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Memphis -- Robinwood

Landscape architect:
Moody, Duke  Search this
Architect:
Pellet, Tom  Search this
Provenance:
Memphis Garden Club  Search this
Collection Creator:
Garden Club of America  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Place:
Robinwood (Memphis, Tennessee)
United States of America -- Tennesee -- Shelby County -- Memphis
Scope and Contents:
The folder includes worksheets, site plans, and additional information.
General:
This garden was initially located on 250 acres. It was primarily comprised of a farm with various outbuildings to house different farm animals including milk cows, Hereford and Angus bulls, horses, pigs, turkeys, chickens, sheep and goats. The barn and the house was designed by Everett Woods. The barn, overlooking a lake, included stalls and a large two story open area for farm equipment. According to the daughter of the owner, American singer Rufus Thomas played in the hay loft where parties were frequently held. A pool, fed by well water, was built into the side of a hill. During the summers it was drained and filled each week. Garden features included woodland walks, bermsn, ristas, lawns, bulb gardens and wooded paths.
Persons associated with the property include: Duke Moody (landscape architect, probably 1950s-70s); Tom Pellet (landscape architect, 1990s); Everett Woods (architect, 1930).
Related Materials:
Robinwood related holdings consist of 1 folder (6 35 mm. slides (photographs))
Collection Restrictions:
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Collection Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
Topic:
Gardens -- Tennessee -- Memphis  Search this
Farms  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, The Garden Club of America collection.
Identifier:
AAG.GCA, File TN074
See more items in:
The Garden Club of America collection
The Garden Club of America collection / Series 1: United States Garden Images / Tennessee
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-gca-ref10903

Robinson and Via Family Papers

Collector:
Robinson, Franklin A., Jr., 1959- (actor)  Search this
Names:
Capital Transit Company (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Serenity Farm, Inc.  Search this
Howes, Grace Bourne, ?-1976  Search this
Robinson, Adina Theresa, 1963-  Search this
Robinson, Amanda Baden, 1849-1940  Search this
Robinson, Elizabeth Bourne, 1892-1976  Search this
Robinson, Frank A., 1883-1970  Search this
Robinson, Franklin A., 1841-1905  Search this
Robinson, Franklin A., Sr., 1932-  Search this
Robinson, Martha Walls, 1807-1897  Search this
Robinson, Robert David, 1962-  Search this
Robinson, Robert Henry, 1851-1937  Search this
Robinson, Thomas Wells, 1803-1869  Search this
Townshend, Martha Robinson, 1880-1961  Search this
Via, Adina Mae, 1937-1966  Search this
Via, Robert Delano, 1933-  Search this
Via, Robert Milton, 1906-1983  Search this
Creator:
Conner, Mary Robinson, 1930-2009  Search this
Via, Ida Virginia Woods, 1914-2010 -- 20th century  Search this
Extent:
23.1 Cubic feet (71 boxes, 3 map-size folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Correspondence
Photographs
Postcards
Baby books
Phonograph records
Postcard albums
Ephemera
School yearbooks
Diaries
Albums
Housebooks
Snapshots
Home movies
Family papers
Scrapbooks
Funeral registers
Cookbooks
Architectural drawings
Place:
Maryland -- Family farms
Washington (D.C.)
Prince George's County (Md.)
Arizona -- Motion pictures
Benedict (Md.)
Charles County (Md.) -- Family farms
Calvert County (Md.) -- Family farms
California -- Motion pictures
Bahamas -- Motion pictures
Yosemite National Park (Calif.)
Puerto Rico -- Motion pictures
Washington -- motion pictures
Oregon -- Motion pictures
Disneyland (California)
Brandywine (Md.)
St. Thomas, V.I. -- Motion pictures
Florida -- Motion pictures
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Westminster
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- Marston
United States of America -- Maryland -- Carroll County -- New Windsor
Date:
1838-2017, undated
bulk 1872-1985
Summary:
Papers documenting the farming and family life of the Robinson family of Prince George's County and after 1975, Charles County, Maryland. Papers documenting the farming and family of the Via family of Greene County, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Prince George's and Calvert Counties, Maryland, by 1949.
Scope and Contents:
An extensive and comprehensive collection of papers relating to family, farming, and the Southern Maryland tobacco culture, the Robinson and Via Family Papers cover many aspects of family and farm life. The papers are particularly important in regard to the tobacco culture that defined Southern Maryland for generations. The papers concern two distinct family groups, the Robinson and Via families who are connected through the marriage of Franklin A. Robinson and Adina Mae Via. The papers consist of material generated by the Robinson and Via families in their personal and working lives and as farm owners and operators.

The papers are especially strong in 20th century material. They consist of various types of farm records: account books, bills, receipts, tenant farming agreements, ephemera, land rental and purchase agreements, insurance policies, photographs and 8mm and 16mm films of farming practices and procedures, equipment and landscapes, related to the farming of tobacco, small grains, and livestock. The personal records include diaries, letters both personal and business, greeting cards, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, high school yearbooks, baby books, house plans, recipe books, photographs and 8mm films of birthdays, holidays, weddings, baptisms, family occasions, and family travel, oral histories, and funeral ephemera including photographs, and transcription discs. Of particular interest are the "Serenity Farm Tobacco Production Photographs" documenting the crop year 1999-2000 and the films detailing agricultural practices. There is a memorandum book for Black Walnut Thicket, 1885-1901, the Baden farm in Baden, Prince George's County.

This collection includes a comprehensive range of 8mm and 16mm films and photographs documenting farming practices and landscapes as well as family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, and vacations. The researcher is alerted to the fact that in some cases with the memorandum and account books, books printed for a given year were often saved and used for subsequent years, some were dated, some were not.

The collection is divided into seven series arranged by subject and most often chronologically at folder level within each series.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into seven series:

Series 1: Ferndale Farm (Potomac Landing), Prince George's County, Maryland, 1861-1973, undated

Subseries 1.1: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, and publications, 1861-1973, undated

Subseries 1.2: Farm papers, bill, and receipts, 1945-1960, undated

Subseries 1.3: Farm papers, bills, and receipts, 1960-1965, undated

Series 2: Robinson Family, 1845-2017, undated

Subseries 2.1: Family Papers and Publications, 1845-1993, undated

Subseries 2.2: Townshend, Martha Robinson, 1896-1961, undated

Subseries 2.3: Robinson, Frank A., 1899-1970, undated

Subseries 2.4: Robinson, Elizabeth Bourne, 1841-1976, undated

Subseries 2.5: Conner, Mary Robinson, 1938-1985, undated

Subseries 2.6: Robinson, Franklin A., 1932-1997, undated

Subseries 2.6.1: Farming, 1948-1976, undated

Subseries 2.6.2: Financial, 1948-1988, undated

Subseries 2.6.3: 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA), 1945-1954, undated

Subseries 2.6.4: Travel, 1959-1970, undated

Subseries 2.7: Robinson, Jr., Franklin A., 1959-2001, undated

Series 3: Serenity Farm, Charles County, Maryland, 1962-2000, undated

Series 4: Via Farm, Calvert County, Maryland, 1954-1987, undated

Series 5: Via Family, 1932-2010, undated

Subseries 5.1: Family papers, 1941-1983, undated

Subseries 5.2: Via, Robert M., 1933-1987, undated

Subseries 5.3: Via, Ida Virginia, 1928-2010, undated

Subseries 5.4: Via, Robert D., 1933-1988, undated

Subseries 5.5: Robinson, Adina Via, 1937-1966, undated

Series 6: Photographs, Photographic Slides, and Photographic Negatives, 1860-2000, undated

Subseries 6.1: Photographs, 1872-2000, undated

Subseries 6.2: Photographic negatives, 1927--2000, undated

Subseries 6.3: Photographic Slides, 1955-1979, undated

Series 7: AudioVisual, 1943-1988
Biographical / Historical:
Robinson Family

The Robinson family is thought to be of Scottish origin and appear in the records of Prince George's County, Maryland by the early 18th century. The line has been definitively traced to James Robinson (?-1849). James' father was probably Benjamin Robinson (?-1810), of Prince George's County, Maryland. (Will Book TT1, pg. 15, Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Maryland State Archives (MSA))

James Robinson and Sarah Wynn were issued a marriage license on February 28, 1802 in Prince George's County, Maryland. (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland) Eleven children lived to maturity (not listed in birth order); Thomas Wells (1803-1869), Ann, Priscilla, James Monroe, Benjamin (1813-1882), John C. (1819-1895), Mary Sophia, Thomas Stanley (1800-1874), Alfred, Sarah Ann, Matilda, and Rebecca Maria.

James worked as overseer for Benjamin Oden on Oden's estate Bellefields near Upper Marlborough, Prince George's County. (Oden Papers, Maryland Historical Society) The Robinsons and their children, moved to Wood County, Virginia (now West Virginia) on April 18, 1818 where James acted as Oden's land agent (Deed Book 6, pg. 123, Land Records of Wood County, West Virginia). They brought with them three slaves described in the above reference as, "Kate a woman 45 years of age very black; Colonel a boy aged 8 years yellow complexion: and George a boy aged six years of a dark brown complexion." They settled on part of what was known as the "Burnt Mill" tract in the general area where the Hughes River meets the Little Kanawha River. (Deed Book 9, pg. 110 and Deed Book 14, pg. 40, Land Records of Wood County)

Thomas Wells Robinson may not have accompanied his family to Virginia as he has a presence in Prince George's County prior to 1822 and was employed as overseer for Benjamin Oden at least until 1832. He married Elizabeth I. Richards on December 15, 1829 (Robinson Family Bible). They had nine children; Richard Thomas (1831 1906), Rebecca Maria (1832-1895), Mary Wynn (1834-1916), James George (1835-1883), Virlinda Victoria (1837-1838), Elizabeth Ann (1839-1916), Sarah Ann Sophia (1840-1874), Franklin Alexander (1841-1905) and John Alfred (1843); seven lived to maturity. (Robinson Family Bible) Elizabeth died on August 17, 1843 from complications in childbirth. She was buried in the churchyard of Page's Chapel (later known as St. Thomas Episcopal Church), Croom, Prince George's County. In 1843, Thomas purchased the plantation of Dr. Benjamin B. Hodges for $10,000 or approximately $15 an acre. Hodges was a brother-in-law of Benjamin Oden. The deed dated September 7, 1843 describes the parcel as containing, "Six hundred and twenty nine acres of land more or less and constitute that plantation or Estate of the said Benjamin Oden heretofore commonly called "Brown's Quarter Place" being the Land tracts and parcels of land sold by the said Benjamin Oden to the said Benjamin B. Hodges and by deed bearing date the tenth day of December eighteen hundred and thirty five and recorded in Liber AB no. 10 folio 162 also one of the land Records of the County aforesaid". (JBB no. 3 pgs. 312 314, Land Records of Prince George's County) The land was level to rolling bordered on the north by a tributary of Piscataway Creek and generally termed "white oak land". Underlying the whole property was a large strata of gravel and sand. The entire parcel went by the name, Potomac Landing.

Thomas supplemented his land holdings with later purchases. With the exception of twenty acres purchased from Sarah Talbert in 1844, (JBB no. 3 pg. 475, Land Records of Prince George's County) and the purchase of lot #3 consisting of 195 acres, part of the estate of John Townshend in 1856, these purchases were not contiguous to Potomac Landing. By the time of his death in 1869 these non-contiguous parcels had been sold. Thomas sold eighty-six acres of Potomac Landing and Jeffries to Edward Eversfield in October of 1843. (JBB no. 3, pg. 198, Land Records of Prince George's County) On January 13, 1846 Thomas married the widow Martha Ann Walls, daughter of George and Martha Naylor Walls. They had two sons; Benjamin Wells (1848-1849) and Robert Henry (1851-1937).

In addition to his sons, Thomas owned slaves. The number varied from six in 1849 (JBB 6, folio 186, Land Records of Prince Georges' County) to eleven as noted in the census for 1850, and finally six as noted in the census of 1860. The 1867 Maryland Slave Statistics noted that, "at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of Maryland, in the year 1864, . . ." Thomas owned six slaves, their names and ages being; Isaac Franklin age 31, Alfred West age 19, Susan West age 17, Margaret Franklin age 14, Fannie Franklin age 12, and Peter Franklin age 9. All were noted as being in good physical condition. (Prince Georges' County Slave Statistics 1867 1869, C 1307 1, MdHR:6198, page 185, MSA)

In April 11, 1855 Thomas excuted a deed of trust to J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore for securing a loan. At that time the farm was described as, "about five hundred and seventy acres . . . also the following personal property to wit Eight head of horses, nine cows, two mules, twelve work oxen, twenty Eight Sheep, one bull, two colts and all other stock of every description now on the aforesaid land, also the farming utensils and the following named Slaves, Stephen aged Sixty three years, Isaac aged twenty six years, Elvia aged twenty Eight years Alfred aged twelve years, Hanson aged ten years, Henrietta aged twelve years Susanna aged eight years, and Margaret aged three years. Together with the crop of Tobacco now in the house and the crop of wheat now growing." (EWB 1 pages 155 156, Land Records of Prince Georges' County)

Thomas's financial problems began in the mid-1800s when Deeds of Trust appear in the county records securing outstanding loans. In 1856 and 1857 Thomas joined with others as bondsman for his son, Richard who was serving as "Collector of the State and County Taxes" for the 4th collection district, making he and the other signatories liable for any uncollected taxes. This, coupled with poor investments, led to his almost being "sold out" in 1859-1860 by J.W. & E. Reynolds of Baltimore to pay his debts. He executed three drafts on Penn & Mitchell, also of Baltimore, to pay off J.W. & E. Reynolds. (Equity Case #597, Prince Georges' County) Thomas was in poor health and his son James managed the plantation in 1857 and 1858, and again from 1861 to October of 1862 (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County)

In October of 1862 Thomas' two sons, James and Franklin, traveled to Richmond to join the Confederate States Army. James enrolled in the 5th Battalion, Local Defense Arsenal and Franklin enrolled in the 5th Virginia Infantry, the Stonewall Brigade. (CSA Military Records, National Archives) James visited home frequently but was captured by the Union Army in St. Mary's County, Maryland on May 15, 1864 and spent the remainder of the war in Point Lookout Prison Camp. He was released on May 14, 1865. Franklin was not able to visit home at all during the war but survived to return home in 1865. In 1865, Thomas surveyed a parcel of 172 acres for his daughter Rebecca Maria. Rebecca had married her second cousin, William B. Robertson, on November 18, 1855. He made a gift of fifty acres, and Rebecca agreed to purchase the remainder. The Robertsons named this parcel Holly Grove. In Equity Case #849 (1872) filed after Thomas' death, his widow Martha and Samuel H. Berry, as executrix and executor, sought to recover payment for this land. At that time, William B. Robertson described this 172 acres of Potomac Landing: "There was no fences on the line which separated this land from the old gentleman's land, but he was to put a fence on it which he agreed to do before we agreed to come there. The land was thin, unimproved, with gullies and scrubby pine. If witness had been a judge of land he would not have given five dollars for it. All the improvements were one comfortable quarter the other indifferent with a poor oak shingle roof, worn out which made it not tenantable." Further along in his testimony, William gave an account of a conversation, "In a few days my father in law Thos. W. Robinson came to Washington and told me there his children had returned from the South, his two sons, that his debts were small and he was a happy man." Rebecca and William built a house on the property, a side-hall, double parlor plan that most likely her brother James was builder. They also built accompanying farm structures. (Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, Equity Case #849, MSA)

Thomas' son, Franklin, managed the farm after the War. In December 1868 Thomas entered into a sharecropping agreement with Edward Hanson, an African-American. After about a year-long illness, on May 16, 1869, Thomas died, deeply in debt. He was buried beside Elizabeth in the graveyard at St. Thomas' Church. He named as executrix his wife, Martha, and his friend and lawyer, Samuel H. Berry, as executor. His will divided the farm into thirds, one third going to his wife and their son Robert Henry, one third to his son James, and one third to his son Franklin. The land was surveyed according to the will. His personal property was sold but not enough profit was realized to pay off his creditors. The Commissioners of Prince George's County sued the estate on behalf of Thomas' creditors. The outcome was that in 1876 the property was sold at public auction. The Notice of Sale dated September 1, 1876 in the local county newspaper, The Prince Georgian, describes the farm as, "containing 514 2/3 acres More or less. The Improvements consist of a SMALL DWELLING, Three Barns, Stabling, and other necessary outbuildings. It is well wooded and watered, and the soil of fair quality. It has recently been divided into three lots and will be offered in lots, a description of which will be given at the time of sale." The sale was held on September 27, 1876, Lot No. 1 was purchased by Robert for $6.00 an acre, Lot #2 was purchased by Franklin for $5.00 an acre and Lot #3 was purchased by James for $4.00 per acre. Robert and Franklin eventually paid off their mortgage, but James defaulted on his purchase and later moved to St. Mary's County, Maryland. His portion later came to be owned by the Hawkins family, some members who had worked on the Robinson farm. (Equity Case #873, Prince Georges' County, MSA)

Lot #1, purchased by Robert from his fathers' estate, consisted of 177-1/3 acres, including the dwelling and farm buildings. On July 24, 1872, he married Amanda Malvina Baden (1849-1940), daughter of Robert W. G. and Margaret Caroline Early Baden. The Baden and Early families were both prominent south county families. Robert and Amanda had eight children; Caroline Early (1873 1967), Lucy Tennent (1875 1958), Albert Henry (1878 1914), Martha Perry (1880 1961), Robert Gover (1882 1882), Frank Alexander (1883 1970), Margaret Baden (1886 1956) and Grace Malvina (1889 1965).

