Howard Scott papers, 1921-1984 and undated, bulk 1930s-1950s

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Scott, Howard
4 Linear Feet
600 Items
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The Howard Scott Papers span the years 1921-1984, although the bulk of materials covers the period from the 1930s to the 1950s, documenting Scott's career in outdoor advertising as a billboard designer and graphic artist. The papers include correspondence (including two letters from Norman Rockwell), newspaper and magazine clippings, awards, and school yearbooks relating to Scott's personal and professional life, in addition to photographs, sketches, lithographs and reprints of outdoor advertising images for clients such as Amoco, Chesterfield (Liggett and Myers), Esso and Mobil oil products, DeSoto, Ford, and Nash automobiles, H.J. Heinz Co., Lever Brothers, Pabst and Schlitz beers, World War II-era programs such as the USO and Navy recruitment, and the 1939-1940 World's Fair. The collection is arranged into four series--the General Papers Series, the Photographs Series, the Graphic Design, Artwork and Sketches Series, and the Memorabilia Series.

The General Papers Series includes correspondence, biographical information, clippings, sketches, school yearbooks, publications and certificates of recognition. Included are articles about "Elmer," the character created by Scott to help promote the 1940 World's Fair.

The Photographs Series includes approximately 100 prints and transparencies depicting billboard images for a variety of products, such as Esso oil and gasoline, Heinz ketchup, Knickerbocker beer, Swan (Lever Brothers) soap and Twenty Grand cigarettes. Several of the photographs show models in poses which served as the basis for billboard images. Some of the images are signed by artists other than Scott. In addition, approximately 20 photographs depict Scott at various ages, and at work in his studio.

The Graphic Design, Artwork, and Sketches Series includes sketches and proof sheets for billboards and outdoor advertising campaigns created by Scott, as well as a sampling of outdoor poster work by other artists. Major clients include Chesterfield cigarettes; Knickerbocker, Pabst and Schlitz beers; DeSoto, Ford and Nash automobiles; Amoco and Mobil gas and oil; along with a sampling of World War II poster designs including Navy recruiting and the USO. Media include pencil and ink sketches, watercolors, lithographs, and oil paintings. A large mixed media painting depicts an award-winning outdoor design for Ford, with the slogan "He's Doing Fine...He Bought a Ford V-8."

The Memorabilia Series includes awards and trophies that Scott won for his advertising artwork and reflects the esteem with which Scott's work was held by his peers in the outdoor advertising industry.

Closely related collections include: the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) Archives; the Garrett Orr Papers; the John Paver Papers; the Strobridge Lithographing Company Advertisements; the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) Slide Library; the War Effort Mobilization Campaign Poster Collection; and the R.C. Maxwell Records.

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
Circa 1902
Born, Holyoke, Mass.
Graduated from Holyoke High School; illustrated the school yearbook
Graduated from Pratt Institute program in general art; attended Art Students League in New York
Created award-winning poster for Ford, "It's no use, Mac, it's a Ford V-8"
Served in the U.S. Navy during World War II; produced patriotic posters for the U.S. War Information Service
Won the top two awards at the 16th Annual Exhibition of Outdoor Advertising, presented by the Art Directors Club of Chicago--the gold medal for a Heinz poster and the silver for a Nash Motors poster
Circa 1955
Worked with Outdoor Advertising Inc. to raise standards of poster boards; worked with Raymond Loewy to improve billboard structures
Founded Verilux, Inc., which researched full-spectrum lighting systems for artists and the printing industry; developed the Trucolite lighting system.
Received a U.S. patent for the Verilux light bulb, a full spectrum bulb that simulates natural lighting
Died August 17, in Greenwich, Conn.

Howard Scott was one of the foremost graphic artists working in outdoor advertising during the 1930s-1950s and the recipient of numerous outdoor advertising industry design awards.

Acquisition information:
The Howard Scott Papers were donated to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library through a gift in 1996.
Processing information:

Processed by Richard Collier

Completed March 2003

Encoded by Richard Collier

Processing was supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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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Collection is open for research.

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. There may be a 48-hour delay in obtaining these materials.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Howard Scott Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University