The papers of abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and wife Lee Krasner measure 16.1 linear feet and date from circa 1914 to 1984, with the bulk of the material dating from 1942 to 1984. The collection documents their personal and professional lives, as well as the legacy of Jackson Pollock's work after his death. Found are biographical material, correspondence, writings by Krasner and others, research material, business and financial records, printed material, scrapbooks, artwork by others, photographs, interview transcripts, audio and video recordings, and motion picture film.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and wife Lee Krasner measure 16.1 linear feet and date from circa 1914 to 1984, with the bulk of the material dating from 1942 to 1984. The collection documents their personal and professional lives, as well as the legacy of Jackson Pollock's work after his death. Found are biographical material, correspondence, writings by Krasner and others, research material, business and financial records, printed material, scrapbooks, artwork by others, photographs, interview transcripts, audio and video recordings, and motion picture film.
The collection is divided into two series, the first of which focuses on Pollock and includes his scattered papers dating from circa 1914 to his death in 1956, as well as Krasner's papers dating from his death to 1984 about managing Pollock's legacy. This series includes biographical materials, including transcripts and audio recordings of an interview with William Wright in 1949; Pollock's and Krasner's correspondence with Thomas Hart Benton, Betty Parsons Gallery, Bill Davis, B. H. Friedman, Reginald Isaacs, Sidney Janis, Violet De Lazlo, Martha Jackson Gallery, Alfonso Ossorio, Tony Smith, and Clyfford Still, and with one another; Krasner's correspondence concerning Pollock's estate and artwork after his death; numerous writings about Pollock, including an original draft of Bryan Robertson's biography and an essay by Clement Greenberg.
James Valliere extensive research files on Pollock for a never-published biography were given to Krasner and filed in Series 1. These include scattered correspondence with Lee Krasner, and Pollock's family and friends, including Charles Pollock, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert Motherwell. There are also transcripts of interviews Valliere conducted with Pollock's friends and colleagues, including James Brooks, Dorothy Dehner, Clement Greenberg, Reuben Kadish, Lee Krasner, Charles Maddox, Mrs. Sanford McCoy, Daniel T. Miller, Robert Miller, and Tony Smith. The original audio reels and duplicates exist for many and are filed here. Additional interviews were conducted with Willem de Kooning, Alfonso Ossorio, and Burton Rouche, but not transcribed - these are filed in Series 1.10, Audio Recordings and Motion Picture Film.
Also found in Series 1 are scattered business records documenting Krasner's handling of Pollock's estate and legacy; printed materials relating to Pollock, including published biographies, exhibition catalogs, and clippings; two scrapbooks; and a sketchbook by an unidentified artist. Numerous photographs of Pollock include childhood and family photographs, photographs of Pollock in his studio by Hans Namuth, Rudy Burckhardt, and Herbert Matter, photographs of Pollock with Lee Krasner, and exhibition photographs. Audio recordings and motion film in Series 1 include a 1964 16mm film about Pollock (VHS copies are available) and reel-to-reel recordings of untranscribed interviews of Pollock's friends and colleagues by James Valliere, including interviews with Willem de Kooning and Alfonso Ossorio. Additional transcribed interviews are filed in subseries 1.4.
Lee Krasner's papers documenting her own career are arranged in Series 2 and date from 1927-1984. Biographical materials include resumes and awards, school documents, family documentation, and exhibition lists. Her correspondence with artist friends and art colleagues is extensive and includes many letters from artists such as Philip Johnson, Ray Eames, Cleve Gray, and Hans Namuth. She also maintained correspondence with many art historians and critics, curators, gallery owners, collectors, arts-related and social organizations, admirers, and family members.
There are thirteen transcripts of interviews with Krasner by Bruce Glaser, Barbara Cavaliere, Andrew Forge, Emily Wasserman, Barbara Rose, and others. The original audio recordings for these transcripts are filed in series 2.10, along with other audio recordings for which there are no transcripts, including interviews by John Gruen, Delores Holmes, Mercedes Matter, the Martha Dean Radio Show, NBC Today Show, and WQXR radio. There are also audio recordings of Krasner's lectures in series 2.10.
Krasner's papers also include writings and reminiscences by Krasner; writings about Krasner; printed materials such as exhibition catalogs and clippings; and one scrapbook containing clippings and photographs. Numerous photographs are of Krasner, including portrait photographs taken by Hans Namuth; of Krasner with Jackson Pollock and family and friends, and of her exhibitions and artwork.
Users should note that Pollock's and Krasner's papers contain similar types of material that often overlap in subject matter, especially among the correspondence and photographs.
The collection is arranged into 2 series:
Series 1: Jackson Pollock papers and Lee Krasner papers about Jackson Pollock, circa 1914-1984 (Box 1-7, 16, OV 18, FC 19-22; 7.4 linear feet)
Series 2: Lee Krasner papers, circa 1927-1984 (Box 7-15, 17; 8.6 linear feet)
Jackson Pollock was born in 1912, in Cody, Wyoming, the youngest of five sons. His family moved several times during his childhood, finally settling in Los Angeles. In 1930 he joined his older brother, Charles, in New York City, and studied with Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York. Pollock worked during the 1930s for the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project. During 1936 he worked in artist David Alfaro Siqueiros's Experimental Workshop. In 1938 he began psychiatric treatment for alcoholism, and his artwork was greatly influenced by Jungian analysis and the exploration of unconscious symbolism.
In 1943 Pollock had his first one-man exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim's New York gallery, Art of this Century, and continued to exhibit there over the next several years. A major turning point in Pollock's life and art was in 1945 when he married fellow artist Lee Krasner and moved to East Hampton, Long Island. There he developed his mature painting style, and became famous for his abstract pouring technique on large canvases. The height of his creativity spanned from 1947 to 1952, and his work was promoted by art critic Clement Greenberg. Along with other abstract expressionists including Hans Hofmann, Alfonso Ossorio, and Barnett Newman, he joined the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1947. He had his most successful one-man show in 1950 which was widely publicized and praised. This exhibition, combined with a 1949 feature article in LIFE magazine, made Pollock an American celebrity.
In 1952 Pollock moved his work to Sidney Janis Gallery and returned to earlier motifs in a search for new breakthroughs. The last few years of his life he suffered from mental and physical health problems, and in August, 1956 he died in a car accident. His wife, Lee Krasner, oversaw his estate and worked with many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, on Pollock retrospective exhibitions.
Lee Krasner was born Lenore Krassner in 1908 in Brooklyn, New York to Russian immigrant parents. In 1926 she was admitted to the Women's Art School of The Cooper Union, and in 1928 she attended the Art Students League. After graduating from The Cooper Union in 1929, she attended the National Academy of Design until 1932. After briefly attending City College and Greenwich House, she worked for the Public Works of Art Project and the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, and finally became an assistant in 1935 on the WPA Federal Art Project, Mural Division. From 1937 to 1940 she studied at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts and began exhibiting with the American Abstract Artists group.
In 1942 Krasner met Pollock as they were both preparing to exhibit work in the same show. Although they married and she became immersed in his career, she continued to exhibit her own work with other abstract artists and from 1946 to 1949 worked on the Little Image painting series. In 1953 she began working on collages, a medium she would come back to again later in her career. After Pollock's death her work was greatly influence by her sadness and anger, creating a visible evolution of her style.
For the rest of her career, Krasner consistently exhibited her work in both group and solo exhibitions. She had her first retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1965, and in 1966, she joined Marlborough Gallery, New York which represented Pollock's work as well. In the 1970s and early 1980s Krasner won many awards for her achievement in the visual arts, including the Augustus St. Gaudens Medal and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She returned to the medium of collage, and in 1976 joined the Pace Gallery, New York. In 1981 she joined the Robert Miller Gallery, New York. Lee Krasner continued creating art until her death in 1984.
Found in the Archives of American Art are the Charles Pollock Papers, 1902-1990, which includes correspondence, photographs, and other files relating to his brother, Jackson Pollock. Other resources in the Archives are oral history interviews with Lee Krasner, including a series of interviews conducted by Dorothy Seckler between 1964 and 1968, and interviews conducted by Barbara Rose in 1966 and Doloris Holmes in 1972.
The papers of Jackson Pollock were donated in 1983 by Lee Krasner through Eugene V. Thaw shortly before her death. Additional material about Pollock and the papers of Lee Krasner were donated in 1985 by Eugene V. Thaw, executor of Lee Krasner's estate.
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
The Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Computers, Information and Society, Division of (NMAH, SI). Search this
Computers, Information and Society, Division of (NMAH, SI). Search this
43.5 Cubic feet (158 boxes)
The Computer Oral History Collection (1969-1973, 1977), was a cooperative project of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) and the Smithsonian Institution. This project began in 1967 with the main objective to collect, document, house, and make available for research source material surrounding the development of the computer.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of approximately 43.5 cubic feet of material documenting the development of the computer.
ABC -- Atanasoff-Berry Computer
ACE -- Automatic Computing Engine
ACM -- Association for Computing Machinery
ALGOL -- ALGOLrithmic Language
ALWAC -- Axel Wenner-Gren Automatic Computer
ARPA -- Advanced Research Projects Agency
BACAIC -- Boeing Airplane Company Algebraic Interpretative Computing System
BARK -- Binar Automatisk Rela Kalkylator
BINAC -- Binary Automatic Computer
BIZMAC -- Business Machine
BMEW -- Ballistic Missile Early Warning (System)
BUIC -- Back-up Interceptor Control
CADAC -- Cambridge Digital Automatic Computer
CALDIC -- California Digital Computer
CEC -- Consolidated Electrodynamics Corporation
CEIR -- Council for Economic and Industry Research
COBOL -- Common Business-Oriented Language
CODASYL -- Conference on Data Systems Languages
CONAC -- Continental Automatic Command
COMTRAN -- Commercial Translator
CPC -- Card Programmed Calculator
CRC -- Computer Response Corporation
DARPA -- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Series 4: John Vincent Atanasoff's Materials, 1927-1968
Series 5: Audio Tapes, 1967-1974, 1977
Series 6: Video Tapes, 1968-1972
Biographical / Historical:
The Computer Oral History Collection (1969-1973, 1977), was a cooperative project of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) and the Smithsonian Institution. This project began in 1967 with the main objective to collect, document, house, and make available for research source material surrounding the development of the computer. The project collected taped oral interviews with individuals who figured prominently in developing or advancing the computer field and supplemental written documentation--working papers, reports, drawings, and photographs. The AFIPS provided the "seed" money to support the project and to aid the Smithsonian with its expenditures. Interviews were conducted by I.B. Cohen, A. Dettinger, Bonnie Kaplan, Elizabeth Luebbert, William Luebbert, Robina Mapstone, Richard Mertz, Uta Merzbach, and Henry Tropp. In some instances, the audio tapes and/or transcripts are not "formal" interviews, but rather moderated panel discussions/meetings, or lectures delivered by interviewees.
The Archives Center contains several "computer" related collections:
American National Standards Institute, 1969-1979
Association for Computing Machinery Collection, 1958-1978 (Washington, D.C., Chapter)
N.W. Ayer Advertsing Agency Records, 1889-1972
Paul Armer Collection, 1949-1970
Robert G. Chamberlain Numerical Control Collection, 1954-1984
J. Childs Numerical Control Collection, 1952-1970
Computer Standards Collection, 1958-1978
Computer World Smithsonian Awards Collection, 1989-2001
Data Processing Digest Collection, 1955-1974
Max Holland Machine Tool Industry Collection, c. 1941-1990
Grace Murray Hopper Collection, 1944-1965
Information Age Exhibition Records, 1979-1990
Institute for Advanced Study Computer Project Records, 1950-1957
Instrument Society of America Collection, 1911-1969
Odex I Walking Robot Collection, 1973-1986
Jacob Rabinow Papers, 1910-1917; 1947-1990
Terry M. Sachs Collection, 1965-1969
Scientists and Inventors Portrait File, c. 1950-1980
Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) Records, 1956-1992
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, c. 1754-1965
Whirlwind I Computer Collection, 1945-1959
B.H. Worsley, 1946-1959
Within the National Museum of American History there are other related collections that may be found in the Division of Medicine and Science. These collections contain both artifacts and documents. Artifacts include: digital computing machines, automatic digital computers and electronic calculators, logic devices, card and tape processors, slide rules, integrators and integraphs, harmonic analyzers and synthesizers, differential analyzers, other analog computing devices, space measurement and representation, time measurement, and combination space and time measurement. Documentation includes the Electronic Computers History Collection and the Mathematical Devices History Collection. Photographs and video materials can also be found. The Smithsonian Institution Archives contains administrative documentation regarding the Computer History Project.
The Computer Oral History Collection was a cooperative project of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) and the Smithsonian Institution. This project began in 1967 and was concluded in 1973. This collection was transferred to the Archives Center in approximately 1986 from the Division of Information, Technology & Society, formerly known as the Division of Electricity.
The collection is open for research use.
Reference copies do not exist for all of the audio. Use of these materials requires special arrangement with the audiovisual archivist.
Original audio tapes are stored offsite. Contact repository for details.
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.
Computer Oral History Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Online transcripts for select oral history interviews were made possible by the Morton I. Bernstein Fund and the Association for Computing Machinery, the Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD), and the Special Interest Group on Programming Languages (SIGPLAN).
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at ACMarchives@si.edu
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into twenty-six (26) series and consists of approximately 400 cubic feet. The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
The collection is divided into twenty-six series.