By 1880 Robert had paid off his debt on the property and was fully engaged in farming. Unlike his father, or perhaps because of his father, Robert did not add to his land holdings, choosing to remain relatively debt free for his lifetime. The only land transactions he participated in were the sales of 79-3/4 acres in 1921 of Amanda's inheritance from her father and her interest in two smaller parcels of her father's land sold in 1894 and 1928 respectively. In 1928 he transferred 3.09 acres to his son Frank.

As late as the Federal census of 1880, Franklin was living with Robert and his household, both men engaged in farming. Sometime after 1880, Franklin took up residence on his part of Potomac Landing. His brother James most likely built the side-hall double parlor house that copied the main house at Potomac Landing. On February 18, 1897, Martha Robinson, died at the age of ninety. She was buried in the graveyyard of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden, Prince George's County. Robert continued cultivation of tobacco and small grains as his father before him. The first reference to the farm being named Ferndale is found in the "Communion Record" of Robert's daughter, Martha Perry "Pattie", dated 1896. (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The exact origin or reason for this new name is lost but perhaps the name Potomac Landing held such bitter memories of debt and hardship that, as a symbolic break with the past, a new name was found. It also may have simply been a way to distinguish this portion of Potomac Landing from the others. The farm continued to be listed on tax bills as Potomac Landing well into the 20th century, but was known to the general public and businesses as the Ferndale Farm. (Robinson and Via Family Papers)

Robert served as deputy inspector at the State Tobacco Warehouse in Baltimore for eight years under W.B. Bowie. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Brandywine. In July of 1905, Franklin died, a bachelor farmer. He was buried facing south in the graveyard of the Church of the Atonement, Cheltenham, (a chapel in St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish) where he had served as vestryman, treasurer, and cemetery custodian. Franklin died intestate and a lengthy process of dividing his estate began. This resulted in the sale of his part of Potomac Landing (Lot #2) in July 1908 to William E. Boswell. The court declared Robert ineligible for any inheritance due to his being " . . . a brother of the half blood." The Boswell family later sold the property to the Billingsley family of St. Mary's County. (Equity Case 3209, Prince George's County)

In 1910, after living in the farm's original home for approximately sixty seven years, the Robinson family built a new home. It was described in a 1956 insurance policy as, "2 story, frame, metal roof, 16x43, wing 14x28, 9 rooms." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) The house design was a simple Victorian with plastered walls, and lit by carbide gas. Electrical lighting was installed in 1951. The house was built with monies from Robert and Amanda, and their son Frank, who served as builder and contractor.

On Tuesday March 9, 1937, "During a celebration in honor of his wifes birthday anniversary, Mr. Robinson collapsed at the table and died immediately without a word or a sigh." (Robinson and Via Family Papers) Robert was buried beside his mother in the cemetery at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden.

At Robert's death, Ferndale Farm was valued at $30.00 an acre, the total acreage, 174 acres, being valued in the whole at $5,220.00. Robert died intestate, again the fate of the land was in question. He left eight heirs, his widow, Amanda, six of his children and his son Albert Henry's only surviving child, R. Henry Robinson. Rather than have the farm sold and his mother's life disrupted, Frank purchased the estate and personal property from the heirs. Before this could take place, a deed had to be granted the heirs for the property since one had never been recorded after the 1876 sale. Equity case 873 was reopened sixty-two years after its supposed resolution. Frank testified, "over a period of about thirty years I would on a number of occasions, talk about the fact that he had purchased and paid for this property and that a deed had never been executed to him and [he] kept saying he was going to have someone straighten this matter out for him." It was discovered that Robert had fully paid for his part of Potomac Landing. On February 14, 1938 the farm was deeded from Amanda along with Robert''s heirs to Frank. (Book 499, page 334, Land Records of Prince George's County) According to the deed and a 1937 fire insurance policy the farm consisted of 177 1/3 acres, "1 two story dwelling, one tenant house, 1 barrack, 1 tobacco barn, 1 corn house & cow stable, 1 Stable, and 1 Granary & Stable." (Robinson and Via Family Papers)

Frank A. Robinson, now the sole owner of Ferndale Farm, was born August 17, 1883. He learned farming and in addition took up the trade of builder and contractor. As a young man, he worked in the general store of his uncle Robert Baden. He was the contractor for the first Bank of Brandywine and many homes in and around the town of Brandywine, including the home of his cousin Robert E. Baden, DDS. He was secretary of the Building Committee for construction of the Chapel of the Incarnation in Brandywine, a mission chapel for St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish. His success in the building trade gave him disposable income that he invested in land. His first purchase was in August, 1915 of a 2-9/100 acre of land in Brandywine that was being sold by the Board of County School Commissioners; the purchase price was $300. In March 1916 he purchased 38.09 acres of his Uncle Franklin's farm. This property adjoined Ferndale Farm. Over the next fifty-four years of his life, Frank bought and sold many pieces of real estate. Perhaps his most significant purchases were: 18-1/3 acres purchased from The German American Colonization Land Company of Maryland in October 1915 (Book 115, pg. 140, Land Records of Prince George's County); 147.99 acres purchased from August and Wilhelmina Noltensmeir in December 1917 (Book 129, pg. 263, Land Records of Prince George's County) and 320 acres called the Vineyard purchased from William M. Wilson in March 1928. Frank used these three parcels as collateral for other purchases. Never once did he mortgage Ferndale Farm, insuring that no matter what financial stormy seas might blow, his home was secure. Over the course of his life, especially in the case of the Noltensmeir farm, when cash was needed a parcel of land would be surveyed off and sold. He inherited his grandfather Thomas' love of land but had fortunately developed a shrewd business sense to go along with it.

On November 20, 1929, he married Elizabeth Freeland Bourne, daughter of Joseph Blake and Maria Gantt Bourne of Calvert County, Maryland. They had three children: Mary Elizabeth (1930-2009), Franklin Alexander (1932), and Robert Lee (1935-1997). In addition to his construction business he continued farming, raising tobacco, hay, and small grains. He engaged in sharecropping with tenants on his various properties. He was active in community affairs serving on the Board of The Maryland Tobacco Growers Association (MTGA), the Vestry of St. Thomas Parish, and as sheriff of Brandywine. On January 9, 1940 Amanda Baden Robinson died. She was buried next to her husband at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Baden. In February 1958, Frank and Elizabeth conveyed 1.57 acres of Ferndale Farm to son Franklin where he and his fiancée, Adina M. Via, were building their new home prior to their marriage in July of that same year.

The booming economy and suburbanization of the Washington metropolitan area in the early 1960's led to the high quality gravel lying beneath Ferndale into becoming a valuable commodity. In October 1962, Franklin and his parents granted a three-year lease to William C. Nolte for mining sand and gravel on the Ferndale Farm at .174 per yard. (Book 2747, pg. 11, Land Records of Prince George's County) From now until 1975 when the property was sold, gravel would be mined from under the farm by various companies. In November 1962, Elizabeth and Frank transferred to Franklin the 38.09 acres Frank had purchased from Fitzhugh Billingsley in 1916. (Book 2754, pg. 99, Land Records of Prince George's County) That same year they transferred 6.754 acres, part of the Vineyard, to son Robert and his wife Lois, (Book 2765, pg. 201, Land Records of Prince George's County)

On December 28, 1965, Frank and Elizabeth participated in a land exchange/purchase of the farm of Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown located along the Patuxent River in Benedict, Charles County, Maryland. Franklin had rented this farm the year before and was impressed enough by its location and arability to work out a purchase. Frank and Elizabeth traded 65.9920 acres that would eventually become Franklin's under Frank's will. On February 21, 1966 they deeded the Charles County farm to Franklin and Adina. Adina named this property Serenity Farm. The property consisted of 480.66 acres. (Liber 179, page 708 etc., Land Records of Charles County)

On February 5, 1970, after a short illness, Frank died at Cafritz Memorial Hospital. He was buried at St. Paul's Episcopal Church near his parents. In his will, probated March 4, 1970 he left thirty acres of the property purchased from the German American Land Company and A. Noltensmeir to Elizabeth. He willed forty acres of the same parcel to daughter Mary Robinson Conner. The remainder of Ferndale Farm was willed to Franklin and the remaining acreage of the Vineyard was left to Robert Lee. Franklin Alexander Robinson was born August 13, 1932 at the Garfield Hospital in Washington, D.C.. He received his schooling in the public school system of Prince George's County, graduating from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. He was a charter member of Gwynn Park's chapter of The Future Farmers of America. He was extremely active in FFA, achieving the Degree of Maryland Farmer in 1950 and their highest award, the Degree of American Farmer at their convention in Kansas City, Missouri in October 1953. He obtained his private pilots license in 1954. He entered the United States Army in February 1955 and went through basic training at Camp Gordon, Augusta, Georgia. After basic training he was transferred to Camp Hanford, Washington State. There he worked part time on the farm of Dick and Theresa Laurent during his off duty hours and began a lifelong friendship with them. He returned home to farming on an agricultural discharge in October of 1956. On July 27, 1958 he married his high school sweetheart, Adina Mae Via, daughter of Robert Milton and Virginia Woods Via. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962), and Adina Theresa (1963).

Franklin continued expanding and improving the farming operation by modern methods and means. At times, he farmed over one thousand acres, both owned and rented. On February 21, 1966, his parents deeded their purchase of the Ralph W. and Cordelia H. Brown farm in Benedict to he and Adina, later known as Serenity Farm Franklin and Adina engaged an architect to draft house plans for an anticipated new residence. A small A frame vacation home was built on the property so the family could spend weekends there.

On December 14, 1966, after a long illness, Adina died from complications associated with Hodgkin's Disease. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Waldorf, Charles County. Franklin married Margaret Walker Lennox (nee Tallen, known as Rita) on August 21, 1970 (Marriage Records of Prince George's County, Maryland). This marriage ended in divorce in 1977. There were no children from this marriage.

On July 14, 1975 the Robinson family, Franklin, his second wife, Margaret, her daughter Margaret W. Lennox, Franklin, Jr., R. David, A. Theresa and Elizabeth B. Robinson, moved to Serenity Farm. On July 17, 1975 Franklin and Elizabeth sold the remaining acreage of Ferndale Farm to Brandywine Sand and Gravel, thus ending 131 years of ownership by the Robinson family. Elizabeth Bourne Robinson died on July 15, 1976 and was buried beside her husband at St. Paul's Church, Baden. Franklin married Hiltrud (Ceddie) Harris (nee Sedlacek) on July 15, 1978. (Robinson Family Bible) This marriage ended in divorce in 1986. There were no children from this marriage. Franklin married Diedre Gale Merhiage on April 19, 1989; this marriage ended in divorce in 1997. There were no children from this marriage. He married Remelda Henega Buenavista on January 13, 2007.

The Robinson family continue day-to-day operations of Serenity Farm. The land is well suited to the growing of tobacco and small grains, which crops, (with the exception of tobacco) along with a flock of sheep, are cultivated there to the present time. After the crop year 2001 the Robinson family took the tobacco buyout program offered by the state of Maryland and ceased growing tobacco. Franklin is active in farming and community affairs having served on the vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of Directors of MTGA, the Board of the Production Credit Association, the Boards of three schools, Holy Trinity Day School, Queen Anne School, and Calverton School, and numerous other organizations. Currently the farm consists of approximately 275 acres. In 1981 a state agricultural land preservation district of 222.755 acres was created. This was the first such district in Charles County and one of the first in the state of Maryland.

In 1985, R. David began a greenhouse business for the sale of spring flowering bedding plants and hanging baskets but currently works in conjunction with Farming 4 Hunger to grow produce for local area foodbanks. A. Theresa is involved in the daily running of the farm along with Franklin. Franklin, Jr., obtained a BFA degree in Drama from The Catholic University of America in 1981 and an MA from The American University in Film and Video Production in 1988. He was a civilian employee of the United States Air Force (USAF) from November 1981 to January 1986. He pursued a full time career as a professional actor from 1986-2007 and is a published author and produced playwright. The three siblings have been involved in community affairs, with R. David sitting on the Charles County Agricultural Preservation Board, A. Theresa having served on the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Parish, Charles County, and Franklin, Jr. having served on the vestries of both Trinity Parish and St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, the Board of the Washington Literacy Council, a choir member of the choir at St. Thomas Church, among other church related posts and as chair of the Charles County Historic Preservation Commission.

Via Family

The Via family traces its origins to the colony of Virginia, where the probable progenitor of the line, Amer Via, a French Huguenot, settled in Manakin Town, Albemarle County between 1670-1700. It is impossible to trace the Via line definitively due to the loss of Virginia county records during the Civil War.

The Via family line covered in this collection can be definitively traced to William Via of Fredericksville Parish, Louisa (later Albemarle) County, Virginia. The William Via family lived west of the present day town of Whitehall at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area commonly known as Sugar Hollow. William Via III served in the Virginia Line during the Revolutionary War. He married Mary Craig, daughter of Thomas Craig and Jane Jameson, on March 17, 1784. William died on June 27, 1836, in Albemarle County (Rev. War Pension Appl. 6363, National Archives). His son Thomas married Sally, widow Griffin, on January 1, 1811 (Albemarle County Marriage Records). Their son, Hiram Karl Via (1812-1893), married Harriet Ardenia Naylor by license dated March 7, 1836 (Albemarle County Marriage Records).

Hiram and Harriet's son, Robert St. Clair Via (1844-1925), served as a private in Company I, 7th Virginia Infantry of the Confederate States Army (CSA Military Service Records, National Archives). After the war he married his first cousin, Mary Frances Naylor, daughter of Samuel Chapman Naylor and Eliza Jane Gardner, on April 3, 1866 in Rockingham County (Rockingham County, Virginia, Marriage Records). Sometime between 1870 and 1872, they moved to Linn County, Missouri, and settled about seven miles from the town of Bucklin. Their son, Hiram Chapman Via (1872-1933), was born there. In 1893, the family returned to Virginia, and settled on a farm in Greene County near the town of Stanardsville.

Hiram Chapman Via operated a mill as well as a farm. On March 15, 1899, he married Adina Eleanor Eusebia Runkle, daughter of Milton D. L. Runkle and Roberta A. Beadles (Greene County, Virginia, Marriage Records). They had three children: Bernice Olive (1902-1999), Robert Milton (1906-1983), and Deward Daniel (1909-1977).

Robert moved to Washington, D.C.. In December 1927 he began employment with the Capitol Traction Company as a streetcar conductor (Robinson and Via Family Papers). During the early 1930s, Robert rented a townhouse at 715 A St., SE, where he lived with his sister Bernice V. McMullan and her son, William C. McMullan; his brother and sister in law, and his parents. Next door, at 717, lived the Moses Albright family, including Moses's stepdaughter Ida Virginia Woods (1914-2010), daughter of Jesse Lee Woods (1894-1918) and Donna Mae Barker (1896-1928) of Frederick County, Maryland. Robert and Virginia began a courtship and on September 3, 1932 were married in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland (Frederick County, Maryland, Marriage Records).

