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Drummer's Yarns / Fun on the "Road" [sic] [book]

Publisher:
Excelsior Publishing House  Search this
Series Creator:
Warshaw, Isadore, d. 1969  Search this
Extent:
1 Item
Container:
Box 2, Folder 7 (Humor)
Type:
Archival materials
Books
Caricatures
Lithographs
Cartoons (humorous images)
Date:
1886
Scope and Contents:
Paperback book containing cartoons, jokes, anecdotes, and humorous poetry. 73 pages plus advertising material in the back. Cover image, a lithograph printed in color, shows a man with a moustache and top hat, apparently telling a joke to another man, who is laughing uproariously. Lithograph credited to "Johns & Co. Lith. Cleveland, O." (lower right). Note: although the title suggests that the jokes in the book are suitable for traveling salesmen to tell each other, the jokes are not necessarily about salesmen. Line cartoons are scattered throughout the text.
Local Numbers:
AC0060-0000904.tif (AC Scan No.)
General:
In Box 2, Folder 7, Humor category.
Publication:
New York, N.Y., Excelsior Publishing House,, 1886
Related Materials:
Humor (Vertical Ephemera Files), Warshaw Collection of Business Americana
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research use on site by appointment.
Series Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Wit and humor  Search this
Sales personnel -- 19th century  Search this
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Genre/Form:
Books -- 19th century
Caricatures
Lithographs -- 1880-1900
Cartoons (humorous images)
Series Citation:
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Humor, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Humor
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0060-s01-01-humor-ref516

Burris and Byrd Family Card Sample Case

Creator:
Burris, Jeanne  Search this
Burris, Charlene  Search this
Byrd, James  Search this
Byrd Family  Search this
Byrd, Kathryn  Search this
Extent:
1 Folder
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Card samples
Picture postcards
Trade literature
Greeting cards
Postcards
Sample books
Place:
Atlanta (Ga.)
Ohio
Date:
ca. 1920
Scope and Contents note:
A pocket sample case of greeting cards and postcards offered for sale by the Ohio Card Company of Cadiz, Ohio.
Biographical/Historical note:
The Ohio Card Company was a dealer in postcards, namecards, fine art pictures, games, novelties, etc. The company offered a way of ordering namecards and postcards via the mail using sample books. Acquired in the 1920s (probably in Atlanta, Georgia) by Charlene J. Burris's grandparents (Milton and Mary Lola Johnson) to hold a lock of hair from Ms. Burris's mother (Ouida LaRuth Johnson, b. 1918).
Provenance:
Collection donated by Jeanne and Charles Burris and James and Kathryn Byrd and Family, date unknown.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Genre/Form:
Card samples
Picture postcards -- 20th century -- United States
Trade literature
Greeting cards
Postcards
Sample books
Citation:
Burris and Byrd Family Card Sample Case,1920, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Jeanne and Charles Burris and James and Kathryn Byrd and Family.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0126
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0126

Charles Came Collection

Creator:
Came, Charles, 1806-1881  Search this
Extent:
0.25 Cubic feet (2 boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Articles
Books
Letters (correspondence)
Pamphlets
Date:
1838-1979
Scope and Contents note:
The collection consists of approximately .25 cubic feet of correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, and books documenting Charles Came. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence from Charles Came to his second wife, Cynthia (Chadwick) Came which were written during his travels throughout upstate New York. The correspondence is not inclusive, and distinctions have been made between existing original correspondence, photostats, photocopies, and typed copies. The photostats appear to be the most complete set of letters between Dr. Came and his wife.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into six series.

Series 1: Biographical, undated

Series 2: Correspondence, 1845-1860

Series 3: Photographs, undated

Series 4: Writings, undated

Series 5: Pamphlets, 1838-1849

Series 6: Books, 1846-1854
Biographical/Historical note:
Charles Came (1806-1881) was born in Henrietta, New York. Came did not attend school, but held work as both a cabinetmaker and a carver of gravestones. He had a strong interest in astronomy and electricity and during the late 1840s and 1850s, he traveled through upstate New York demonstrating the marvels of science, with an emphasis on electricity. Came discovered that he could make money on his own by traveling from town to town, presenting basic science to the people in a dramatic, entertaining style, or enlightening them about recent discoveries. Came began calling himself "Dr." Came and also prescribed medical remedies. The handbills in the collection note Dr. Came's Cough Balsam, Magnetic Stimulating Drops, Magnetic Vermifuge, Volatile Liniment, Vegetable Cathartric Powder, and Easy Emetic Tincture to name a few. The collection represents the popularization of science and its role in American culture.