Series 1: Historical and Background Information, 1851-1994
Series 2: Subsidiaries of Western Union, 1844-1986
Series 3: Executive Records, 1848-1987
Series 4: Presidential Letterbooks and Writings, 1865-1911
Series 5: Correspondence, 1837-1985
Series 6: Cyrus W. Field Papers, 1840-1892
Series 7: Secretary's Files, 1844-1987
Series 8: Financial Records, 1859-1995
Series 9: Legal Records, 1867-1968
Series 10: Railroad Records, 1854-1945
Series 11: Law Department Records, 1868-1979
Series 12: Patent Materials, 1840-1970
Series 13: Operating Records, 1868-1970s
Series 14: Westar VI-S, 1974, 1983-1986
Series 15: Engineering Department Records, 1874-1970
Series 16: Plant Department Records, 1867-1937, 1963
Series 17: Superintendent of Supplies Records, 1888-1948
Series 18: Employee/Personnel Records 1852-1985
Series 19: Public Relations Department Records, 1858-1980
Series 20: Western Union Museum, 1913-1971
Series 21: Maps, 1820-1964
Series 22: Telegrams, 1852-1960s
Series 23: Photographs, circa 1870-1980
Series 24: Scrapbooks, 1835-1956
Series 25: Notebooks, 1880-1942
Series 26: Audio Visual Materials, 1925-1994
Series 27: Materials for Interfile (Series 1; Series 3; Series 13; Series 15-23; Series 25-26)
Biographical / Historical:
In 1832 Samuel F. B. Morse, assisted by Alfred Vail, conceived of the idea for an electromechanical telegraph, which he called the "Recording Telegraph." This commercial application of electricity was made tangible by their construction of a crude working model in 1835-36. This instrument probably was never used outside of Professor Morse's rooms where it was, however, operated in a number of demonstrations. This original telegraph instrument was in the hands of the Western Union Telegraph Company and had been kept carefully over the years in a glass case. It was moved several times in New York as the Western Union headquarters building changed location over the years. The company presented it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1950.
The telegraph was further refined by Morse, Vail, and a colleague, Leonard Gale, into working mechanical form in 1837. In this year Morse filed a caveat for it at the U.S. Patent Office. Electricity, provided by Joseph Henry's 1836 "intensity batteries", was sent over a wire. The flow of electricity through the wire was interrupted for shorter or longer periods by holding down the key of the device. The resulting dots or dashes were recorded on a printer or could be interpreted orally. In 1838 Morse perfected his sending and receiving code and organized a corporation, making Vail and Gale his partners.
In 1843 Morse received funds from Congress to set-up a demonstration line between Washington and Baltimore. Unfortunately, Morse was not an astute businessman and had no practical plan for constructing a line. After an unsuccessful attempt at laying underground cables with Ezra Cornell, the inventor of a trench digger, Morse switched to the erection of telegraph poles and was more successful. On May 24, 1844, Morse, in the U.S. Supreme Court Chambers in Washington, sent by telegraph the oft-quoted message to his colleague Vail in Baltimore, "What hath God wrought!"
In 1845 Morse hired Andrew Jackson's former postmaster general, Amos Kendall, as his agent in locating potential buyers of the telegraph. Kendall realized the value of the device, and had little trouble convincing others of its potential for profit. By the spring he had attracted a small group of investors. They subscribed $15,000 and formed the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Many new telegraph companies were formed as Morse sold licenses wherever he could.
The first commercial telegraph line was completed between Washington, D.C., and New York City in the spring of 1846 by the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Shortly thereafter, F. O. J. Smith, one of the patent owners, built a line between New York City and Boston. Most of these early companies were licensed by owners of Samuel Morse patents. The Morse messages were sent and received in a code of dots and dashes.
At this time other telegraph systems based on rival technologies were being built. Some companies used the printing telegraph, a device invented by a Vermonter, Royal E. House, whose messages were printed on paper or tape in Roman letters. In 1848 a Scotch scientist, Alexander Bain, received his patents on a telegraph. These were but two of many competing and incompatible technologies that had developed. The result was confusion, inefficiency, and a rash of suits and counter suits.
By 1851 there were over fifty separate telegraph companies operating in the United States. This corporate cornucopia developed because the owners of the telegraph patents had been unsuccessful in convincing the United States and other governments of the invention's potential usefulness. In the private sector, the owners had difficulty convincing capitalists of the commercial value of the invention. This led to the owners' willingness to sell licenses to many purchasers who organized separate companies and then built independent telegraph lines in various sections of the country.
Hiram Sibley moved to Rochester, New York, in 1838 to pursue banking and real estate. Later he was elected sheriff of Monroe County. In Rochester he was introduced to Judge Samuel L. Selden who held the House Telegraph patent rights. In 1849 Selden and Sibley organized the New York State Printing Telegraph Company, but they found it hard to compete with the existing New York, Albany, and Buffalo Telegraph Company.
After this experience Selden suggested that instead of creating a new line, the two should try to acquire all the companies west of Buffalo and unite them into a single unified system. Selden secured an agency for the extension throughout the United States of the House system. In an effort to expand this line west, Judge Selden called on friends and the people in Rochester. This led, in April 1851, to the organization of a company and the filing in Albany of the Articles of Association for the "New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company" (NYMVPTC), a company which later evolved into the Western Union Telegraph Company.
In 1854 there were two rival systems of the NYMVPTC in the West. These two systems consisted of thirteen separate companies. All the companies were using Morse patents in the five states north of the Ohio River. This created a struggle between three separate entities, leading to an unreliable and inefficient telegraph service. The owners of these rival companies eventually decided to invest their money elsewhere and arrangements were made for the NYMVPTC to purchase their interests.
Hiram Sibley recapitalized the company in 1854 under the same name and began a program of construction and acquisition. The most important takeover was carried out by Sibley when he negotiated the purchase of the Morse patent rights for the Midwest for $50,000 from Jeptha H. Wade and John J. Speed, without the knowledge of Ezra Cornell, their partner in the Erie and Michigan Telegraph Company (EMTC). With this acquisition Sibley proceeded to switch to the superior Morse system. He also hired Wade, a very capable manager, who became his protege and later his successor. After a bitter struggle Morse and Wade obtained the EMTC from Cornell in 1855, thus assuring dominance by the NYMVPTC in the Midwest. In 1856 the company name was changed to the "Western Union Telegraph Company," indicating the union of the Western lines into one compact system. In December, 1857, the Company paid stockholders their first dividend.
Between 1857 and 1861 similar consolidations of telegraph companies took place in other areas of the country so that most of the telegraph interests of the United States had merged into six systems. These were the American Telegraph Company (covering the Atlantic and some Gulf states), The Western Union Telegraph Company (covering states North of the Ohio River and parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Minnesota), the New York Albany and Buffalo Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company (covering New York State), the Atlantic and Ohio Telegraph Company (covering Pennsylvania), the Illinois & Mississippi Telegraph Company (covering sections of Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois), and the New Orleans & Ohio Telegraph Company (covering the southern Mississippi Valley and the Southwest). All these companies worked together in a mutually friendly alliance, and other small companies cooperated with the six systems, particularly some on the West Coast.
By the time of the Civil War, there was a strong commercial incentive to construct a telegraph line across the western plains to link the two coasts of America. Many companies, however, believed the line would be impossible to build and maintain.
In 1860 Congress passed, and President James Buchanan signed, the Pacific Telegraph Act, which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to seek bids for a project to construct a transcontinental line. When two bidders dropped out, Hiram Sibley, representing Western Union, was the only bidder left. By default Sibley won the contract. The Pacific Telegraph Company was organized for the purpose of building the eastern section of the line. Sibley sent Wade to California, where he consolidated the small local companies into the California State Telegraph Company. This entity then organized the Overland Telegraph Company, which handled construction eastward from Carson City, Nevada, joining the existing California lines, to Salt Lake City, Utah. Sibley's Pacific Telegraph Company built westward from Omaha, Nebraska. Sibley put most of his resources into the venture. The line was completed in October, 1861. Both companies were soon merged into Western Union. This accomplishment made Hiram Sibley leader of the telegraph industry.
Further consolidations took place over the next several years. Many companies merged into the American Telegraph Company. With the expiration of the Morse patents, several organizations were combined in 1864 under the name of "The U.S. Telegraph Company." In 1866 the final consolidation took place, with Western Union exchanging stock for the stock of the other two organizations. The general office of Western Union moved at this time from Rochester to 145 Broadway, New York City. In 1875 the main office moved to 195 Broadway, where it remained until 1930 when it relocated to 60 Hudson Street.
In 1873 Western Union purchased a majority of shares in the International Ocean Telegraph Company. This was an important move because it marked Western Union's entry into the foreign telegraph market. Having previously worked with foreign companies, Western Union now began competing for overseas business.
In the late 1870s Western Union, led by William H. Vanderbilt, attempted to wrest control of the major telephone patents, and the new telephone industry, away from the Bell Telephone Company. But due to new Bell leadership and a subsequent hostile takeover attempt of Western Union by Jay Gould, Western Union discontinued its fight and Bell Telephone prevailed.
Despite these corporate calisthenics, Western Union remained in the public eye. The sight of a uniformed Western Union messenger boy was familiar in small towns and big cities all over the country for many years. Some of Western Union's top officials in fact began their careers as messenger boys.
Throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century the telegraph became one of the most important factors in the development of social and commercial life of America. In spite of improvements to the telegraph, however, two new inventions--the telephone (nineteenth century) and the radio (twentieth century)--eventually replaced the telegraph as the leaders of the communication revolution for most Americans.
At the turn of the century, Bell abandoned its struggles to maintain a monopoly through patent suits, and entered into direct competition with the many independent telephone companies. Around this time, the company adopted its new name, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T).
In 1908 AT&T gained control of Western Union. This proved beneficial to Western Union, because the companies were able to share lines when needed, and it became possible to order telegrams by telephone. However, it was only possible to order Western Union telegrams, and this hurt the business of Western Union's main competitor, the Postal Telegraph Company. In 1913, however, as part of a move to prevent the government from invoking antitrust laws, AT&T completely separated itself from Western Union.
Western Union continued to prosper and it received commendations from the U.S. armed forces for service during both world wars. In 1945 Western Union finally merged with its longtime rival, the Postal Telegraph Company. As part of that merger, Western Union agreed to separate domestic and foreign business. In 1963 Western Union International Incorporated, a private company completely separate from the Western Union Telegraph Company, was formed and an agreement with the Postal Telegraph Company was completed. In 1994, Western Union Financial Services, Inc. was acquired by First Financial Management Corporation. In 1995, First Financial Management Corporation merged with First Data Corporation making Western Union a First Data subsidiary.
Many technological advancements followed the telegraph's development. The following are among the more important:
The first advancement of the telegraph occurred around 1850 when operators realized that the clicks of the recording instrument portrayed a sound pattern, understandable by the operators as dots and dashes. This allowed the operator to hear the message by ear and simultaneously write it down. This ability transformed the telegraph into a versatile and speedy system.
Duplex Telegraphy, 1871-72, was invented by the president of the Franklin Telegraph Company. Unable to sell his invention to his own company, he found a willing buyer in Western Union. Utilizing this invention, two messages were sent over the wire simultaneously, one in each direction.
As business blossomed and demand surged, new devices appeared. Thomas Edison's Quadruplex allowed four messages to be sent over the same wire simultaneously, two in one direction and two in the other.
An English automatic signaling arrangement, Wheatstone's Automatic Telegraph, 1883, allowed larger numbers of words to be transmitted over a wire at once. It could only be used advantageously, however, on circuits where there was a heavy volume of business.
Buckingham's Machine Telegraph was an improvement on the House system. It printed received messages in plain Roman letters quickly and legibly on a message blank, ready for delivery.
Vibroplex, c. 1890, a semi-automatic key sometimes called a "bug key," made the dots automatically. This relieved the operator of much physical strain.
Materials in the Archives Center
Additional moving image about Western Union Telegraph Company can be found in the Industry on Parade Collection (AC0507). This includes Cable to Cuba! by Bell Laboratory, AT & T, featuring the cable ship, the C.S. Lord Kelvin, and Communications Centennial! by the Western Union Company.
Materials at Other Organizations
Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware.
Western Union International Records form part of the MCI International, Inc. Records at the First Data Corporation, Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Records of First Data Corporation and its predecessors, including Western Union, First Financial Management Corporation (Atlanta) and First Data Resources (Omaha). Western Union collection supports research of telegraphy and related technologies, and includes company records, annual reports, photographs, print and broadcast advertising, telegraph equipment, and messenger uniforms.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867
This collection includes correspondence, mostly to Spencer F. Baird, from members of the Scientific Corps of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, including Kennicott, Dall, Bannister, and Elliott; copies of reports submitted to divisional chiefs from expedition staff members; newspaper clippings concerning the expedition; copies of notes on natural history taken by Robert Kennicott; and a journal containing meteorological data recorded by Henry M. Bannister from March to August, 1866.
Artifacts (apparatus and equipment) were donated to the Division of Information Technology and Society, now known as the Division of Work & Industry, National Museum of American History.
The collection was donated by Western Union in September of 1971.
Collection is open for research.
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audio visual materials. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
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.
Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Under Secretary Search this
51.69 cu. ft. (102 document boxes) (1 16" x 20" box)
Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
These records are mainly subject files kept by Bradley and Brooks in their capacities as Assistant Secretary and Under Secretary and concern the Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars, renovation of the Smithsonian Institution Building, the National Armed Forces Museum Advisory Board (NAFMAB), legislation affecting the Smithsonian, National
Zoological Park, National Museum Act, personnel, Smithsonian Art Commission, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of History and Technology, budgets, congressional relations,
Freer Gallery of Art, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, plans for the Mall, National Air and Space Museum, National Collection of Fine Arts, Museum of Natural
History, National Gallery of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Hillwood, regional museums, retirement funds, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, relations with
the White House, Folklife Festivals, and the Smithsonian Science Information Exchange. Also included is a speech file of James C. Bradley.
The Office of Under Secretary was first established in 1971. It is the successor office to that of the Assistant Secretary (Administration), the position held by John
L. Keddy from 1947 to 1960.
James C. Bradley came to the Smithsonian in 1959 as Assistant to the Secretary, a newly created position. In 1960, Bradley became one of the two assistant secretaries,
and his primary responsibility was general administration. The title was changed in 1971 to Under Secretary. Bradley held the post until his retirement in 1972.
Robert Angus Brooks was Deputy Under Secretary, 1971-1972. On Bradley's retirement, the title of Assistant Secretary was revived and Brooks was appointed to that position.
In May of 1973 the title again became Under Secretary and Brooks retained that post.
The Under Secretary is administratively responsible to the Secretary and is the second ranking official in the Institution. He assists the Secretary in formulation of programs,
analysis and solution of problems involved in the determination of policies, execution of policy decisions, and maintenance of an effective management and administrative system
to support the Institution's programs. The Under Secretary serves as the Secretary's liaison with Congress and various federal and non-federal agencies.
The Cummings Structural Concrete Company Records consists primarily of correspondence and business records documenting Robert A. Cummings' firm, consulting work, and participation in professional associations, especially the American Society of Civil Engineers, 1892-1893, circa 1900-1939; technical data and publications on soils testing, 1900-1939; and drawings, blueprints, and photographs and glass negatives of construction projects.
Series 1, Biographical, 1904-1936 and undated documents the professional life of Robert A. Cummings. There are three subseries within this series: Subseries 1, Cummings System of Reinforced Concrete, 1904-1930 and undated; Subseries 2, Professional Organizations, 1908-1936 and undated; and Subseries 3, Writings, 1908-1939 and undated. This series includes documents related to the Cummings System of Reinforced Concrete, including patents, photographs, and advertisements. The series also includes documents relating to professional organizations such as the Allegheny County Authority, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the World Engineering Congress. Cummings was also a member of the Soils Committee for the American Society of Civil Engineers, and those documents are included in this series. Cummings wrote published and unpublished articles regarding concrete, soil, and construction methods. His writings are also included in this series.
Series 2, Operational Records, 1884-1952 and undated consists of six subseries: Subseries 1, Administrative, 1901-1948 and undated; Subseries 2, Correspondence, 1884-1952 and undated; Subseries 3, Contracts (for projects), 1902-1930 and undated; Subseries 4, Legal Materials, 1907-1916; Subseries 5, Financial, 1894-1921 and undated; and Subseries 6, Personnel, 1918-1921. This series contains the bulk of the information about Cummings' concrete business. Within this series are administrative materials that document the running of the business, including daily reports, bond and insurance papers, specifications, supply notes, field requisitions, and design notebooks. Also included is correspondence to and from Cummings. Recipients of the correspondence include company employees and corporations that did business with the company. A portion of the correspondence is divided topically into subjects such as soil sampling apparatus and barge claims.
The bulk of this series consists of contracts for projects on which Cummings worked. The majority of the projects consist of bridges, water tanks, commercial buildings, and retaining walls. Materials include correspondence, receipts from vendors, hand-written notes, accident reports, blueprints, sketches, and laboratory test reports on materials. The contracts are arranged by contract number as assigned by Cummings. The unnumbered contracts are listed alphabetically. The legal materials consist of documentation that relate to legal matters Cummings dealt with, including the lawsuits Robert Cummings vs. William J. Stewart, Alexander Melville vs. Robert Cummings, andLock Joint Pipe Company vs. Frederick Melber and Electric Welding Company. This series also contains financial and personnel records, including account books, bills, receipts, proposals, estimates, and business journals, as well as applications for employment, correspondence, and weekly progress reports.
Series 3, Subject Files, 1891-1949 and undated consists of correspondence, pamphlets, printed materials, and drawings. The topics within the subject files include soil testing and standards, roads, railroads, minerals, electricity, and concrete barges.
Series 4, Publications, 1887-1955, includes published material related concrete. The series is divided into two subseries: publications by title and publications by subject. Included are booklets, articles of incorporations, charters and by-laws, journals, and government publications. Some of the materials are in German or French.
Series 5, Photographs, 1902-1916 and undated includes
3" x 5", 8" x 10" and other various sizes of photographic prints. The series contains black and white and sepia toned prints. Some of the prints have been mounted onto cardboard or cloth, and some prints have tape on the corners. Some of the prints are annotated on the back. Most of the images are of construction sites in various stages of progress, the interiors of buildings being constructed, manufacturing equipment, and laborers working. Some of these images document early twentieth century methods of manufacturing, such as the use of rope pulleys.
Series 6, Photograph Negatives, undated includes about 75 photograph film negatives. The images in these negatives are primarily of construction scenes, including workers, equipment and work sites.
Series 7, Glass Plate Negatives, 1889-1918 and undated includes 8" x 10", 5" x 8", and 3" x 4" glass plate negatives containing images of bridges, slabs of concrete, construction scenes, the interiors and exteriors of hotels, and the interiors and exteriors of railroad stations.
Series 8, Lantern Slides, undated includes images of the work of the Cummings Structural Concrete Company on 4.5" x 5" glass slides. The images are of industrial machinery, construction sites, and workers.
The collection is arranged into eight series.
Series 1: Biographical, 1904-1936 and undated
Subseries 1.1: Cummings System of Reinforced Concrete, 1904-1930 and undated
Subseries 1.2: Professional Organizations, 1908-1936 and undated
Subseries 1.3: Writings, 1908-1939 and undated
Series 2: Operational Records, 1884-1952 and undated
Subseries 2.1, Administrative, 1901-1948 and undated
Subseries 2.2: Correspondence, 1884-1952 and undated
Subseries 2.3: Project Contracts, 1902-1930 and undated
Subseries 2.4: Legal Materials, 1907-1916
Subseries 2.5: Financial, 1894-1921 and undated
Series 3: Subject Files, 1891-1970 and undated
Subseries 3.1: Alphabetical, 1891-1970
Subseries 3.2: Testing, 1904-1916
Series 4: Publications, 1887-1955
Subseries 4.1: By title, 1887-1953
Subseries 4.2: By subject, 1902-1940 and undated
Series 5: Photographs, 1902-1916 and undated
Series 6: Photograph Negatives, undated
Series 7: Glass Plate Negatives, 1889-1918 and undated
Series 8: Lantern Slides, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Augustus Cummings (1866-1962) was a consulting civil engineer who worked primarily in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was born in Norfolk, England and attended the Gresham School at Holt in Norfolk. He trained as a civil engineer with William J. Brewster in his offices, located in Westminster, London, England. During his early career, he worked as a surveyor and field examiner at the Ordinance Survey of Great Britain and Ireland before he relocated to Canada to conduct engineering work on the Grand Trunk Railroad. During the late 1880s and early 1890s, Cummings was employed as a general draftsman for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company in Philadelphia. He worked later as a designer of heavy dredging machinery for the Bucyrus (Ohio) Steam Shovel and Dredge Company and as an assistant engineer of the Norfolk and Western Railroad in Roanoke, Virginia. Cummings established a firm as a civil and consulting engineer in Philadelphia in 1893 before relocating to Pittsburgh in 1899. He founded the Cummings Structural Concrete Company and the Electric Welding Company in 1900, and in 1902 he founded the Lehigh Valley Testing Laboratory, all of which were located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1936, he partnered with his son in the consulting firm of Robert A. Cummings, Jr. and Associates.
During his career, Cummings worked on the design and construction of a variety of projects, including bridges, warehouses, filtration systems, private residences, machine shops, dry docks and piers, factories, dams, and locks. He additionally conducted railroad and land surveys, researched various types of cement, and designed rock, hydraulic, and elevator dredges. Cummings is best known for inventing the "Cummings System of Reinforced Concrete," in which iron or steel bars are embedded within a mixture of Portland cement, water, sand, and gravel or broken stone. As Cummings stated in a 1904 presentation to the Member Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania, reinforced concrete "makes an excellent paint for preserving iron or steel, adhering to the metal very firmly and protecting it thoroughly against corrosion. It can easily be made water tight, and its durability is beyond question. These properties of cement mortar can be utilized in re-enforced concrete. This material is well adapted for molding into a monolithic structure, which does not disintegrate when subjected to shocks such as are produced by railroad trains and vibrates much less for a given load than structural steel. Correctly designed re-enforced concrete structures are not liable to sudden failures, as is the case with ordinary concrete, but gives warning by the falling off of the surface concrete long before the point of failure is reached."
Cummings belonged to a number of professional organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Engineering Societies Library Board, the American Railway Engineering Association, the American Society for Testing Materials, and the Institution of Civil Engineers of London, England. He married Mary Eloise Hood on December 14, 1892, and had two children, Robert Augustus Jr. and Eloise Hood. Robert A. Cummings died on October 21, 1962, in Pittsburgh.
Cummings, Robert A. Presentation to the Member Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania, Meeting of Structural Section. November 22, 1904.
Hool, George A. Concrete Engineers Handbook, Data for the Design and Construction of Plain and Reinforced Concrete Structures. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1918.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no gurantees concerning copyright restrictions. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Washington (D.C.) -- Small business -- 20th century
Shaw (Washington, D.C.)
Washington (D.C.) -- African Americans
The collection includes approximately 250,000 photonegatives, photoprints, color transparencies from the photographic business founded by Addison Scurlock in Washington, D.C. Collection also includes business records and ephemera.
Scope and Contents:
Photographs includes portraits of famous African-American luminaries such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and many other artists, intellectuals, educators, entertainers, etc., as well as documentation of Washington, D.C., including both the African-American community and national political life, and important photographs of Howard University; also commercial photography, including color materials.
Color separation materials include sets of black-and-white color-separation negatives, sets of matrices for the Kodak Dye Transfer process (full-color Dye Transfer prints are storied in a different series).
Business records:,The photography studio records and Custom Craft records are in separate subseries, reflecting the fact that they were operated as separate businesses.
The collection includes all forms of photographs produced by the studio, such as prints in black-and-white and color, black-and-white and color negatives, color transparencies, black-and-white dye-transfer matrices, slides, etc.; as well as business documents, studio session ledgers, appointment books, business and personal correspondence, tax documents, and books, catalogs, and other publications. This material documents not only the photographic output of the business, both commercial and artistic, as well as the personal and business side of the enterprise.
Some photographs in the collection were not created by the Scurlocks. Some black-and-white and color prints seem to derive from assignments in the Capitol School of Photography, and are therefore student work. Also Custom Craft, the professional color processing service provided by the studio, made prints for other photographers, and samples for printing reference, as well as studio decor, have been retained in the collection. Custom Craft worked for such diverse photographers as artist Robert Epstein and well-known Washington photographer Fred Maroon, for example.
The collection numbers several hundred thousand photographic negatives, prints, and transparencies made by the Scurlocks and other staff photographers of the studio in its various Washington locations. The negatives are estimated at approximately 160,000-200,000 in number, and the prints of all sizes and types at nearly 57,000. The vast majority of the photographs are portraits of individuals, family groups, and organizations, as the primary business of the studio was portrait photography. They date primarily from the 1940s to 1990s. There are also a number of images, made for commercial clients, of building interiors and exteriors, and food. A small group of photojournalistic documentation also exists. The subjects also include architectural and industrial views, scenes in and around Washington, including children and street laborers, political events, social events, and 35mm slides of President Kennedy's funeral, 1964. There are also more personal artistic images, including still lifes with plants and flowers, and a few nudes; Robert's wartime service is also documented by his photographs, including European landscape photographs.
In addition to images taken by the Scurlock studio photographers, there are some prints, especially color, of images by other photographers who were clients, such as Fred Maroon, a prominent Washington photojournalist, and Robert Epstein, a teacher at the Corcoran School of Art. A print of one of Maroon's pictures had been displayed in the studio reception room at the time the studio was closed.
A large group of manuscript items, business documents, ephemera, and office and studio supplies constitutes a separate series from the photographs. An important adjunct to the photographs, a set of ledgers recording and identifying portrait sittings, highlights this group.
Nearly all of the photographs and documents stored in the studio and auxiliary storage locations were accepted for acquisition in order to form a complete history of this family business's production and operations over the better part of a century, whereas a selection of photographic apparatus and studio equipment was acquired by the Photographic History Collection: these items have been inventoried and catalogued separately.
The majority of the surviving photographic negatives and proof prints were made in connection with the studio's portrait work for a wide variety of clients. These portraits include images of famous people, such as political figures, entertainers, and noteworthy persons in a variety of fields, including scientists, writers, intellectuals, and academics. The majority of the figures depicted among both the famous and the not so famous are black. The greatest number of studio portraits, most of which are identified and dated, depict a general clientele who visited the studio for portrait sittings. Although the individual images in this vast quantity have limited research value in the usual sense, the aggregate represents a chronology spanning almost ninety years, which may be useful for demographic and genealogical information and as visual evidence of changing styles in clothing, hair, and accessories. It constitutes a panorama of a significant percentage of Washingtonians of the period, especially the black community.