After their marriage, Robert and Virginia lived in various locations in the Washington metropolitan area. Their first child, Robert Delano, was born on March 24, 1933, and their second child, Adina Mae, was born on April 12, 1937. Virginia was employed outside the home while her children were in school. Her first job before her marriage had been with Woolworth's in Martinsburg, WV working the candy counter and then before the birth of her son at The Hecht Company on F St. in Washington, D.C.. After her marriage she worked briefly for the United States Postal Service in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Beginning in the 1950s, she worked for Charles of the Ritz as a receptionist in their beauty salon located in Woodward & Lothrop's F Street store in Washington, D.C.. She also worked as salon manager at the Charles of the Ritz salons in the Woodward & Lothrop stores in Seven Corners, Virginia, and Chevy Chase, Maryland. She retired due to health reasons in 1973.

On September 10, 1941, Robert and Virginia purchased Lot #43 in Woodlane subdivision in Prince George's County. (Book 619, pg. 12, Land Records of Prince George's County) A house was designed for them for this lot by Clyde E. Phillips. They did not construct a home on this property due to the outbreak of World War II. Robert, due to his employment in public transportation, did not serve with the Armed Services in World War II. On October 18, 1946, they purchased approximately thirty acres bordering on Burch's Creek near the towns of Clinton, also know as Surrattsville, and T.B. in Prince George's County from Joseph H. and M. Pauline Blandford. (Book 873, pg. 483, Land Records of Prince George's County) Over the next three years, hiring private contractors, doing work themselves, and with the help of Robert's brother Deward, they built the two story house designed by Phillips in 1941. They moved to the farm from Capitol Heights in 1949. Robert raised hogs, small grains and a crop of tobacco yearly on this farm and also maintained his job with Capitol Transit (formerly Capitol Traction). In 1954, Robert and Virginia purchased a farm of approximately 150 acres in Island Creek, Calvert County, Maryland. The intention was for Robert and his son to enter into a full time farming operation on expanded acreage. Robert D. Via, known as Delano, graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June 1951. Delano was a part-time farmer and pursued a career as a country and western singer with Bashful Bob and the Rhythm Rangers, he being Bashful Bob. He was employed in various jobs, and began a tour in the Army in 1953. By the time the Via family moved to Calvert County in 1956, he decided to pursue careers other than farming. He eventually traveled and worked in various parts of the United States. He married first Delores Cooper, second Gloria J. Irick, and finally Candice Marinelli in December 1974, they had two children, Robert Marin (1975) and Kirstin Marin (1976).

On June 1, 1956 Robert resigned from his position at Capitol Transit due to health reasons. He and his family moved to the farm in Island Creek, Calvert County where he began full time farming. He and Virginia sold the thirty-acre farm in Prince George's County on June 21, 1956 to Melvin C. and Geraldine H. Rardia. (Book 2003, pg. 564, Land Records of Prince George's County) Virginia continued her employment with Charles of the Ritz. Adina, now a graduate of Gwynn Park High School, was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland. They both commuted daily from Calvert County to their places of employment.

Robert farmed in Calvert County, raising hogs, cattle, small grains and tobacco. Over the course of the next twenty-seven years, Robert and Virginia sold smaller parcels off the farm. In 1974, Robert and Virginia built a small retirement home designed for them by Calvert Masonry Contractors. Robert died on December 22, 1983. He was buried beside his daughter Adina in Trinity Memorial Gardens. At the time of Robert's death, the farm consisted of 28.694 acres. In 1998, Virginia deeded the remainder of the farm, then less than six acres, to her grandson, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. who sold all but a one-acre lot in April 1999.

Virginia continued to live on the farm in Calvert County, maintaining a small herd of cattle. In the fall of 1989 Franklin, Jr. went to live with her. In 1993, the onset of Alzheimer's Disease required her to move to Serenity Farm and take up residence with her granddaughter A. Theresa. Virginia participated in various studies on Alzheimer's Disease conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland beginning in 1992. She was profiled in the September 1997 issue of Washingtonian Magazine. In October of 1998 she moved to All American Senior Care in Brandywine, Maryland and in 1999 she moved to Morningside, an elderly care facility in Waldorf, Maryland. In 2002, she moved to St. Mary's Nursing Center in Leonardtown, Maryland. The remainder of the farm was sold in 1999 and 2002. She died January 14, 2010 and was buried at Trinity Memorial Gardens in Waldorf.

Adina Mae Via was born April 12, 1937 at the Homeopathic Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Adina grew up in Washington, D.C. attending public schools. She moved with her family to the Burch's Creek farm, Prince George's County, in 1949. She enrolled in the Prince George's County school system, and graduated from Gwynn Park High School in June of 1955. After graduation, she was employed by the USAF at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs.

In July of 1956, she moved with her family to the Via farm in Island Creek, Calvert County. On July 27, 1958 she married Franklin A. Robinson at the Chapel of the Incarnation. They had three children: Franklin Alexander (1959), Robert David (1962) and Adina Theresa (1963). In the fall of 1958, she and Franklin took up residence in the home they had built on Ferndale Farm. She resigned from her position with the USAF in 1959.

On December 14, 1966, at Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, Adina died from complications due to Hodgkin's Disease. She had been battling this disease for many years prior to her death. She was buried in Trinity Memorial Gardens, Charles County.
Related Materials:
Materials at Other Organizations

The Maryland Historical Society holds items (costume, farming related implements) related to the Robinson and Via families.
Separated Materials:
Materials at the National Museum of American History

The Division of Work and Industry (Agriculture Collection) holds agricultural implements and artifacts associated with both the Robinson farms and the Via farm; the Division of Home and Community Life holds clothing, textiles (crib quilt), jewelry, cosmetics and Adina M. Robinson's sewing box and dress patterns; (Costume and Textiles Collection). See accession numbers: 1989.0688, 1990.0394, 1991.0010; 1991.0722, 1992.0184, 1992.0283, 1992.0321, 1992.0474, 1992.3106, 1994.0064, 1994.0304, 1997.0327, 1998.0038, 1998.0129, 2001.0196, 2002.0087, 2003.0015, 2005.0009.

Division of Armed Forces History (now Division of Olitical and Military History, National Numismatics Collection) holds the Robert M. Via Trolley Token Collection.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center, by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., in November 1993.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Farms -- Maryland  Search this
Holidays  Search this
Amusement parks -- California  Search this
Children's parties  Search this
Rural women  Search this
Sheep ranches  Search this
Parks -- California  Search this
Rural families  Search this
Tobacco -- Harvesting  Search this
Tobacco -- Storage  Search this
Street-railroads  Search this
Street-railroads -- Employees  Search this
Travel  Search this
Urban transportation  Search this
Work and family  Search this
Tobacco curing  Search this
Women in agriculture  Search this
Farm equipment  Search this
Farm buildings  Search this
Family recreation  Search this
Family festivals  Search this
Farm ownership  Search this
Farm life -- 20th century  Search this
Farm management  Search this
Illiterate persons  Search this
Christmas  Search this
Soldiers  Search this
Students  Search this
Family -- 20th century  Search this
Family farms  Search this
Easter  Search this
Electric railroads  Search this
Acting -- 1980-2000  Search this
Amateur films  Search this
Agricultural machinery  Search this
Agriculture -- 20th century -- Maryland  Search this
Tobacco farmers  Search this
Housewives -- United States  Search this
Weddings  Search this
Farmers  Search this
Dairy farms  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Photographs -- 20th century
Postcards
Baby books
Phonograph records
Postcard albums
Ephemera
School yearbooks
Diaries
Albums
Housebooks
Photographs -- 19th century
Snapshots
Home movies
Family papers
Scrapbooks
Funeral registers
Cookbooks
Architectural drawings
Citation:
The Robinson and Via Family Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0475
See more items in:
Robinson and Via Family Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0475
Online Media:

Serenity Farm Tobacco Production Photographs

Collection Collector:
Robinson, Franklin A., Jr., 1959- (actor)  Search this
Container:
Box 32
Type:
Archival materials
Prints
Date:
1999-2000
Scope and Contents:
These work photographs were taken by A. Theresa Robinson (b. 1963) and Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. (b. 1959) during the 1999-2000 tobacco production year. Serenity Farm produced between thirty and seventy acres of tobacco per year, approximately 2/3 of that amount being grown by the Robinson family and 1/3 being grown by a tenant farmer, George H. Morgan. Labor for tobacco production was a combination of family and seasonal hired help, mostly from Calvert County, Maryland. In 2001, Serenity Farm opted to take the Maryland state tobacco buyout program, thus their last crop year was 2000-2001. The Robinson family had been engaged in tobacco production since at least 1745 in both Prince Georges County and Charles County, Maryland. Robert Henry Robinson served as the Deputy State Tobacco Inspector in the early 20th century.

Frame #Sheet A, photographed by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.

AO A view looking east from the main house of the tobacco fields and farm equipment at Serenity Farm. The Patuxent River is in the distance.

A1 A view looking east from the main house of the tobacco fields and farm equipment at Serenity Farm. The Patuxent River is in the distance. Tenant farmer George W. Morgans fields and equipment are to the left of the road leading down to the Patuxent River.

A2 Panorama including A0 and A1.

A3 Looking south-east, a newly planted tobacco field, planted with type 32 Maryland tobacco.

A4 A broader view of A3.

A5 An International 484 tractor pulling a four seat tobacco planter with water tank and fertilizer attachments.

A6 Rear view of A5.

A7 Bert Henson, Dale Young and Rosie Kyler playing poker between planting while water and fertilizer are being refilled in the tobacco planter.

A8 The tobacco planter at the end of the row, tractor driven by Franklin A. Robinson, Sr.

A9-10 Loading tobacco plants into the planter.

A11 Bert Henson and Rosie Kyler loading tobacco plants onto the planter for transplanting.

A12 Looking north, the trailer used to haul tobacco plants (left) and the trailer used to haul fertilizer. Chalk Point power generating plant in the background.

A13 Looking east, Dale Young, Rosie Kyler, Carlo White and Bert Henson waiting to begin transplanting.

A14 Dale Young, Rosie Kyler, Carlo White and Bert Henson transplanting.

A15 A wider view of A14.

A16 A Styrofoam flat of Maryland Type 32 tobacco plants. (Plants were grown by Buddy Hance of Calvert County, Maryland.)

A17-18 An empty Styrofoam flat and a full flat of Maryland Type 32 tobacco plants.

A19 Flats of tobacco plants loaded onto the trailer for hauling.

A20 A Maryland Type 32 tobacco plant ready to be transplanted.

A21 An International 484 tractor pulling a four seat tobacco planter with water tank and fertilizer attachments driven by Franklin A. Robinson, Sr.

A22 Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. seated on the tractor, replanting in the background.

A23-24 Replanting missed tobacco plants.

A24a/25 Bert Henson replanting.

Sheet B, photographed by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr. and A. Theresa Robinson

B0 A view looking east from the main house of the tobacco fields and farm equipment at Serenity Farm. The Patuxent River is in the distance.

B1 A field of tobacco after cultivation.

B2 A close-up of B1.

B3 A. Theresa Robinson cultivating tobacco on an International H tractor with a shade umbrella attached.

B4 A close-up of B3.

B5 A rear view of B3.

B6 Looking west, A. Theresa Robinson cultivating tobacco with a 1942, International H tractor with a shade umbrella attached.

B7 Looking south-west, Rosie Kyler, Bert Henson and Dale Young grassing (hoeing grass from between the plants) tobacco after the field has been tractor cultivated.

B8 A view of the tobacco field looking north-west, the farm buildings and houses are in the distance.

B9 A closer view of B7.

B10 Stefan Brown topping tobacco.

B11 A field of tobacco in full flower prior to topping.

B12-14 Stefan Brown topping tobacco.

B15-16 Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. spraying tobacco with MG-30 for sucker control and Orthene for worm control, after the tobacco has been topped. He is riding a DeCloet sprayer.

B17 A topped and sprayed field of tobacco looking south.

B18-21 Looking south, Virginia L. Robinson driving the stick trailer, Joseph F. Vermillion and Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. dropping tobacco sticks along the layrows of cut tobacco.

B22 Virginia L. Robinson driving the tractor pulling the stick trailer.

B23 Looking west, loading speared tobacco onto a trailer to be hauled to the tobacco curing barn. An International 3788 tractor is pulling the trailer.

B24-25 Bert Henson, Willard White and Stefan Brown loading speared tobacco on the trailer to be hauled to the tobacco curing barn.

Sheet C, photographed by A. Theresa Robinson

C0-1 Bert Henson loading tobacco to be hauled to the curing barn.

C2 A wider view of C0-1 described above.

C3 Looking west, cutting tobacco for spearing.

C4 Dale Young, Douglas Brooks, and Bert Henson cutting tobacco for spearing.

C5 Douglas Brooks, and Mack Thomas cutting tobacco for spearing.

C6 Mack Thomas, Douglas Brooks and Rosie Kyler cutting tobacco for spearing.

C7 Dale Young cutting tobacco for spearing.

C8 The crew loading tobacco to be hauled to the curing barn.

C9-11 Robert D. Robinson cutting tobacco into a layrow for spearing.

C12 Brother Larry Maick and Robert D. Robinson hanging tobacco in the curing barn.

C13 The crew hanging tobacco in the curing barn.

C14 Rosie Kyler (left) and Dale Young hanging tobacco in the curing barn.

C15 Brother Larry Maick hanging tobacco and Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. in the curing barn.

C16 The tobacco field, looking east, piles of tobacco waiting to be hauled to the curing barn. At right, the crew is spearing tobacco onto sticks.

C17-19 Douglas Brooks and Stefan Brown spearing tobacco.

C20 Bert Henson, Douglas Brooks, and Stefan Brown loading tobacco for hauling to the curing barn.

C21 Dale Young and Willard White spearing tobacco.

C22 Rosie Kyler spearing tobacco.

C23 Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. on the last day of harvest, 1999.

C24 Franklin A. Robinson in front of curing tobacco hanging in the curing barn.

Sheet D, photographed by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.

D0 A view looking east from the main house of the tobacco fields and farm equipment at Serenity Farm. The Patuxent River is in the distance.

D1 A view looking east from the main house of the tobacco fields and farm equipment at Serenity Farm. The Patuxent River is in the distance. Tenant farmer, George W. Morgans fields and equipment are to the left of the road leading down to the Patuxent River.

D2 A view of the barnyard and main house area from the tobacco field.

D3 Looking north-east, a view of the tobacco field after harvest.

D4 Looking north-west, a view of the tobacco field after harvest.

D5 Looking east, a view of the tobacco field after harvest.

D6 Looking north-east, a view of the tobacco field after harvest. A view of the tobacco barns and farm house is in the background.

D7 End of harvest picnic/celebration, 1999, left to right, Rosie Kyler, Stefan Brown and April Hart.

D8 End of harvest picnic/celebration, 1999. Left to right, Russell White, Douglas Brooks, Robert D. Robinson (on phone) and Dale Young.

D9-10 Russell White tending the barbecue, end of harvest picnic/celebration, 1999.

D11 A. Theresa Robinson and Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. making out paychecks for the help.

D12 End of harvest picnic/celebration 1999, Left to right, Dale Young, A. Theresa Robinson, Russell White, Stefan Brown, Emory Thomas and Franklin A. Robinson, Sr.

D13 A. Theresa Robinson making out the paychecks for the help.

D14 Pallets of tobacco sticks, the curing barn in the background has its windows open to facilitate curing.

D15 A pile of cured tobacco waiting to be stripped.

D16-23 Ambrose Man Kyler, Douglas Brooks, Dale Young, Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. and A. Theresa Robinson taking down cured tobacco for stripping.

D24 A. Theresa Robinson holding up a stick of cured tobacco.

D25 Piles of cured tobacco waiting to be stripped.

D26, D28 Dale Young passing two sticks of cured tobacco to A. Theresa Robinson.

D27 A. Theresa Robinson packing down sticks of cured tobacco to prevent them from drying out.

D29-30 Stripped and baled tobacco waiting to be taken to market.

D31-32 Peaceable Kingdom? Box Car (cat) and Liberty (dog) at rest.

D33, D35, D37 Ambrose Kyler, Douglas Brooks, Dale Young, Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. and A. Theresa Robinson taking down sticks of cured tobacco to be stripped.

D34, D36 A view of the curing barn with hanging sticks of cured tobacco.

Sheet E, photographed by A. Theresa Robinson, spring 2000

E0A Hacks of stripped tobacco waiting to be unloaded at the tobacco market/auction warehouse in Waldorf, Maryland.