Sources

Sherman, Roger. "Charles Came, Itinerant Science Lecturer, and His Splendid Apparatus," Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise, Vol. 5, No. 4, August 1991, p. 120.
Related Archival Materials:
Approximately 138 scientific instruments—some of which include electrical apparatuses, phrenology heads, tellurian, a celestial globe, colored lantern slides, and electromagnetic engines—from Dr. Came's personal collection are housed in the Division of Medicine and Science.
Provenance:
The collection was purchased by the Division of Electricity and Modern Physics, now known as the Division of Medicine and Science in 1989.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.,Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Topic:
Phrenology  Search this
Sideshows  Search this
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Electricity  Search this
Lecturers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 19th century
Articles
Books -- 19th century
Letters (correspondence) -- 19th century
Pamphlets -- 19th century
Citation:
Charles Came Collection, 1838-1979, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0661
See more items in:
Charles Came Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0661

The experiences of a traveling man / by Charles N. Crewdson

Author:
Crewdson, Charles N  Search this
Physical description:
352 p. ; 19 cm
Type:
Fiction
Date:
1909
[1909]
Topic:
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Call number:
PS3505.R595 C74 1909
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_593716

100 years on the road : the traveling salesman in American culture / Timothy B. Spears

Author:
Spears, Timothy B. 1957-  Search this
Physical description:
300 p.: ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1995
C1995
Topic:
Traveling sales personnel--History  Search this
Traveling sales personnel in literature  Search this
American literature--History and criticism  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_473036

Itinerancy in New England and New York / editor, Peter Benes ; associate editor, Jane Montague Benes

Author:
Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife (9th : 1984 : Salem, Mass.)  Search this
Benes, Peter  Search this
Benes, Jane Montague  Search this
Boston University American and New England Studies Program  Search this
Physical description:
256 p. : ill., maps, ports. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
New England
New York (State)
Date:
1986
C1986
Topic:
Circuit riders--History  Search this
Portrait painters  Search this
Amusements--History  Search this
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Social life and customs  Search this
Call number:
F4 .D814 1984
F4.D814 1984
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_314499

Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection

Creator:
Underwood & Underwood  Search this
Publisher:
American Stereoscopic Co.  Search this
H. C. White Co.  Search this
Killela, J.J.  Search this
Underwood, Bert, 1862-1943  Search this
Underwood, Elmer, 1859-1947  Search this
Photographer:
Ponting, Herbert George, 1870-1935  Search this
Underwood, Bert, 1862-1943  Search this
Underwood, Elmer, 1859-1947  Search this
White, Clarence W.  Search this
Extent:
160 Cubic feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Stereographs
Photographs
Stereoscopic photographs
Lantern slides
Date:
1895-1921
Scope and Contents:
The major part of the collection, series 1-4, contains nearly 28,000 glass plates, including original stereoscopic negatives, interpositives, and both negative and positive non-stereoscopic plates used to produce lantern slides and paper prints. The photographs were taken all over the world. The majority are from the Underwood & Underwood active files, but plates from other publishers are also included. Series 5 is a small collection of paper stereographs. Series 6 contains 4 Underwood & Underwood descriptive sales catalogs and 1 H. C. White & Co. catalog (numbers on the Underwood plates correspond to the numbers on catalog captions). Series 7 is apparatus--four stereoscopes.

The approximately 28,000 glass plates in this collection have not been completely inspected at this point due to handling problems associated with asbestos contamination of the collection. A preliminary survey, however, indicated that the selections of images cover the full range of subject matter encompassed by the "Underwood Travel System." The subject matter is most easily comprehended by consulting one of the Underwood sales catalogs which accompany the collection. The catalog captions are arranged geographically, for the most part, and generally represent an organized "tour" which could be purchased as a boxed set, complete with maps and guide book, although individual images could be purchased separately. The catalogs indicate that the Underwood files were continually updated, for extensive modifications in some of the sets can be seen from edition to edition, and actual inspection of published stereographs shows that alternate views with identical Underwood catalog numbers were substituted from time to time, and that new subjects (with new catalog numbers) were sometimes introduced into the sets and old subjects were retired. There are glass plate negatives as well as positives in this collection. The positive images were probably interpositives used for the production of duplicate negatives. Some of the original stereo negatives were cut apart and the images transposed; they were then bound with an additional glass support (in many cases the tape has deteriorated). Half stereo positives also appear in the collection: these probably were intended for use in lantern slide production. Frequently a drawer of plates contains several incarnations of a single image, including the original negative, a copy negative, an interpositive, and a positive lantern slide. In other cases a drawer may contain only a single mode, e.g., original negatives, while corresponding positives and/or lantern slides appear in separate drawers.

A small quantity of the Underwood & Underwood plates are not from the Travel System, but represent humorous and genre subjects which were cataloged and marketed separately. The work of several other publishers, usually without Underwood catalog numbers, is also represented, including H. C. White, American Stereoscopic Company, and J. J. Killela.

