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Oral history interview with Richard Gray, 2007 Dec. 9

Interviewee:
Gray, Richard, 1928-2018  Search this
Gray, Richard, 1928-2018  Search this
Interviewer:
McElhinney, James, 1952-  Search this
Subject:
Boris, Harry  Search this
Fabricant, Andrew  Search this
Gray, Paul  Search this
Klamen, David  Search this
Plensa, Jaume  Search this
Louis, Morris  Search this
De Kooning, Willem  Search this
Olitski, Jules  Search this
Gaudí, Antoni  Search this
Emmerich, André  Search this
Stone, Allan  Search this
Noland, Kenneth  Search this
University of Illinois.  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Color-field painting  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Theme:
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13670
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)274486
AAA_collcode_gray07
Theme:
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_274486
Online Media:

Leo Baekeland Diary Volume 60

Author:
Baekeland, L. H. (Leo Hendrik), 1863-1944  Search this
Collection Creator:
Baekeland, L. H. (Leo Hendrik), 1863-1944  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (6.0" x 3.5")
Container:
Box 22, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Diaries
Date:
1940 January 1-1941 February 3
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Family -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Diaries -- 20th century
Collection Citation:
Leo Baekeland Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Leo H. Baekeland Papers
Leo H. Baekeland Papers / Series 4: Diaries
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0005-ref349
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Leo Baekeland Diary Volume 60 digital asset number 1

Oral history interview with Willard Cummings, 1973 March 20

Interviewee:
Cummings, Willard Warren, 1915-1975  Search this
Cummings, Willard Warren, 1915-1975  Search this
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul, 1933-1997  Search this
Subject:
Hale, Philip Leslie  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor  Search this
Peirce, Waldo  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12296
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212049
AAA_collcode_cummin73
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212049

Oral history interview with Charles Duback, 2004 December 15-2005 May 18

Interviewee:
DuBack, Charles S. (Charles Steven), 1926-  Search this
DuBack, Charles S. (Charles Steven), 1926-  Search this
Interviewer:
Larsen, Susan C., 1946-  Search this
Subject:
Pinette, Dennis  Search this
Grooms, Red  Search this
Ortman, George  Search this
Stout, Myron  Search this
Katz, Alex  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum  Search this
Langlais, Bernard  Search this
Grillo, John  Search this
Dugmore, Edward  Search this
McNeil, George  Search this
Landmark Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Collage  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11927
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)254273
AAA_collcode_duback04
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_254273
Online Media:

Reuben Tam papers

Creator:
Tam, Reuben  Search this
Names:
Alan Gallery (Charles Alan)  Search this
Brooklyn Museum of Art  Search this
Coe Kerr Gallery  Search this
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Andrews, Dorothy, 1918-2008  Search this
Kienbusch, William, 1914-1980  Search this
Nesjar, Carl, 1920-  Search this
Solomon, Hyde, 1911-  Search this
Extent:
9.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Poems
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Watercolors
Drawings
Date:
1931-2006
Summary:
The papers of landscape painter and educator Reuben Tam measure 9.2 linear feet and date from 1931 to 2006. The papers document his career as a painter in New York, Maine, and Hawaii through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, art organizations, schools, and galleries; diaries, poetry, and other writings; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, other printed material; photographs; artwork, including seventeen sketchbooks; and eight scrapbooks.

There is a 1.1 linear foot unprocessed addition to the collection donated in 2020 that includes 34 sketchbooks, circa 1940-1974, by Tam from his time in New York, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Alaska and Canada.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of landscape painter and educator Reuben Tam measure 9.2 linear feet and date from 1931 to 2006. The papers document his career as a painter in New York, Maine, and Hawaii through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, art organizations, schools, and galleries; diaries, poetry, and other writings; exhibition catalogs, news clippings, other printed material; photographs; artwork, including seventeen sketchbooks; and eight scrapbooks. There is a 1.1 linear foot unprocessed addition to the collection donated in 2020 that includes 34 sketchbooks, circa 1940-1974, by Tam from his time in New York, Hawaii, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Alaska and Canada.

Biographical material includes school documents, records of his tenure as an instructor at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School, artwork consignment and sales records, and slides and accompanying audio cassette recording of the "Reuben Tam Show" about his work as an artist on Monhegan Island, Maine.

Correspondence is with family, fellow artists, including William Kienbusch and Hyde Solomon, as well as art organizations, schools, and museums, such as Brooklyn Museum of Art School, Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Maine Coast Artists group, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is correspondence with the three galleries which represented his work: Downtown Gallery, Alan Gallery, and Coe Kerr Gallery.

The collection includes five bound diaries as well as diary entries written by Reuben Tam on loose sheets of paper, primarily documenting the 1940s. Other writings include drafts of poetry, one notebook, miscellaneous notes, and essays by others.

Printed material consists of school publications, exhibition catalogs and announcements for solo and group shows, brochures, flyers, magazines, bulletins, and news clippings. Eight scrapbooks found in this collection also include newspaper clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, as well as event invitations, membership cards, and letters, documenting 40 years of Reuben Tam's career.

Photographs are of Reuben Tam, Tam with friends and family, and artwork. One photograph album contains photographs from Tam's visits to Maine from 1946 to 1948, and includes photographs of fellow artists Hyde Solomon, Carl Nesjar, Dorothy Andrews, and William Kienbusch. Artwork in the collection includes prints, drawings, and watercolors as well as seventeen large sketchbooks documenting the coastal landscape of Monhegan Island, Maine.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1934-1993 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1931-2006 (Box 1-4; 3.5 linear feet)

Series 3: Diaries, 1932-1974 (Box 4-5; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings, 1939-1987 (Box 5; 7 folders)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1935-1997 (Box 5-6, 9; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 6: Photographs, circa 1930-1990 (Box 6-7, 9; 1.0 linear foot)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1936-1975 (Box 7, 9-10, OV 11; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1938-1978 (Box 7-8; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 9: Unprocessed Addition, circa 1940-1974 (Box 12, OV13; 1.1 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Reuben Tam (1916-1991) was a landscape painter and educator in New York, Maine, and Hawaii. Tam was born in Kapaa, Hawaii, in 1916. He received a degree in education in 1937 from the University of Hawaii and was briefly a public school teacher before attending graduate courses at the California School of Fine Arts. In 1941 he moved to New York and took courses in art history and philosophy at the New School for Social Research and Columbia University. Tam became affiliated with the Downtown Gallery in 1945 and was a prolific exhibitor in national and regional shows, winning critical praise as an abstract landscape painter. In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and first exhibited in the National Academy's annual exhibition in 1947.