E1A-2A Unloading hacks of tobacco at the Waldorf warehouse.

E3A An interior view of the Hughesville tobacco warehouse with hacks of tobacco in the foreground.

E4A A traditional hack of tobacco at the warehouse.

E5A James Bowling (warehouse owner) and Albert Raley at the Waldorf warehouse.

E6A-9A Unloading baled tobacco at the Waldorf warehouse.

E10A Weighing baled tobacco at the Waldorf warehouse. Left to right, uniden., George H. Morgan and James Bowling.

E11A George H. Morgan and James Bowling at the scales, Waldorf warehouse.

E12A A view of the Waldorf warehouse, baled tobacco in the foreground.

E13A An interior view of the Waldorf warehouse, baled tobacco on the left, hacked hands of tobacco on the right.

E14A Rosie Kyler and Dale Young stripping tobacco at Serenity Farm.

E15A Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. making cotton string ties for baling tobacco.

E16A Rosie Kyler stripping tobacco.

E17A Hauling a pallet of cured tobacco to the stripping room.

E18A The stripping room filled with cured tobacco waiting to be stripped.

E19A Baled tobacco and a stick pallet in the barn.

E20A-21A The hydraulic tobacco baler in the stripping room.

E22A Franklin A. Robinson, Sr. bringing a pallet of cured tobacco to be stripped into the stripping room.

E23A-25A Liberty and Box Car in the stripping room.

Sheet F, photographed by A. Theresa Robinson, spring 2000

F0 Dale Young baling stripped tobacco leaves.

F1-3 Joseph F. Vermillion, Dale Young baling stripped tobacco leaves.

F4-5 Dale Young and Rosie Kyler taking cured tobacco off the stick to be stripped.

F6 Mack Thomas stripping tobacco leaves off the stalk.

F7 Dale Young baling stripped tobacco leaves.

F8-10 Tobacco auction at the Hughesville tobacco warehouse.

F11 A bale of Serenity Farm tobacco with weight ticket and buyers tag at the Hughesville tobacco warehouse.

F12 A row of baled Serenity Farm tobacco with weight tickets and buyers tags at the Hughesville tobacco warehouse.

F13 A proud grower, Franklin A. Robinson, Sr., with some of his tobacco on the auction floor at the Hughesville warehouse.

F14-22 Auctioning off tobacco at the Hughesville warehouse, Gilbert Bowling left, followed by Walter Wilkerson, auctioneer.

F23-25 Views of the Hughesville tobacco warehouse.

Sheet G, photographed by A. Theresa Robinson, spring 2001

G0 Drawing plants in the tobacco seedling bed, Virginia L. Robinson and Ashlee N. Robinson.

G1 Patricia A. "T.C." Morgan and Rosie Kyler drawing plants.

G2-3 Patricia A. "T.C." Morgan, Franklin A. Robinson and Rosie Kyler drawing plants.

G4 Drawing plants in the tobacco seedling bed, Virginia L. Robinson and Ashlee N. Robinson.

G5 Austin D. Robinson and Joseph F. Vermillion packing drawn tobacco plants into bushel baskets for transport to the field.

G6 Drawing plants in the tobacco seedling bed, Ashlee N. Robinson and Virginia L. Robinson.

G7 Joseph F. Vermillion and Austin D. Robinson packing drawn tobacco plants into bushel baskets for transport to the field.

G8 Franklin A. Robinson drawing plants.

G9-10 Franklin A. Robinson, Patricia A. "T.C." Morgan, Ashlee N. Robinson, Virginia L. Robinson and Rosie Kyler drawing plants.

G11 Franklin A. Robinson and Patricia A. "T.C." Morgan drawing plants.

G12-14 Austin D. Robinson packing drawn tobacco plants into tobacco market baskets for transport to the field.

G15 Tobacco market baskets loaded with tobacco plants ready for transport to the field.

G16 Rosie Kyler and Patricia A. "T.C." Morgan drawing plants.

G17 Franklin A. Robinson drawing plants.

G18 Rosie Kyler drawing plants.

G19 Joseph F. Vermillion and Franklin A. Robinson in the tobacco beds.

G20 Joseph F. Vermillion with drawn tobacco plants in tobacco market baskets and bushel baskets waiting for transport to the field for transplanting.

G21-22 Drawn tobacco plants loaded onto the truck for transport to the field for transplanting.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
The Robinson and Via Family Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Robinson and Via Family Papers
Robinson and Via Family Papers / Series 6: Photographs, Photographic Slides, and Photographic Negatives / 6.1: Photographs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0475-ref837

Frick Company Records

Source:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Engineering and Industry  Search this
Creator:
Frick Company, George (Waynesboro, Pa.)  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Engineering and Industry  Search this
Names:
Frick, George, 1826-1892  Search this
Extent:
26 Cubic feet (49 boxes, 4 oversize folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Payrolls
Photographs
Purchasing records
Scrapbooks
Commercial correspondence
Clippings
Account books
Date:
1852-1961
bulk 1860-1920
Summary:
This collection documents, in correspondence, publications, forms, paperwork, drawings, newspaper clippings, diplomas and photographs, the operations and products of the Frick Company of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, manufacturers of steam-powered engines (portable, stationary, and traction), sawmills, threshing machines, grain separators and other mechanized agricultural harvesting implements, refrigeration, mechanical cooling systems, and ice making plants, from its founding in 1852 through 1961.
Scope and Contents:
This collection documents the founding and business operations of the Frick Company* of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, manufacturers of portable, stationary, and traction engines, threshing machines, sawmills, and refrigeration and ice making machinery. The collection covers the period from 1852 to 1961, with the bulk of the material dating from 1860-1873 and from 1880 through the 1920s and illuminates the evolution of mechanized agriculture and refrigeration technology from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.

The largest portion of the collection contains photographs of Frick engines and refrigeration machinery, taken both in the foundry and in various installations worldwide, as well as original drawings of Frick machines, parts, and components used to illustrate catalogs and trade publications. Another large portion of the collection is correspondence, containing communication from clients ordering Frick products for their farms or businesses, as well as receipts and correspondence from local and regional suppliers of raw materials and components for the construction of Frick products.

The collection also contains numerous examples of operational paperwork from the 1880s-1890s, such as letterheads, order forms, contracts, test logs, and timesheets, as well as a significant amount of trade literature largely from 1880-1920, such as price lists, catalogs, product pamphlets, and advertising material.

There are several published company histories, technical drawings/blueprints of Frick products, diplomas awarded to Frick machinery presented at expositions and fairs (including the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893), full-color posters advertising Frick & Co., agent supplies (including telegraph cipher code books), accounting paperwork, payroll records, communications with shareholders, and significant documentation of the highly publicized labor dispute/strike at Frick in 1946.

This collection would be of interest to researchers in the areas of: agricultural machination and invention in the nineteeth century, steam and horse-powered engines, the development of refrigerating and ice making equipment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, business operations and financial transactions in the nineteenth century, Pennsylvania history and companies, industrial photography, and nineteenth and twentieth centuries industrial trade literature.

*The name of the company was modified several times over the history of its operation, variations including George Frick, Frick & Bowman, Frick & Co., and Frick Company, depending on the time period in question. Efforts have been made to align the description of the materials throughout the collection with the correct company name at the time of their creation.
Arrangement:
This collection is divided into six series:

Series 1: Publications, 1852, 1874-1875; 1880-1932; 1942-1943; 1953; 1961

Subseries 1.1 Company History, 1928; 1953

Suseries 1.2 Trade Literature, 1874-1875; 1880-1926; 1930; 1932; 1943; 1952-1953; 1960-1961

Subseries 1.3 Advertising Material, 1852; 1880-1899; 1905; 1909-1929; 1942

Series 2: Correspondence, Receipts, and Ledger Books, 1852-1873; 1890-1902; 1914; 1924-1925

Subseries 2.1 Receipts and Business Correspondence: by company, 1855-1873

Subseries 2.2 Receipts and Business Correspondence: miscellaneous, 1852-1873; 1890; 1895

Subseries 2.3 Ledger Books, 1872; 1896-1898; 1892-1894; 1900-1902

Subseries 2.4 Other Correspondence, 1861-1873; 1898-1901; 1914; 1917; 1924-1925

Series 3: Company Management, 1856-1873; circa 1880s-1890s; 1917; 1927-1929; 1945-1946

Subseries 3.1 Accounting, 1856-1897

Subseries 3.2 Sales, circa 1880s; 1917; 1927

Subseries 3.3 Communications, 1860-1917

Subseries 3.4 Public Relations, 1928-1929; 1945-1946

Series 4: Foundry Operations, 1859-1872; 1877-1879; circa 1880s-1890s; 1900-1903; 1911; 1921; 1929

Subseries 4.1 Orders, 1859-1872; circa 1880s-1890s;1900-1902

Subseries 4.2 Drawings/Blueprints, 1871-1911; 1921; 1929

Subseries 4.3 Shipping and Receiving, 1860-1873; circa 1880s-1890s

Subseries 4.4 Timesheets and Testing, 1860; 1868; 1877-1879; circa 1880s-1890s; 1903

Series 5: Photographs and Artistic Renderings, circa 1880-1950

Subseries 5.1 Frick Buildings, Offices, and Operations, circa 1880-1910

Subseries 5.2 Portable, Stationary, and Traction Engines, 1889; 1893-1896; 1906-1908; 1912-1915; 1925

Subseries 5.3 Other Machinery, circa 1890s

Subseries 5.4 Ice Making and Refrigeration Machinery: Vertical Compressors, 1883-1906; circa 1920s

Subseries 5.5 Ice Making and Refrigeration Machinery: Horizontal Compressors, circa 1910-1920

Subseries 5.6 Ice Making and Refrigeration Machinery: CO2 Compressors and Later Models, circa 1920-1950; 1940-1941

Subseries 5.7 Ice Making and Refrigeration Machinery: Ice Plants, 1889; 1904; 1920-1927

Subseries 5.8 Ice Making and Refrigeration Machinery: Cold Storage Units, 1889; 1925; 1933; undated

Subseries 5.9 Installations: Ice Plants, 1892-1896; 1900-1933; 1945

Subseries 5.10 Installations: Refrigeration and Cold Storage Units, circa 1890-1905; circa 1915-1920

Series 6: Trade Shows and Exhibitions, 1877-1885; 1893; 1895; 1904; 1926

Subseries 6.1 Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas, 1877-1884; 1893; 1895; 1904

Subseries 6.2 Promotional Material, 1884-1885; 1926
Biographical / Historical:
Founded in 1852 by engineer and inventor George Frick (1826-1892), Frick Company has been an innovative machinery design leader in many areas of the agricultural and refrigeration industries over the last 160 years. Frick began building steam engines and threshing machines in a small shop in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

Frick quickly gained a reputation for quality in the growing field of mechanized agriculture. His designs for early portable engines--transported and driven by horsepower--soon evolved into self-propelling, steam-powered vehicles that could be driven into the fields and then used to run the grain separating, cleaning and bagging machines that were revolutionizing the farming industry, increasing production at exponential rates.

In addition, Frick's stationary engines were put to use in mills of all kinds (grist, flour, paper, and woolen) to augment or replace their dependence on unreliable natural water power, including sawmills, of which Frick was soon building a line of portable, steam-driven versions. Between the mid-1850s and the early 1870s, the company continued to expand, outgrowing three different shops before building the final location of the works in Waynesboro. George Frick himself was continuously active in the company through the end of the nineteenth century as a mechanical engineer and product designer, as well as a frequent consultant, traveling to confer with clients on specifications for their orders.

Beginning in 1872, George Frick's business and personal life took a downturn with the deaths in quick succession of both his oldest son Frank and his new business partner C.F. Bowman, as a result of a typhoid fever epidemic that swept through the area. Additionally, the financial Panic of 1873 nearly closed Frick's company along with thousands of other American businesses that year, but thirteen local businessmen formed a partnership, putting forth the necessary capital to keep the manufacturing plant afloat. George Frick sold his controlling interest to the partnership, but remained as general manager of the company.

After this brief period of struggle, Frick and Company began again to expand its product line as well as its reputation. The new works in Waynesboro were modern and efficient, enough to warrant a feature article in Scientific American in 1881. The following year, the company built its first refrigeration machine, and a whole new direction of production opened up. Automatic and traction engines were still in demand, being constantly improved and updated, but refrigeration was the new frontier. Frick rose to become one of the leaders in development of high quality, durable, and functional refrigeration machinery. George's son A.O. Frick, now an engineer with the company, partnered with Edgar Penney, another design engineer, to develop the Corliss engine line, which would run the large ammonia compressors, creating what was called a refrigeration machine. They were intially used to power ice plants, which were being built all over the world after the mild winter of 1890 tipped the natural ice industry into decline. They also used cold storage/mechanical cooling units, of which breweries and meat packing plants were the earliest adopters, followed by cold food stores, florist shops, and fur storage, as well as the dairy and shipping industries. The Armour Packing Plant in Kansas City, Missouri was the proud owner of "The Largest Ice Machine in the World," built by Frick and shipped by train via specially-reinforced rails in 1896. At the turn of the twentieth century, hotels, restaurants, hospitals and industrial plants soon began to rely on refrigeration units for daily operations, and Frick's business was booming.

As gas-powered engine technology began taking over in the first decades of the twentieth century, Frick moved away from steam engines and focused on more specialized farm equipment such as dehydrators, peanut pickers, combines, balers and silo fillers. Their line of sawmills was also still in high demand. But increasingly, Frick was focused on steadily refining and improving its refrigeration equipment. Ammonia, while highly efficient as a coolant, had its dangerous downsides: it could be fatal if leaked, and could contaminate plant ice easily. Although many of Frick's ammonia compression refrigeration machines were still in use forty or more years after installation and were still preferred for industrial use, the technology needed to improve in order to be viable for the general public. Several publicized accidents led eventually to the preferred use of chloroflorocarbons as a coolant, and Frick developed enclosed-type CO2 compressors and eventually freon units. Other Frick refrigeration products included machinery for making dry ice, air conditioning units, and temperature controls for test plants, as well as marine refrigeration (developed during the First World War) for shipping food between continents. Frick did contract work for the US military during and following World War II, and was a major company involved in the development of quick-freezing systems to support the growing frozen food industry starting in the late 1940s.

Frick Company positioned itself as a permanent leader in the food production and distribution industry by the 1950s. The company is still in operation today, though it has been purchased several times, most recently by Johnson Controls, which maintains a product line bearing the name Frick.
Related Materials:
The Archives Center holds several collections that may be of interest to researchers in relation to the Frick Company Collection.

For related material on Corliss engines, see the following collections:

Chuse Engine and Manufacturing Company Records (AC 1088)

Corliss Steam Engine Album (AC 1016)

Corliss Steam Engine Reference Collection (AC 1329)

Nagle Engine and Boiler Works Records (AC 1083)

Providence Engineering Works Records (AC 1076)

Skinner Engine Company Records (AC 1087)

Robert Weatherill Company Records (AC 0992)

For related material on threshing machines and agricultural machinery, see the following collections:

John K. Parlett Collection (AC 3066)

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC 0060)

For related material on refrigeration machinery, see the following collections:

Madison Cooper Papers (AC 1105)

Nickerson and Collins Photography (AC 1044)

Southwork Foundry and Machine Company Records (AC 1107)
Separated Materials:
The Division of Work and Industry holds artifacts related to this collection. See acquisition numbers AG79A09.1, MC 319243.12 and .13, and 58A9.
Provenance:
Collection donated by the Frick Company, through Terry Mitchell in 1961.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Harvesting machinery  Search this
Refrigeration and refrigerating machinery -- 1860-1960  Search this
Steam-engines  Search this
Engineers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Payrolls
Photographs -- 20th century
Purchasing records
Scrapbooks -- 1840-1990
Commercial correspondence
Clippings
Account books
Citation:
Frick Company Collection, 1852-1961, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0293
See more items in:
Frick Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0293
Online Media:

John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera

Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Allis-Chalmers -- 20th century  Search this
Case -- 20th century  Search this
International Harvestor. Case-IH -- 20th century  Search this
John Deere and Company. John Deere Plow Company -- 20th century  Search this
Sperry New Holland -- 20th century  Search this
Todd Equipment Company -- 20th century  Search this
Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Extent:
20 Cubic feet (60 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1859-2011, undated
Summary:
The John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, 1859-2011, undated, is a collection of operator's instruction manuals, parts illustrations manuals, dealership materials, farming, farm life, and agriculture-related ephemera. The material is from national companies as well as local manufacturers and businesses.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of farming and rural life ephemera, dating from about 1859-2011, and undated. The materials are national in scope and include agricultural ephemera from all regions of the United States. Since Parlett's collecting interest spanned the entire spectrum of agricultural work, the collection is not livestock or crop specific. It covers many types of farming from dairying, beekeeping, poultry, cattle, sheep, and hogs to raising tobacco, small grains, hay and forage. It includes almanacs, operator's manuals, catalogues, promotional materials, pocket ledgers and notebooks, mail order catalogs, state fair advertising and catalogues, livestock care and feeding manuals, correspondence, receipts, guarantees, chemical and fertilizer handbooks, account books, "Ladies'" notebooks and calendars, directories, price lists, corporate "yearbooks," clothing advertisements and catalogues, farming practices handbooks, agent's sales order books, seed guides, National Grange material, farming co-op by-laws and ephemera, agriculture related convention materials, poultry magazines and journals, beekeeping magazines, barn and housing design material, gardening manuals, sales contracts for machinery, appliance manuals, commodity marketing guides, auction catalogues, home canning and meat processing manuals and guides, price lists, pamphlets, sale brochures, and dealer service manuals.