Portraits of famous personages include George Washington Carver, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Duke Ellington, Marian Anderson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sammy Davis, Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Mayor Walter Washington, and Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, Mayor Marion Barry, D.C. Council members, statesmen such as Ralph Bunche, and many other noteworthy figures. Of particular interest is a signed group portrait of the U.S. Supreme Court with Chief Justice Berger presiding. There are also large- format portraits of Justice Thurgood Marshall and J. Edgar Hoover.
Group portraits include both formal sittings and the informal documentation of banquets, convocations, and similar events. This material includes groups at Howard University; Dunbar High School; the Post Office Clerks' Banquet; the Bishops' Meeting of the A.M.E. Church; a Y.M.C.A. camp, ca. 1947 1949; the 23rd annual conference of the N.A.A.C.P., 1932, etc.
Several thousand black and white negatives and prints, 1930s-1960s, depict the people, facilities, and events of Howard University, with which the Scurlocks had a long business relationship. There are various portraits, including Howard University Medical School, represented by 850 negatives and 100 prints. A group of law school and medical school images numbers some 800 negatives and 200 prints. In addition, there are class portraits, as well as images of famous guests speaking at Howard convocations, such as President Herbert Hoover.
An important aspect of any portrait studio's output is wedding photography, and the Scurlock studio was no exception. Bridal portraits, group pictures of wedding parties, and the complete documentation of weddings, in both black and white and color, constitute a significant part of the collection. African-American weddings predominate and provide important insights into this aspect of the society.
The studio's work was shown in special public exhibitions over the years, and several of these are included in toto. The most important was an extensive retrospective display of 121 prints of Addison's work, both vintage and posthumous, prepared by Robert for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1976. Others include: (1) a set of 32 black and white images made by Robert at the Ramitelli Air Base, Italy, while he was a major in the U.S. Air Force during World War II; (2) a group of portraits from a Black History Month exhibit at Woodward and Lothrop; and (3) a set of sixteen vintage and modern prints which Robert displayed in an interview on the "Today" television show in the 1980s.
This category includes architectural and industrial photography for commercial clients, food and still life photographs, etc. Much of this material is comparatively recent and was made in large format color, and includes transparencies and enlargements. It is possible that some of the prints represent Custom Craft work for other photographers rather than the camera work of Robert and George Scurlock. Thus far, prints by artist Robert Epstein have been identified as extra prints of his work from orders which he placed with the firm. At least one image by Fred Maroon has been identified.
A group of color prints constitutes copies of artworks, primarily in the National Portrait Gallery, for which the Scurlocks worked. Prints in 8" x 10", 11" x 14", 16" x 20" and 20" x 24" sizes are included, and undoubtedly negatives and transparencies corresponding to these subjects will be found.
In addition to the formal studio portraits and pictures documenting formal events, the Scurlocks took candid photographs of the everyday life of their city, as well as extraordinary events of local and national significance, ranging from occasions such as John F. Kennedy's funeral and the 1968 riots to political rallies and demonstrations.
Capitol School of Photography
The collection includes a variety of materials, such as books and ephemera, which document the activities of the Capitol School of Photography, a sideline of the Scurlock business. Some of the photographs apparently represent student work. The most famous student of the school was Jacqueline Bouvier (later Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), although no documentation of her association with the school has been located thus far. There are 45 photographs, ca. 1950s, showing the photography lab, men retouching prints, students with cameras, etc.
A few photographs of the Scurlock family are included in the collection in various forms and formats, including enlarged portraits of Addison and Robert. A self portrait of Addison and Mamie Scurlock is included in the Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibition series. Other photographs which represent personal artistic expression, such as a few nude studies and floral and plant still lifes, are included.
Series 6 includes: subseries 1 transparencies, subseries 2 slides, and subseries 3 other formats, which is rolled film of black and white and color negatives, and transparencies.
Series 1: Black and White Photographs:
Dates -- 1888-1993
Extent -- 105 boxes
Contents -- Series 1: Black and White Photographs: The materials are almost entirely black and white photographs, but in the subseries of clients, there may also be job envelopes, order materials, and other photographic material types that were included in the overall order. The series is arranged into two subseries, clients and subjects, and both are arranged alphabetically. The subseries clients documents the orders made by clients of the Scurlock Studio and individuals who were or could be identified but may or may not have actually placed an order at the Studio. The majority of the photographs in the clients subseries are formal portrait sittings but there are photographs of events, organizations, and businesses. The subseries subjects are photographs that were grouped into categories because no known client or individual in the image could be identified. The subjects cover a broad array of subjects but the majority of the subjects include unidentified people in formal portrait sittings and groups. In addition, not all photographs in this series were taken by the Scurlock Studio; there are photos by Abdon Daoud Ackad and other studios or photographers that were sent in to make copies. 1.1: Clients Black and white photographs1.2: Subjects Black and white photographs
Series 2: Color Photographs:
Dates -- 1930-1995
Extent -- 113 boxes
Contents -- Series 2: Color Photographs: The series color photographs consists of color photographs and hand-colored photographs, but there are also order envelopes and materials, and other photographic material types that were part of the order. The subseries are arranged as clients, subjects, weddings, and hand-colored photographs. Clients are arranged alphabetically by last name or the first word of an organization's name. Not all individuals, organizations, or businesses necessarily represent a client of the Scurlock Studio; if an individual or organization could be identified, the photograph was placed under the identified person or organization even if ther were not a known client of the Studio. The majority of the photographs are individual portrait sittings but also included are family portraits, businesses, organizations, and informal images. The subjects are arranged alphabetically, and document images of non-humans and humans that could not be connected to a known client. Weddings and hand-colored are arranged in alphabetical order with clients preceeding subjects. The were a large subject of the overall collection and the majority of weddings are color photographs but also included in the subseries are black and white and hand-colored photographs of weddings. The hand-colored photographs largely reflect the same subject matter of the subseries clients and subjects. In addition, not all photographs in this subseries were taken by the Scurlock Studio; there are photos by Abdon Daoud Ackad and other studios or photographers that were sent in to make copies. 2.1: Clients Color photographs2.2: Subjects Color photographs2.3: Weddings2.4: Hand-colored photographs
Series 3: Framed Prints:
Dates -- circa 1979
Extent -- 3 boxes
Contents -- Series 3: Framed Prints: The series framed prints includes three framed color photographs. The framed prints are arranged by the size, from smallest to largest, of the frame. The photographs are of two important political figures: Washington, D. C., Mayor Marion Barry and Senator Edward Brooke.
Series 4: Black-and-White Silver Gelatin Negatives:
Dates -- 1900-1994
Extent -- 320 boxes
Contents -- Series 4: Black-and-White Silver Gelatin Negatives: The material type of the series is black and white silver gelatin negatives. The negatives are arranged into twelve subseries. The materials document the clients and individuals whose photographs were taken by the Scurlock Studio and a wide variety of subject matters. The subjects represented are individual portrait sittings, organizations, events, businesses, commercial ventures of the Studio, and Washington, D. C. 4.1: Black and white negatives 4.2: Black and white negatives in freezers arranged by job number 4.3: Black and white negatives in freezer storage arranged by client 4.4: Black and white negatives in freezer storage arranged by subject 4.5: Black and white negatives in cold storage arranged by job number 4.6: Black and white negatives in cold storage arranged by client 4.7: Negatives in cold storage arranged by client with index cards 4.8: Negatives in cold storage arranged by subject 4.9: Black and white negatives for publication 4.10: Glass Plate Negatives 4.11: Customcraft Negatives 4.12: Banquet Negatives
Series 5: Color Negatives:
Dates -- 1964-1994
Extent -- 72 boxes
Contents -- Series 5: Color Negatives: The series color negatives primarily of color negatives but it also includes order envelopes and materials. The series is arranged into two subseries: clients and subjects. The subseries clients is arranged by job number, and the materials document the orders placed by clients of the Scurlock Studio and identified persons and organizations. The negatives depict individual portrait sittings, groups, and informal poses. The subseries subjects is arranged in alphabetical order, and the materials document negatives that could not be connected to a client of the studio. The negatives represent subjects such as art, buildings, commercial ventures of the Scurlock Studio, and unidentified people. 5.1: Color negatives arranged by client5.2: Color negatives arranged by subject
Series 6: Color Transparencies, Slides, and Other Formats:
Dates -- 1922-1994
Extent -- 40 boxes
Contents -- Series 6: Color Transparencies, Slides, and Other Formats: The series color transparencies, slides, and other formats consists of black and white and color transparencies, color slides, film, proofs, and order materials. The materials are arranged into four subseries: transparencies, slides, film, and proofs. The subseries are arranged by clients, in alphabetical order by last name, and then subjects, in alphabetical order. The materials document the orders placed at the Scurlock Studio by clients and identified individuals and organizations, and materials that could not be identified and are categorized by subjects. The subjects represented in the materials are primarily individual, family, and group portraits, and events and places. Cut but unmounted slides were typically placed in the subseries transparencies but a small number of cut but unmounted slides are included in the slides. The subseries proofs only contains a form of proof used by the Scurlock Studio that has a fugitive image, and other types of proofs printed on low quality paper or are water-marked and have a lasting image were included in the series Black and White Photographs and Color Photographs if the proof was either black and white or color. 6.1: Transparencies6.2: Slides6.3: Film6.4: Proofs
Series 7: Black-and-White Color Separation Negatives and Matrices:
Dates -- 1955-1957
Extent -- 7 boxes
Contents -- Series 7: Black-and-White Color Separation Negatives and Matrices: The materials in the series are black-and-white color separation negatives and a booklet about how to process black-and-white color separation negatives. The materials are arranged into three subseries: clients, subjects, and the booklet. The materials document orders placed at the Scurlock Studio by clients and individuals and organizations that could be identified but not connected to a specific order. The materials also document negatives categorized by subjects because there was no known client or identifiable individual or organization. The subjects represented are individual portrait sittings and groups, and unidentified people. 7.1: Clients Black-and-White Color Separation Negatives 7.2: Subjects Black-and-White Color Separation Negatives Booklet
Series 8: Scurlock Studio Business Records:
Dates -- 1907-1996
Extent -- 66 boxes
Contents -- Series 8: Scurlock Studio Business Records: The series Scurlock Studio Business Records contains paperwork pertaining to the administration of the business, the financial documentation of the business, the reocrds of sales, the advertising signs and promotions of hte business, the files kept on employees, and other materials kept at the Scurlock Studio. The series is arranged into six subseries: administrative file, financial, sales, advertising and marketing, employee and personnel, and office files. Each subseries is arranged differently according to the types of materials predominantly found in the subseries or in chronological order. The subjects represented in the series are mostly related to the financial records of the Scurlock Studio kept and the invoices of sales records. A wide variety of other subjects relating to the the business records of the Scurlock Studio can also be found including: session registers, construction plans, advertisements for specific holidays, and product information sent to the Studio. Some materials found in this series may be marked Scurlock Studio and Custom Craft, the color division of the Scurlock Studio, and were placed with this series because the Scurlock Studio was the primary business. Other materials with an unclear origin of either the Scurlock Studio or Custom Craft were placed in this series. 8.1: Administrative Files8.2: Financial8.3: Sales8.4: Advertising and Marketing8.5: Employee and Personnel8.6: Office Files
Series 9: Custom Craft Business Records:
Dates -- 1951-1994
Extent -- 57 boxes
Contents -- Series 9: Custom Craft Business Records: The series Custom Craft Business Records consists of paper documents relating to the administrative, financial, sales records, employee and personnel, and other files about the affairs of the Custom Craft business's day-to-day operations. The materials are arranged into five subseries: administrative, financial, sales, employee and personnel, and office files. The materials within a subseries are ordered by types of documents that consisted of a large number of materials listed first and materials with few documents following the grouped materials in chronological order. The materials document the day-to-day business of Custom Craft. The subjects represented are documents relating to the administration of the business, journals kept to document finances, the order invoices, the files kept about employees, product information, and materials accumulated in the office. Some documents may list both the Scurlock Studio and Custom Craft and were kept with the business records of Custom Craft if the materials appeared to fit the activities, color photography, of that business. Other documents relating to the business affairs of Custom Craft may be in the series Scurlock Studio Business Records because these documents did not clearly indicate which business the documents belonged to; in these cases, the materials were put in the series Scurlock Studio Business Records because the business was the primary business of the Scurlocks. There business records seem to indicate that there was not always a clear differentiation between the two businesses. 9.1: Administrative9.2: Financial9.3: Sales9.4: Employee and Personnel9.5: Office files
Series 10: Capitol School of Photography:
Dates -- 1948-1954
Extent -- 4 boxes
Contents -- Series 10: Capitol School of Photography: The series Capitol School of Photography consists of paper documents, photographs, and transparencies. The materials are arranged in chronological order and document the administration of the Capitol School of Photography and the students. The subjects represented are administrative documents, student files, photographs by students, photographs of students and the space used for the School, and transparencies of the same subjects.
Series 11: Washington Stock:
Dates -- 1981-1994
Extent -- 2 boxes
Contents -- Series 11: Washington Stock: The series Washington Stock consists of order materials, orders, and published materials. The materials are arranged chronologically and document the orders placed for Washington Stock and how the materials were used and published. The subjects represented are orders, standard forms used by Washington Stock, and published materials.