Tam was an instructor at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School from 1946 to 1974. While there he taught advanced studies in painting and was chairman of the graduate painting department. He also served as a visiting professor at Oregon State University, Haystack, and Queens College, CUNY.

Beginning in 1948, Tam and his wife, Geraldine, spent summers at their home and studio on Monhegan Island, Maine. Tam's work was deeply influenced by coastal landscapes both in Maine and in his native Hawaii. In 1981 he and his wife moved back to Kapaa, Hawaii, where he continued to paint and exhibit his new works until his death in 1991.
Related Materials:
Reuben Tam papers, 1958-1966, are also located at Syracuse University.
Provenance:
Scrapbooks were lent for microfilming in 1970 by Reuben Tam and were subsequently donated in 2009 along with additional papers by Geraldine King Tam, Reuben Tam's widow. 34 additional sketchbooks were donated in 2020 by the Geraldine King Tam Trust, via Cindy King, trustee and niece of Geraldine King Tam.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters -- Maine  Search this
Painters -- Hawaii  Search this
Topic:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Educators -- Hawaii  Search this
Educators -- Maine  Search this
Educators -- New York (State)  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Sound recordings
Poems
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Watercolors
Drawings
Citation:
Reuben Tam papers, 1931-2006. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.tamreub
See more items in:
Reuben Tam papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-tamreub
Online Media:

Writings

Collection Creator:
Tam, Reuben  Search this
Extent:
7 Folders (Box 5)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1939-1987
Scope and Contents note:
This series contains drafts of poetry by Reuben Tam, one notebook containing notes on artwork and painting technique, and miscellaneous writings and notes by Tam, including thoughts on Montauk, New York, and Monhegan Island, Maine. Also found are an essay about Tam, "Reuben Tam, Metaphysical Painter" by Martin James, and an article for Kauai Magazine by Pat I. Griffin.
Arrangement:
The material in this series has been arranged alphabetically by type of writing, such as essays, notes, and poems.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Collection Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Reuben Tam papers, 1931-2006. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.tamreub, Series 4
See more items in:
Reuben Tam papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-tamreub-ref164

Dahlov Ipcar papers

Creator:
Ipcar, Dahlov, 1917-2017  Search this
Names:
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Ipcar, Adolph  Search this
Zorach, Marguerite, 1887-1968  Search this
Zorach, William, 1887-1966  Search this
Extent:
11.7 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1906-1993
Summary:
The papers of illustrator and painter Dahlov Ipcar measure 11.7 linear feet and date from 1906 to 1993. The bulk of the papers consists of personal and professional correspondence relating to Ipcar's career, and the careers and legacies of her parents, William and Marguerite Zorach. Also found are scattered biographical materials which include writings, sketches, and photographs, and printed material.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of illustrator and painter Dahlov Ipcar measure 11.7 linear feet and date from 1906 to 1993. The bulk of the papers consists of personal and professional correspondence relating to Ipcar's career, and the careers and legacies of her parents, William and Marguerite Zorach. Also found are scattered biographical materials which include writings, sketches, and photographs, and printed material.

Correspondence is with family members, including Adolph, Charles, and Robert Ipcar, and Marguerite, Peggy, Tessim, and William Zorach. Other correspondents include George Biddle, Emma Friendlander, Milton Garb, Caroline Pratt, and Forbes Watson. The letters comment on Ipcar's longstanding personal friendships and relationships with family members.

Additional correspondence is found within Ipcar's professional files which also include printed material and scattered business records, and reflect the original order of the papers. Files in this series also pertain to a scholarship in sculpture given by Dahlov and Adolph Ipcar to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in memory of William and Marguerite Zorach.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 4 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1906-1978 (1.8 linear feet; Boxes 1, 12, RDs 13-14)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1930s-1993 (6.0 linear feet; Boxes 1-7)

Series 3: Professional Files, 1939-1991 (2.8 linear feet; Boxes 7-10)

Series 4: Printed Material, 1939-circa 1980s (1.1 linear feet; Boxes 10-12)
Biographical / Historical:
Dahlov Ipcar (1917-2017) was a painter and illustrator active in Robinhood, Maine. She was the daughter of artists Marguerite and William Zorach.

Ipcar was born Dahlov Zorach in Vermont, to William and Marguerite Zorach. Dahlov's sculptor father and her textile artist mother painted and encouraged her to paint from an early age. She attended progressive schools, including Oberlin College in Ohio, but dropped out after one year. She married Adolph Ipcar at the age of nineteen and moved with him to Maine where the couple took over a farm once owned by her parents.

At the age of twenty-one, Ipcar showed her work in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. By the 1940s and 1950s, her artwork was heavily influenced by her rural life, and often depicted farm workers with their animals. She created murals for the Treasury Department's Section of Painting and Sculpture during the Great Depression. Later in life, Ipcar began to illustrate children's books and began to write and illustrate her own books, which were often about animals or featured animal illustrations.

Dahlov Ipcar died in Maine in 2017.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the The Zorach Family papers, 1900-1987 and the Elizabeth Hertz letters from William and Marguerite Zorach, 1943-2006.
Separated Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming on reels 1519, 5136. The reels include Correspondence, 1930-1979, including letters from William Zorach and Robert Tristam Coffin; and three scrapbooks, 1936-1979, containing clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements. Also found on the microfilm are letters from Ipcar's parents to Ipcar and her husband, Adolph Ipcar, ca. 1939 and 1951-1968, concerning family affairs with some references to art; two scrapbooks, 1979-1990, containing portions of Ipcar's autobiography, exhibition announcements, clippings and other printed material on Ipcar's work and her community service [note: the first half of the first scrapbook was previously filmed on reel 1519, fr. 336-446, and has not been refilmed]; and Robinhood Snooper, writings referred to as "wall newspapers," written by Dahlov and Adolph Ipcar, 1934-1938 and undated, pertaining to family and local "gossip." Also present are photocopies of works of art by other artists, 1942 and 1965, including a sketch of Marguerite Zorach. The material was returned to the donor afer microfilming and is not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
Dahlov Ipcar loaned a portion of her papers for microfilming in 1979 and 1996. She donated additional material between 1979 and 1997.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Illustrators -- Maine  Search this
Painters -- Maine  Search this
Topic:
Women painters  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Citation:
Dahlov Ipcar papers, 1906-1997. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.ipcadahl
See more items in:
Dahlov Ipcar papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-ipcadahl

Henry Varnum Poor papers

Creator:
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Names:
Montross Gallery  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Benton, William, 1900-1973  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Billing, Jules  Search this
Burchfield, Charles Ephraim, 1893-1967  Search this
Caniff, Milton Arthur, 1907-1988  Search this
Ciardi, John, 1916-  Search this
Czebotar, Theodore  Search this
Deming, MacDonald  Search this
Dickson, Harold E., 1900-  Search this
Dorn, Marion, 1896-1964  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Esherick, Wharton  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Houseman, John, 1902-1988  Search this
Marston, Muktuk  Search this
Meredith, Burgess, 1907-1997  Search this
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  Search this
Padro, Isabel  Search this
Poor, Anne, 1918-  Search this
Poor, Bessie Breuer  Search this
Poor, Eva  Search this
Poor, Josephine Graham  Search this
Poor, Josephine Lydia  Search this
Poor, Peter  Search this
Sargent, Elizabeth S.  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968  Search this
Watson, Ernest William, 1884-1969  Search this
Extent:
12.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Date:
1873-2001
bulk 1904-1970
Summary:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.