The range and national scope of items in the collection illustrate the progression of invention within agriculture. The machinery manuals not only describe machinery in detail, but break it down to the machinery components, how it is put together and how it is repaired. The invention aspect tracks the development of farm mechanization from hand work with intensive labor requirements to machinery developed to decrease labor costs and numbers while at the same time increasing production. The changes in agricultural technology in the later years of the Industrial Revolution, on the cusp of mechanization and the availability of mail order products for the home and farm, are documented in the collection by advertisements and mail order catalogues, for products purchased in nearby towns and equipment used in farm tasks.

The sizeable mail order component of the collection provides research opportunities into economics and marketing both to an agricultural community and an urban community. The demographic changes resulting from increased urbanization and employment opportunities in manufacturing -- and how small farms coped with them -- are documented in the collection by detailed descriptions of who was expected to do what tasks and how those tasks were accomplished. With the beginning of mail order by Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1872, mail order became an integral part of life in rural America. Mail order catalogs allowed rural residents to buy new equipment and follow the latest trends in fashion or household appliances without ever leaving the farm. Mail order also allowed rural American to reap the benefits of growing mass production. Homemade clothing gave way to ready-to-wear clothes sold through retail outlets and through mail order catalogues. Likewise tools and machinery that had been locally built and maintained gave way to parts and machinery that could be purchased through mail order as well as local equipment company dealers. Mail-order buying was made even more accessible in 1896 with the first rural free delivery (RFD) service.

Gender and ethnic aspects of farm life are documented in the collection. For example, sausage, lard, pudding making and similar tasks were traditionally done by women; labor was often divided along racial or ethnic lines and used different machinery and tools for various types of farms in different locations. The collection has a sizeable component of community materials related to farm life such as county and state fair catalogues, National Grange materials, and instructional booklets given away by feed and machinery manufacturers. "How to" booklets and pamphlets covering virtually every aspect of the farm and farm work targeted members of the farm family and its labor force.

The collection complements the Smithsonian's invention holdings as innovation was taking place on the farm as well as in the factory throughout the Industrial Revolution. The machinery manuals with their operation and repair guidelines, the schematic drawings and details on "new and improved" machinery provide a cohesive span of primary material to inform the evolution of farm work from hand and physical labor involving many people to the more mechanized farming capable of being done by one farmer alone or with minimal family or hired help.

The collection includes the business records (1971-1981, undated) for Custom Auto and Equipment Sales of Manassas, Virginia, a John Deere dealership. These records include equipment inventories, a John Deere Consumer Products Dealer Parts Administration Manual, JD Dart operators manual, and a Sperry New Holland dealer sales aid manual, sales accounts, all of which help document the transition from manual based accounting systems to product specific (in this case JD Dart for John Deere) computer based systems. This portion of the collection is illustrative of suburbanization. With the farm crisis of the early 1980s, Custom Auto and Equipment ceased selling farm machinery and concentrated on the urban aspect of the John Deere brand: lawnmowers, tillers and those pieces of machinery used in housing developments being built in and around Manassas. The market for farming equipment nearly ceased to exist and in an effort to salvage their business they adapted to the environment around them.

This collection also includes sales materials for Todd Equipment Company located in Chesapeake, Virginia with a branch office in Hagerstown, Maryland. Todd serves farm equipment dealers in the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. They carry an extensive line of machinery catering to all types of agricultural cultivation, care, and harvesting. As of 2015 they are still in business.

The collection is arranged in eight series with items arranged chronologically and in some series alphabetically.

Series 1, Allis-Chalmers, AGCO Allis, and Deutz Allis, 1957-1980, undated, is arranged chronologically. This series contains operator's manuals, sales ephemera, brochures, service manuals, setting up directions, a lease plan, and a sales book. This series includes brand names AGCO Allis, Allis-Chalmers, Athens Plow Company, Baldwin, and Jeoffroy Manufacturing Incorporated, L&M

Series 2, Case, Case-IH, International Harvester, 1903-1986, undated. This series is arranged chronologically. This series includes brand names McCormick-Deering, Farmall, International-Farmall, and McCormick. It includes sales brochures, price lists, operator and maintenance manuals, product guides, advertisements, pamphlets and brochures, catalogues, and a program from McCormick Day, 1931 in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Series 3, John Deere and Company, John Deere Plow Company, 1910-2008, undated, is arranged chronologically. This series contains publications, operator's and maintenance manuals, sales brochures and pamphlets, sales manuals, catalogues, product magazines, and safety manuals.

Series 4, Sperry-New Holland, 1975-1984, undated, is arranged chronologically. This series contains operator's and maintenance manuals, sales brochures and pamphlets.

Series 6, Custom Auto and Equipment Sales of Manassas, Virginia Business Records, 1971-1981, undated. These records include equipment inventories, John Deere Consumer Products Dealer Parts Administration Manual, JD Dart operator,s manual, and a Sperry New Holland dealer sales aid manual, and sales accounts.

Series 6, Todd Farm Equipment, Incorporated, 1973-1980, undated, is arranged chronologically. This series contains the contents of Todd's sales manual detailing various companies and their products. The series includes sales brochures, equipment specifications and capabilities as outlined in corporate sales material, and a Todd catalogue.

Series 7, Assorted Companies, Catalogues, Periodicals, and Publications, 1859-2011, undated. This series is arranged chronologically and then alphabetically for the undated material. This series contains material from a variety of companies and purveyors of farm-related equipment, products, and disciplines as well as farm culture-related materials. This series includes mail order catalogues, sales and instructional pamphlets, almanacs, advertisements, government publications, magazines, catalogues, convention and souvenir brochures, National Grange materials, manuals, cook books, record books, price lists, county and state fair ephemera, beekeeping-related materials, dairying related publications and equipment brochures, operator's manuals, and the auction catalogue from the Parlett Farm-Life Museum auction.

Series 8, Poultry, 1912-1949, undated, is arranged alphabetically. This series contains material related to the production of poultry. It includes magazines, advertisements for poultry products, and educational materials related to poultry.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in eight series.

Series 1, Allis-Chalmers, AGCO Allis, and Deutz Allis, 1957-1980, undated.

Series 2, Case, Case-IH, International Harvester, 1903-1986, undated.

Series 3, John Deere and Company, John Deere Plow Company, 1910-2008, undated.

Series 4, Sperry-New Holland, 1975-1984, undated.

Series 6, Custom Auto and Equipment Sales of Manassas, Virginia Business Records, 1971-1981, undated.

Series 6, Todd Farm Equipment, Incorporated, 1973-1980, undated.

Series 7, Assorted Companies, Catalogues, Periodicals, and Publications, 1859-2011, undated.

Series 8, Poultry, 1912-1949, undated.
Biographical / Historical:
John K. Parlett (1937-2005) was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland, and was a life-long resident of the county and state. He was a farmer and businessman and served as a St. Mary's County Commissioner from 1974-1978 and as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1981-1986.

Parlett began collecting farm equipment and agriculture-related ephemera in the 1960s. His son, John K. Parlett, Jr., stated, "The more he collected the more his passion grew." Even though Parlett lived in Maryland, his collecting was national in scope and included materials he and his wife bought on collecting trips around the country. Parlett expanded his collection of equipment and agricultural ephemera after retiring in 1986. John K. Parlett, Jr., stated, "he [Parlett Sr.] caught 'the antique bug' . . . [they] went out almost every weekend collecting more things." Parlett did not merely collect old machinery, he sought and acquired catalogues, equipment operation manuals, posters, ephemera, county and state fair ephemera, and even records from an agricultural equipment dealer, Custom Auto and Equipment Sales, in Manassas, Virginia.

Between 1988 and 1993 the collection grew so large that Parlett built a 60,000 square foot building on his farm to hold the machinery component. He converted many farm sheds, turkey and chicken houses into display areas and a library. Parlett eventually founded the John K. Parlett Farm Life Museum of Southern Maryland located on his farm, known as Green Manor. Beginning in 1996, the museum was opened annually for the Farm Life Festival, benefitting the St. Mary's County Christmas in April program, founded by Parlett. The collection was open by appointment for study; the local Amish community consulted some of the materials in the collection for help in repairing their outdated equipment. Parlett was highly respected in collecting circles. He was a tenacious and indefatigable collector who made an effort to collect all types of agricultural machinery as well as archival materials relating to farm life. Rare or obsolete items are included in this collection, as are ephemeral items relating to farm and ranch life. "If it was used on the farm or in rural America in the last 100 years, chances are it'll be at the Southern Maryland Farm Life Festival," enthused Agrifarm.com in 2008 when describing the Parlett holdings.

The last year for the Farm Life Festival was 2009. The Parlett Collection, consisting of 1007 lots of machinery, tools, tractors, household, and general store items, was auctioned by Aumann Auctions in the fall of 2011. At the auction, some materials and machinery were purchased by The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and other museums throughout the United States.

NMAH Curators Pete Daniel and Larry M. Jones surveyed the collection while Parlett was still alive. Jones was credited with advising Parlett while he was building the collection. Jones commented on the collection in 2005, "I was blown away by what he had put together; here was a man who turned an interest into one of the best rural farm life collections I've ever seen. And John has such an eye for good and appropriate stuff. It's just a sensational collection." He reportedly wrote a memo suggesting the Museum "investigate the possibility" of acquiring portions of the collection if and when Parlett was willing to donate items. There was no further discussion of acquiring any of the collection until 2010, when Craig Orr, archivist-curator, talked with John K. Parlett Jr., who expressed a willingness to donate the archival materials as the entire collection was being prepared for auction. Orr and Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., archives specialist, surveyed the collection in early 2011 and selected the materials included in the collection.
Related Materials:
Maid of Cotton, Cotton Council Collection, Southern Agriculture Oral History, Robinson and Via Family Papers, Louisan Mamer Papers, Harness-Maker's Account Books, Memphis Cotton Carnival Records, New England Merchant and Farmer Account Book, Hagan Brothers Account Books, Product Cookbook Collection, Maryland Farm Diary (1879-1894), Bermis B. Brown Collection, and The Cincinnati Boss Collection. The William E. Kost Farm Records, 1939-1989 and The Kent Family Records, 1879-1933.

There are holdings in the Division of Home and Community Life (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) related to farming and agriculture including farm clothing, home arts materials such as needlework, quilts, sewing, kitchen appliances, farming implements and machinery, and 4-H objects. The Lemelson Center has assisted in acquiring objects and archival collections in the field of invention and innovation in various divisions of NMAH.
Provenance:
This collection was donated by Catherine Parlett, widow of John K. Parlett, in 2012.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Topic:
Tobacco -- 20th century  Search this
Tobacco  Search this
Poultry industry  Search this
Farmers  Search this
Farm ownership  Search this
Farm management  Search this
Tobacco farmers  Search this
Farm produce -- 1820-1850  Search this
Farm buildings  Search this
Family farms  Search this
Farm life -- 20th century  Search this
Farm equipment  Search this
Farmers' markets  Search this
Farmers -- Virginia  Search this
Dairy farms  Search this
Cotton farming  Search this
Hay  Search this
Community organization  Search this
Family  Search this
Factories  Search this
Machinery -- 1940-1990  Search this
Machinery industry  Search this
Harvesting machinery  Search this
Machinery -- 1960-1990  Search this
Agricultural machinery  Search this
Machinery  Search this
Farmers -- 1930-1950  Search this
Farmers -- 1940-1990  Search this
Farmers -- 19th century  Search this
Farmers -- 1860-1870  Search this
Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1225
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1225

Millard's Farm Equipment Directory

Collection Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Collection Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Container:
Box 42, Folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1946
Collection Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Collection Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera / Series 7: Assorted Companies, Catalogues, Periodicals, and Publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1225-ref793

National Farm Equipment Company, catalogue

Collection Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Collection Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Container:
Box 43, Folder 19
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1961
Collection Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Collection Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera / Series 7: Assorted Companies, Catalogues, Periodicals, and Publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1225-ref829

Oliver Farm Equipment Company

Collection Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Collection Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Container:
Box 47, Folder 28
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Collection Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera / Series 7: Assorted Companies, Catalogues, Periodicals, and Publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1225-ref937

Farm Equipment Schedule of Terms & Discounts

Collection Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Collection Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1980
Collection Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Collection Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera / Series 1: Allis-Chalmers, AGCO Allis, Deutz Allis
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1225-ref32

Todd Farm Equipment, Incorporated, company booklet

Collection Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Collection Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Container:
Box 37, Folder 10, 39
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1978-1979, undated
Collection Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Collection Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera / Series 6: Todd Equipment Company
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1225-ref689

Todd Farm Equipment, catalogue

Collection Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Collection Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Container:
Box 38, Folder 9-10
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1980
Collection Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Collection Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera / Series 6: Todd Equipment Company
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1225-ref708

Securo Farm Equipment

Collection Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Collection Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Container:
Box 39, Folder 25
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1919
Collection Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Collection Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera / Series 7: Assorted Companies, Catalogues, Periodicals, and Publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1225-ref739

American Thresherman and Farm Equipment

Collection Manufacturer:
Custom Auto and Equipment Sales  Search this
Collection Creator:
Parlett, John K., 1937-2005  Search this
Container:
Box 40, Folder 21
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1932
Collection Restrictions:
This collection is open for use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.
Collection Citation:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera
John K. Parlett Collection of Agricultural Ephemera / Series 7: Assorted Companies, Catalogues, Periodicals, and Publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1225-ref758

William C. Kost Farm Records

Creator:
Kost, William Elvidge  Search this
Kost, William Cassell, (farmer), 1917-1989  Search this
Source:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources  Search this
Extent:
17.66 Cubic feet (53 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Housebooks
Receipts
Place:
Illinois -- 1940-1990
Vermont (Ill.) -- 1940-1990
Date:
1939-1989
Summary:
The records of the Kost family farm, Vermont, Illinois. The farm consisted of 120 acres where small grains, hay, and cattle were raised.
Scope and Contents:
The William C. Kost Farm Records is an exhaustive collection of bills, receipts, pay-stubs, and other financial records relating to the business of a small, mid-western family farm. Beginning with Kost's employment as a bookkeeper in 1942 for local Vermont, Illinois area taverns, the financial records intensely cover the period until the year before his death in 1989. The collection is a complete financial picture of a typical mid-western farm during the post WWII period, through the agricultural boom days of the 1950s and 1960s, and into the trying agricultural times of the late 1970s and 1980s. These financial records reconstruct a day to day, week to week, and month to month, financial portrait of the Kost farm. The limited amount of correspondence found in this collection complements the financial record. Tax returns, medical, and personal expense records are all included within the collection. Kost and his wife ran the farm operation with occasional hired help. Kost also took a job off the farm to supplement the farm income.
Arrangement:
The collection is organized into three series.

