of McKibben's advertising artwork and product displays, though some personal photographs and memorabilia are present as well. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.
3 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Materials in English.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Collection consists largely of photographs detailing the life and artistic output of Joe McKibben. Personal photographs and memorabilia show McKibben with his wife, Sybil, and at the Tank Destroyer Center (Camp Hood) and a Belgian hospital during World War II. The majority of photographs in this collection, however, are black-and-white prints showing advertising artwork and product displays that McKibben created for different brands and products.

The commercial artwork and designs created by McKibben often features a balance of textual elements (slogans and/or one to two lines of text) and visual elements (people and/or products), and it has a variety of styles and graphic designs common in 1940s and 1950s commercial art. All of the people appear to be white, with the exception of two brands (Atlas Batteries and General Foods' Post Toasties Corn Flakes) whose artwork uses caricatures of Indigenous people. Some artwork is done in a cartoon style instead of stylized realism. Holly Sugar ads feature artwork by Dr. Seuss.

Most of the commercial artwork appears to be finished, while a smaller amount is unfinished or in-progress art. Also included are photographs of product displays. Types of products represented in the artwork include automobiles and associated products, gasoline, food and beverage, household appliances and electronics, and personal hygiene. Brands represented include Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, DeSoto, Ford, Oldsmobile, Par-T-Pak drinks, Royal Crown Cola, Seagram's, 7UP, Standard Oil, and many more.

Biographical / historical:

Joe (Joseph Frederick) McKibben was a white artist who worked in commercial advertising. He was born on July 30, 1921 to Fred and Lennie (Adams) McKibben in Georgia. After high school, Joe enrolled in a painting program at the High Museum of Art, which he completed in 1942. In October 1943 McKibben married Sybil Richards, and together they had at least two children. During World War II, McKibben was a member of the US Army, working in the Tank Destroyer Center at Camp Hood, Texas. He created illustrations for at least one Army film and also served in Europe. McKibben was injured during his overseas service and spent some time recovering in a hospital in Belgium. After World War II, McKibben worked in the art department for The Atlanta Journal and then as an art director for local printing and advertising companies. He returned to The Atlanta Journal in 1972 and retired in 1986. McKibben passed away in April 1997.

The Tank Destroyer Center at Camp Hood (now Fort Hood) was an antitank training and mobilization center for the US Army. The ultimate goal of training was for soldiers to be able to identify and destroy enemy tanks through the use of other equipment and strategic maneuvers.

Source: Christopher R. Gable, "Seek, Strike, and Destroy: U.S. Army Tank Destroyer Doctrine in World War II," Leavenworth Papers, no. 12 (September 1985).

Acquisition information:
The Joe McKibben papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a purchase from Between the Covers Rare Books in 2022.
Processing information:

Processed by Leah Tams and Rachel Penniman, December 2022.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2022-0041.


Advertising art photographs are arranged alphabetically according to brand name. Artwork for unknown brands is at the end.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Joe McKibben papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.