Henry Varnum Poor's correspondence documents his personal, family, and professional life. Correspondents include family and friends, among them George Biddle, Charles Burchfield, John Ciardi, Marion V. Dorn (who became his second wife), Philip Evergood, Lewis Mumford, John Steinbeck, David Smith, and Mrs. John Work (Alice) Garrett. Among other correspondents are galleries, museums, schools, organizations, fans, former students, and acquaintances from his military service and travels. Family correspondence consists of Henry's letters to his parents, letters to his parents written by his wife, and letters among other family members.

Among the writings by Henry Varnum Poor are manuscripts of his two published books, An Artist Sees Alaska and A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. as well as the text of "Painting is Being Talked to Death," published in the first issue of Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, April 1953, and manuscripts of other articles. There are also film scripts, two journals, notes and notebooks, lists, speeches, and writings by others, including M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston's account of Poor rescuing an Eskimo, and Bessie Breuer Poor's recollections of The Montross Gallery.

Subject files include those on the Advisory Committee on Art, American Designers' Gallery, Inc., William Benton, Harold Dickson, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions Sales, and War Posters. There are numerous administrative files for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Artwork by Henry Varnum Poor consists mainly of loose drawings and sketches and 45 sketchbooks of studies for paintings, murals, and pottery. There is work done in France, 1918-1919, and while working as a war correspondent in Alaska in 1943. There are commissioned illustrations and some intended for his monograph, A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. Also found are a small number of watercolors and prints. Work by other artists consist of Anne Poor's drawings of her father's hands used for the Lincoln figure in The Land Grant Frescoes and interior views of Crow House by Ernest Watson.

Documentation of Poor's architectural projects consists of drawings and prints relating to houses designed and built for Jules Billing, MacDonald Deming, John Houseman, Burgess Meredith, Isabel Padro, and Elizabeth S. Sargent. Also found is similar material for the new studio Poor built in 1957 on the grounds of Crow House.

Miscellaneous records include family memorabilia and two motion picture films, Painting a True Fresco, and The Land Grant Murals at Pennsylvania State College.

Printed material includes articles about or mentioning Poor, some of his pottery reference books, family history, a catalog of kilns, and the program of a 1949 Pennsylvania State College theater production titled Poor Mr. Varnum. Exhibition catalogs and announcements survive for some of Poor's shows; catalogs of other artists' shows include one for Theodore Czebotar containing an introductory statement by Henry Varnum Poor. Also found is a copy of The Army at War: A Graphic Record by American Artists, for which Poor served as an advisor. There are reproductions of illustrations for An Artist Sees Alaska and Ethan Frome, and two Associated American Artists greeting cards reproducing work by Poor.

Photographs are of Henry Varnum Poor's architectural work, artwork, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects. This series also contains negatives, slides, and transparencies. Images of architectural work include exterior and interior views of many projects; Poor's home, Crow House, predominates. Photographs of artwork by Poor are of drawings, fresco and ceramic tile murals, paintings, pottery and ceramic art. People appearing in photographs include Henry Varnum Poor, family members, friends, clients, juries, students, and various groups. Among the individuals portrayed are Milton Caniff, Marcel Duchamp, Wharton Esherick, M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston, and Burgess Meredith. Among the family members are Bessie Breuer Poor, Marion Dorn Poor, Anne Poor, Eva Poor, Josephine Graham Poor, Josephine Lydia Poor, Peter Poor, and unidentified relatives. Photographs of places include many illustrating village life in Alaska that were taken by Poor during World War II. Other places recorded are French and California landscapes, and family homes in Kansas. Miscellaneous subjects are exhibition installation views, scenes of Kentucky farms, and a photograph of Poor's notes on glazes.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1919-1987 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1, OV 18)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1873-1985 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1944-1974 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1928-1975 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3, OV 23)

Series 5: Artwork, circa 1890s-circa 1961 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 4-6, 9-10, OV 19-22)

Series 6: Architectural Projects, circa 1940-1966 (0.7 linear feet; Box 6, OV 24-26, RD 14-17)

Series 7: Miscellaneous Records, 1882-1967 (Boxes 6, 11, FC 30-31; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1881-2001 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 6-7, 11, OV 27-29)

Series 9: Photographs, 1893-1984 (2.3 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 12-13)
Biographical Note:
Henry Varnum Poor (1888-1970), best known as a potter, ceramic artist, and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, was also an architect, painter, muralist, designer, educator, and writer who lived and worked in New City, New York.

A native of Chapman, Kansas, Henry Varnum Poor moved with his family to Kansas City when his grain merchant father became a member of the Kansas Board of Trade. From a young age he showed artistic talent and spent as much time as possible - including school hours - drawing. When a school supervisor suggested that Henry leave school to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, the family disagreed. Instead, he enrolled in the Kansas City Manual Training High School where he delighted in learning skills such as carpentry, forge work, and mechanical drawing. In 1905, he moved with his older brother and sister to Palo Alto, California and completed high school there. Because Poor was expected to join the family business, he enrolled at Stanford University as an economics major, but much to his father's disappointment and displeasure, soon left the economics department and became an art major.

Immediately after graduation in 1910, Poor and his major professor at Stanford, Arthur B. Clark, took a summer bicycling tour to look at art in London, France, Italy, and Holland. As Poor had saved enough money to remain in London after the summer was over, he enrolled in the Slade School of Art and also studied under Walter Sickert at the London County Council Night School. After seeing an exhibition of Post-Impressionism at the Grafton Galleries in London, Poor was so impressed that he went to Paris and enrolled in the Académie Julian. While in Paris, Poor met Clifford Addams, a former apprentice of Whistler; soon he was working in Addams' studio learning Whistler's palette and techniques.