The arrangement of the collection seems to reflect a combination of permanent reference storage as well as active use files. The apparent anomalies or inconsistencies probably indicate the pulling of plates from permanent files into temporary work files, and the collection may consist of a combination of permanent storage and temporary working files. As the drawers do not appear to have been renumbered according to any easily discernible pattern, they have become intermixed and rearranged in storage. The contents of each drawer usually have been found in good order, however, and the plates were nearly always arranged numerically,usually with the low numbers at the rear of the drawer and the highest number at the front. As the plates have been rehoused, the reverse numerical order has been corrected. when all the plates have been rehoused and inventoried, consideration will be given to general collection rearrangement and renumbering of the containers, either strictly in numerical order or topically and/or geographically with a numerical sequence within each group.

The collection is in good condition for the most part, although conservation attention will be required. There is a certain amount of emulsion peeling or frilling at the edges of some plates, but this is a condition to which emulsions on glass frequently are prone. A few plates, bound in a sandwich arrangement between cover glass and acetate facing the emulsion, have suffered severe damage, peeling, and image losses through the apparent ferrotyping and sticking of emulsion to the plastic, probably under conditions of high humidity at some stage. There is surprisingly little glass breakage within the collection.

Most of the stereoscopic negatives and many of the positives are defaced with a double "XI' scratched into the emulsion of either the left or right side, as described above in the historical note. Of particular interest and presumed rarity are cards found interfiled with plates in many of the drawers. These cards, filed by Underwood Ila(@tive" (i.e., catalog) numbers, bear printing'or production dates and notes, along with the unique, chronological accession numbers which the company assigned to each plate, regardless of the "active" number which it might eventually receive. A check mark on a card usually refers to a plate actually in the collection and with which the card is found physically associated; additional. accession numbers without check marks listed on the cards possibly refer to variant views which were discarded or may in fact be in the Keystone Mast Collection (pending further research). For ease of handling and in the interest of conservation, the cards have been separated from the plates within each drawer and are arranged as a group at the rear, but can still be located easily. Frequently when a plate and/or its original envelope does not bear both the "active" and accession numbers, the missing number can be located on one of these cards.

Photographers represented include Herbert G. Ponting and Clarence W. White. A photographer and/or publisher named J. J. Killela is also represented.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged in seven series. Series 1, 2, and 3 are each divided into negative and positive subseries. Plates are arranged numerically in groups based on geographical and subject content. Controlled at the series level in the finding aid and at the item level in a computer database.

Series 1, H. C. White glass plates

Series 2, American Stereoscpopic Co. glass plates

Series 3, Underwood & Underwood glass plates

Series 4, Broken glass plates

Series 5, Original company catalogs

Series 6, Paper stereographs

Series 7, stereoscopes (viewers)
Biographical / Historical:
Underwood & Underwood was established at Ottawa, Kansas, by the young brothers Elmer and Bert Underwood in 1882. They initially operated as distributors for eastern photographers' stereographs to new markets in the West. Their activities included door to door canvassing with views by Charles Bierstadt, J. F. Jarvis, and Littleton View Co.(1) Underwood & Underwood, Publishers, opened a branch office in Baltimore in 1887.(2)

Soon Underwood & Underwood and other large stereograph publishers began recruiting college students to work as salesmen during summer months (1890). Underwood and Underwood claimed that their organization alone sent out as many as 3,000 college students in one Summer [sic]. With the other ... big companies each employing more than 1,000, it is easy to understand how the countryside of the Nation literally swarmed with stereograph salesmen throughout the summer months! ... The competition between the salesmen themselves was likewise aggressive, with no holds barred. Many successful business and professional men of today relate with considerable pride that they got their start on their careers in this practical and very effective school of salesmanship.(3)

The company moved its main office from Ottawa, Kansas to New York City (1891),(4) and gradually began to publish its own stereographs. Bert Underwood finally took photography lessons from M. Abel in Mentone, France during the same year.(5) B. L. Singley, erstwhile salesman for the Underwood & Underwood and James M. Davis & Co. firms, in 1892 formed the Keystone View Company of Meadville, Pennsylvania, which was to become Underwood & Underwood's chief competitor and imitator.(6)

Underwood & Underwood entered the education market (1895) by producing packaged sets of 100 or more stereographs with descriptive texts.(7) From 1897 the firm employed full time staff photographers as well as free lancers. By 1901 the Underwoods were publishing 25,000 stereographs per day (i.e.,total number of cards). Increasing production levels led them to gain control of the Jarvis, Bierstadt, and William H. Rau photoprinting facilities in 1897 1898.(8)