Series 1, Tavern Accounts, 1939-1945

Series 2, Maryland Farm, 1946

Series 3, William C. Kost Farm, 1946-1989
Biographical / Historical:
William Cassel Kost (1917-1989) acquired land and began farming in Vermont, Illinois in 1946. The farm consisted of 120 acres where Kost raised small grains, hay, and cattle. Prior to this time, Kost had been a bookkeeper for local taverns and a tenant farmer. Over the next fifty-three years, Kost worked his own farm as well as occasionally renting land, the Maryland Farm and others. In the 1950s, Kost secured a position with Hemp & Company, later known as the King-Sealey Thermos Factory, first in a part-time capacity then as a full-time employee, retiring on disability in 1975. He continued to farm until his death in August 1989. He was married to Maxine Elvidge (1916-1987) and had one son, William Elvidge Kost (1941-).
Related Materials:
Division of Work and Industry and the Division of Home and Community Life (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) holds artifacts related to this collection.
Provenance:
Donated to the National Museum of American History, Archives Center by William E. Kost in 1993.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Farms -- 1940-1990 -- Illinois  Search this
Hay  Search this
Work and family -- 1940-1990  Search this
Wheat  Search this
Soybean  Search this
Swine  Search this
Rural families -- 1940-1990  Search this
Agriculture -- 1940-1990 -- Illinois  Search this
Livestock  Search this
Corn  Search this
Beef cattle  Search this
Family records -- 1940-1990  Search this
Family farms -- 1940-1990  Search this
Farm equipment -- 1940-1990  Search this
Farm buildings -- 1940-1990  Search this
Farmers -- 1940-1990  Search this
Farm management -- 1940-1990  Search this
Genre/Form:
Housebooks -- 1940-1990
Receipts -- 20th century
Citation:
William C. Kost Farm Records, 1939-1989, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0481
See more items in:
William C. Kost Farm Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0481

N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records

Creator:
Ayer (N W) Incorporated.  Search this
Names:
American Telephone and Telegraph Company -- Advertisements  Search this
Cunningham & Walsh.  Search this
Hixson & Jorgenson  Search this
United Air Lines, Inc. -- Advertisements  Search this
Ayer, Francis Wayland  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
O'Keeffe, Georgia , 1887-1986  Search this
Extent:
270 Cubic feet (1463 boxes, 33 map-folders, 7 films)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Business records
Interviews
Oral history
Print advertising
Proof sheets
Proofs (printed matter)
Scrapbooks
Trade literature
Tear sheets
Advertisements
Date:
1817-1851
1869-2006
Summary:
Collection consists of records documenting one of the oldest advertising agencies created in Philadelphia. The company then moves to New York and expanses to international markets. During its history NW Ayer & Sons acquires a number of other advertising agencies and is eventually purchased. The largest portion of the collection is print advertisements but also includes radio and television. NW Ayer is known for some of the slogans created for major American companies.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists primarily of proof sheets of advertisements created by NW Ayer & Son, Incorporated for their clients. These materials are in series one through thirteen and consist primarily of print advertisements. There are also billboards, radio and television commercials. The advertisements range from consumer to corporate and industrial products. The majority of the advertisements were created for Ayer's New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and international offices. Printed advertisements created by Cunningham & Walsh, Hixson & Jorgensen and Newell-Emmett are also included among these materials. Researchers who are interested in records created by Ayer in the course of operating an advertising agency will find these materials in Series fourteen-nineteen.

Series fourteen consists of advertisements created by NW Ayer & Son to promote their services to potential clients.

Series fifteen are scrapbooks of some of the earliest advertisements created by the company. Series sixteen are publications. Some of the publications were created by Ayer while others were about Ayer or the advertising industry in general. Provides good background materials and puts the company in perspective. Series eighteen are the legal records. Materials relating to employees including photographs, oral histories etc. are found in series nineteen.

Series twenty is one of the smallest amounts of materials and includes information relating to the history of NW Ayer & Son.

The container lists for series one-thirteen are part of a database and are searchable. The list has been printed for the convenience of the researcher and is included in this finding aid. Series fourteen-twenty container lists are also a part of the finding aid but are not in a searchable format.

Series 1, Scrapbooks of Client Advertisements, circa 1870-1920, is arranged into three boxes by chronological date. There are two bound scrapbooks and one box of folders containing loose scrapbook pages. NW Ayer & Son compiled an assortment of their earliest ads and placed them into scrapbooks. Besides the earliest advertisements, the scrapbooks contain requests to run advertisements, reading notices and listings of papers Ayer advertised in. The early advertisements themselves range from medical remedies to jewelry to machines to clothing to education and more. Most of the advertisements in the bound scrapbooks are dated.

Series 2, Proofsheets, circa 1870-1930, NW Ayer was fond of creating scrapbooks containing proofsheets. The series contains proofsheets created between 1892 and 1930, organized into 526 boxes. For convenience of storage, access and arrangement, the scrapbooks were disassembled and the pages placed in original order in flat archival storage boxes. The proofsheets are arranged by book number rather than client name. Usually the boxes contain a listing of the clients and sometimes the dates of the advertisements to be found within the box.

Series 3, Proofsheets, circa 1920-1975, is organized into 532 oversize boxes, and contain proofsheets and tearsheets created between 1920 and 1972. Within this series, materials are arranged alphabetically by company name (occasionally subdivided by brand or product), and thereunder chronologically by date of production. Many major, national advertisers are represented, including American Telephone & Telegraph, Armour Company, Canada Dry, Cannon Mills, Carrier Corporation, Domino Sugar, Caterpillar tractor company, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Goodyear, Hills Bros. Coffee, Ladies Home Journal, National Dairy, Plymouth (Chrysler Corporation), Steinway, TV Guide, United Airlines and the United States Army. Also contained in this series are three scrapbooks of client advertisements including Canada Dry, Ford Motor, and Victor Talking Machine.

Series 4, 2001 Addendum, circa 1976-2001, is organized into ninety three oversized boxes,one folder and contains proofsheets for select Ayer clients, created between 1975 and 2001. Within this series, materials are arranged alphabetically by client name and there under chronologically by date of production. Major national advertisers represented include American Telephone & Telegraph, Avon, the United States Army, DeBeers Consolidated Diamond Mines, Dupont, TV Guide, Sealtest, Kraft Foods, Gillette, General Motors, Cannon Mills.

Series 5, Billboards, circa 1952-1956, consists of mounted and un-mounted original art/mock-ups. Twenty-two pieces of original art created as mock-ups for Texaco billboards.

Series 6, Film and Video Commercials, 1967-1970,

Series 7, Radio and Television Materials, 1933-1993, undated, is arranged into eight boxes and includes radio scripts, television scripts, and story boards for commercials.

Subseries 7.1, Scripts and storyboards for Radio and Television Commercials, dates Scripts for radio and television commercials includes title, date, length of commercial, advertising agency, client information

NW Ayer's radio and television materials mainly focus on the American Telegraph and Telephone account. Some of Ayer's materials relate to Bell Telephone Hours.

Storyboards are used in television and film to assist the director in working with crew to tell the story. To show the viewer through the use of figures, visual effects and camera angles. When directors first start thinking about their storyboard they create a story in their mind. They think of all the camera angles, visual effects and how the figures will interact in their mind. They try to create an extraordinary story in their head to attract the viewer (YOU) In order for the storyboard to be entirely effective it can't be a passive document. When done properly, a storyboard serves as a central design, meeting the needs of many team members including graphics artists, video personnel and programmers.

Another function of a storyboard is to help the team communicate during the training development process. This communication is very important in working with a large team as in the movie King, produced in 1996. Figures help the director explain to the crew how they are going to record the film and how to present it to the audience. Sometimes the director wants special effects to be added to the film, but his budget might not be that big so the director will have to change the story to fit their budget.

The Visual Effects are an important part in the storyboards it adds a special touch of creativity to your film. Camera angles are an important expects in your film because the camera angles determine where the viewing audience will look. If you want your audience to look at a certain object you must turn their attention to it by focusing on that object and maybe you might try blocking something out. Then you will have your audience's attention and you may do whatever else you have to, it could be scaring them are just surprising them or whatever you do.

Also included is talent information and log sheets relating to the storage of the commercials.

Bell Telephone Hour Program, 1942-[19??], The Bell Telephone Hour, also known as The Telephone Hour, was a five minute musical program which began April 29, 1940 on National Broadcasting Company Radio and was heard on NBC until June 30, 1958. Sponsored by Bell Telephone showcased the best in classical and Broadway music, reaching eight to nine million listeners each week. It continued on television from 1959 to 1968.

Earlier shows featured James Melton and Francia White as soloists. Producer Wallace Magill restructured the format on April 27, 1942 into the "Great Artists Series" of concert and opera performers, beginning with Jascha Heifetz. Records indicate that the list of talents on the program included Marian Anderson, Helen Traubel, Oscar Levant, Lily Pons, Nelson Eddy, Bing Crosby, Margaret Daum, Benny Goodman, José Iturbi, Gladys Swarthout and .The series returned to radio in 1968-1969 as Bell Telephone Hour Encores, also known as Encores from the Bell Telephone Hour, featuring highlights and interviews from the original series.

National Broadcasting television specials sponsored by the Bell System, 1957-1987includes information relating to Science series, Bell system Theshold Series, Bell telephone hour and commercial and public sponsored programs

Series 8, Chicago Office Print Advertisements, 1954-1989, is arranged alphabetically by the name of the client in ninety boxes and six oversize folders. Clients include Illinois Bell Telephone (1955-1989), Microswitch (1969-1989), Teletype (1975-1984), John Deere (1974-1989) and Caterpillar (1966-1972) are particularly well represented. Other clients of interest include Dr. Scholl's shoes (circa 1968-1972), the Girl Scouts (1976-1980), Sunbeam Personal Products Company (1973-1981), Bell and Howell (1974-1983) and Alberto Culver shampoos (1967-1971), Honeywell, Incorporated, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Associations, Kraft, Incorporated, Sears, Roebuck and Company, and YMCA.

Series 9, Los Angeles Office Materials, 1950s-1987, include printed advertisements created by this office and information relating to the employees.

Subseries 9.1, Print Advertisements, 1977-1987, printed advertisements arranged in one box alphabetically by client. There is a sparse sampling of clients from this particular Ayer branch office. The majority of the advertisements contained within this series are from Pizza Hut (1986-1987). Also included are Computer Automation (1977-1978), State of the Art, Incorporated (1982) and Toshiba (1986).

Subseries 9.2, Personnel Files, 1950s-1970s, includes cards of employees who worked in the Los Angeles office. Information on the cards includes name, address, telephone number, birthday, date hired, departure date and why (retired, terminated, resigned, etc) and position. Not all cards have all information. There is also a photograph of the employees on the cards.

Series 10, Foreign Print Advertisements, 1977-1991, undated, NW Ayer maintained partnerships with international companies such as Sloanas Ayer in Argentina, Connaghan & May Paton Ayer in Australia, Moussault Ayer in Belgium, NW Ayer, LTD. in Canada, GMC Ayer in France, Co-Partner Ayer in Germany, Wong Lam Wang in Hong Kong, MacHarman Ayer in New Zealand, Grupo de Diseno Ayer in Spain, Nedeby Ayer in Sweden, and Ayer Barker in United Kingdom. This group of material is a small sampling of advertisements created from these International offices. It is arranged alphabetically by client. There are quite a few automobile advertisements (i.e. Audi, Fiat, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen). In addition there are numerous advertisements for various personal items from MacLean's toothpaste to Quick athletic shoes to Labello lip balm, etc. Most of the advertisements have the creator's name printed on the advertisements.

Series 11, Cunningham & Walsh, Incorporated Materials, 1915-1987, undated contains 98 boxes 11 folders materials from the New York advertising agency acquired by NW Ayer in the 1960s. The company began with Newel-Emmett, an agency of nine men which broke up in 1949. Two of the men Fred Walsh and Jack Cunningham formed this agency in bearing their names in 1950. The agency created "let your fingers for the walking campaign for American Telephone & Telegraph, Mother Nature for Chiffon, and Mrs. Olson for Folgers's coffee and let the good times roll for Kawasaki motorcycle. In 1986, NW Ayer Incorporated purchased Cunningham & Walsh Incorporated.

Subseries 11.1, Print Advertisements, 1915-1987, are contained in ninety eight boxes of primarily print advertisements arranged alphabetically by client name. Clients that are particularly well represented are Graybar (electrical implements, circa1926-1937), Johns-Manulle (circa1915-1971), Smith and Corono typewriters (circa 1934-1960), Sunshine Biscuit Company (circa 1925-1961), Texaco Company (circa 1936-1961), Western Electric (circa 1920- 1971) and Yellow Pages (circa 1936-1971). Cunningham and Walsh also represented several travel and tourism industry clients, including Cook Travel Services (circa 1951-1962), Italian Line (circa 1953-1961), Narragansett and Croft (circa 1956-1960) and Northwest Airlines (circa 1946-1955). There are photographs of Texaco advertisements dating from 1913-1962. There is also a scrapbook of advertisements from the Western Electric Company dating from 1920-1922.

Subseries 11.2, Radio and Television Advertisements, 1963-1967, consist of materials created for Western Electric. Materials are arranged in chronological order.

Subseries 11.3, Company Related Materials, 1962-1986, undated include client lists, information relating to NW Ayer purchase and annual report 1962.

Series 12, Hixson & Jorgensen Materials, 1953-1971, a Los Angeles advertising company, merged with Ayer in 1969. This series is housed in one box. Within the box are four scrapbooks and folders with a hodgepodge of materials relating to advertising. Of most interest are the scrapbooks. Two scrapbooks deal with Hixson and Jorgensen's self promotion ad campaign "the right appeal gets action" (1953-1957). The other two scrapbooks contain news clippings about the company and its activities (1959-1971).

Series 13, Newell-Emmet, 1942-1957, founded in 1919 and governed in the 1940s by a partnership of nine men. The partnership broke up in 1949 when the men went their separate ways. The materials consist of print advertisements for one of client, Permutit Company, a water conditioning company. The materials are arranged in one box in chronological order.

Series 14, House Print Advertisements, 1870-1991, 16 boxes consists of advertisements or self-promotion advertisements to campaign for new clients. The series is arranged chronologically by date into fifteen boxes. Within the series are two scrapbooks containing self promotion ads from 1888-1919 and 1892-1895. Numerous house ads relate to Ayer's "Human Contact" campaign. In addition to the self promotion ads, Ayer ran advertisements expounding about particular concepts or themes for example, one month the concept would "understand" while another month would be "teamwork" and yet another would be on "imagination". Some of the self promotion ads target specific groups like Philadelphia businessmen. Other advertisements incorporate the fine arts.

Series 15, Scrapbooks, 1872-1959, relates to company events, records and news clippings about Ayer's history. The six boxes are arranged by chronological date. Two of the boxes focus solely on the death of founder F.W. Ayer (1923). Another box houses a scrapbook that showcases Ayer's annual Typography Exhibition (1931-1959). One box contains a scrapbook that specifically deals with correspondences relating to Ayer's advertising. Yet another box's contents are folders of loose pages from scrapbooks that have newspaper clippings, order forms, correspondences and other company records. In one box, a bound scrapbook houses a variety of materials relating to Ayer and advertising (i.e. newspaper clippings, competitor's advertisements, NW Ayer's advertisements, correspondences for advertisements, clippings regarding the "theory of advertising."

Series 16, Publications, 1849-2006, are housed in thirty four boxes and are arranged into three main categories.

Subseries 16.1, House Publications, 1876-1994, covers diverse topics; some proscriptive works about the Ayer method in advertising, some commemorating people, anniversaries or events in the life of the agency. Materials consist of scattered issues of the employee newsletter The Next Step 1920-1921. The materials are arranged in chronological order by date of publication. Ayer in the News, The Show Windows of an Advertising Agency, 1915, book form of advertisements published on the cover of Printer's Ink, highlighting Ayer's relations with advertisers. The Story of the States, 1916, Reprint in book form of a series of articles published in Printer's Ink for the purpose of adding some pertinent fact, progressive thought and prophetic vision to the Nationalism of Advertising highlights major businesses, manufacturer, natural resources and other qualities or attractions of each state. The Book of the Golden Celebration, 1919, includes welcome address and closing remarks by founder F. Wayland Ayer, The Next Step, 1920 employee newsletter with photographs, employee profiles, in-house jokes, etc., Advertising Advertising: A Series of Fifty-two Advertisements scheduled one time a week. Twenty-seven, thirty and forty inches, a day of the week optional with publisher, 1924

Subseries 16.2, Publications about NW Ayer, 1949-2006, includes a book first published in 1939. Includes articles, documenting events and is arranged chronologically by date of publication.