Series 12: Background Materials and Publications:
Dates -- 1902-1995
Extent -- 18 boxes
Contents -- Series 12: Background Materials and Publications: The series Background Materials and Publications is composed of paper documents, published materials, and materials from exhibitions. The materials are arranged into four subseries: historical and background information, Scurlock images, reference materials, and exhibition materials. The materials document the Scurlocks, published Scurlock images, published materials lacking Scurlock images, exhibitions of Scurlock images, and other exhibitions of related material. The subjects represented are largely materials related to the Scurlocks' photography and personal interests. Images were placed in the subseries Scurlock images if the photograph was credited to the Scurlocks or was a photograph known to have been taken by the Scurlocks; it is possible that uncredited and less well known images taken by the Scurlocks are present in the subseries reference materials. 12.1: Historical and Background Information12.2: Scurlock Images12.3: Reference Materials12.4: Exhibition Materials
The collection is divided into 12 series.
This collection was processed with numerous changes in arrangement and numbering of boxes. Original box numbers have been retained in this finding aid for cross-reference purposes and to assist anyone with a record of photographs according to the original box numbers.
Biographical / Historical:
The Scurlock photographic studio was a fixture in the Shaw area of Washington, D.C. from 1911 to 1994, and encompassed two generations of photographers, Addison N. Scurlock (1883-1964) and his sons George H. (1920- 2005) and Robert S. (1916-1994).
The turn of the twentieth century saw a mass exodus of African Americans from the South to northern cities in search of better employment opportunities and fairer racial treatment. Although many considered Washington to be the northern-most southern city, it still offered opportunities for African Americans leaving seasonal agricultural work and racial oppression in the South. In Washington, African Americans found stable employment with the U.S. government. In addition, Howard University offered African Americans teaching opportunities, college education, and professional training as doctors, dentists, nurses, lawyers, and ministers. By 1900 a substantial African-American middle class existed in Washington. Despite the fact that Washington was a historically and legally segregated city (and would remain so into the 1960s), this middle class population continued to grow and prosper.
After graduation from high school, Addison Scurlock moved from Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C., with his family in 1900. With a keen interest in photography, he sought out an apprenticeship at the white-owned Moses Rice Studio on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Rice brothers (Amos and Moses) had been in Washington working as photographers since the 1860s and had one of the more prominent and better studios in the city. There Addison learned portrait and general photography. In 1904, he left Rice and began his photographic career at his parents' home. By 1911, when he opened the Scurlock Studio, he had already captured the likeness of Booker T. Washington (1910; see Appendix B), most likely his most well-known portrait. Scurlock quickly identified his market: a self-sufficient African-American community which included students, graduates, and educators affiliated with Howard University; poets; writers; intellectuals; musicians and entertainers; politicians; socialites; fraternal and religious organizations and their leaders. The Scurlock Studio, located at 900 U Street, N.W., became a fixture in the midst of the thriving African-American business community. As with his white counterparts on Pennsylvania Avenue and F Street, N.W., Addison Scurlock inspired passers-by with window displays of his photographs of national leaders and local personalities.
During the 1930s, Addison Scurlock's two sons Robert and George apprenticed in the studio. In addition to portrait and general photography, the sons learned the techniques of retouching negatives and photographic prints, hand-coloring, hand-tinting, and mat decoration. George concentrated on the commercial side of the business while Robert concentrated on the portrait side. The Scurlocks' work changed with the times. From the early 1900s until Addison's death in 1964, the Scurlock Studio was the official photographer of Howard University. In the 1930s the studio began a press service and prepared newsreels on African American current events for the Lichtman Theater chain, which offered some of the few non-segregated venues in the city. Their press service supplied the African-American press with newsworthy photographs of current events, personalities, and social, political, and religious life. Clients included the Norfolk Journal and Guide, Amsterdam News, Pittsburgh Courier, Cleveland Call and Post and the Washington Tribune and Afro-American. George and Robert ran the Capitol School of Photography from 1948 to 1952. Included among their students were African-American veterans under the G.I. Bill, Ellsworth Davis, who later worked as a Washington Post photographer and Bernie Boston of the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps their best-known student was the young Jacqueline Bouvier.
In 1952 Robert opened Washington's first custom color lab. Capitalizing on his knowledge of color processing, Robert was asked to take color portraits of both noted and ordinary individuals. In addition, the studio offered color views of important Washington landmarks and monuments. By the 1960s, Robert added magazine photography to his list of talents, publishing images in Life, Look, and Ebony. Robert continued photographing Washingtonians at his studio until his death in 1994.
According to George Scurlock, the Scurlock studio never had substantial competition in the African American community. Some Washington residents remember it differently, however. Dr. Theodore Hudson, a retired Howard University professor, recalled two other black photographers: Sam Courtney and a man named Sorrell. He said Courtney photographed events in the African American community...?
The collection represents the most comprehensive record of any long-lived, let alone African-American, photography studio, in a public institution. Other twentieth century studio collections exist, such as Robinson Studio, Grand Rapids; Hughes Company, Baltimore, Md. Among African American studio collections in public institutions are James Van Der Zee (New York City, 1912-80s), P.H. Polk (Tuskegee), and the Hooks Brothers (Memphis, Tenn., 1910-1975). The Scurlock Collection covers a greater time period and provides greater depth of coverage of African-American events and personages.
A number of articles have been written about the Scurlock family. Jane Freundel Levey, editor of Washington History magazine, believes that the family went beyond the artful use of light, shadow, and composition. She wrote, "Perhaps the most distinctive hallmark of the Scurlock photograph is the dignity, the uplifting quality of the demeanor of every person captured by photographs who clearly saw each subject as above the ordinary."
Constance McLaughlin Green, one of the leading historians of Washington, D.C., talks about African-American Washington as "the Secret City," a separate world with institutions of its own that remained virtually unknown to the white majority. Addison Scurlock and his sons captured that world on film and in doing so, documented that world in the course of running his business and perfecting his art. Steven C. Newsome, director of the Maryland Commission on Afro-American History and Culture stated that The Scurlocks' photograph "Gave us connections. They tell stories. They let us remember."
The collection includes photographs of the nationally famous Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Mary McLeod Bethune, Mary Church Terrell, Marian Anderson; the locally or regionally important: P.B.S. Pinchback, Judge Miflin Gibbs, Col. Jim Lewis, Ernest Just, Anna J. Cooper; and actors, artists, vaudevillians, and musicians such as Fredi Washington, Madame Lilian Evanti, Oakley & Oakley, and Duke Ellington.
George Scurlock. Interview conducted by David Haberstich and intern Lora Koehler at Mr. Scurlock's apartment, Aug. 2003.
Theodore Hudson, conversation with David Haberstich in the Archives Center, 2 February 2004.
Jane Freundel Levey, "The Scurlock Studio," Washington History, 1989, p. 44.
Robert S. Scurlock, "An Appreciation of Addison N. Scurlock's Photographic Achievements," The Historic Photographs of Addison N. Scurlock. Washington, D.C.: The Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, 1986 (exhibition catalog).
Materials at Other Organizations:
The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. holds Scurlock-related materials.
Materials in the National Museum of American History:
Cameras and other photographic apparatus, studio furniture, and miscellaneous ephemera from the Scurlock studio are in the History of Photography Collection. An adding machine from the studio is in the Museum's mathematics collection. See accessions 1997.0293 and 2010.0157.
The Museum purchased the Scurlock Studio Records from the Estate of Robert S. Scurlock, through Judge Marjorie Lawson in 1997. During the period of negotiation between the museum and Robert Scurlock's heirs, his widow Vivian and brother George, the collection was on loan to the Museum and was housed primarily in a closed exhibition area on the second floor. Staff of the Archives Center took physical possession of the collection long before the transfer to the Museum was final. The studio records and photographs were housed principally in the 18th Street studio and in two rental storage facilities. The primary move of the collection to the Museum occurred in September 1995. An additional pickup occurred on February 12, 1996 (on tags). There was probably one additional pickup from the studio by David Haberstich and Caleb Fey on an unrecorded date.
Collection is open for research.
Series 8: Business Records, Subseries 8.1: Studio Session Registers are restricted. Digital copies available for research. See repository for details.
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements required to view negatives due to cold storage. Using negatives requires a three hour waiting period. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
When the Museum purchased the collection from the Estate of Robert S. Scurlock, it obtained all rights, including copyright. The earliest photographs in the collection are in the public domain because their term of copyright has expired. The Archives Center will control copyright and the use of the collection for reproduction purposes, which will be handled in accordance with its standard reproduction policy guidelines. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Institution
The collection was acquired with assistance from the Eugene Meyer Foundation. Elihu and Susan Rose and the Save America's Treasures program, provided funds to stabilize, organize, store, and create digital surrogates of some of the negatives. Processing and encoding funded by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Records of the Hills Bros. Coffee Company, Incorporated, documenting overall operations of the company, the creation of advertising materials, and development of the coffee trade.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into thirteen series.
Series 1, Hills Family Papers, 1856-1942; undated, consists primarily of personal and business related materials of Austin H. Hills Sr., Austin Herbert Hills Jr. and Herbert Gray Hills. Austin Herbert Hills Sr. was the father of Austin Herbert Hills Jr. and Reuben Wilmarth Hills founders of Hills Bros. Coffee Company Incorporated. Herbert Gray Hills is the son of Austin Herbert Hills Jr. In addition, there are home movies created in 1933 by members of the Hills family. The series is divided into three subseries.
Subseries 1.1, Austin Herbert Hills, Sr. Papers, 1856-1875; undated, consists primarily of materials related to his business affairs. Born in Rockland, Maine and a ship builder by trade, Austin Sr. opened a butter, eggs and cheese business in 1863. These materials are a miscellaneous assortment of correspondence and accounting ledgers relating to the partnership of Hills, Rice & Company. In addition, there is an article from the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine about Harriet Heal Hills (Mrs. Austin H. Hills). Mrs. Hills joined the Oakland chapter in 1904 and remained a very active member most of her life. Her father was John Heal who served as corporal in the continental army. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 1.2, Austin Herbert Hills, Jr. Papers, 1875-1923, contain correspondence which relate to both business and personal matters. The correspondence is arranged in the order that Mr. Hills maintained which is in alphabetical order by the last name of the recipient or sender and then in chronological order. In addition, there is an accounting ledger for Austin Hill's diary business prior to the creation of the Hills Bros. Coffee Company.
Subseries 1.3, Herbert Gray Hills Correspondence, 1923-1942, contain handwritten notes, letters, telegrams and other related materials. Subjects discussed include annual stockholders meetings, golf tournaments, quantities of merchandise shipped to various locations, programs for division managers' meetings, a copy of the proposed demands by office workers' union and I. L. A. 38-44 on San Francisco business and industrial establishments, and advertising. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date as they were maintained by Mr. Hills.
Series 2, Background Materials, 1896-1988; undated, contain a substantial amount of information relating to the Hills family and the history of the coffee company. Most of these materials are unpublished chronologies, historical sketches, newspaper clippings, presentations written by T. Carroll Wilson, and magazine articles. There is also a genealogy of the Hills family which dates from 1602-1950. One of the more interesting histories is the informal memoirs of Frank Veirs, Jr., who began as a plant employee and later became a factory superintendent. Veirs maintained detailed notes on the company's activities dating from 1896 to 1946. These notes are personal in nature but add to the historical events of the company. Reminiscences of daily routines, the management styles of the Hills brothers and company loyalty among employees are major themes throughout his writings. In 1948, NW Ayer advertising agency created the Hills of San Francisco which commemorates the twenty fifth anniversary of NW Ayer & Sons service to Hills Bros. Coffee, Incorporated. Limited copies of this publication were distributed to Hills Bros. top executives. The 1967 publication of a Background Story of Hills Bros. Coffee, Incorporated was designed by Walter Landor and Associates and based on a slide presentation created by T. Carroll Wilson. The original script and slides are included among these materials. In addition, there are local newspaper clippings on the history of the family and the company dating from 1922 to 1931. In 1988, Hill Bros. Company, Incorporated hired history associates to create a catalogue of artifacts and archival materials in its holdings. With the assistance of T. Carroll Wilson key items were chosen and described in the catalogue. There are a number of folders divided by the sections of the catalogue and include original samples followed by a color photocopy of the catalogue and two black and white copies. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Series 3, Coffee Reference Files, 1921-1980; undated, are materials relating to the cultivation, packaging, distribution, advertising, marketing and consumption of this beverage primarily in the United States. The materials provide an in-depth analysis of the history of the coffee trade and Hills Bros. Coffee Company's unique position in its developments. The series is divided into two subseries. Subseries one is material created by Hills Bros. primarily for the company but also includes information directed at the coffee trade and consumers. Subseries two is materials created by the coffee industry and other publishers primarily for the trade with a few materials directed toward consumers.
Subseries 3.1, Hills Bros. Coffee Company Literature, 1921-1976; undated, consist of publications created by the company for promotional and educational use. Such materials provide a significant amount of information on both the history of the coffee industry, and the history of Hills Bros. Coffee Company. Important publications include a copy of "Behind the Cup" (1928) which outlines the history of Hills Bros. from the establishment of the Arabian Coffee and Spice Mills to the building of the home office and plant on Harrison Street in 1926. This publication was also used as a companion piece to the film of the same title and was created by the NW Ayer advertising agency. Hills Bros. Coffee Company publications relating to the coffee trade include a 1922 booklet entitled Cultivation and Preparation of Coffee and Tea which was distributed widely to teachers and schools. The Art of Entertaining, another NW Ayer Advertising Agency creation, was designed to educate the consumer about coffee with tips on entertaining and coffee recipes. In addition, there are a series of inspirational books written by Coleman Cox for Hills Bros. which was distributed to its employees. A number of presentations written by T. Carroll Wilson for professional meetings and publications are also included among these materials. The materials are arranged in chronological order.