The Keystone view Company created its own Educational Department in 1898. This division sustained the Keystone View Company past the period of the stereograph's popularity. In this year Underwood & Underwood reprinted Oliver Wendell Holmes's series on the stereograph and stereoscope which originally appeared in The Atlantic Monthly between 1859 and 1863. This eighty page booklet included testimonials from eminent scholars on the value of the stereograph in education. The company had been test marketing what itlater called "The Underwood Travel System." This consisted of a boxed set of stereo views of a country or region, a guide book describing the significance of the places shown, and a map showing their location and the viewpoints from which the stereographs were taken. Captions on the backs of the stereographs were sometimes printed in six languages.(9) As stereographs began to be used in schools as visual aids, the firm promoted its Travel System with endorsements from prominent educators, citing the usage of the system by various schools and universities.(10)

The H. C. White Company, which had manufactured stereoscopes for several decades, entered the stereo publication field in 1899.(11) Much of its production seemed to imitate Underwood & Underwood cards, including typography and the color of mount stock. Underwood & Underwood expanded into news photography by 1910 and gradually decreased its stereographic work. Few new stereo negatives were added to the file after 1912 except for a flurry of activity during the early war years, 1914 1916. The total number of Underwood & Underwood "titles" in stereo were from 30,000 to 40,000 (there might be a substantially larger number of actual negatives, since the files frequently were updated with newer views for old catalog numbers).(12)

Underwood & Underwood sold a portion of its negative file to the educational division of Keystone View Company in 1912,(13) and between 1921 1923 conveyed to this competitor their remaining stereo stock (presumably both cards and negatives) and rights.(14) In addition to its involvement as a news photographic agency, the company eventually opened portrait studios which flourished during the World war II years. A former Smithsonian employee, Vince Connolly, worked for Underwood & Underwood, which competed with Harris & Ewing in general portrait work during that period: he did portraiture and other photography, but says he was unaware of his employer's earlier stereo publishing activities.

Underwood & Underwood donated approximately 6000 negatives to the Section of Photography of the Division of Graphic Arts (1964). These photographs are primarily 4" x 5", captioned glass plate and film negatives. The subjects are news events and theatrical, sports, and political subjects of the early 20th century. In a letter to the Smithsonian of March 25, 1966 (in accession number 270586), Mrs. John M. Stratton described another collection of Underwood & Underwood photographs, stating that her husband had been a partner in Underwood & Underwood Illustrations and owned Underwood & Underwood News Photos. In November of the same year Mr. and Mrs. Stratton donated this collection of glass plates by Underwood & Underwood and other publishers to the Division of Photographic History (then the Section of Photography of the Division of Graphic Arts) . This material consists of both negative and positive stereographic plates, as well as non stereoscopic plates, chiefly copies made from the stereographs, with some catalogs, stereoscopes, and other material. The donor estimated 12,900 plates, but in 1983 the Smithsonian Institution inventory yielded a total of approximately 28,000 plates.

The Keystone View Company's stereoscopic production continued much later than Underwood & Underwood's. It was not until 1939 when declining interest in stereography led the firm to discontinue stereograph production and enter the field of visual optometrics. The stereoscopic negative collection, including material obtained from Underwood & Underwood and other firms, was placed in storage in concrete vaults. The Mast family of Davenport, Iowa, eventually purchased the collection in 1963, and in 1977 donated the collection to the University of California for its California Museum of Photography in Riverside. The University took physical possession of this vast collection in 1979.(15)

Many of the Underwood & Underwood plates donated by the Strattons (which were transferred to the Archives Center in 1983), in effect have been cancelled by having diagonal lines (double "X" marks) scratched into the emulsion of either the left or right image of each stereo pair (never both sides). These cancellation marks do not appear on the Underwood & Underwood plates in the Keystone Mast Collection in Riverside. This leads to several theories: (a) that these cancellations were in fact the reason that the Smithsonian plates were not purchased by Keystone in either 1912 or 1921, since Keystone clearly intended to use the Underwood material for stereograph production and the defaced plates would be of no value to them for this purpose; or (b), as stereo collector John Waldsmith suggests, that the cancellations were part of an agreement between Underwood & Underwood and Keystone: Keystone may have asked Underwood & Underwood to cancel one side of each stereoscopic plate not being sold to Keystone so that Underwood & Underwood would no longer be able to compete with Keystone in the stereo market. The defaced plates, as well as other material which Keystone did not purchase, apparently remained in Underwood custody and eventually were acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Stratton. The cancellation marks in the Smithsonian's collection are the subject of further conjecture. Edward Earle at Riverside feels that, since Underwood & Underwood sought to abandonded stereograph production much earlier than Keystone's departure from the field in order to enter the non stereoscopic lantern slide market, the cancellation may have served to indicate which side of each sterescopic pair should be converted to lantern slide production use; the existence of the 4" x 5" copy negatives and positives from stereographs in this collection seem to corroborate this. The Underwood & Underwood conversion from stereograph to lantern slide materials seems to coincide with the ascendance of lantern slide projection as visual aids in schools. The company apparently modified the type of photographic product which they published at least partially in recognition of this new educational trend.

