N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records, 1849-1851; 1869-1996
Ayer (N W) Incorporated
Cunningham & Walsh
Hixson & Jorgenson
Founder of N W Ayer:
Ayer, Francis Wayland
O'Keeffe, Georgia 1887-1986
De Kooning, Willem 1904-
United Air Lines, inc advertisements
American Telephone and Telegraph Company advertisements
270 cu. ft.: 1169 boxes and 7 film reels
Proofs (printed matter)
N W Ayer is the 14th largest advertising agency in the United States, according to a 1982 "pocket guide" published by the firm. It is the oldest agency in the United States, founded as N W Ayer & Son in Philadelphia in 1869 by 21-year-old Francis Wayland Ayer, who started his business by representing religious weekly newspapers. Ayer was the first agency to hire a full-time copywriter (1892) and the first to hire an artist (1898). In 1908 it became the agency for A T & T, and launched its first corporate advertising campaign.
More than 400,000 proofs of advertisements prepared by the firm and published in newspapers and periodicals. Includes advertising for more than 20 automobile manufacturers, American Telephone & Telegraph Company (from 1908), Cannon Mills (since 1920), De Beers diamond advertising (since 1939), United Air Lines (from 1938); many others. Of special interest are ads pioneering the use of fine art in advertising by artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Willem de Kooning, and Pablo Picasso.
Series 1: Divided into 6 subseries. (1) Ayer Proofsheets, ca. 1870-1920; (2) Ayer Proofsheets, ca. 1930-1975; (3) Ayer Chicago Office Proofsheets, 1954-1989; (4) Ayer House Advertising, 1978-1985; (5) Billboards, ca. 1952-1956 (original art mockups); (6) Television Commercials, 1967-1970 (7 16mm reels).
Series 8: Divided into 3 (Subseries: (1) Oral History Interview Transcripts, 1983-1985, 1989-1991; (2) Personnel Files, ca. 1892-1915, 1929-1963; (3) Photographs, ca. 1929-1984, primarily photographs of personnel, but also including 2 albums documenting Ayer staff at work, 1960s.
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. (Formerly: N. W. Ayer ABH International Collection, 59, AC NMAH)