Subseries 16.3, General Publications about Advertising, 1922-1974, are arranged chronologically by date of publication and relate primarily to the history of advertising.

Subseries 16.4, Publications about Other Subjects, 1948-1964, include four books about the tobacco industry primarily the history of the American Tobacco Company and Lorillard Company from the Cunningham and Walsh library.

Series 17, Business Records, circa 1885-1990s

Subseries 17.1, Contracts, 1885-1908, undated, are arranged alphabetically and span from 1885-1908. The majority of the contracts are with newspaper and magazine publishers from around the country.

Subseries 17.2, General client information, 1911-1999, undated, including active and cancelled lists with dates, client gains, historical client list, (should move this to series 20) Ayer Plan User Guide Strategic Planning for Human Contact, undated

Subseries 17.3, Individual Client Account Information, 1950s-1990s, undated, contain information used by Ayer to create advertisements for some of its clients. American Telephone &Telegraph Corporate Case History, American Telephone &Telegraph Corporate advertisement memo, commissioned artists for DeBeers advertisements, DeBeers information relating to the creative process and photography credits, a case history for DeBeers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., The Diamond Engagement Ring, Managing Communication at all levels, DuPont publications, JC Penny Marketing Communication Plan Recommendation, Leaf, Incorporated, Saturn presentation, and USAREC oral presentation.

Subseries 17.4, Potential Clients, 1993, includes grouping has a questionnaire sent to Ayer by a potential client. Questionnaire response for Prudential Securities, 1993 Prudential Securities advertising account review, 1993.

Subseries 17.5, Financial Records, 1929-1938, includes balance sheet, 1929 May 1 Balance sheet and adjustments Consolidated statement of assets and liabilities, Expenses 191936-37 Business review and expenses, 1937 and 1938 Business review and expenses comparative statement, 1937 and 1938.

Series 18, Legal Records, circa 1911-1982, Ayer's legal records are arranged by twelve subject groupings within four boxes. The twelve groupings are advertising service agreements (circa 1918-1982), bylaws, copyright claims, correspondences, international correspondences, dissolution of trusts, stock information, agreements between partners, incorporation materials, reduction of capital, property information and miscellaneous materials. The bulk of the materials are the advertising service agreements. These agreements are between Ayer and their clients and state the services Ayer will offer and at what cost. The bylaws are Ayer's company bylaws from 1969 and 1972. The copyright claims are certificates stating Ayer's ownership over certain published materials (i.e. "Policy", Media Equalizer Model, and Don Newman's Washington Square Experiment). The correspondences relate to either the voting trust and receipts for agreement or the New York Corporation. The international correspondences are from either Ayer's Canadian office or London office. The dissolutions of trusts contains materials about the dividend trust of Wilfred F. Fry, the investment trust of Winfred W. Fry, the voting trust, and the New York corporation. The stock information has stock certificates and capital stock information. The agreements between partners (1911-1916) specify the terms between F.W. Ayer and his partners. The incorporation materials (circa 1929-1977) deal with Ayer advertising agency becoming incorporated in the state of Delaware. The reduction of capital grouping is a notification that shares of stock have been retired. The property information grouping contains property deeds and insurance policy (circa 1921-1939), a property appraisal (1934), and a bill of sale (1948). The miscellaneous grouping contains a house memo regarding a set of board meeting minutes and a registry of foreign companies in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1929-1954).

Subseries 18.1, Advertising Service Agreements, 1918-1982

Subseries 18.2, Bylaw Materials, 1969-1972

Subseries 18.3, Copyright Claims, 1962-1969

Subseries 18.4, Correspondence, 1928-1933

Subseries 18.5, International Office Correspondence, 1947-1948

Subseries 18.6, Dissolution of Trusts, 1934-1937

Subseries 18.7, Stock Information, 1934-1974

Subseries 18.8, Agreements between Partners, 1911-1916

Subseries 18.9, Incorporation Materials, 1929-1977

Subseries 18.10, Certificates of Reduction of Capital, 1937; 1975

Subseries 18.11, Property Information, 1921-1948

Subseries 18.12, Miscellaneous Materials, 1929-1977

Series 19, Personnel Records, circa 1889-2001, are arranged into eight groupings within eight boxes. The groupings are employee card files, photographs, Ayer alumni, biographies, speeches, recollections, oral histories, and miscellaneous. Typed manuscript of book A Copy Writer Speaks by George Cecil, NW Ayer, Incorporated copy head 1920s-1950s

Subseries 19.1, Employee card files, circa 1892-1915; 1929-1963, consists of index cards with the name, age, job title, date and wage increases, date of hire/fire, as well as remarks about the employee's service and/or reasons for seeking or leaving the job. Materials are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the employee within three boxes.

Subseries 19.2, Photographs, circa 1924-1984, undated, are housed in two boxes. The photographs grouped together by subjects i.e. personnel, company events, Ayer buildings, and miscellaneous. This grouping primarily consists of personnel photographs. Includes a glass plate negative dated 1924 of NW Ayer.

Subseries 19.3, Ayer Alumni, circa 1989-98, include employees who have left Ayer. There is a listing of Ayer "graduates" and their current job. Emeritus, Ayer's alumni newsletter 1989-1996, makes up the majority of materials in this grouping. The newsletter keeps the alumni up to date with the happenings of Ayer and what has become of former Ayer employees. Emeritus is a quarterly newsletter devoted to the activities, thoughts and feelings of Ayer alumni a body of people who consists of retirees and former employees.

Subseries 19.4, Biographical Information, circa 1889-1994, undated, prominent members of Ayer's operations had biographical sketches completed of them. This was true for the bio sketches of Robert Ervin, Louis T. Hagopian, and George A. Rink. There is a substantial file on Dorothy Dignam ("Mis Dig"), a leading woman in the advertising world from the 1930s to the 1950s. Also of interest is a video ("The Siano Man") compiled by Ayer employees to commemorate Jerry Siano's retirement from Ayer in 1994. The series is arranged alphabetically by last name.

Subseries 19.5, Speeches, circa 1919-1931; 1975, contains speeches made by Wilfred W. Fry and Neal W. O'Connor. Wilfred W. Fry had various speaking engagements connected with Ayer. Contained in this group is a sampling of his speeches from 1919 to 1931. Neal O'Connor's speech "Advertising: Who Says It's a Young People's Business" was given at the Central Region Convention for the American Association of Advertising Agencies in Chicago on November 6, 1975. The speeches are arranged alphabetically by the speaker's last name.

Subseries 19.6, Recollections, 1954-1984, undated, are arranged alphabetically by last name. These are recollections from Ayer employees about the company and its advertisements. Some recollections are specifically about certain types of advertisements, like farm equipment while others reflect on F. W. Ayer and the company.

Subseries 19.7, Oral History Interview Transcripts, 1983-1985; 1989-1991, include interviews with key NW Ayer personnel, conducted by Ayer alumnae Howard Davis, Brad Lynch and Don Sholl (Vice President creative) for the Oral History Program. The materials are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the interviewee.

Subseries 19.8, Oral History Interview Audio Tapes, 1985-1990, include interviews on audiotape the materials are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the interviewee.

Subseries 19.9, Internal Communications, 1993-1999, includes information sent to employees relating to retirements, management changes, awards won by the company, promotions, potential new accounts, free items, grand opening of Ayer Café, donation events, sponsorship programs, holiday schedules, discounts for employees from clients, Ayer joins MacManus Group.

Subseries 19.10, General Materials, 1940; 1970, includes agency directory entry including a list of the employees, 1970s, annual banquet program for the Curfew Club May 22, 1940 a group formed by the Philadelphia employee in 1938. It sponsored numerous sports, social and educational activities. Groups were formed in public speaking, music appreciation and a series of talks on Monday evenings title the modern woman. The front page was a series of talks for general interest. A list of officers, 1991, Twenty five year club membership, 1973 December 1, List of NW Ayer graduates, 1970, List of Officers, 1991 May 31, Obituary for Leo Lionni, 1999 October 17, List of photographers of advertisements, 2001

Series 20, Background and History Information, 1817-1999, undated includes a chronology, 1817-1990, quick reference timeline, 1848-1923, loose pages from a scrapbook containing examples of correspondence, envelopes, advertisements dating from 1875-1878; slogans coined by NW Ayer & Sons, Incorporated, 1899-1990, history of management, 1909-1923, articles and photographs about the building and art galleries, 1926-1976, publications about the Philadelphia building, 1929, pamphlet relating to memories of NW Ayer & Sons, Incorporated, 1930s-1950s, television history, 1940-1948, Article about the history of the company, 1950 January, pocket guide, 1982, AdWeek reports about standings for advertising agencies, information relating to Human Contact which is NW Ayer's Information relating to Human Contact, undated which is their philosophy on advertising.

Series 21, Materials Created by other Advertising Agencies, 1945-1978, undated, consists of print advertisements collected by Ayer from other major advertising companies. The companies include Doyle Dane Bernback, Incorporated, Leo Burnett Company, Grey Advertising Agency, D'Arcy Ad Agency, Scali, McCabe, Sloves, Incorporated and Erwin Wasey Company. The materials are arranged in alphabetical order by client and include products from Ralston Purina and Van Camp (Chicken of the Sea), Kellogg, American Export Lines and No Nonsense Fashions.

Series 22, 2010 Addendum of Print Advertisements, circa 1879s-1999, undated, includes material given to the Archives Center in 2010. It is organized into seventy one oversized boxes and contains proofsheets of print advertisements for select Ayer clients. These are arranged alphabetically by client name and include substantial quantities of materials from American Telephone &Telegraph (1945-1996), Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (1967-1987), Carrier (1971-1981), Citibank (1973-1991), DeBeers (1940s-1960s and1990s), Electric Companies Advertising Program [ECAP] (1942-1970s), General Motors (1989-1998), J.C. Penney (1983-1986), Newsweek (1966-1975), and Proctor and Gamble (1980s-1890s). There are also numerous other clients represented by smaller quantities of materials.

Subseries 22.1, Print Advertisements, 1930-1990, undated

Subseries 22.2, Print Advertisements on Glass Plate Negatives, 1879-1881, undated, include Cannon towels, Cheny Brothers silks, Cornish & Company organs and pianos, Enterprise Manufacturing Company, 1879 sad iron, an ad from Harper's Weekly 1881 for ladies clothing, Ostermoor & Company mattresses, Pear's soap, Porter's cough balsam, Steinway pianos.

Series 23, Microfilm of Print Advertisements, circa 1908-1985, consists of three boxes of printed advertisements for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Some of the same advertisements might also be found in series two, three and four.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into twenty-three series.

Series 1: Scrapbooks of Client Print Advertisements, circa 1870-1920

Series 2: Proofsheets, circa 1870-1930

Series 3: Proofsheets, circa 1920-1975

Series 4: 2001 Addendum, circa 1976-2001

Series 5: Billboards, circa 1952-1956

Series 6: Audiovisual Materials

Series 7: Radio and Television Materials, 1933-1993, undated

Series 8: Chicago Office Print Advertisements, 1954-1989

Series 9: Los Angeles Office Materials, 1950s-1987

Subseries 9.1: Printed Advertisements, 1977-1987

Subseries 9.2: Personnel Files, 1950s-1970s

Series 10: Foreign Print Advertisements, 1977-1991, undated

Series 11: Cunningham & Walsh Incorporated Materials, 1915-1987, undated

Subseries 11.1: Printed Advertisements, 1915-1987

Subseries 11.2: Radio and Television Advertisements, 1963-1967

Subseries 11.3: Company Related Materials, 1962-1986, undated

Series 12: Hixson & Jorgensen Materials, 1953-1971, undated

Series 13: Newell-Emmet, 1942-1957

Series 14: House Print Advertisements, 1870-1991

Series 15: Scrapbooks, 1872-1959

Series 16: Publications, 1849-2006

Subseries 16.1: House Publications, 1876-1994

Subseries 16.2: Publications about NW Ayer, 1949-1995

Subseries 16.3: General Publications about Advertising, 1922-2006

Subseries 16.4: Publications about other Subjects, 1948-1964

Series 17, Business Records, circa 1885-1990s

Subseries 17.1: Contracts, 1885-1908, undated

Subseries 17.2: General Client Information, 1911-1999, undated

Subseries 17.3: Individual Client Account Information, 1950s-1990s, undated

Subseries 17.4: Potential Clients, 1993

Subseries 17.5: Financial Records, 1929-1938

Series 18: Legal Records, circa 1911-1984

Subseries 18.1: Advertising Service Agreements, 1918-1982

Subseries 18.2: Bylaw Materials, 1969-1972

Subseries 18.3, Copyright Claims, 1962-1969

Subseries 18.4: Correspondence, 1928-1933

Subseries 18.5: International Office Correspondence, 1947-1948

Subseries 18.6: Dissolution of Trusts, 1934-1937

Subseries 18.7: Stock Information, 1934-1974

Subseries 18.8: Agreements between Partners, 1911-1916

Subseries 18.9: Incorporation Materials, 1929-1977

Subseries 18.10: Certificates of Reduction of Capital, 1937; 1975

Subseries 18.11: Property Information

Subseries 18.12: Miscellaneous Materials, 1929-1977

Series 19: Employee Materials, circa 1889-2001

Subseries 19.1: Employee Card files, circa 1892-1915; 1929-1963

Subseries 19.2: Photographs, circa 1924-1984, undated

Subseries 19.3: Alumni Publications, circa 1989-1998

Subseries 19.4: Biographical Information, circa 1889-1994

Subseries 19.5: Speeches, circa 1919-1931; 1975

Subseries 19.6: Recollections, 1954-1984, undated

Subseries 19.7: Oral History Interview Transcripts, 1983-1985; 1989-1991

Subseries 19.8: Oral History Audiotapes, 1985-1990

Subseries 19.9: Internal Communications, 1993-1999

Subseries 19.1: General Materials, 1940-2001

Series 20: History and Background Information about the Company, 1817-1999, undated

Series 21: Materials Created by other Advertising Agencies, 1945-1978, undated

Series 22: 2010 Addendum of Print Advertisements, circa 1879s-1990s, undated

Subseries 22.1: Print Advertisements, 1930-1990, undated

Subseries 22.2: Print Advertisements on Glass Plate Negatives, 1879-1881, undated

Series 23: Microfilm of Print Advertisements, circa 1908-1985
Biographical / Historical:
Founded in Philadelphia in 1869, NW Ayer & Son is one of the oldest and largest advertising agencies in America. For most of its history, it was the undisputed leader and innovator in the field of advertising. In 1876, NW Ayer & Son pioneered the "open contract", a revolutionary change in the method of billing for advertising which became the industry standard for the next hundred years. NW Ayer pioneered the use of fine art in advertising and established the industry's first art department. It was the first agency to use a full-time copywriter and the first to institute a copy department. The agency relocated to New York City in 1974. During its long history, the agency's clients included many "blue-chip" clients, including American Telephone & Telegraph, DeBeers Consolidated Diamond Mines, Ford Motor Company, Nabisco, R. J. Reynolds and United Airlines. However, in later years, the Ayer's inherent conservatism left the agency vulnerable to the creative revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, the advertising industry restructuring of the 1980s and the economic recession of the early 1990s. The agency was bought out by a Korean investor in 1993. In 1996, NW Ayer merged with another struggling top twenty United States advertising agency, Darcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles, under the umbrella of the McManus Group. Ayer continues to operate as a separate, full-service agency.

Through a series of buyouts and mergers, Ayer traces its lineage to the first advertising agency founded in the United States, a Philadelphia agency begun by Volney Palmer in 1841. Palmer began his career in advertising as a newspaper agent, acting as middleman between newspaper publishers and advertisers across the country. By 1849, Palmer had founded his own newspaper, V. B. Palmer's Register and Spirit of the Press, and had developed a complete system of advertising which included securing advertising space and placing ads in scores of commercial, political, religious, scientific and agricultural journals across the country. Palmer went one step further than the "space jobbers" of the day when he began offering "advertisements carefully drawn for those who have not the time to prepare an original copy." Always an enthusiastic promoter of advertising as an incentive to trade and American economic growth, Palmer promised advertisers that "every dollar paid for advertising in country newspapers will pay back twenty-fold" and encouraged skeptical consumers that "he who wishes to buy cheap should buy of those who advertise." When Palmer died in 1863, the agency was bought by his bookkeeper, John Joy, who joined with another Philadelphia advertising agency to form Joy, Coe & Sharpe. That agency was bought out again in 1868 and renamed Coe, Wetherill & Company. In 1877, Coe, Wetherill and Company was bought out by the newly formed NW Ayer & Son.