NOTES

1. edward W. Earle, ed., Points of View: The Stereograph in America A Cultural @ Visual 'g . E!Ltory, Rochester, F.Y., Th Studies Workshop ress, 1979, p. 60; William Culp Darrah, The World of Stereographs, Gettysburg, Pa., 1979, p. 46.

2. Tbid., p. 62.

3. George E. Hamilton, Oliver Wendell Holmes, His Pioneer SLtuereoscope and Later Industry, New York, New )men Society, 1949, p. 17, quoted in Points of 1=e w:, 6 4 . P.

4. Points of View., p. 66.

5. Darrah, p. 47.

6. points of View, p. 66.

7. Ibid., p. 68.

8. Darrah, p. 47.

9. Points of View, p. 70.

10. Howard S. Becker, "Steteographs: Local, National, and International Art Worlds," in Points of View, p. 95. 11. points of View, p. 72.

12. Darrah, p. 48.

13. Darrah, p. 48, quoted in Points of View, P. 82.

14. Darrah, p. 48.

15. Chris J. Kenney, introduction to "Perspective and the Past: The Keystone Mast Collection," CMP Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1982.
Related Materials:
California Museum of Photography, University of California--Riverside, Riverside, California 92521.

Underwood & Underwood stereographs in this collection and the Smithsonian Underwood & Underwood Collection originally were components of the same company file.
Provenance:
Collection donated by June Stratton (Mrs. John M.) on December 19, 1966.
Restrictions:
Researchers should view the positive videodisc image first or locate the image in SIRIS on the World Wide Web. The original glass plate is available for inspection if necessary in the Archives Center.

A limited number of fragile glass negatives and positives in the collection can be viewed directly in the Archives Center by prior appointment.,Contact David Haberstich, 633-3721.

Digital image files linked to item-level records in SIRIS Webpac.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Travel photography -- 1890-1930  Search this
Genre/Form:
Stereographs -- 1890-1930
Photographs -- Interpositives -- Glass -- 1890-1930
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- Glass -- 1890-1930
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Stereoscopic photographs -- Glass -- 1890-1930
Lantern slides
Photographs -- 1890-1900
Citation:
Underwood &Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0143
See more items in:
Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0143
Additional Online Media:

Fuller Brush Company Records

Creator:
Fuller Brush Company  Search this
Extent:
32.5 Cubic feet (77 boxes, 1 map-folder)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Articles
Clippings
Ledgers (account books)
Letters (correspondence)
Motion picture film
Newsletters
Photographs
Printed materials
Programs (documents)
Reports
Sales catalogs
Sales records
Trade catalogs
Trade literature
Training manuals
Financial statements
Market surveys
Business records
Place:
Connecticut -- Hartford
Kansas
Date:
1890-2017
Summary:
The collection documents the Fuller Brush Company founded by Alfred C. Fuller in 1906.
Content Description:
The collection documents the Fuller Brush Company from the early years of its existence. The contents include photographs; ledgers; correspondence; internal reports; manufacturing facility studies; quality control reports; financial statements; sales data; company newsletters, some loose and some in bound form; other internal publications; advertising; trade literature; product manuals; catalogs; training manuals and employee handbooks; company annual reports; convention programs and materials; films; materials relating to employee incentives; vinyl records of radio broadcasts; scripts, pressbooks, and other promotional material for motion pictures; informational audio-cassete tapes; contracts, trial testimonies, and other legal papers; industry surveys and marketing campaign proposals; and clippings and printed materials.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into thirteen series. Unless otherwise noted, material is arranged chronologically.

Series 1: Historical background, 1916-2001

Series 2: Corporate records, 1917-2010 (bulk 1973-1976)

Series 3: Marketing, 1941-2013

Series 4: Operational records, 1913-1976 (bulk 1969-1976)

Series 5: Financial materials, 1919-1996

Series 6: Personnel, 1922-1984

Series 7: Sales managers, 1922-1990

Series 8: Distributors, 1921-2006

Series 9: Publications, 1920-1999

Series 10: Product materials, 1912-2017

Series 11: Photographs, circa 1890-2000

Series 12: Press Clippings and Publicity, 1921-2010

Series 13: The Fuller Brush Man and The Fuller Brush Girl, 1947-1953, 2004 (bulk 1947-1952).
Historical:
Founded in 1906 by Alfred C. Fuller in Hartford, Connecticut, the Fuller Brush Company predominately sold a wide range of cleaning products, marketed for personal care, housekeeping, and commercial users. Mostly a direct-selling company, it is perhaps best known for its independent, door-to-door salesmen, a figure referred to in popular culture as "the Fuller Brush Man." Calling on the housewives of America, the Fuller Brush Man would visit households with a gift, flyers, and a case full of samples, with which he would demonstrate the use of cleaning implements of various shapes and sizes. Through techniques such as developing new products based on customer feedback, and providing a satisfaction guarantee by allowing for product returns during the Fuller Brush Man's next visit, the Fuller Brush Company inspired new levels of trust and credibility in direct selling. In return, the company reaped massive profits. During the peak of the company's popularity, in around the 1950s, the Fuller Brush Man was a ubiquitous part of the American landscape, alluded to in comic strips, radio programs, and popular films, such as the 1948 Red Skelton comedy The Fuller Brush Man and the 1950 comedy The Fuller Brush Girl, starring Lucille Ball.