In the fall of 1911, Poor returned to Stanford University's art department on a one-year teaching assignment. During that academic year, his first one-man show was held at the university's Old Studio gallery. He married Lena Wiltz and moved back to Kansas to manage the family farm and prepare for another exhibition. Their daughter, Josephine Lydia Poor, was born the following year. Poor returned to Stanford in September 1913 as assistant professor of graphic arts, remaining until the department closed three years later. During this period, Poor began to exhibit more frequently in group shows in other areas of the country, and had his first solo exhibition at a commercial gallery (Helgesen Gallery, San Francisco). In 1916, Poor joined the faculty of the San Francisco Art Association. He and his wife separated in 1917 and were divorced the following year. Poor began sharing his San Francisco studio with Marion Dorn.

During World War I, Poor was drafted into the U. S. Army, and in 1918 went to France with the 115th Regiment of Engineers. He spent his spare time drawing; soon officers were commissioning portraits, and Poor was appointed the regimental artist. He also served as an interpreter for his company. Discharged from the Army in early 1919, Poor spent the spring painting in Paris. He then returned to San Francisco and married Marion Dorn.

Once Poor realized that earning a living as a painter would be extremely difficult in California, he and his new wife moved to New York in the autumn of 1919. They were looking for a place to live when influential book and art dealer Mary Mowbray-Clarke of the Sunwise Turn Bookshop in Manhattan suggested New City in Rockland County, New York as good place for artists. In January of 1920, the Poors purchased property on South Mountain Road in New City. The skills he acquired at the Kansas City Manual Training High School were of immediate use as Poor designed and constructed "Crow House" with the assistance of a local teenager. Influenced by the farmhouses he had seen in France, it was made of local sandstone and featured steep gables, rough plaster, chestnut beams and floors, and incorporated many hand-crafted details. Poor designed and built most of their furniture, too. Before the end of the year, he and Marion were able to move into the house, though it remained a work in progress for many years. Additions were constructed. Over time, gardens were designed and planted, and outbuildings - a kiln and pottery, work room, garage, and new studio - appeared on the property.

In 1925, two years after his divorce from Marion Dorn, Poor married Bessie Freedman Breuer (1893-1975), an editor, short story writer, and novelist. Soon after, he adopted her young daughter, Anne (1918-2002), an artist who served as his assistant on many important mural commissions. Their son, Peter (b. 1926) became a television producer. Crow House remained in the family until its sale in 2006. In order to prevent its demolition, Crow House was then purchased by the neighboring town of Ramapo, New York in 2007.

Between 1935 and 1966 Poor designed and oversaw construction of a number of houses, several of them situated not far from Crow House on South Mountain Road. Poor's designs, noted for their simplicity, featured modern materials and incorporated his ceramic tiles. Among his important commissions were houses for Maxwell Anderson, Jules Billig, Milton Caniff, MacDonald Deming, and John Houseman.

Poor's first exhibition of paintings in New York City was at Kevorkian Galleries in 1920, and sales were so disappointing that he turned his attention to ceramics. His first pottery show, held at Bel Maison Gallery in Wanamaker's department store in 1921, was very successful. He quickly developed a wide reputation, participated in shows throughout the country, and won awards. He was a founder of the short-lived American Designers' Gallery, and the tile bathroom he showed at the group's first exposition was critically acclaimed. Poor was represented by Montross Gallery as both a painter and potter. When Montross Gallery closed upon its owner's death in 1932, Poor moved to the Frank K. M. Rehn Gallery.

Even though Poor's pottery and ceramic work was in the forefront, he continued to paint. His work was acquired by a number of museums, and the Limited Editions Club commissioned him to illustrate their republications of Ethan Frome, The Scarlet Letter, and The Call of the Wild.

Poor's first work in true fresco was shown in a 1932 mural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Between 1935 and 1949 he was commissioned to produce several murals in fresco for Section of Fine Arts projects at the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior, The Land Grant Frescoes at Pennsylvania State College, and a mural for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Ceramic tile mural commissions included: the Klingenstein Pavilion, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City; Travelers Insurance Co., Boston; the Fresno Post Office, California; and Hillson Memorial Gallery, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Mass.

As a member of the War Artists' Unit, Poor was a "war correspondent" with the rank of major in World War II, and for several months in 1943 was stationed in Alaska. An Artist Sees Alaska, drawing on Poor's observations and experiences, was published in 1945. A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality, his second book, was published in 1958. It remains a standard text on the subject. While on the faculty of Columbia University in the 1950s, Poor and other artists opposed to the growing influence of Abstract Expressionism formed the Reality Group with Poor the head of its editorial committee. Their magazine, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, first appeared in 1953 featuring "Painting is Being Talked to Death" by Poor as its lead article. Two more issues were published in 1954 and 1955.

Along with Willard Cummings, Sidney Simon, and Charles Cuttler, in 1946 Henry Varnum Poor helped to establish the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. He served as its first president. Poor and his daughter, Anne, were active members of the Board of Trustees and were instructors for many years. The summer of 1961 was Henry Varnum Poor's last as a full-time teacher, though he continued to spend summers at Skowhegan.

Henry Varnum Poor exhibited widely and received many awards, among them prizes at the Carnegie Institute, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Architectural League of New York. Poor was appointed to the United States Commission of Fine Arts by President Roosevelt in 1941 and served a five year term. He was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1943. The National Academy of Design named him an Associate Artist in 1954 and an Academician in 1963. He became a trustee of the American Craftsman's Council in 1956. The work of Henry Vernum Poor is represented in the permanent collections of many American museums including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art, and Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts.

Henry Varnum Poor died at home in New City, New York, December 8, 1970.
Related Material:
An oral history interview with Henry Varnum Poor was conducted by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art in 1964.
Provenance:
Gift of Henry Varnum Poor's son, Peter V. Poor, in 2007. A smaller portion was loaned to the Archives in 1973 by Anne Poor for microfilming and returned to the lender; this material was included in the 2007 gift.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
War artists  Search this
Topic:
Architects -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Authors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
War posters  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Pottery -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Henry Varnum Poor papers, 1873-2001, bulk 1904-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.poorhenr
See more items in:
Henry Varnum Poor papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-poorhenr
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Willard Cummings

Interviewee:
Cummings, Willard Warren, 1915-1975  Search this
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul  Search this
Names:
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Hale, Philip Leslie, 1865-1931  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970  Search this
Peirce, Waldo, 1884-1970  Search this
Extent:
82 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1973 March 20
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Willard Cummings conducted 1973 March 20, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Cummings speaks of his family and its interests in art and theater; moving to Boston and his early education there; studying with Anna Ladd and at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts; his two years in Paris; going to Skowhegan during the Depression; the Art Students League and the Grand Central School; his interests in portrait painting and sculpture; his Yale art school experience; some early portrait subjects; exhibitions of his work; commercial art jobs he was involved in; his New York studio and friends in the mid-1930s; collecting American primitives; his U.S. Army service; the start of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1946; the organization of the school; his own painting technique and some portrait subjects. He recalls Philip Hale, Waldo Peirce and Edith Halpert.
Biographical / Historical:
Willard Cummings (1915-1975) was a painter from New York, New York and Maine.
General:
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 19 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Painters -- Maine -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.cummin73
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cummin73

