John Paver papers, 1920-1979, bulk 1938-1971

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Paver, John
33.1 Linear Feet
16,105 Items
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The John Paver Papers span the years 1920 through 1979, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1938 through the year 1971. The collection documents Paver's career in the outdoor advertising industry, especially his years as president of the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau (NOAB), and his work writing a textbook on the outdoor advertising medium. Series include the Biographical Files Series; Writings and Speeches Series; NOAB Files Series; Subject Files Series; Personal Files Series; Miscellaneous Files Series; Photographs, Negatives, and Slides Series; and Oversize Materials. Researchers interested in the following subjects may find this collection especially helpful: management in the advertising industry, more specifically the outdoor advertising industry; the outdoor medium itself; and traffic and advertising. Common formats in the collection include paper files such as correspondence, meeting minutes, writings, memoranda, printed materials; and photographic prints and negatives. The Resource for Outdoor Advertising Descriptions (ROAD) database, which holds searchable information about the images in this and other outdoor advertising collections will be available in early 2003.

Paver was instrumental in the establishment of standards for traffic measurement and, later, standards and the quality of billboards, topics all reflected in each of the collection's series, especially the Writings and Speeches Series, the NOAB Files Series, and the Subject Files Series. He pioneered research determining the relationship between traffic or habitual movement and trade activities. This work culminated in the publication, Traffic and Trade (McGraw-Hill, 1935), co-authored with research associate Dr. Miller McClintock, and in the founding of the industry authority for measuring outdoor advertising circulation, the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB). His contributions in the area of window display (show windows) advertising, and, more generally, the outdoor medium are significant as well; all are documented within the collection. A large part of his career was spent in service to the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau before and after World War II; he led the organization for about seventeen years and became a prominent figure in the outdoor advertising industry. The papers document well Paver's work on an outdoor advertising textbook through draft copies and research materials. Through this activity, Paver grew to become a respected authority on poster and painted display advertising in the United States, and served as a speaker and consultant in the last years of his life. For more detailed information about Paver's life and career, see the Biographical Note above as well as the Biographical Files Series. All collection series are further described within the container list.

At the end of this finding aid is a list of publications removed from the collection and cataloged separately. Closely related collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library include the John Brennan Papers, the John Browning Papers, the Duplex Advertising Co. Records, the H.E. Fisk Collection of War Effort Mobilization Campaigns, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Records, the Outdoor Advertising Poster Design Collection, the Outdoor Advertising Slide Library, the Garrett Orr Papers, the R.C. Maxwell Company Records, the Howard Scott Papers, and the Strobridge Lithography Company Photographs.

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
1900 Jan. 15
Born in Montgomery, Alabama
1918 Oct.-Dec.
Student Army Training Corps enlistee at University of California when World War I armistice signed
Graduated from Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) with a Bachelor of Science degree
Graduated from Northwestern with a degree in Civil Engineering
1925 Sept.-1927 Apr.
Research Engineer at Sunland Sales Corporation
1927 Apr.-1933 Jan.
Chief Engineer-Secretary at the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA)
1933 Jan.-1936 Jan.
Erskine Fellow and Research Associate for Miller McClintock at Erskine Bureau for Street Traffic Research at Harvard University
1936 Jan.-1937 Apr.
Research Associate for McClintock at Advertising Research Foundation
1937 Apr.-1942 June
Engineer and Manager of National Field Service Department at National Outdoor Advertising Bureau (NOAB)
1942 June-1944 June
Major-Lieutenant Colonel in US Air Force during World War II
1944 Jul.-1945 Jan. 1
Managing Director of Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB)
1945 Jan. 1 -1962
President and General Manager of NOAB
Featured speaker at the national convention of the British Poster Advertising Association
Speaker again for the British Poster Advertising Association
Retired from NOAB
Guest of honor and speaker at the European Association of Outdoor Advertising in Paris

After retirement, Paver still promoted the establishment of an international organization to make use of poster advertising throughout the world and traveled extensively for this purpose. He worked closely with the British and London Poster Associations and the Outdoor Advertising Federation of Europe. Paver also published "My World War II Experiences" at some point before 1968. Only a few copies were created by printer, Harry Deckoff, of the Tribune Printing Company in New York

Acquisition information:

The John Paver Papers were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1996.

Processing of this collection was supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processing information:

Processed by Lisa Stark

Completed March 29, 2001

Encoded by Lisa Stark

Folder date spans were figured by sampling and so may not be strictly accurate for all materials in a particular folder.

There was no meaningful arrangement to the collection when it came to the library, and so most organization has been imposed to approximate how Paver may have used the files. For instance, files obviously created during his tenure at the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau (NOAB) were pulled into a separate group of files by that name. Most individual folders hold a wide range of material types, such as manuscripts, photographs, and printed materials. Folder labels give an indication of most materials in a folder, but perhaps not all materials in the folder.

All photographs, slides, and negatives were pulled from folders into their own series. Whenever a photograph had been filed with other papers, a photocopy was made of the photograph, and left with the papers to preserve context. Approximate dates on the backs of photos may not be accurate. They were usually entered into the image database when found, but could not be confirmed.

Oversize materials were labeled with the same title as the folder from which they were pulled. Thus an oversize item may, for instance, have the title/label "Typescript" when the oversize item is actually a clipping, if "Typescript" is on the folder label from which the item originally came.

Patrons should use caution since the collection still contains some rusty staples.

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


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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], John Paver Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.