Subseries 3.2, Coffee Industry Literature, 1924-1980; undated, consists of publications including articles, annuals, proceedings from conventions, pamphlets and books. Topics of discussion include major growers, coffee roasting and packaging, the history of coffee as a consumer product, marketing, distribution and recipes. These materials assist in placing Hills Bros. and its major developments in the field in historical perspective. The majority of the publications was created by the Pan American Coffee Bureau and includes materials from the Coffee Industries of America, National Coffee Association, Federation of Coffee Growers of Columbia, American Coffee Bureau, Associated Coffee Industries of America and the Bureau of Coffee Information. Materials are arranged in chronological order.
Series 4, Advertising Materials, circa 1890s-1987; undated, comprise the largest series in the collection. These materials consist of scrapbooks, advertising cards, postcards, letterhead stationery, labels, proof sheets, advertising forms, advertising portfolios, printed advertisements, schedules for newspaper advertising, storyboards for television commercials and packaging. Researchers will be able to trace the evolution of Hills Bros. advertising campaigns using a variety of formats promoted through newspaper, magazine, radio and television. In addition, there are materials that document the decision making process. Records show the amount of money Hills Bros. allocated annually for advertising and budget proposals. This information supports evidence of the percentage of advertising costs versus the total overall operating budget. Correspondence between Hills Bros. and NW Ayer Advertising Agency provide insight into the client and advertising agency relationship. The series is organized into eleven subseries.
Subseries 4.1, Scrapbooks, 1906-1978; undated, consist of seven volumes containing materials created by the company to document their products and packaging. Six of the scrapbooks are conventionally sewn and are relatively small compared to the scrapbooks referred to by the company as its historical albums in series two. These volumes contain primarily circulars, labels, postcards, advertising cards and printed advertisements. A number of the materials relate to the teas and spices that were sold by the company as well as its coffee. In addition, there is a scrapbook of mostly newspaper clippings documenting the introduction of Hills Bros. High Yield coffee in 1978. All of these scrapbooks are in fairly good condition and the contents remained securely attached to the pages. Given the sound condition of the volumes, the only preservation measure that was taken was to box the volumes. The boxes provide physical protection during storage and assist in safe retrieval and transport. The outside of the scrapbooks are identified as labels but contain other types of material. The scrapbooks are arranged by the number assigned to it by the company and then in chronological order.
Subseries 4.2, Historical Albums, 1911-1967, were created by the company and provide an overview and rich source of the company's visual materials arranged in chronological order by year. The earlier volumes were created by one of the Hills brothers and later carried out by various members of the staff. The albums contain a variety of materials such as paperboard boxes, pamphlets, metal cans, newspaper clippings, photographs, printed advertisements, street car advertisements and labels. These albums presented a number of preservation concerns. Many of the materials in the albums are partially loose or detached from the scrapbook pages because the rubber cement has lost its adhesive properties. Some of the oversized items are folded to fit the scrapbooks and show signs of deterioration. The size of these mammoth volumes made it extremely difficult to handle and transport them. Structurally the volumes could not support the contents. Based on the assumption that these volumes were valuable research tools, the recommendation was to disband the scrapbooks. Still maintaining the original order of the volumes the pages were numbered and only fifty pages were housed per box. Loose materials were sleeved and also kept in order. Most of the materials in these scrapbooks can be found in other parts of the collection.
Subseries 4.3, Ephemera, 1890s-1987, contain some of the earliest forms of advertising and materials also found in the scrapbooks and historical volumes. The material consists of advertising cards, advertising forms, artwork, business cards, envelopes, handbills, record cards, letterhead stationery, postcards, labels, and point of purchase displays. Some of the materials are for products sold by the company before they became exclusively involved in the coffee market. Materials are arranged in alphabetical order by type.
Subseries 4.4, Portfolios, 1919-1985, undated consist of packets of material created by Hills Bros. and generally directed toward retailer grocers. Salesmen would utilize these portfolios as a means of introducing advertising campaigns and convincing grocers of how well supported the products were. The portfolios often included printed advertisements; directions for window and store displays; price lists of products by the case; suggested stocking requirements and/or guidelines; schedules for newspaper, radio or television coverage; advertising forms; story boards; illustrations of colorful outdoor advertisements; coupons and premiums and literature explaining the theme of each campaign. Researchers will find these materials useful in understanding product advertising from the point of view of the retail grocer. The materials document Hills Bros. suggestions for selling their products, display methods and customer satisfaction techniques. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 4.5, Proof sheets, 1922-1968, consist mostly of materials created by NW Ayer & Son Advertising Agency. Generally these proof sheets are black and white copies of what appeared in magazines or journals. At the bottom of each page pertinent information such as publication title, location and date is often included. The changing messages of advertising and shifts in target audiences can be seen through the use of storylines, particularly in the earlier proof sheets. Researchers should also consult the NW Ayer Collection finding aid located in the Archives Center reference room for copies of proof sheets not included among these materials. Materials are arranged in chronological order.
Subseries 4.6, Advertising Forms, 1922-1971; undated, consist of in-store wall posters or window displays to attract the attention of the customer and to assist in selling the products. Graphically interesting and colorful, noted artists such as Norman Rockwell created some of these advertising forms. All of the advertising forms are numbered and some are dated. There is also a scrapbook containing advertising forms. In addition, there are electrotypes, mats and multi-graph plates also included among the materials. Series five contains photographs of some of the advertising forms with information about intended use in the store. Materials are arranged first by size and then in order by the number assigned to each advertising form. Photographs of some of the advertising forms can be found in the reference room located in the Archives Center.
Subseries 4.7, Newspaper and Magazine Advertising, 1926-1971; undated, consists primarily of schedules for newspaper advertisements. The schedules date from 1928-1933 and were prepared by NW Ayer & Sons Advertising Agency for the Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland and San Francisco divisions. These materials provide useful information including the name of the publication and the amount of money that was spent for a particular time period. There are estimates for advertising in both newspapers and magazines which were also prepared by NW Ayer & Sons. The estimates document the company's management of printed advertisements noting where they appeared, the date, length of publication and cost. Hills Bros. correspondence to salesmen and grocers discuss advertising campaigns and suggest ways to sell more coffee. In addition, there are recapitulation of newspaper advertising costs and circulation for the Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland and San Francisco divisions. Other materials include a report, typescripts of newspaper advertisements, dealer materials for coffee guide newspaper advertisement, press releases for newspaper advertisements, mailers to dealers about newspaper advertisements, samples of newspaper advertisements for the Chicago market and newspaper advertising circulation for the Midwest market. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 4.8, Sampling Campaigns, 1928-1941 consist primarily of materials related to the sampling campaign conducted in the fall of 1941. The plan for the campaign was developed by the Reuben H. Donnelley Corporation and consisted of mailings and home-to-home coffee distribution. The sampling territories were divided into three geographical locations. Section one, the Michigan campaign, comprised of Detroit and its suburbs including Wayne county and the cities of Jackson, Ann arbor, Ypsilanti, Pontiac, Port Huron, Lansing, Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland. Section two, the Ohio and Indiana campaign, included Cleveland and its suburbs, Toledo and suburbs (including Adrian and Monroe, Michigan), Indianapolis and suburbs and Fort Wayne. Section three, North Dakota, Minnesota and upper Michigan peninsula campaign, included the towns around Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota from Houghton and Calumet, down to Escanaba and over to Sault Ste. Marie in the upper Michigan peninsula. The procedures for conducting the campaign; information relating to sampling territories; shipping schedules for coffee samples from the warehouse in Edgewater, New Jersey; notes relating to sampling figures; instructions for carriers; 1etters and booklets to grocers; radio announcements; coffee grams; pages from telephone directories for Grand Rapids, Michigan, Peoria, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin and an article from the Detroit News Booster dated September 1941 about the campaign are included among the materials. In addition, there is a small amount of material related to sampling campaigns conducted from 1928-1934. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 4.9, General Files, 1923-1978; undated consist of information used primarily by the company as reference materials. There is information on coffee advertising; the history of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) advertising; correspondence; jig saw puzzle advertisements; printed advertisements; memorandum relating to original vacuum pack; excerpts of letters written by the advertising department in 1948; scrapbook of competitor's instant coffee advertisements in San Francisco; outline of merchandising, sales promotion activity in 1930-1952 with correlation bar chart and cross reference to advertising report, ground and instant coffee television advertising history; advertising plan for ground and instant coffee; budget proposal; information on outdoor advertising; scripts for radio commercials; advertising plans for instant coffee; dealers information on radio and television advertising and materials relating to electrotypes and mats. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 4.10, NW Ayer Advertising Agency Materials, 1943, 1958 consist primarily of the scrapbooks that were created by the agency in 1958 for Shirley Temple's Storybook. This program was a series of sixteen hour-long children's programs on National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Hills Bros. Coffee sponsored the programs which included Beauty and the Beast, Rumpelstiltskin, Nightingale, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Dick Whittington and his Cat, Land of Green Ginger, Sleeping Beauty, Rip Van Winkle, Little Lame Prince, Magic Fishbone, Wild Swans, Hiawatha, Rapunzel, Ali Baba, Emperor's New Clothes and Mother Goose. The scrapbooks were assembled in the order that the programs aired and included clippings for the public and the trade. In addition, there is a menu for an event for Hills Bros. and NW Ayer employees in 1943.
Subseries 4.11, Foote, Cone & Belding Advertising Agency Materials, 1963-1968; undated, consists of material created for print, radio and television advertisements. There is a list of printed advertisements and examples of the ones that were created from 1963-1967. There are also scripts that were created for radio commercials dating from 1967-1968. Some of the printed advertisements are from the same campaigns as the radio commercials. The bulk of the material is storyboards created for television commercials and advertising instant coffee from 1965-1967. These materials are arranged in alphabetical order by title. In addition, there are also competitive consumer promotion and publicity reports prepared by the agency for Hills Bros. These materials informed Hills Bros. about the advertising activities of major competitors. The reports date from 1967-1968 and include information about Butter-Nut, Chase & Sanborn, Folgers, Maxim, Maxwell, MJB, Nescafe, Tasters Choice and Yubon. The materials are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the company.
Series 5, Photographs, 1882-1973; undated, document advertising, company activities, office buildings, plants, packaging, grocery store displays, window and wall displays, employees and the coffee trade. Company photographer, Ken P. Allen, is credited with many of the company related images and some relating to the coffee trade. Most of the photographs are labeled and have negatives. Documentation for some of the photographs can also be found in other portions of the collection. The series is divided into twelve subseries.
Subseries 5.1, Employees, 1882-1961; undated, document the activities of people working for the company. Company employees consist of factory workers, salesmen, and executives. Company executives include Austin Hills, Reuben Hills, Edward E. Hills, Herbert Gray Hills, Leslie W. Hills and T. Carroll Wilson. A number of the employee photographs were created for company publications. Some of the company activities include female employees in the preparedness parade, the company basketball team, a groundbreaking ceremony, salesmen conventions, managers' meetings and coffee testing or cupping. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 5.2, Division Offices, 1924-1931; undated, include images of Hills Bros. offices across the country including Butte, Chicago, Denver, El Paso, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Spokane, and Wichita. These photographs document both the work stations of the region and Hills Bros. personnel in their work environment. The interior and exterior of the division offices are also shown. There is one image of an unidentified office. Materials are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the city in which the offices are located.
Subseries 5.3, Facilities and Vehicles, 1927-1973; undated, primarily document the work environment and social spaces for many of the plant and factory workers. There are a number of images of female employees engaged in work. Some of the photographs show machinery used for transporting bags of green coffee into the warehouse, controlled roasting, vacuum packing, and granulation control. The architectural design, construction and outside views of the Edgewater Plant, 1939-1940, are also included among these materials. The location of this plant was critical for shipping green coffee up the Hudson River from the New York Harbor to the plant. In addition, there are images of trucks used by the company. Images of the cafeteria dating from 1927 and exhibits for employees dating from 1938-1968 are also found among these materials. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 5.4, Advertising, 1925-1959; undated includes images of the various logos, designs, displays and illustrations used by Hills Bros. throughout the years. There are a number of images of the Arab trademark photographed in various settings. Many of the images have negatives and include advertising forms, point of purchase displays, outdoor displays, food show exhibits, newspaper advertisements, a 1940 medal award for newspaper campaign advertising and selling, service cards and displays installed by advertising service men. Most of the materials are dated and are arranged in chronological order.
Subseries 5.5, Sales, circa 1921-1939; undated, consist of photographic materials maintained by Hills Bros. for use in sales presentations. Included among these materials is an incomplete set of plates from a jobber portfolio for the Midwest area dating from 1921-1922. There are also a number of negatives of sales maps dating from 1931-1939 and telephones. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 5.6, Packaging, 1884-1969; undated includes both prints and negatives of containers used by Hills Bros. to prepare and store coffee products. There are images of boxes, cans, glass jars, coffee guides and coffee pots. An evolution of packaging design as it relates to historical events is evident throughout the images. Of note are prints of the Hills Bros. coffee cans in the paintings by artist Fred Machetanz dating from 1969. The materials are arranged in chronological by date.
Subseries 5.7, Grocery Store Displays, circa, 1901-1935, contain the largest amount of materials in this series. Hills Bros. photographer, Ken Allen visited a number of retail grocers around the country to document Hills Bros. coffee displays. Some of these photographs were used in broadsides created by Hill Bros. entitled "Interesting Grocery Stores" and "Before and After." The broadsides were created from 1928-1933 with the retail grocer as the target market. Approximately 30,000 broadsides were mailed to customers. The photographs are identified by the name of the store and location. Most of the prints also have negatives and correspondence granting Hills Bros. permission to publish the photographs. Materials are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the grocery store.
