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N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records, 1849-1851; 1869-1996

Creator:
Ayer (N W) Incorporated
Cunningham & Walsh
Hixson & Jorgenson
Founder of N W Ayer:
Ayer, Francis Wayland
Artist:
O'Keeffe, Georgia 1887-1986
De Kooning, Willem 1904-
Subject:
United Air Lines, inc advertisements
American Telephone and Telegraph Company advertisements
Physical description:
270 cu. ft.: 1169 boxes and 7 film reels
Type:
Print advertising
Collection descriptions
Business records
Oral history
Interviews
Scrapbooks
Proof sheets
Tear sheets
Advertisements
Proofs (printed matter)
Trade literature
Date:
1849
1849-1996
1849-1851 1869-1996
1840-2000
1980-1990
1980-2000
1840-1990
Notes:
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.
Summary:
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.
Cite as:
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. (Formerly: N. W. Ayer ABH International Collection, 59, AC NMAH)
Topic:
Advertising
Advertising agencies
Local number:
314679 (NMAH Acc.)
1996.3053 (NMAH Acc.)
See more items in:
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records 1849-1851; 1869-1996 [Ayer (N W) Incorporated]
Data Source:
Archives Center - NMAH

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  • Advertisements
  • Archival materials
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  • Collection descriptions
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  • Interviews
  • Oral histories (document genres)
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