Oral history interview with Charles Duback

Interviewee:
DuBack, Charles S., 1926-  Search this
Interviewer:
Larsen, Susan C.  Search this
Names:
Landmark Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Dugmore, Edward, 1915-  Search this
Grillo, John, 1917-  Search this
Grooms, Red  Search this
Katz, Alex, 1927-  Search this
Langlais, Bernard, 1921-1977  Search this
McNeil, George, 1908-1995  Search this
Ortman, George, 1926-  Search this
Pinette, Dennis, 1951-  Search this
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Stout, Myron, 1908-1987  Search this
Extent:
36 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2004 December 15-2005 May 18
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Charles Duback conducted 2004 December 15-2005 May 18, by Susan C. Larsen, for the Archives of American Art, in Tenants Harbor, Maine.
Mr. Duback discusses his childhood; his Czech lineage; working at his father's bakery and gaining artistic sensibilities there; the drive to become an artist, and the financial risks therein; joining the Navy during World War II; attending trade school in New Haven, Connecticut, and the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art in Newark, New Jersey; attending the Skowhegan School in Maine; his first wife Daphne Mumford; sustaining two homes, one in New York City and another in Maine, and the difficulties in maintaining them; the influence of collage on his paintings; his "strip" paintings; the opening and closing of the Landmark Gallery; making his "projections," wherein he adheres objects to a painting's canvas; and the friends he made during his time running Landmark. Duback also mentions moving from North Waldoboro, Maine to St. George, Maine; moving again to Germantown, New York; finding living in New York difficult; divorcing Mumford; his second wife Phyllis; rising tax and insurance costs and what they mean to artists; and painting as a career. Duback recalls Bernard Langlais, Helen Langlais, Edward Dugmore, Alex Katz, Wes LaFountain, Red Grooms, George Ortman, Myron Stout, George McNeil, Dennis Pinette, John Grillo, Henry Varnum Poor, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles S. DuBack (1926-) is a painter of Tenants Harbor, Maine. Susan C. Larsen, interviewer, is an art historian in Tenants Harbor, Maine.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 11 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Painters -- Maine -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Collage  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.duback04
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-duback04

Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers

Creator:
Parsons, Betty  Search this
Names:
Betty Parsons Gallery  Search this
Bess, Forrest, 1911-1977  Search this
Congdon, William, 1912-1998  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Extent:
61.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketchbooks
Interviews
Video recordings
Drawings
Date:
1916-1991
bulk 1946-1983
Summary:
The Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers measure 61.1 linear feet and date from 1916 to 1991, with the bulk of the material dating from 1946-1983. Records provide extensive documentation of the gallery's operations from its inception in 1946 to its closing in 1983 and of the activities of Betty Parsons as one the leading art dealers of contemporary American Art in the latter half of the twentieth century, particularly the work of the Abstract Expressionists. Over one third of the of the collection is comprised of artists files containing correspondence, price lists, and printed materials. Additional correspondence is with galleries, dealers, art institutions, private collectors, and the media. Also found are exhibition files, exhibition catalogs and announcements, sales records, stock inventories, personal financial records, and photographs. Betty Parsons's personal papers consist of early curatorial files, pocket diaries, personal correspondence, and evidence of her own artwork, including sketchbooks, and files documenting her personal art collection.
Scope and Content Note:
The Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers measure 61.1 linear feet and date from 1916 to 1991, with the bulk of the material dating from 1946-1983. Records provide extensive documentation of the gallery's operations from its inception in 1946 to its closing in 1983 and of the activities of Betty Parsons as one the leading art dealers of contemporary American Art in the latter half of the twentieth century, particularly the work of the Abstract Expressionists. Over one third of the of the collection is comprised of artists files containing correspondence, price lists, and printed materials. Additional correspondence is with galleries, dealers, art institutions, private collectors, and the media. Also found are exhibition files, exhibition catalogs and announcements, sales records, stock inventories, personal financial records, and photographs. Betty Parsons's personal papers consist of early curatorial files, pocket diaries, personal correspondence, and evidence of her own artwork, including sketchbooks, and files documenting her personal art collection. Personal papers also include personal photographs.

Artists files, the largest and most extensive series, consist of a wide variety of documents, including biographical materials, correspondence with or related to the artist, exhibition catalogs and announcements, sales and expense invoices, clippings, price lists, and photographs of the artist, exhibitions, and artwork. The files reflect Parsons's close personal relationships with certain artists, particularly Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Barnett Newman. Extensive documentation is also found for Forrest Bess, William Congdon, Paul Feeley, Thomas George, Alexander Liberman, Seymour Lipton, Richard Pousette-Dart, Jesse Reichek, and Jack Youngerman. Historians and researchers will find these files to be an invaluable resource both in tracing Betty Parsons's role in promoting Abstract Expressionism and researching individual artists.

Exhibition files primarily document the gallery's infrequent group or themed exhibitions. Of particular note are the files on The Ideographic Picture, which was organized by Barnett Newman and included his work, as well as that of Pietro Lazzari, Boris Margo, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, and Clyfford Still. Price lists, artist biographies and exhibition schedules are housed in the general exhibition files. Loan exhibition files provide documentation of artwork borrowed by other galleries or institutions for exhibitions, as well as shows outside of the gallery that were organized by Betty Parsons. Also found are gallery exhibition guest books, and announcements and catalogs.

Gallery correspondence is primarily with galleries and dealers, museums, arts organizations, and collectors. Scattered letters from artists are also found, although the bulk of the artists' correspondence is filed in the Artists Files. Also found here are memoranda and letters between Betty Parsons and her staff that contain detailed information concerning Parsons's schedule and gallery activities. Similar correspondence is found amongst the correspondence files within the series Betty Parsons papers.

Appraisal and conservation files include correspondence, appraisal invoices, forms, and appraisal requests and other information from the Art Dealers Association of America, and conservation invoices and reports. The majority of the appraisal records contain information about the specific works of art, including artist, title, date, current owner and the estimated value at the time of the request. Conservation records document conservation treatments undertaken by outside conservators to gallery stock.