The Fuller Brush Company continually used its resources to promote and establish the identity of the Fuller Brush Man, to its own salespeople as well as the public. Traditional print advertisements were supplemented with extensive publicity coverage, carefully crafted by the Fuller Brush Company's advertising and public relations team. The company fostered a culture of achievable aspiration among new recruits, through in-house publications, which celebrated the accomplishments of fellow dealers, incentive programs, and a career ladder pipeline, which allowed high achieving salesmen to advance from independent dealers to regional sales managers--who were considered formal employees of the Fuller Brush Company. Some sales managers became local celebrities in their districts, adding their own charisma to the development of the Fuller Brush Man--such as New York District's Al Teetsel--whose "Fine and Dandy" personal motto established a cult following. Other Fuller Brush Company salesmen used the Fuller Brush Man's distinctive optimism, pluck, and perseverance to later become celebrities in their own right, such as evangelist Billy Graham, who attributed his high school days as a successful Fuller Brush Man to his future success.

While the Fuller Brush Company is best known for its door-to-door network of Fuller Brush Men, and its household products division, the company experimented with various channels of distribution and other specialized products during its over 100-year history. The Fuller Brush Company produced implements to clean guns during World War II, and in 1945 was honored with the E Award for its war effort contributions. In the 1940s, the Fuller Brush Company introduced female salespeople, or "Fullerettes" to their door-to-door ranks (mostly to promote their Debutante Cosmetics line, released by Daggett & Ramsdell, Inc. in 1948). The company returned to actively recruiting Fullerettes in 1966, and thereafter welcomed distributors of either sex. The company's Machine Division produced the mast for the sailboat "Columbia" in 1958, and in the 1960s, its Marine Division produced items for the maintenance of nautical equipment. Around the 1960s, its Household Division incorporated new items such as vitamins and hormone treatments into its personal care product line. The company experimented with retail brick-and-mortar locations, and, in 1974, instigated a telemarketing program. After 1985, the Fuller Brush Company began to move away from door-to-door sales techniques, redeveloping its sale channel distribution system to include mail order catalogs, a secure sales website for distributors, network-marketing techniques, and a reinterpretation of sales territories for distributors where district territories began to blur in favor of nationwide sales opportunities.

Founded in Hartford, Connecticut, the company remained in the region through the 1960s, though the company shifted locations to larger offices and manufacturing facilities as it grew. In 1960, operational facilities and headquarters moved to a large, custom-built campus in East Hartford, Connecticut. However, in 1968, the company was acquired by the Kitchens of Sara Lee, Inc. (then a part of the Consolidated Foods Corporation). During the 1970s the Fuller Brush Company experienced rapid changes in administration and organization. Under President Nat Zivin, headquarters relocated to Niles, Illinois in 1973. Later the same year, headquarters and operations moved to a large manufacturing facility in Great Bend, Kansas. The company remained a division of Sara Lee until 1989.

The Fuller Brush Company grew to involve multiple subsidiaries, including many that were international. The Fuller Brush Company established a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary in 1921, called the Fuller Brush Company, Limited. In 1942, the Fuller Brush Company bought out a competitor, the Albany, New York-based Mohawk Brush Company. The "bristlecomb" hairbrush, introduced by the Mohawk Brush Company in 1928, remained one of the Fuller Brush Company's signature products. In 1961, the Fuller Brush Company founded and incorporated Charter Supply Corporation as a wholly-owned Mohawk subsidiary. Charter Products operated as a "private label" division, to rebrand duplicate products. The Fuller Brush Company also owned subsidiaries in Mexico; in 1968, the Fuller Brush Company held 100% interest in House of Fuller, S.A. and Charter de Mexico, S.A., both established in Mexico. Also in 1968, the Fuller Brush Company was a partial owner of House of Fuller (Jamaica), Ltd. The Fuller Brush Company conducted business around the world, including dealings in England, France, Jamaica, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Venezuela.

With growth came legal challenges. The Green River Ordinance, established in 1931, placed limits on door-to-door sales. The Fuller Brush Company challenged the ordinance, when it went to the Supreme Court in 1937. Over the course of its history, the Fuller Brush Company weathered lawsuits ranging from trademark disputes to labor treatment complaints from area managers in Puerto Rico.