Subseries 5.8, Store Tests, 1938, consists of photographs, negatives, reports and drawings from merchandising tests conducted in grocery stores in California, Arizona, Oregon, Missouri and Minnesota. "Before" photographs document shelf displays while the "after" photographs document the new floor displays. Reports on the corresponding sales figures used to promote Hills Bros. merchandising service in retail grocery stores are also include among the materials. The materials were maintained in the order that they were created by the company.
Subseries 5.9, Window and Wall Displays, 1928, 1930, 1934, contain a large number of photographs documenting the installations of window and wall displays. The displays were created by the advertising department in San Francisco and given to advertising service representatives as patterns for the installations. Advertising service representatives operated throughout the entire marketing area from the Pacific Coast to Chicago. It was custom to visit every grocery store at least once a year. Representatives offered to install a window display or wall display free of cost to the store. The materials are arranged by number and include some duplicates.
Subseries 5.10, Publicity, 1933-1936; undated, include photographs and correspondence that were maintained by Hills Bros. for publicity purposes. A large portion of the photographs consist of Hollywood movie stills with scenes using Hills Bros. coffee primarily from the 1930s. There is a substantial amount of material on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Incorporated polar expedition (1933) for the production of the movie "Eskimo." Based on the novel of the same name by Peter Freuchen, a Scandinavian surveyor, the movie chronicles his experiences charting the North Arctic Zone for use in maps put out by the Danish government. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Incorporated crew was sent above the Arctic Circle to film the production using natives. A supply of Hills Bros. coffee was included among the food provisions to last the crew for a year. Photographs of the expedition and movie stills were later used by Hills Bros. for advertising in grocery stores. In addition, there is also a newspaper article from the Citizen News dated January 1934 that discusses the adventures of the cast and crew of Eskimo. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 5.11, Miscellaneous, 1898-1949; undated, is a random mix of images including the return of troops from the Spanish American War on Market Street; Boeing Air Transportation, Incorporated; Frank Goss from the Columbia Broadcasting System; Fresno Bee National Recovery Administration; Infants' Choir; Kinner Airplane and Motor Corporation, Ltd.; gold miners with hot coffee by the camp fire; and Fred N. Palmiter. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 5.12, Coffee and Tea Industry, 1900s-1947; undated, consist of prints and negatives relating primarily to the cultivation, growth and processing of green coffee. A number of these images document women laborers from Guatemala and El Salvador examining, hand picking and sorting coffee beans. The photographs were created to illustrate the production process in the 1930s. A photograph of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Brown on a coffee buying trip in the 1900s is also included among the materials. There are photographs of coffee mills and Hills Bros. Company's participation in food shows. In addition, there are some images relating to the tea trade including the loading of tea in Asia. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Series 6, Sales and Marketing Records, 1906-1989; undated, primarily consist of the materials that were created by the company to communicate with the sales force. Bulletins and correspondence make up the bulk of these materials. There are also materials that were used by salesmen on a daily basis while conducting business in the field. Some of the activities of the sales department including meetings and conventions are also documented. In addition, market research, reports and studies inform the sales department about the coffee industry and consumer consumption. The materials are divided into eight subseries.
Subseries 6.1, Bulletins for Salesmen, 1912-1969 were created and distributed by the company to keep the sales force informed about sales activities. Some of the earlier bulletins contain quotes by Reuben Hills. As the primary means of communication from management to the sales force, this body of materials is rather extensive and documents over a period of time issues, concerns, advertising, sales approach of the company and changes in price structure. Eventually the bulletin system phased out due to extensive use of telephone and computer communication. The San Francisco division has some of the earliest bulletins. The materials are arranged first in alphabetical order by division or city and then in chronological order by date.
Subseries 6.2, Division Bulletins and General Letters, 1925-1927 include the correspondence that was distributed to the different divisional regions including Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland and Salt Lake City. These materials were created for the salesmen and provide information on progress reports, goals of the company and sales techniques. The materials are arranged in alphabetical order by division and then in chronological order by date.
Subseries 6.3, Correspondence, 1919-1989, include general letters to sales representatives, memos, and management letters. The materials primarily document sales activities but also include the perspective of the entire company. Letters discuss trading in the green coffee market, special promotions, divisional sales performance, dealer coffee inventories, policy changes, etc. In 1962, the name of the management letters was changed from Monday to weekly; however, the company maintained the same format. The letters are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 6.4, Conventions and Meetings, 1915-1971, consists primarily of programs and menus from sales conventions dating from 1915-1943. These materials provide valuable information about the activities at the sales conventions and include the location and agenda for each meeting. There are some song books that were used at the conventions. (See series five for photographs of the sales conventions). There is also information from the divisional managers' meetings which include new sales and marketing strategies and date from 1935-1956. In addition there are materials from a NED sales meeting, a District sales meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1966 and a sales meeting and marketing presentation in Buffalo, New York in 1971. The materials are arranged in chronological order.
Subseries 6.5, Salesmen Materials, 1906-1973; undated provide valuable information about the tools that informed the sales force. It includes materials given to salesmen upon employment and information needed to conduct daily business transactions in the field. Some of the earliest materials are a salesman's notebook dating from 1906 and a sales department territory book for the western region dating from 1907-1908. There are reference and instruction books dating from 1912-1949. Instruction books were created to provide tips and instructions on how to improve sales performance. Materials relating to salaries date from 1925-1937 and contain information on most of the sales representatives charted over this time period and presented in yearly earnings. There is a substantial number of price lists, pocket sized cards containing prices of various products, carried by each sales representative and dating from 1925-1969. An order form book, order forms and delivery forms also carried by the sales representatives are included among the materials. In addition there are monthly sales standing dating from 1931-1935, instructions on the pickup and disposition of unsalable coffee, a 1973 sales presentation and the territorial arrangement of the city of Chicago in 1930. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 6.6, Reports and Studies, 1941-1978 primarily inform the company about the sales of the various coffee products primarily by division, territory or state. There is a study that compares the sales of ground and instant coffee by division. An exploratory study concerning consumer attitudes toward freeze dried coffee conducted in August and September in 1968 is also included among the materials. In addition, two studies from the 1970s relating to sales force capacity and high yield coffee can also be found among the materials. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 6.7, Marketing Research, 1956-1978; undated consist of reports, research studies and surveys created by Hills Bros. and outside companies relating to various aspects of the coffee trade and consumer market. The materials include information on criteria for label design, packaging, types of coffee consumed, brand images, how advertising affects consumption and marketing plans. In addition there is a study investigating the economic and financial aspects of the United States coffee industry created in 1978 and an undated copy of the Brazilian coffee performance marketing plan. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 6.8, Pricing Information, 1949-1965 include correspondence, press releases and company memos relating primarily to coffee importation and pricing. There is some correspondence between Hills Bros. and the Office of Price Stabilization relating to regulations from the federal government concerning the exchange rate of green coffee and coffee prices to the consumers. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Series 7, Employee Records, 1934-1966, contain useful information relating to the employees and what it means to work for the company. Service and retirement materials include an executive employee service record created in 1934. It is a list of employees in upper management including the name, date of employment, and length of service. There is information on retirement plans for employees in 1953. A list of the retirement dates, birth dates, and employment dates for employees who were participants in the retirement plan from 1953-1959 is also included among the materials. A photograph of a silver plate commemorating the fiftieth anniversary in 1967 of Eugene F. Hoelter with the company is included among these materials. Employee guides from the 1960s provide information on the company's perception of its position in the coffee industry, short histories of the company, the organization of the company, and employee benefits. There is also general information and instructions for plant employees at the Edgewater, New Jersey plant which is undated. In addition, there is Herbert Grey Hills's company identification card and exhibitor's employee's pass. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Series 8, Accounting and Financial Records, 1903-1960; undated include some of the earliest materials from the company that were not destroyed in the 1906 fire and documents the sale of other products such as tea. There is a distributor's notebook dating from 1903-1904 with a 1925 letter enclosed inside. Record books dating from 1904 provide information relating to coffee stock distribution. They also contain information relating to tea distribution by the company and pricing. Coffee acquisition ledgers dating from 1906-1917 are grouped according to the kind of coffee bean which refers to the general region or seaport from which the beans originate including Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala. There is one exception which is listed by stock number and contains mixed kind categories. The ledgers provide stock numbers, mark, quantity, location of coffee bean purchases, date of purchases, costs and grades. Entries are not consistently in chronological order by month. There are also a number ledgers maintained by the company that record information relating to retail grocers and how much they purchased from the company including product types, prices and quantities ordered. Analysis of expense account records date from 1917-1921. A tea acquisition ledger dating from 1920-1923 is divided into groups including natural leaf, Oarjeeling, Hilvilla Black, Ceylon, Java, Oolong, Gunpowder and sample (green and black). Information about stock numbers, mark, quantities, invoice weight, house weight, C.F.I. date, and where the tea was purchased can be obtained through these records. In addition there are financial statements dating from 1959-1960 and an undated coffee stock book. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Series 9, Office Files, 1915-1970; undated consist of materials relating directly to the business of the company and some materials that were kept on file probably as reference information. The series is divided into two subseries. Subseries one is general materials and includes court documents, correspondence, manuals, maps and some images. Subseries two is T. Carroll Wilson's correspondence dating from 1941-1970.
Subseries 9.1, General, 1915-1969; undated includes information relating to the company's participation in the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915. At the exposition Hills Bros. installed and operated the first automatic machine created to vacuumed-pack coffee. Other materials from the expo include rules and regulations governing the delivery, location, installation, maintenance and transportation of exhibits and merchandise. The Museum's Division of Cultural History has some of the artifacts relating to the exposition.
Legal records including court documents for the Federal Trade Commission versus Hills Bros. Company case in 1925 and the United States Department of Justice, Anti-Trust Investigation, 1948 are included among the materials. There are correspondence granting Hills Bros. exclusive rights to use "Hot Coffee" for radio and advertising purposes. There is also information relating to the company's cooperation with the National Recovery Administration, President's reemployment agreement. In addition there is correspondence collected by the company relating to rumors, religion and race dating from 1958-1964 and correspondence about the jig-saw puzzle campaign.
Packaging materials dating from 1931-1969 primarily document the history and uses of various types of containers used by Hills Bros. for its products and labels. A paper written by Ralph Vilas discussing the historical evidence of vacuum packaging from 1931-1934, correspondence and photographs of packaging for the "Blue Brand", an article discussing the selling and merchandising of carton coffee, memos and newspaper clippings relating to vacuum packing, a paper discussing the tinplate used in can making, requirements for packaging and information relating to the coffee can using an Ansel Adams' photograph are all included among these materials.
In the 1930s Hills Bros. created the Arab Chronicle and Broadsides which were primarily distributed to retail grocers. The broadsides were the size of newspapers and folded to about one-sixth of a page for mailing. They consisted of photographs, advertisements, information relating to new advertising campaigns, advice to increase sales and news of events around the world. In addition to completed copies of the broadsides there are also drafts of the articles for each issue.
Hills Bros. opened a coffee house in 1958 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The Hills Bros. Coffee House operated as a restaurant for several years and provided a sandwich type menu with its coffee products. It was also used as a facility for taste-testing by the marketing research department.
In the 1960s Hills Bros. owned and operated three vans known as Hillsmobiles. The Hillsmobiles were used to promotion sales in various communities. The vans would ride through the neighborhoods distributing free samples of coffee. Included among the materials are letters and memos, manuals for the promotion and operation of the hillsmobiles as well as photographs, images and negatives of the vehicles.
Random materials include a Gertz Bros. Company catalogue dating from 1925, information about Chase and Sanborn coffee, maps illustrating where to go in New England, a marketing map of the United States used as a practical aid for economic sales and advertising and information about St. Augustine's oldest store museum. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 9.2, T. Carroll Wilson Correspondence, 1941-1970 relate primarily to his association with the National Coffee Association. The materials date from April 7, 1941 to December 8, 1970. The correspondence is arranged in chronological order by date.
Series 10, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Materials, 1933-1986; undated, provide background information and a photographic almost daily account of the construction. Leslie Hills suggested placing a camera mount on the parapet of the building on Harrison Street at the beginning of the construction. From this position Ken P. Allen documented the progress until its completion in 1936. Allen also created motion film of the construction from the same position. The State Bridge Authority produced a movie in 1940 using the Hills Bros. materials. The series is divided into two subseries. Subseries one is the textual records that provide background information on the construction of the bridge. Subseries two is the photographic materials documenting to the construction.
Subseries 10.1, Background Information, 1933-1986; undated, include correspondence between Hills Bros., the State Department of Public Works and the California Commission for the Golden Gate International Exposition in reference to Hills Bros. providing the state with the original negatives of its films. The two organizations used these materials to develop a motion picture for the Golden Gate International Exposition. A list of the scenes for reels two and three and a script of the movie are also included. There are black and white photographs of the construction of the bridge and a photograph of Charles Henry Purcell, chief engineer, taken by Ken Allen. In addition there is a newspaper article from the San Francisco Chronicle dating from 1986. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 10.2, Photographic Materials, 1933-1936; undated, consists of 8 x10 and 4 x 5 black and white negatives of the construction of the Bay Bridge. Most of the negatives are dated. The materials are arranged first by size and then by date in the order that they were created.