Sales, purchases, stock and inventory are well documented in the sales and inventory records. The records provide detailed information about individual sales, prices of individual pieces of artwork, consignments, and loans. Most sales records also include detailed information about the buyer and are a valuable resource for provenance research. Files documenting the general administration, routine business operations, and financial transactions (not individual sales) of the gallery are housed in the general business and financial records. These records include ledgers, receipts, tax records, and banking records. There is some limited information about works of art scattered amongst the receipts and in the "in/out slips" files. Legal records house general legal documents and those concerning specific lawsuits. Of particular note is the file detailing the lawsuit between Betty Parsons and Sidney Janis over the fifth floor of 24 West 57th Street.

The remainder of the collection consists of Betty Parsons's personal papers which document her career prior to opening her own gallery, her work as an artist, and her personal art collection.

Some information about Parsons's work prior to opening her own gallery is found in the early curatorial files she retained from her curatorial and administrative work at the Wakefield Gallery and the Mortimer Brandt Gallery. Clippings, correspondence, announcements, exhibition lists and exhibition files are found. For both positions, she kept only the exhibition files for a small group of exhibitions organized around a specific theme, the most notable being the exhibition of Pre-Columbian Sculpture at the Wakefield Gallery.

Biographical materials include copies of her biography, family genealogies, photographs of Parsons, interviews with Colette Roberts and WYNC radio, memberships, photographs, and ephemera, including a collection of programs and invitations from events that she attended. Throughout her life Parsons gave generously of her time to various cultural and charitable institutions and was awarded for her contributions. There are also a number of files that document her speaking engagements, her participation as a juror in numerous juried exhibitions, charitable work, and awards that she received.

Parsons's personal correspondence files reflect how deeply Parsons's life was intertwined with the gallery. There are letters from museum directors, dealers, artists seeking representation, and personal letters from artists with whom she had close personal relationships, most notably Larry Bigelow, Alexander Calder, William Condon, and Ad Reinhardt. There are also letters from the English artist Adge Baker, with whom Parsons was romantically involved. Correspondence also includes several files of postcards and Christmas cards.

Pocket diaries and engagement calendars, spanning from 1933-1981, record social engagements, meetings, vacations, and telephone numbers. Also found are circa two linear feet of notebooks and sketchbooks, many of which are annotated with addresses, poetry, journal entries, and other observations of people, places, and travels. Writings by others include writings about Betty Parsons or the Betty Parsons Gallery, such as Lawrence Alloway's unpublished typescript titled "An American Gallery" and other topics.

Printed material consists of exhibition announcements and catalogs, art magazines, and newspaper and magazine clippings about Betty Parsons, her family and acquaintances, artists, and other art related topics, coupled with a miscellaneous selection of clippings, and a video recording, on topics that presumably captured Parsons's attention.

Personal art work records document Betty Parsons's career as an artist through inventories, group and solo exhibitions files, price lists, appraisals, sales and consignment invoices. Photographs are primarily reproductions of her works of art, although there are scattered photographs of exhibition installations.

Betty Parsons's private art collection files document her extensive personal collection of art that included works by Jackson Pollock, Agnes Martin, Romare Bearden, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, in addition to Amlash sculpture from ancient Persia and primitive sculpture from New Hebrides. These files include inventories, lists, exhibition records, sales and purchase invoices, and photographs. There are also files for donations and loans from Parsons's personal collection to museums and fund raising auctions for several non-profit institutions.

Finally, the personal financial records provide information about the Parsons's family finances and her personal financial success as an art dealer. In addition to her own investments, Parsons inherited shares in family investments through the estates of her parents, J. Fred Pierson, Jr. and Suzanne Miles Pierson, and younger sister, Emily Rayner. Real estate files include correspondence, utility bills, receipts, area maps, and land plots for houses in Sheepscot, Maine and St. Maartens, Netherlands Antilles. Tax returns, ledger worksheets, receipts, banking statements, deposit slips, and cancelled checks are among the other financial records.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as seven series. Many of the series are further divided into subseries.

Series 1: Artists Files, 1935-1983 (19.4 linear feet; Boxes 1-18, 51, 55-56, OVs 53, 65)

Series 2: Exhibition Files, 1941-1983 (2.9 linear feet; Boxes 18-21, 51, 55, OVs 54, 66)

Series 3: Correspondence Files, 1941-1983 (3.9 linear feet; Boxes 21-24, 52, 56)

Series 4: Appraisal Files, 1954-1983 (0.7 linear feet; Box 24)

Series 5: Sales and Inventory Records, 1946-1983 (3.9 linear feet; Boxes 25-28, 51)

Series 6: General Business and Financial Records, 1946-1983 (9.3 linear feet; Boxes 28-38, 51, 56)

Series 7: Betty Parsons Personal Papers, 1916-1991 (21 linear feet; Boxes 38-51, 55-64, OVs 65-67)
Historical Note:
Betty Parsons (1900-1982) was one of the leading art dealers in New York City specializing in modern art, particularly the work of the Abstract Expressionists, and an abstract painter and sculptor in her own right. She opened Betty Parsons Gallery in 1946 at 15 E. 57th St., later moving to 24 W. 57th St.

The history of the Betty Parsons Gallery is inextricably bound to the life and experiences of its founder. Betty Parsons was born Betty Bierne Pierson on January 31, 1900 in New York City. She enjoyed a privileged childhood, which included vacation homes in Newport and Palm Beach. Her only formal education was a five-year stint at the prestigious Chapin School from 1910-1915, where she met many of the women who would become life-long friends and supporters. In the spring of 1920, she married Schuyler Livingston Parsons from one of New York's oldest families. The marriage ended after only three years and the couple traveled to Paris where they could obtain a divorce on the grounds of incompatibility. She retained her married surname and purchased a house on the rue Boulard in Paris, where she remained for ten years, pursuing studies in painting and sculpture.

Financial constraints forced Parsons to return to the United States in 1933. She first traveled west to California, but it was her return to New York in 1935 that marked the start of her career as an art dealer. Her first opportunity to connect with the New York art world came after a successful exhibition of her watercolors at the Midtown Galleries where the owner, Alan Gruskin, noted Parson's faithful and wealthy group of supporters and offered her work installing exhibitions and selling paintings on commission. Her work for the Midtown Galleries led to a second position in the Park Avenue gallery of Mary Sullivan, one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art. Here, Parsons learned the business of running a gallery. By 1940 Parsons was ready to take on more independent responsibility and agreed to manage a gallery within the Wakefield Bookshop. In this job, she exercised full curatorial control by selecting artists and organizing exhibitions. She championed then unknown contemporary American artists and the gallery's roster soon included Saul Steinberg, Hedda Sterne, Alfonso Ossorio, Joseph Cornell, Walter Murch, and Theodore Stamos. Although the majority of the exhibitions were solo shows, there were a few group shows and themed exhibitions, such as Love in Art (1941) and Ballet in Art (1942). Under Parson's direction, the gallery hosted an important exhibition of Pre-Columbian sculpture, curated by Barnett Newman.