After the sale by Sara Lee in 1989, the Fuller Brush Company was held by a series of private owners, including Lee Turner and Stuart A. Ochiltree. In June 1994, CPAC, Inc. purchased the company. In 1995, CPAC, Inc. also bought a longtime competitor of the Fuller Brush Company, Stanley Home Products, a company founded in 1929 by Stanley Beverage, a former sales vice president for the Fuller Brush Company. The two companies became siblings under the same parent organization; items from the Stanley Home Products line were sold by Fuller Brush Company distributors, and manufactured at the Fuller Brush Company plant in Great Bend. In 2012, both the Fuller Brush Company and Stanley Home Products filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The companies merged their product lines and catalogs, eliminating equivalent products, to cut costs and streamline operations.

In December 2012, David Sabin and Chicago-based private equity firm Victory Park Capital purchased the Fuller Brush Company. The company headquarters moved to Napa Valley, California. Facing increased financial difficulties, in 2016 the company began to phase out its independent distributor system and domestic manufacturing operations. Around January 2018, the company was sold to Galaxy Brush LLC of Lakewood, New Jersey.
Biographical:
Alfred C. Fuller (January 13, 1885 - December 4, 1973), was founder and first president of the Fuller Brush Company, as well as the "original Fuller Brush Man." He was born in rural Nova Scotia, to parents Leander Joseph Fuller and Phebe Jane Collins. The eleventh of twelve children, Fuller took pride in the resilient and self-sufficient spirit he developed growing up on a Nova Scotian farm, and valued such qualities throughout his life over formal education. Long after his success, he promoted himself as an average man among average men.

In 1903, at age eighteen, Alfred Fuller left his family home in Nova Scotia, and followed siblings who settled in the United States. He moved in with his sister Annie and her husband, Frank Adler, in Somerville, Massachusetts. After a series of odd jobs, Fuller considered trying his hand at selling brushes (he was inspired by a brother, Dwight, who made and sold brushes before his death by tuberculosis in 1901). Alfred discovered a knack for trade; unlike many other direct salesmen at the time, his sales technique emphasized product demonstrations. Eventually, Fuller decided to make his own brushes. He set up a workbench in his sister's basement in January 1906. Four months later, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut where he founded the Fuller Brush Company.

The rapid success of the company, improved Alfred C. Fuller's romantic prospects. With the enthusiastic support of his sister, Annie, Alfred initiated a courtship with a Nova Scotian woman who had formerly caught his eye, Evelyn Ellis. They were married on April 10, 1908. However, the marriage was strained, and they divorced in 1930. In 1932, Alfred Fuller remarried. His second wife, Mary Primrose Pelton, was also Nova Scotian, the daughter of a judge from Yarmouth. They remained together for the rest of his life.

Alfred C. Fuller and his first wife Evelyn had two sons. Alfred Howard was born in 1913 and Avard in 1916. Both would later rise to prominence within the Fuller Brush Company, serving as its second and third presidents. The elder son, Howard, was Fuller Brush Company President from 1943 until 1959. From an early age, Howard challenged his father regarding the direction of the company. With his bold and aggressive personality, Howard was able to institute changes to the company that resulted in higher profits, such as distributing catalogs before the salesman's visit, shortening product demonstrations, prioritizing many small sales over few large sales, and developing other techniques that emphasized speed and efficiency. However, his temperament also contributed to Howard and his wife Dora's untimely deaths. Howard, always interested in thrilling, high-risk pursuits (such as driving sports cars, piloting airplanes, and racing speedboats and sailboats) was cruising through Nevada at 120-miles per hour for a business trip, uncharacteristically accompanied by his wife, when his Mercedes-Benz 300 SL blew a tire. Both Fullers died in the accident.

Following the tragic accident, Avard assumed leadership of the Fuller Brush Company. Avard's more conservative nature ushered in an era of leadership where his father, Alfred C. Fuller, rose in honor and influence with the company. However, Avard relied on traditional sales strategies (such as promoting a culture around the Fuller Brush Man, rather than take a more active strategy toward integrating female distributors) which placed the Fuller Brush Company at a disadvantage with competitors such as Avon Cosmetics. Avard served as President of the Fuller Brush Company until 1969.

