Richard Pollay Acme Advertising collection, 1850s-2006 and undated
Using These Materials
- Collection is open for research.
- Pollay, Richard W.
- The Acme Advertising Collection is one of the collections created by Professor Richard Pollay in the History of Advertising Archives (Faculty of Commerce, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia). The collection was motivated by the observation that Acme named enterprises are characteristically small ventures that represent the grass roots of local and regional economies. At the same time, the ubiquity of the Acme brand name has made its way into popular culture, where it has become an icon for independent business in general, featured in print cartoons from artists such as Gary Larson (The Far Side) and G.B. Trudeau (Doonesbury), and in the Warner Bros. animated Road Runner features. Items in the Acme Collection come from a variety of sources. Many items were donated to Dr. Pollay, but the majority were acquired by Dr. Pollay himself over several decades. In earlier years items were found in shops, flea markets, and antique stores across North America. However, in recent years most items were acquired through the internet auction site, eBay (www.eBay.com). The Acme Advertising Collection dates from the 1850s through 2006 and consists of approximately 3000 items from over 900 distinct companies and producers, primarily of U.S. or Canadian origin, all bearing the brand name Acme. The collection contains a diverse array of items, both three-dimensional and printed materials, including: promotional items and memorabilia; trade cards; business cards; magazine tear sheets; catalogs; newspaper clippings; signs; displays; writing instruments; rulers; clothing; toys and games; school and office stationery supplies; photographs and slides. A number of corporations are represented in the collection, including: Acme Bail Bonds; Acme Boots; Acme Brick Company; Acme Harvester; Acme Markets; Acme Motor Truck Company; Acme White Lead and Color Works; Duane H. Nash, Inc.; Lautz Bros. and Company; and Warner Bros.
75 Linear Feet
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and Content:
The Acme Advertising Collection dates from the 1850s through 2006 and consists of approximately 3000 items from over 900 distinct companies and producers, primarily of U.S. or Canadian origin, all bearing the brand name Acme. The collection contains a diverse array of items, both three-dimensional and printed materials, including: promotional items and memorabilia; trade cards; business cards; magazine tear sheets; catalogs; newspaper clippings; signs; displays; writing instruments; rulers; clothing; toys and games; school and office stationery supplies; photographs and slides. A number of corporations are represented in the collection, including: Acme Bail Bonds; Acme Boots; Acme Brick Company; Acme Harvester; Acme Markets; Acme Motor Truck Company; Acme White Lead and Color Works; Duane H. Nash, Inc.; Lautz Bros. and Company; and Warner Brothers.
A significant part of the collection is organized and grouped to represent rooms in a house. For example, kitchen items have been collected together. Office, wardrobe, and bathroom items are similarly gathered. Most items are represented in the Detailed Description by thumbnail images. In all, the collection consists of 28 Series: Kitchen Collectibles; Wardrobe and Bedroom Collectibles; Toys, Games, Sports and Recreation; Office and School Supplies; Domestic Hardware; Grocery and Store Collectibles; ACME Beer; Warner Brothers; Clothing Collectibles; Industrial Hardware; Bottles and Jars; Catalogs; Stationery and Certificates; Books and Monographs; Specialty Advertisements; Posters, Magazine, and Newspaper Advertisements; Sales Oddities; Photographs; eBay Files; Acme Bail Bonds; Acme Truck; Audiovisual Materials; Match Covers; Telephone Directories; Business Cards; Trade Cards; Slides; and Miscellaneous Items.
The collection arrived already organized into 28 series. Every item had been assigned an "accession number," a unique 8-digit identifier, in the format "100-xx-xxx": the middle digits refer to the Series number, and the last three digits represent a running accession sequence within the Series. Items have been arranged by Series and numerically therein; however, there are a few exceptions where items have been transferred to another series after having been previously assigned an accession number. The collection also arrived with a descriptive database that was created and maintained by Professor Pollay's staff. The item descriptions in this finding aid represent a distillation of that database into a form more consistent with EAD-compliant finding aids. The collection has been processed with the original order maintained as much as possible. In addition, some items have been deaccessioned or retained by the donor, and only a digital image of the item exists in the collection. Those have been noted in the inventory.
Series 1: Kitchen Collectibles consists of Acme products for kitchen use: juice extractors; sifters; cast iron pans; and other utensils.
Series 2: Wardrobe and Bedroom Collectibles consists of Acme products for use in the bedroom or used as part of a wardrobe, including shoe pads, zippers, scissors, etc.
Series 3: Toys, Games, Sports and Recreation includes Acme toys and games, and other items used in sports and recreation, including model cars, toy trains, whistles, and playing cards.