When the owners of the Wakefield Bookshop decided to close the gallery late in 1944, Mortimer Brandt, a dealer who specialized in Old Master paintings and drawings, offered her a position as head of the newly created contemporary section of his gallery. Many of the artists who had shown with Parsons at the Wakefield Gallery followed her to her new gallery, where they were joined by Ad Reinhardt, Boris Mango, and Hans Hofmann. While the exhibitions garnered attention from the press and the interest of contemporary artists, the contemporary section was not a financial success and Brandt opted to close his gallery in 1946.

Using $1000 of her own money and an additional borrowed $4000, Parsons sublet the space that previously housed Mortimer Brandt's contemporary section, on the fifth floor of 15 East 57th Street, and opened the Betty Parsons Gallery.

In many respects the early years of the Betty Parsons Gallery were the most vital, as it was during the period of 1947-1951 that the gallery became linked with the Abstract Expressionists and the history of post-WWII American Art. In an unpublished history of the gallery, noted art critic Lawrence Alloway stated that the significance of the gallery's early exhibitions ranks with Durand-Ruel's Impressionists exhibitions or Kahnweiler's shows of the Cubists. Betty Parsons Gallery quickly became one of the most prestigious galleries in New York City associated with new American Art of all styles. Her close friend Barnett Newman organized the gallery's inaugural exhibition of Northwest Coast Indian Art and he soon began to exhibit his own work at the gallery. When Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery closed, Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, and Mark Rothko joined Parsons' growing stable of artists. Although Parsons continued to promote and exhibit many of the artists whom she had previously discovered, these four artists dominated this period. Newman, Pollock, Still, and Rothko worked closely together, holding themselves apart from the other artists somewhat. They were actively involved in the curatorial process and often hung their own shows. For these artists, the exhibition itself was an artistic act of creation.

Parsons provided a supportive environment and allowed her artists enormous freedom in planning and designing their exhibitions. She was not, however, an aggressive salesperson. During this early period the gallery ledgers document sales to an impressive array of museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as important collectors such as Edward Root and Duncan Phillips. Nevertheless, the art that the gallery promoted was not yet widely accepted. Sales were few, prices were low and the business would not turn a profit for several years. Meanwhile, there was mounting pressure from Pollock, Newman, Still, and Rothko to drop some of the other artists from Parsons' stable and focus all resources on them. They wanted to be promoted to a larger audience and have their work sold at higher prices, but Parsons enjoyed discovering new artists and did not want to be restricted in this endeavor. The year 1951 marks the last time that Pollock's drip paintings or the monumental works of Newman, Rothko or Still were shown at the Betty Parsons Gallery.

In the following years the Betty Parsons Gallery continued to attract a diverse group of talented artists. Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Tuttle, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jack Youngerman had their first New York exhibitions at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Parsons opened Section Eleven in 1958, a short-lived annex to the main gallery, so that she could promote younger, less well-known artists. It closed in 1960 due to the administrative difficulties in running two essentially separate galleries.

In 1962, Sidney Janis, another prominent art dealer, started proceedings to evict Parsons from the floor that they shared on 15 East 57th Street. The Betty Parsons Gallery moved to 24 West 57th Street in 1963, where it remained until it closed in 1983, following Parsons' death the preceding year. Throughout the gallery's history, Parsons continued to promote faithful artists such as Hedda Sterne and Saul Steinberg, who had been with her from the beginning and to seek out new talent, both for her main gallery and for other venues, such as the short-lived Parsons-Truman Gallery, which she opened in 1974 with former Parsons Gallery director Jock Truman to show works on paper by emerging artists.

In addition to being an art dealer, Betty Parsons was a respected artist and collector. With her connoisseur's eye and connections, Parsons amassed an impressive private collection of art. She bought her first piece while an art student in Paris in the 1920s, a small gouache by Zadkine, but did not begin acquiring works in earnest until she was established as an art dealer. Partial inventories of her personal collection show that the majority of her collection contained works by artists associated with the gallery. Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Ad Reinhardt, Agnes Martin, and Kenzo Okada were among the artists represented. Many were gifts from the artists, such as an ink drawing by Jackson Pollock, inscribed "For Betty." Selections from her collection appeared in small museums across the United States, including a traveling exhibition organized by Fitch College, New York, in 1968. In her role as a promoter of contemporary American art, Parsons lent generously from her collection, particularly to the federal Art in the Embassies Program. Throughout her life she also donated works to a variety of museums, most notably, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

Parsons frequently claimed that her desire to pursue a career as an artist stemmed from a visit to the Armory Show when she was thirteen. In her late teens, after pressuring her father for art lessons, she studied with the sculptor Gutzon Burglum of Mount Rushmore fame. In Paris, she continued her studies first with Antoine Bourdelle, whose sculptures she had admired at the Armory Show, and later with Ossip Zadkine. The first exhibition of her work, figurative watercolors and sculptures, took place in Paris in 1927. As she matured as an artist, her art became more abstract. Her late works were painted wood sculptures that she pieced together from wood that she found near her studio in Long Island. Parsons's work was exhibited in more than thirty solo exhibitions, including, Betty Parsons; Paintings, Gouaches and Sculpture, 1955-1968, at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. During her lifetime, she would not allow her works to be shown in her own gallery. Shortly after she died of a stroke in 1982, In Memoriam, Betty Parsons: Late Sculptures, opened at the Betty Parsons Gallery.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art are oral history interviews with Betty Parsons, June 4-9, 1969, by Paul Cummings, and June 11, 1981 by Gerald Silk.
Separated Material:
Some of the material originally loaned for microfilming in 1968 and 1969 was not included in later donations and can be viewed on microfilm reels N68/62-N68/74 and N69/105-N69/106. Loaned materials are not described in the container listing in this finding aid.
Provenance:
The gallery donated some records in 1974, many of which had been loaned earlier for microfilming. The bulk of the collection was donated in 1984 and 1986 by William Rayner and Christopher Schwabacher, executors of the Estate of Betty Parsons. Additional material was donated by William Rayner in 1998 and Christopher Schwabacher in 2017. Additional material was donated in 2018 by the Lee Hall estate via Carolyn Crozier and Deborah Jacobson, co-executors. Hall was Parsons's biographer and had the material in her possession at the time of Parsons's death. An additional photograph of Parons and Marie Carr Taylor by Henri Cartier-Bresson was donated in 2021 by Mary Carpenter, who inherited the photograph from her mother, Nan Thorton Jones, who received it as a gift from Taylor.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Gallery owners -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Women art dealers  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Abstract expressionist  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Interviews
Video recordings
Drawings
Citation:
Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers, 1916-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.parsbett
See more items in:
Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-parsbett
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Rudolph de Harak, 2000 April 27