Although Alfred C. Fuller never reclaimed presidency of the Fuller Brush Company, he remained chairman emeritus for the duration of his life. A treasured company figurehead, celebrations were held in his honor long after his retirement. In 1956, a testimonial dinner was held where a portrait of Fuller was unveiled in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the Fuller Brush Company. In 1965, Alfred C. Fuller was further honored, when his birthplace was dedicated as a historic landmark. Alfred C. Fuller was known as "Dad" Fuller to the thousands of Fuller Brush Men and Fullerettes who represented the company door-to-door throughout the country, and made frequent appearances in in-house publications and external publicity. Working with Hartzell Spence, Alfred C. Fuller wrote an autobiography, titled A Foot in the Door, published by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. in 1960. A practicing Christian Scientist with a devout Methodist mother, Fuller frequently alludes to the influence of his faith in his autobiography. Alfred C. Fuller passed away on December 4, 1973.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Stanley Home Products Collection (AC0788)

Earl S. Tupper Papers (AC0470)

Brownie Wise Papers (AC0509)

Ann and Thomas Damigella Collections (AC0583)

Industry on Parade Film Collection, episodes 66, 217 (AC0507)

Materials at the Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Libraries Trade Literature Collection, includes some Fuller Brush Company catalogs;

The Work and Industry Division, National Museum of American History holds artifacts from the Fuller Brush Company from previous accessions, such as hairbrushes for women and men (including bristlecomb hairbrushes); shower brushes; toothbrushes; combs; a military brush; brush holders; and similar materials. (AG.A.6645-AG.A.6653; AG.A.6656-AG.A.6666; AG.77-FT-15.0523; ZZ.RSN833134).

The Medicine and Science Division, National Museum of American History holds a general purpose cleaning brush, and a bathroom fixtures cleaning brush from a previous accesssion (2006.0098).

National Portrait Gallery holds a portrait of Alfred Fuller.

Materials at Other Organizations

Hagley Museum and Library, Manuscripts and Archives Department

Avon Products Inc., Records, 1880-2012

University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Archives

Columbia Pictures Records, 1934-1974 (collection #93555)

Includes materials related to the Fuller Brush man and Fuller Brush Girl, 1950.
Separated Materials:
Artifacts collected along with the acquisition of archival material are held by the Divisions of Work and Industry, and Medicine and Science.

Separated materials assigned to the Division of Work and Industry include a men's tie; buttons; ashtray; charm; and tape measure. See accession 2018.0089.

Separated materials assigned to Division of Medicine and Science include a bathing brush, a dental plate brush, a women's hair brush, a comb cleaner, and toothbrushes. Some items are maintained in original packaging, or are kept with original paper inserts. See accession 2018.0090.
Provenance:
Collection donated by the Fuller Brush Company through David Sabin, 2018.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Reference copies for audio and moving images materials do not exist. Use of these materials requires special arrangement. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Advertising copy  Search this
Advertising, Point-of-sale  Search this
Broom and brush industry  Search this
Door-to-door selling  Search this
Household supplies  Search this
Print Advertising  Search this
Sales promotion  Search this
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Manufacturing  Search this
Cosmetics industry  Search this
Industry -- U.S.  Search this
Direct selling  Search this
Businesspeople  Search this
Marketing  Search this
Radio broadcasts  Search this
Product demonstrations  Search this
Genre/Form:
Articles -- 20th century
Clippings -- 20th century
Ledgers (account books) -- 20th century
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.
Motion picture film
Newsletters -- 20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- 20th century
Printed materials
Programs (documents)
Reports -- 20th century
Sales catalogs
Sales records
Trade catalogs -- 20th century
Trade literature -- 20th century
Training manuals -- 20th century
Financial statements
Market surveys
Business records -- 20th century
Citation:
Fuller Brush Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1459
See more items in:
Fuller Brush Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1459

Traveling by the Underwood Travel System--stereographs, Guide-Books; Patent Map System. [Active No. 10061 : Stereoscopic interpositive.]

Topic:
Patent Map System
Underwood Travel System
Publisher:
Underwood & Underwood  Search this
Collection Creator:
Underwood & Underwood  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (5" x 8".)
Type:
Archival materials
Interpositives
Stereoscopic photographs
Scope and Contents:
Man with goatee holds book open over map of Rome, while viewing stereograph in a stereoscope in a library filled with Underwood Travel System faux book slipcases for stereograph sets. The stereograph he views apparently shows St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome. Details at the top of the image show that the room is merely a stage set.
Arrangement:
Formerly stored in box 3.2.33 [145].
Local Numbers:
AC0143-0023714 AC Scan No.

RSN 23714
General:
Company acc. no. 112648.
Collection Restrictions:
Researchers should view the positive videodisc image first or locate the image in SIRIS on the World Wide Web. The original glass plate is available for inspection if necessary in the Archives Center.

A limited number of fragile glass negatives and positives in the collection can be viewed directly in the Archives Center by prior appointment.,Contact David Haberstich, 633-3721.

Digital image files linked to item-level records in SIRIS Webpac.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Stage settings  Search this
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Stereographs  Search this
Photography, Stereoscopic  Search this
Maps  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interpositives
Stereoscopic photographs
Collection Citation:
Underwood &Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0143-ref21481
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