Series 4: Office and School Supplies includes Acme products used as office and school supplies: erasers, staplers, rulers, pencils, etc.
Series 5: Domestic Hardware includes objects related to hardware used in homes, including wall thermometers; padlocks; iron hinges; and binoculars.
Series 6: Grocery and Store Collectibles includes grocery items such as evaporated milk, potato bags, bread bags, store signs, product display signs, and postcards.
Series 7: ACME Beer includes bottles, tins, catalogs, souvenir programs, flat advertisements and advertising objects relating to the Acme brand of beer.
Series 8: Warner Brothers consists of advertising objects and novelty items from Warner Bros. that feature the Acme label: Wile E Coyote lapel pin; Acme Optical glass case; along with clothing items like neckties, waist pouches, sweatshirts, and hats.
Series 9: Clothing Collectibles consists of clothing items featuring the Acme label and includes aprons, caps and T-shirts.
Series 10: Industrial Hardware includes industrial type objects like printing plates, radio control switches, etc.
Series 11: Bottles and Jars consists of bottles, glassware and jars featuring the Acme name or logo Also included are two colored glass slides, a baby's bottle and items in glass picture frames.
Series 12: catalogs includes various-sized catalogs, brochures, ledgers, and flyers. They are: Acme Trading Co., Acme Boot Co., and Acme Brick. Each item is individually described.
Series 13: Stationery and Certificates consists of assorted business stationery and certificates, including examples of late 19th century and early 20th century lithography on bond certificates and company letter heads. The companies Duane H. Nash Inc., Acme Harvester Co., and Acme Shear Co. provide examples of typical workmanship.
Series 14: Books and Monographs includes books, picture books, monographs and magazines that feature the Acme sign or logo or make mention of Acme.
Series 15: Specialty Advertisements consists primarily of promotional items such as blotters; small calendars; stickers; and slide charts that feature an Acme logo or trademark.
Series 16: Posters, Magazine, and Newspaper Advertisements consists of print advertisements; mounted clippings; and photocopies of stationery and other paper items. Several companies are featured, including: Acme Boot Co., Acme Card System Co., Acme Harvester Co., Acme White Lead and Color Paint Works, Acme Wagon Co., Acme Washing Machine Co., and Acme Visible Card System. Each item is individually described. Each item carries an accession number.
Series 17: Sales Oddities consists of various advertising objects that feature an Acme logo or trademark, including both printed and three-dimensional objects such as tokens, pocket items, patches and decals.
Series 18: Photographs consists of photographs, negatives, and reprints of various shops, billboard, signs, and buildings featuring the Acme sign or logo. There are several pictures from Acme News Pictures, Inc. and Acme Telephoto, both press agencies.
Series 19: eBay Files consists of printouts from eBay.com relating to Acme-branded items. Printouts are housed in binders which are arranged roughly by year.
Series 20: Acme Bail Bonds consists of mostly printed materials related to the Acme Bail Bonds Company.
Series 21: Acme Truck consists of print advertisements for the Acme Truck, predominantly dating 1918-1922.
Series 22: Audiovisual Materials consists of sound and video recordings on various formats: cassette and video tapes; CD-ROM; vinyl records; and CDs. Each item features "Acme" as a trademark or logo or as part of the band name.
Series 23: Match Covers consists of assorted matchbook covers featuring the Acme label. Items are housed in a binder.
Series 24: Telephone Directories consists of the advertising Yellow pages. The provenance of these advertisements is largely unknown. The Series reflects the order in which they were collected.
Series 25: Business Cards consists of 138 business cards from various Acme companies. Items are housed in one binder.
Series 26: Trade Cards consists of various trading cards that were produced between the late 1880s and the 1930s. The bulk of items comes from the Lautz Bros Soap Co.
Series 27: Slides consists of 232 slides of various objects, locations and businesses featuring the name Acme. Slides are housed in one binder.
Series 28: Miscellaneous Items consists of miscellaneous items featuring the Acme label, name or trademark. Includes gas masks, farm implements, etc.
- Acquisition Information:
- The Richard Pollay Acme Advertising Collection were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2006.
- Processing information:
Processed by Richard Collier, June 2008
Encoded by Richard Collier, June 2008
Accession 2008-0101 is described in this finding aid.
- 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
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.
Toys -- Collectors and collecting
Pens -- Collectors and collecting
Signs and signboards
Advertising -- History -- Canada -- 20th century
Advertising -- United States -- History -- 19th century
Advertising -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Advertising -- United States -- History -- 21st century
Clippings (information artifacts)
Acme Brick Company
Acme Markets, Inc
Acme Newspictures (New York, N.Y.)
Duane H. Nash, Inc.
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
Pollay, Richard W.
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], Richard Pollay Acme Advertising Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.