Series 11, Golden Gate International Exposition Materials, 1915-1940; undated, primarily document the construction and management of the Arabian Theater. The Arabian Theater was located inside the Food Pavilion on Treasure Island. A color and sound version of the film "Behind the Cup: The Story of Hills Bros." was created and shown in the theater. Materials include correspondence, blueprints, photographs, newspaper articles, forms, insurance documents, passes and visitors comments. Other materials relating to the Golden Gate International Exposition can also be found in volume seven of the historical albums in series four subseries two. The series is divided into nine subseries. The materials were maintained in the order created by the company.
Subseries 11.1, Coffee Theater, circa 1939, include correspondence between Hills Bros. and NW Ayer about the creation of the murals in the theater. There is also information concerning script creation, production, promotion and the success of the Behind the Cup film. In addition there is information relating to the theater staff, visitor comments and the general management of the theater. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Subseries 11.2, Exposition Attendance, 1915-1940, contains comparisons of the 1915 and 1939 attendance figures, statistics on paid and non-paid admission, operating period, average gate receipt, total paid and non-paid admissions. Daily attendance records document numbers for the fair, theater, monthly totals and the weather. In addition, hourly attendance includes time, entrance, and cumulative totals. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Subseries 11.3, Correspondence, 1937-1940; undated, includes both incoming and outgoing communications between Hills Bros. and the Golden Gate International Exposition Company. These letters discuss permits, contracts and agreements, payment, approval for construction, regulations, applications of exhibit colors, shipment procedures, etc. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Subseries 11.4, Construction, 1937-1940; undated, contains information on the building of the food and beverage facility. There is correspondence and invoices relating to payments; removals; services including telephone, water, gas, electricity; estimates, and furniture. Fire insurance documents contain information on the types of coverage and public and regular liabilities. In addition there is information relating to exhibitors questionnaire and endorsements, cost of exhibit space, permission to dismantle forms, application for exhibit space and an application for a construction permit. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Subseries 11.5, Blueprints, 1937-1939, were created by the architect Harry A. Thompsen Jr. These blueprints include the foundation plan, the main floor plan, the lobby, the auditorium, front and side elevations, details of the upper chenau, and the mezzanine. There are also plans of Vacationland, the health and education building and the science building. A small amount of material exists on the sandwich slide, prices of coffee, average revenue and expenses, coffee equipment, coffee making instructions, the production of sales, the menu and an inventory of cups and saucers and the heating and ventilation system. A description of Threlkeld's restaurant and a history of the Threlkeld's Commissary Company are also included. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Subseries 11.6, Behind the Cup, 1937-1940; undated, contains correspondence between Hills Bros. company executives and the Consulate General of El Salvador relating to filming in El Salvador and Guatemala for the "Behind the Cup" movie. There are also newspaper clippings from San Salvador, a translation of the script and a photograph of T. Carroll Wilson and Ken P. Allen. Other materials include correspondence between Ken Allen and T. Carroll Wilson, releases for photographs, camera reports, narration arrangements and contracts. A copy of the "Behind the Cup" booklet which was produced by the NW Ayer Advertising Agency is also included. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Subseries 11.7, Newspaper Cooperation, 1939, contain clippings about "Behind the Cup" in Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, California. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Subseries 11.8, Solicitations and Replies, 1938-1940, contain letters to Hills Bros. with replies attached. In addition there is information on the type of equipment or services available for use by Hills Bros. at the expo, business cards, postcards and promotional materials. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Subseries 11.9, Miscellaneous, 1938-1940, contains a scrapbook including descriptions, images, a listing of business and industry participants, brochures, general summaries, construction of buildings, government involvement in the expo, personnel article and rules and regulations governing the transportation of exhibits. There is also information on the sandwich slide, model freight cars, Treasure Island employees and articles from the San Francisco Chronicle. The materials are maintained in the order that the company kept them.
Series 12, World War II Materials, 1942-1949; undated, primarily document the United State government's coffee rationing and wartime packaging requirements. The United States War Production Board issued regulations designed to control the use of metals during this time period which greatly affected the coffee industry. These materials reflect the impact of rationing and regulations not only on the coffee industry but Hills Bros. in particular. The company's response to these measures is documented among these materials. The series is divided into six subseries.
Subseries 12.1, Production and Quotas, 1942-1946, is a compilation of correspondence, memos and conservation orders from the War Production Board maintained in the files of Herbert Grey Hills and T. Carroll Wilson. These materials relate to production quotas of coffee for roasters; restrictions on manufacture, sale and delivery of glass containers; price differential in relation to ceiling prices; small buyers and consumers accounts; new accounts and the exchange of brands and sizes. A copy of the National Coffee Association Bulletin: War Production Board, Conservation orders M135 and a copy of the red can brand quota plan dating from 1944-1946 is also included among these materials. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 12.2, Rationing, 1939-1946, consists primarily of correspondence, orders, instructions and forms from the War Production Board concerning quotas for coffee distribution and production, allowable inventory and operating inventory, ration stamps or certificates and army and navy re-orders. Post-rationing sales control and how it would affect or apply to consumers and the armed forces is also discussed. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 12.3, Containers and Closures, 1942-1949; undated, is government orders relating to quotas on size and standards for glass jars and closures, shipping containers, cans and glass jar labels. Hills Bros. specifications based on these orders is also included. There are photographs of glass jar products, discussions on original art work for labels and considerations for packing and shipping. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Subseries 12.4, Appeals, 1948, are a group of materials compiled as a presentation to the United States Department of Commerce by the Packaging and Container Committee of the National Coffee Association. This presentation was submitted on April 22, 1948. It is the National Coffee Association's attempt to use cans again.
Subseries 12.5, Advertising Campaigns, 1942; undated include correspondence relating to the "Gone with the Tin" advertising campaign. Along with the correspondence are announcements for the campaign, newspaper clippings and positive feedback from the public attesting to Hills Bros. participation in winning the war while still providing customers with the best possible products. There is also information relating to the "Waste is a Fighting Word Today" advertising campaign. Favorable responses and announcements for the advertisements are included among the materials. In addition there are some miscellaneous forms. Materials are arranged in chronological order by date.
Series 13, Machinists Strike Scrapbooks, 1945-1946, consist of three scrapbooks of press clippings covering the machinist's strike that occurred in San Francisco over more pay and less hours. Hills Bros. Coffee plant which was identified as one of the big "fringe shops" was impacted by the strike due to a few maintenance machinists' participation. Hills Bros. warned grocers and their customers not to expect large supplies of coffee due to the strike. The scrapbooks are arranged in chronological order by date.
Series 10, Audiovisual Materials, 1934-1984; undated, consists of film, vifro, and sound recordings including television and radio commercials, television and radio programs, promotional materials and Hills Bros. company activities. Hills Bros. had a photography and filming unit that began producing motion picture documentation of Hills Bros. activities in the early 1930s. This effort resulted in a detailed documentation of the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Bridging the Bay, 1938-39) and a promotional film that was shown at the Golden Gate International Exposition Fair (Behind the Cup, 1939). In addition, Hills Bros. became involved with radio programming and advertising in 1934 and television advertising in the early 1950s. The collection includes a substantial number of television commercials dating from 1951-1984 as well as television programs that were sponsored in part by Hills Bros. including Shirley Temples Storybook (1958) and Meet Me at Disneyland (1962). The series is divided into six subseries.
Subseries 13.1, Moving Images, 1951-1984 consists of television commercials, television programs, film and video documentation of corporate activities. The subseries is further organized into five subsubseries.
Subsubseries 13.1.1, Television Commercials, 1951-1984, consist of a representative sample of Hills Bros. television commercials beginning with their first efforts in the early 1950s. The commercials were created by a succession of adverting agencies beginning with N.W Ayer and including Doyle, Dane, Bernbach; Foote, Cone, and Belding; and Wells Rich Greene/West. Products advertised include Hills Brothers regular roast, instant, drip roast, high yield, and flavored "European Style" coffees.
Subsubseries 13.1.2, Television Programs, 1951-1967, consist of television programs that were sponsored, in part, by Hills Bros. coffee or that were related to Hills Bros. Hills Bros. major television sponsorship effort resulted in several series including Shirley Temple's Storybook (1958), Meet Me at Disneyland (1962), Bat Masterson (1959-60), and Lead off Man (1964). Hills Bros. also provided consultation services for the program Science in Action (1951) as well as major funding for NET Festival White House Red Carpet (1967).
Subsubseries 13.1.3, Promotional Materials, 1939-1977, include material created by the company to promote their products and activities. This series includes two films of particular interest. Behind the Cup: The Story of Hills Bros. Coffee (1939), created for the Golden Gate International Exposition Fair, was produced in 35mm Cinecolor for theatrical screening. Also of note are two short films probably produced for screening at a meeting of Hills Bros. employees. In the first Gene Barry, star of Bat Masterson and Hills Bros.' spokesman describes the next season's plans for Bat Masterson and presents a portion of a proposed episode. In the second film Walt Disney talks about his company's plans for the next year including additions to Disneyland and planned episodes of Walt Disney Presents.
Subsubseries 13.1.4, Hills Bros. Activities, 1930-1962, consists of primarily 16mm "home movie" documentation of activities as diverse as the 1941 Detroit Sampling Campaign, coffee production in El Salvador, and activities in the Hills Bros. processing plant.
Subsubseries 13.1.5, Miscellaneous Film and Video, 1938-1966, includes films about coffee, travelogues, and a substantial amount of film documenting the construction of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge.
Subseries 13.2, Sound recordings, 1934-1964; undated, include materials from Hills Bros. and other coffee manufacturers. There are the radio series Tune of the Day which includes Hills Bros. commercials, Hills Bros. radio commercials, Shirley Temple "Dreams Are Made for Children" produced by Columbia Pictures Corporation, Maxwell House Coffee programs and a coffee jingle from the Pan American Coffee Bureau.
Subsubseries 13.2.1, Radio commercials, undated, consists of the radio versions of commercials for various advertising campaigns.
Subsubseries 13.2.2, Radio Programs and Other Broadcasts, circa 1934-1964; undated, includes the Tune of the Day series, Ruth Ashton's Women's News Desk and two baseball broadcasts.
The collection is arranged in thirteen series.
Series 1, Hills Family Papers, 1856-1942; undated
Subseries 1.1: Austin Herbert Hills, Sr. Papers, 1856-1875; undated
Subseries 1.2,: Austin Herbert Hills, Jr. Papers, 1875-1923
Subseries 1.3: Herbert Gray Hills Correspondence, 1923-1942
Series 2: Background Materials, 1896-1988; undated
Series 3: Coffee Reference Files, 1921-1980; undated
Subseries 3.1,: Hills Bros. Coffee Company Literature, 1921-1976; undated
Subseries 3.2: Coffee Industry Literature, 1924-1980; undated
Series 4: Advertising Materials, circa 1890s-1987; undated
Subsubseries 13.2.2, Radio Programs and Other Broadcasts
Biographical / Historical:
These records were donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History by Hills Bros. Coffee, Incorporated.
Collection is open for research.
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.
This series consists of the business and personal correspondence of Edith Gregor Halpert and the Downtown Gallery. For the most part, this series is general business correspondence concerning routine activities of the Downtown Gallery, including the American Folk Art Gallery and the Daylight Gallery, both operated by the Downtown Gallery on the same premises. Included are correspondence with clients, employees, other galleries, and colleagues concerning sales, loans, purchases, appraisals, and so forth; arrangements for shipping, framing, photography, reproduction permissions, and insurance; and gallery housekeeping and improvements, ordering of supplies, and other administrative concerns.
Also included is personal correspondence of Edith Gregor Halpert. There are letters and greeting cards from nieces, nephews, and other relatives; correspondence with longtime friends, including some who were art collectors, museum curators, or museum directors; and correspondence concerning upkeep and improvement of her Newtown, Connecticut, country home and entertaining there.
See Appendix A for a list of selected correspondents from Series 1
Letters (with enclosures) are arranged chronologically, with those of the same date alphabetized by name of correspondent; undated material is arranged alphabetically, followed by unidentified correspondents and letters bearing illegible signatures.
Box numbers provided in the Container Listing are approximate.
Appendix A: List of Selected Correspondents in Series 1:
Names and titles indicated in this list are those that appear on the letters. Where appropriate, terms have been standardized and cross-referencing provided. Because filing is not always consistent, researchers are advised to check both the name of an individual and the institution that he or she represented.
Abate Associates, Inc., 1956
Abbot and Land, 1965
Abbot, B. Vincent, 1944
Abbot, Bernice, 1957
Abbot, John E., 1945, 1948
Abbot Laboratories, 1950, 1952
ABC Employment Agency, 1951
Richard Abel and Co., Inc., 1968
Abendroth, Robert W., 1966-1967
Abercrombie and Fitch Co., 1962
Abilene Museum of Fine Arts, undated, 1949, 1954
Abingdon Square Painters, 1965
Abraham and Straus, 1930, 1960, 1965-1966, 1968
Abraham, Mae C., 1965
Abrahamsen, Mrs. David, 1962
Abramowitz, M., 1958
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1958-1960, 1965-1966, 1968-1969
[incomplete; without signature], undated, 1953, 1961, 1967, 1968
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via the Archives of American Art website.
The Downtown Gallery records are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Prior to publishing information regarding sales transactions, researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from both artist and purchaser involved. If it cannot be established after a reasonable search whether an artist or purchaser is living, it can be assumed that the information may be published sixty years after the date of sale.
Downtown Gallery records, 1824-1974, bulk 1926-1969. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing, microfilming and digitization of the microfilm of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.