Interviewee:
Harak, Rudolph de, 1924-2002  Search this
Harak, Rudolph de, 1924-2002  Search this
Interviewer:
Larsen, Susan C., 1946-  Search this
Subject:
Burtin, Will  Search this
Golden, William  Search this
Kepes, Gyorgy  Search this
Tritel, Hal  Search this
Weingart, Wolfgang  Search this
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art  Search this
McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission  Search this
World Trade Center (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Drawings
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Designers -- Interviews  Search this
Exhibitions -- Design  Search this
Graphic artists -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12339
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)228107
AAA_collcode_harak00
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_228107

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:

Oral history interview with Rudolph de Harak

Interviewee:
Harak, Rudolph de  Search this
Interviewer:
Larsen, Susan C.  Search this
Names:
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art -- Faculty  Search this
McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. -- Employees  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission  Search this
World Trade Center (New York, N.Y.) -- Design  Search this
Burtin, Will, 1908-  Search this
Golden, William, 1911-1959  Search this
Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-2001  Search this
Tritel, Hal  Search this
Weingart, Wolfgang, 1941-  Search this
Extent:
Sound recording: 3 sound cassettes (270 min.) : analog + printed material and drawings
34 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Drawings
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2000 April 27
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Rudolph de Harak conducted 2000 April 27, by Susan Larsen, for Archives of American Art, in Trenton, Maine. Also received from De Harak at the time of the interview are a photocopy of an article reprinted in Design Culture that de Harak wrote for the American Institute of Graphic Arts; photocopy of an interview transcript with Gyorgy Kepes conducted by de Harak, de Harak's vitae, 2 exhibition catalogs, an article in recognition of de Harak by Daniel Forte, and a pencil drawing and a design with color chart.
De Harak discusses his childhood in California and moving to both Chicago and New York in support of his sisters' dancing careers, as well as his education and career. He attended the New York School of Industrial Arts, graduating in 1940, at the age of sixteen. After graduation he worked in an upholstery factory etching zinc plates for printed and painted silk fabric for use in draperies. At age eighteen he was drafted into the Army and served throughout WWII. After the war he returned to California, to be with his sisters and mother. Eventually he found work in a Los Angeles design studio, where he became reacquainted with Hal Tritel, whom he had known in New York. Together, they attended an inspirational lecture by Will Burtin, the art director of Fortune magazine.
In 1947, De Harak and Tritel opened their own design firm. In 1950, De Harak moved back the New York in search of more opportunities as a designer. He worked at a variety of tasks including a stint at Seventeen magazine, starting his own design firm, and teaching at Cooper Union School of Visual Arts. His clients included McGraw Hill Publishers, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also worked on the World Trade Center. Through his work with the Atomic Energy Commission, De Harak became friends with Gyorgy Kepes. He also became friends with Will Burtin and Bill Golden, the designer of the "CBS eye" logo. De Harak also discusses the effect computers have had on design, the influence of Wolfgang Weingart, and his decision to focus on painting.
Biographical / Historical:
Rudolph de Harak (1924-2002) was a graphic designer and painter from Trenton, Maine.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Painters -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Designers -- Interviews  Search this
Exhibitions -- Design  Search this
Graphic artists -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.harak00
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-harak00

Ruth Law Scrapbook

Collection Creator:
Law, Ruth  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1916-1918
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Collection Citation:
Ruth Law Collection, Acc. NASM.XXXX.0387, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Ruth Law Collection
Ruth Law Collection / Series 1: Ruth Law Scrapbook
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-xxxx-0387-ref517
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Ruth Law Scrapbook digital asset number 1

Newspaper Articles

Collection Creator:
Scott, Blanche Stuart, 1889-1970  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1911 - 1955
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Collection Citation:
Blanche Stuart Scott Collection, Acc. NASM.XXXX.0062, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Blanche Stuart Scott Collection
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-xxxx-0062-ref13
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Newspaper Articles digital asset number 1

Technology Review

Collection Creator:
Brooks, Arthur Raymond, 1895-1991  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 17
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
November 1961
1961-05
1930-07
Scope and Contents:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, vol. 32, no. 8, July 1930; vol. 63, no. 7, May 1961; and vol. 64, no. 1, November 1961.
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Collection Citation:
Arthur Raymond Brooks Collection, NASM.1989.0104, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Arthur Raymond Brooks Collection
Arthur Raymond Brooks Collection / Series 1: Professional Materials / 1.8: Magazines
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1989-0104-ref314
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Technology Review digital asset number 1

Early Birds of Aviation, Inc.

Collection Creator:
Studenski, Paul, 1887-1961  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
Collection Rights:
Permissions Requests
Collection Citation:
Paul Studenski Collection, Acc. 1989-0012, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Paul Studenski Collection
Paul Studenski Collection / Series 2: Aviation Career and Activities
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1989-0012-ref23
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. digital asset number 1

Bendix Trophy Race, 1956 (3 of 3)

Collection Creator:
Bendix Corporation.  Search this
Bendix Aviation Corp  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 36
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1956
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests
Collection Citation:
Bendix Air Races Collection, Acc. NASM.1988.0115, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Bendix Air Races Collection
Bendix Air Races Collection / Series 2: Bendix Trophy Races by Year
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1988-0115-ref594
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View Bendix Trophy Race, 1956 (3 of 3) digital asset number 1

.003, [Charles Francis Hall's Scrapbook]

Author:
Hall, Charles Francis, 1821-1871  Search this
Collection Creator:
Field, Cyrus  Search this
Hall, Charles Francis, 1821-1871  Search this
Franklin, John, 1786-1847  Search this
Royal Geographic Society.  Search this
Everett, Edward, 1794-1865  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Ink on paper, 17.0" x 11".)
Container:
Box 1, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Diaries
Place:
Arctic regions -- Discovery and exploration
Date:
1858 - 1863
Scope and Contents:
Scrapbook of Newspaper clippings on polar exploration.
Local Numbers:
AC0702-0000020
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Explorers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Diaries -- 19th century
Collection Citation:
Charles Francis Hall Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Charles Francis Hall Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0702-ref12
1 Page(s) matching your search term, top most relevant are shown: View entire project in transcription center
  • View .003, [Charles Francis Hall's Scrapbook] digital asset number 1

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