Francis Wayland Ayer was an ambitious young schoolteacher with an entrepreneurial streak. Having worked for a year soliciting advertisements on a commission basis for the publisher of the National Baptist weekly, Francis Ayer saw the potential to turn a profit as an advertising agent. In 1869, Ayer persuaded his father, Nathan Wheeler Ayer, to join him in business, and with an initial investment of only $250.00, NW Ayer & Son was born. Notwithstanding a smallpox epidemic in Philadelphia in 1871 and the general economic depression of the early 1870s, the agency flourished. The senior Ayer died in 1873, leaving his interest in the agency to his wife, but Francis W. Ayer bought her out, consolidating his interest in the company's management. In 1877, with Coe, Wetherill & Company (the successor to Palmer's 1841 agency) on the verge of bankruptcy and heavily indebted to Ayer for advertising it had placed in Ayer publications, Ayer assumed ownership of that agency. Thus did NW Ayer lay claim to being the oldest advertising agency in the country.

Both Nathan Wheeler and Francis Wayland Ayer began their careers as schoolteachers, and one of their legacies was a commitment to the cause of education: correspondence schools and institutions of higher learning were historically well-represented among Ayer clients. Just after World War I, the agency was heralded as "co-founder of more schools than any citizen of this country" for its conspicuous efforts to advertise private schools. Well into the 1960s, an "Education Department" at Ayer prepared advertisements for over three hundred private schools, camps and colleges, representing almost half the regional and national advertising done for such institutions. In fact, to its clients Ayer presented advertising itself as being akin to a system of education. In 1886, Ayer began promoting the virtues of the Ayer way advertising with the slogan, "Keeping Everlastingly at It Brings Success."

The agency's goals were simple: "to make advertising pay the advertiser, to spend the advertiser's money as though it were our own, to develop, magnify and dignify advertising as a business." Initially, Ayer's fortunes were tied to newspapers, and the agency began to make a name for itself as compiler and publisher of a widely used American Newspaper Annual. During the first years, Ayer's singular goal was "to get business, place it [in newspapers] and get money for it"; after several years as an independent space broker, however, Francis Ayer resolved "not to be an order taker any longer." This decision led NW Ayer and Son to a change in its mode of conducting business which would revolutionize the advertising industry: in 1876, Ayer pioneered the "open contract" with Diggee & Conard, Philadelphia raised growers and agricultural suppliers. Prior to the open contract, NW Ayer & Sons and most agencies operated as "space-jobbers," independent wholesalers of advertising space, in which the opportunities for graft and corrupt practices were virtually unlimited. In contrast, the open contract, wherein the advertiser paid a fixed commission based on the volume of advertising placed, aligned the advertising agent firmly on the side of the advertiser and gave advertisers access to the actual rates charged by newspapers and religious journals. The open contract with a fixed commission has been hailed by advertising pioneer Albert Lasker as one of the "three great landmarks in advertising history." (The other two were Lasker's own development of "reason-why" advertising copy and J. Walter Thompson's pioneering of sex appeal in an advertisement for Woodbury's soap.) Although the transition to the open contract did not happen overnight, by 1884, nearly three-quarters of Ayer's advertising billings were on an open contract basis. Since Ayer was, by the 1890s, the largest agency in America, the switch to direct payment by advertisers had a significant impact on the advertising industry, as other agencies were forced to respond to Ayer's higher standard. Just as important, the open contract helped to establish N W Ayer's long-standing reputation for "clean ethics and fair dealing" -- a reputation the agency has guarded jealously for over a century. The open contract also helped to establish Ayer as a full service advertising agency and to regularize the production of advertising in-house. From that point forward, Ayer routinely offered advice and service beyond the mere placement of advertisements. Ayer set another milestone for the industry in 1888, when Jarvis Wood was hired as the industry's first full-time copywriter. Wood was joined by a second full time copywriter four years later, and the Copy Department was formally established in 1900. The industry's first Art Department grew out of the Copy Department when Ayer hired its first commercial artist to assist with copy preparation in 1898; twelve years later Ayer became the first agency to offer the services of a full time art director, whose sole responsibility was the design and illustration of ads.

Ayer's leadership in the use of fine art in advertising has roots in this period, but achieved its highest expression under the guidance of legendary art director Charles Coiner. Coiner joined Ayer in 1924, after graduating from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Despite early resistance from some clients, Coiner was adamant that "the use of outstanding palette and original art forms bring a greater return in readership, in impact and prestige for the advertiser." To this end, Coiner marshaled the talents of notable painters, illustrators and photographers, including N.C. Wyeth and Rockwell Kent (Steinway), Georgia O'Keefe (Dole), Leo Lionni (DuPont), Edward Steichen (Steinway, Cannon Mills), Charles Sheeler (Ford), and Irving Penn (DeBeers). Coiner believed that there was a practical side to the use of fine art in advertising, and his success (and Ayer's) lay in the marriage of research and copywriting with fine art, an arrangement Coiner termed "art for business sake." Coiner's efforts won both awards and attention for a series completed in the 1950s for the Container Corporation of America. Titled "Great Ideas of Western Man" the campaign featured abstract and modern paintings and sculpture by leading U.S. and foreign artists, linked with Western philosophical writings in an early example of advertising designed primarily to bolster corporate image. In 1994, Charles Coiner was posthumously named to the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Fame, the first full time art director ever chosen for that honor.

Coiner and fellow art director Paul Darrow also created legendary advertising with the "A Diamond Is Forever" campaign for DeBeers; ads featured the work of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and other modernist painters. The "A Diamond is Forever" tagline was written in 1949 by Frances Gerety, a woman copywriter at Ayer from 1943 to 1970. In 1999, Ad Age magazine cited "A Diamond is Forever" as the most memorable advertising slogan of the twentieth century.

Coiner also earned respect for his volunteer government service during World War II; he designed the armbands for civil defense volunteers and logos for the National Recovery Administration and Community Chest. As a founding member of the Advertising Council in 1945, Ayer has had a long-standing commitment to public service advertising. In the mid-1980s, Ayer became a leading force in the Reagan-era "War on Drugs". Lou Hagopian, Ayer's sixth CEO, brokered the establishment of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a media coalition which generated as much as a million dollars a day in donated advertising space and time to prevent the use and abuse of illegal drugs. Famous names appear among NW Ayer's clientele from the very earliest days of the agency. Retailer John Wanamaker, Jay Cooke and Company, and Montgomery Ward's mail-order business were among the first Ayer clients. The agency has represented at least twenty automobile manufacturers, including Cadillac, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Plymouth, and Rolls-Royce. Other major, long-term clients through the years have included American Telephone & Telegraph, Canada Dry, Cannon Mills, Hills Bros. Coffee Company, Kellogg's, R. J. Reynolds, Steinway and Sons, United Airlines, and the United States Army. By the time of Ayer's hundredth anniversary in 1969, some of these companies had been Ayer clients for decades if not generations, and the longevity of those relationships was for many years a source of Ayer's strength.

But the advertising industry began to change in the late 1960s and 1970s, due in part to a "creative revolution." Small advertising agencies won attention with provocative copywriting and art direction that more closely resembled art than advertising. Advances in market research allowed clients to more narrowly tailor their advertising messages to distinct groups of consumers, and this led to a rise in targeted marketing which could more readily be doled out to specialized small agencies than to larger, established firms like NW Ayer & Son. The civil rights and anti-war movements also contributed to increasing public skepticism with the values of corporate America, and by extension, with some national advertising campaigns. Older, more conservative firms like Ayer were hard pressed to meet these new challenges.

About 1970, in an effort to meet these challenges and to establish a foothold on the West Coast, Ayer bought out two smaller agencies--Hixson & Jorgenson (Los Angeles) and Frederick E. Baker (Seattle). The agency relocated from Philadelphia to New York City in 1974 in an attempt both to consolidate operations (Ayer had operated a New York office since the 1920s) and to be closer to the historic center of the advertising industry. Riding the wave of mergers that characterized the advertising industry in the late 1980s and 1990s, Ayer continued to grow through the acquisition of Cunningham & Walsh in 1986 and Rink Wells in 19xx.

During this transitional period, Ayer received widespread acclaim for its work for the United States Army, which included the widely recognized slogan "Be All You Can Be". Ayer first acquired the Army recruitment account in 1967 and with help from its direct marketing arm, the agency was widely credited with helping the Army reach its recruitment goals despite an unpopular war and plummeting enlistments after the elimination of the draft in 1973. Ayer held the account for two decades, from the Vietnam War through the Cold War, but lost the account in 1986 amid government charges that an Ayer employee assigned to the account accepted kickbacks from a New York film production house. Despite Ayer's position as the country's 18th largest agency (with billings of $880 million in 1985), the loss of the agency's second largest account hit hard.

NW Ayer made up for the loss of the $100 million dollar a year Army account and made headlines for being on the winning end of the largest account switch in advertising history to date, when fast food giant Burger King moved its $200 million dollar advertising account from arch-rival J. Walter Thompson in 1987. Burger King must have had drive-thru service in mind, however, and Ayer made headlines again when it lost the account just eighteen months later in another record-breaking account switch. Another devastating blow to the agency was the loss of its lead position on the American Telegraph and Telephone account. Ayer pioneered telecommunications advertising in 1908, when the agency was selected to craft advertising for the Bell System's universal telephone service. Despite valiant efforts to keep an account the agency had held for most of the twentieth century, and for which they had written such memorable corporate slogans as American Telephone &Telegraph "The Voice with a Smile" and "Reach Out and Touch Someone", the agency lost the account in 1996.

After a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the late 1980s, the economic recession of the early 1990s hit Madison Avenue hard, and Ayer was particularly vulnerable. Despite the agency's long history and roster of "blue-chip" clients, Ayer was not known for cutting-edge creative work. Moreover, though the agency had offices overseas, Ayer had never built a strong multinational presence, and many of the smaller international offices were sold during the financial turmoil of the 1980s. This left a real void in the new climate of global marketplace consolidation. By about 1990, earnings were declining (although Ayer was still among the top twenty United States agencies in billings), and the agency was suffering from client defections, high management turnover, expensive real estate commitments and deferred executive compensation deals, all fallout of the high-flying 1980s. This was the atmosphere in 1993, when W.Y. Choi, a Korean investor who had already assembled a media and marketing empire in his homeland, began looking for an American partner to form an international advertising network. Jerry Siano, the former creative director who had recently been named Ayer's seventh CEO, was in no position to refuse Choi's offer of $35 million to buy the now floundering agency. The infusion of cash was no magic bullet, however. Choi took a wait-and-see approach, allowing his partner Richard Humphreys to make key decisions about Ayer's future, including the purging of senior executives and the installation of two new CEOs in as many years.

The agency's downward trend continued with the loss of another longtime client, the DeBeers diamond cartel in 1995. Adweek reported that Ayer's billings fell from $892 million in 1990 to less than $850 million in 1995. Several top executives defected abruptly, and the agency failed to attract major new accounts. Ayer was facing the loss not merely of revenue and personnel, but the loss of much of the respect it once commanded. Ayer remained among the twenty largest U.S. agencies, but an aura of uncertainty hung over the agency like a cloud. A new CEO was appointed, and Mary Lou Quinlan became the agency's first woman CEO in 1995. A year later, Ayer and another struggling top twenty agency, D'arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles, combined as part of the McManus Group of companies. In 1998, the McManus Group had worldwide billings of more than $6.5 billion.

Under the McManus Group, Ayer was able to expand its international operations and begin to rebuild a stronger global presence. Several important new clients were won in 1997 and 1998, including Avon, General Motors, Kitchenaid, several Procter & Gamble brands and, most notably, Continental Airlines worldwide accounts. Born in the nineteenth century, Ayer may be one of a very few advertising agencies to successfully weather the economic and cultural transitions of both the twentieth and twentieth first centuries. Ayer was eventually acquired by the Publicis Groupe based in Paris, France which closed down the N.W. Ayer offices in 2002.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC0060)

Hills Bros. Coffee Incorporated Records (AC0395)
Provenance:
The collection was donated by N W Ayer ABH International, April 15, 1975 and by Ayer & Partners, October 30, 1996.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must use microfilm copy. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audiovisual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.

Technical Access: Viewing the film portion of the collection without reference copies requires special appointment, please inquire; listening to audio discs requires special arrangement. Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. Publication and production quality duplication is restricted due to complex copyright, publicity rights, and right to privacy issues. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff. Potential users must receive written permission from appropriate rights holders prior to obtaining high quality copies.
Topic:
Advertising agencies  Search this
advertising  Search this
Genre/Form:
Business records -- 1840-2000
Interviews -- 1980-2000
Oral history -- 1980-1990
Print advertising
Proof sheets
Proofs (printed matter)
Scrapbooks -- 1840-1990
Trade literature
Tear sheets
Advertisements
Citation:
NW Ayer & Sons, incorporated Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0059
See more items in:
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0059
Online Media:

John Deere, farm equipment, tractors

Collection Creator:
Ayer (N W) Incorporated.  Search this
Container:
Box 4 (Series 8), Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1979
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must use microfilm copy. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audiovisual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.

Technical Access: Viewing the film portion of the collection without reference copies requires special appointment, please inquire; listening to audio discs requires special arrangement. Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. Publication and production quality duplication is restricted due to complex copyright, publicity rights, and right to privacy issues. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff. Potential users must receive written permission from appropriate rights holders prior to obtaining high quality copies.
Collection Citation:
NW Ayer & Sons, incorporated Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records / Series 8: Chicago Office Print Advertisements
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0059-ref1531

John Deere, farm equipment, tractors

Collection Creator:
Ayer (N W) Incorporated.  Search this
Container:
Box 4 (Series 8), Folder 7
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1979
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must use microfilm copy. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audiovisual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.

Technical Access: Viewing the film portion of the collection without reference copies requires special appointment, please inquire; listening to audio discs requires special arrangement. Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. Publication and production quality duplication is restricted due to complex copyright, publicity rights, and right to privacy issues. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff. Potential users must receive written permission from appropriate rights holders prior to obtaining high quality copies.
Collection Citation:
NW Ayer & Sons, incorporated Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records / Series 8: Chicago Office Print Advertisements
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0059-ref1532

John Deere, farm equipment, tractors

Collection Creator:
Ayer (N W) Incorporated.  Search this
Container:
Box 4 (Series 8), Folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1979
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must use microfilm copy. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audiovisual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.

Technical Access: Viewing the film portion of the collection without reference copies requires special appointment, please inquire; listening to audio discs requires special arrangement. Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. Publication and production quality duplication is restricted due to complex copyright, publicity rights, and right to privacy issues. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff. Potential users must receive written permission from appropriate rights holders prior to obtaining high quality copies.
Collection Citation:
NW Ayer & Sons, incorporated Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records / Series 8: Chicago Office Print Advertisements
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0059-ref1533

John Deere, farm equipment, tractors

Collection Creator:
Ayer (N W) Incorporated.  Search this
Container:
Box 4 (Series 8), Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1979
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must use microfilm copy. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audiovisual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.

Technical Access: Viewing the film portion of the collection without reference copies requires special appointment, please inquire; listening to audio discs requires special arrangement. Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. Publication and production quality duplication is restricted due to complex copyright, publicity rights, and right to privacy issues. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff. Potential users must receive written permission from appropriate rights holders prior to obtaining high quality copies.
Collection Citation:
NW Ayer & Sons, incorporated Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records / Series 8: Chicago Office Print Advertisements
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0059-ref1534

John Deere, farm equipment, tractors

Collection Creator:
Ayer (N W) Incorporated.  Search this
Container:
Box 4 (Series 8), Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1979
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must use microfilm copy. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audiovisual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.

Technical Access: Viewing the film portion of the collection without reference copies requires special appointment, please inquire; listening to audio discs requires special arrangement. Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply. Publication and production quality duplication is restricted due to complex copyright, publicity rights, and right to privacy issues. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff. Potential users must receive written permission from appropriate rights holders prior to obtaining high quality copies.
Collection Citation:
NW Ayer & Sons, incorporated Advertising Agency Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records
N W Ayer Advertising Agency Records / Series 8: Chicago Office Print Advertisements
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0059-ref1535

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