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
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 22.2, 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.
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 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.
Materials in the Archives Center
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC0060)
Hills Bros. Coffee Incorporated Records (AC0395)
The collection was donated by N W Ayer ABH International, April 15, 1975 and by Ayer & Partners, October 30, 1996.
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.
Publication and production quality duplication is restricted due to complex copyright, publicity rights, and right to privacy issues. Potential users must receive written permission from appropriate rights holders prior to obtaining high quality copies. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Papers document Landy R. Hales (1889-1972), an inventor and commercial artist who designed window and interior store displays, posters, children's games, and puzzles primarily from 1920s to 1930s in New York City and Baltimore. Of significance is Hales's work for Macy's Department Store. The papers consist of correspondence, patents, business records for several of Hales's companies, photographs, drawings/sketches, prototypes, and newspaper and magazine clippings.
Scope and Contents:
The papers document Hales's career as an inventor and commercial artist as well as his work in games, puzzles, educational tools, and posters. The collection includes sketches and design drawings, photographs, publicity materials, clippings and articles, and game prototypes.
Series 1, Brilliant Sign Company, 1908-1909, consists of stock shares, transferred by Hales to others in the amount of twenty dollars for the Brilliant Sign Company of Baltimore City, Maryland.
Series 2, Landy R. Hales, Inc., 1927-1929, 1944, consists of of invoices, orders, and check stubs from R.H. Macy and Company and Gimbel Brothers, Inc. for work by Landy R. Hales, Inc. for window displays. The orders detail what will be constructed and decorated. The R.H. Macy materials also contain a 1927 souvenir from Macy's Wonderland Christmas. Included in this series is a 1944 United States Treasury Department War Finance Program citation to Landy R. Hales.
Series 3, Hales Layer Poster Corporation, 1922-1969 (bulk 1920s), consists of materials documenting Hales poster company. Hales's formed Hales Layer Poster Corporation in New York State on July 16, 1925 to manufacture, purchase, sell and deal in layer posters and equipment for constructing layer posters in packaged or other forms. The corporation's other directors were Alfred J. Silberstein and Alvin A. Silberman, both of New York. Hales developed a new method of making a poster by placing cut-out pieces of materials such as composition board or wood on a background, then building layers to form three dimensions in the finished product. The first store to use Hales layer posters was Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. The posters were never sold and were only used in advertising and window displays.
The materials consist of stock shares and values, a certificate of incorporation, branded letterhead, correspondence, an order book (blank forms), a point-of-purchase ad featuring Little Red Riding Hood, a patent for a display device, layer poster instructions, examples of posters, sample card stock, and instructions for the ABCD Ease Game. The display device patent (US 1,563,485) was issued to Hales on December 1, 1925. The invention relates to display devices for commercial advertising arrangements constructed out of layers of veneer or cardboard for reproducing and illustrating articles for sale, magazines, posters or art works. The principal object was to provide a display picture having depth. The correspondence, 1922-1937, 1969 and undated, contains letters with individuals companies, hotels, and department stores primarily in New York City such as B.F. Keith's New York Hippodrome, Saks & Company, Hotel Nassau, Keystone Manufacturing Company, and Rialto Theatre. Much of the correspondence relates to services provided by Hales Layer Poster Corporation. Hales's correspondence with Morris Gest, a theatrical producer who introduced La Chauve-Souris, a touring revue during the early 1900s, to the United States. There is also a letter typewritten by Hales in 1969 to Pablo Picasso about copying Picasso prints using the Hales layer poster method.
The instructions for "how to make" a Hales layer poster are well documented, detailing the step-by-step process and including the use of Hales Studio colors for painting. Specific instructions for the "Tom, Tom Piper's Son" with color guide are found here. A full, unused layer poster kit is in box 14. Additionally, Hales created the ABCD Ease Game, a board game played with dice with the objective to reach "ease." The way to reach "Ease" is through truth, courage, justice, thrift, study, work, loyalty, and honesty. Instructions and prototypes of the gameboard are represented.
Series 4, Hales Manikins, Inc., 1938-1948 and undated, consists of correspondence, a voting trust agreement, board of directors meeting minutes, stock shares, a floor plan for the company, blueprints for rubber figures, and a patent for a manikin and method of making the same (US 2,129,421). Hales Maninikin incorporated in 1941 in Baltimore, Maryland to manufacture, distribute, sell and otherwise deal in manikins and other display advertising figures. The board of directors meeting minutes contain articles of incorporation, by-laws, and minutes.
Series 5, Hales Pictures, Inc., 1937-1938, 1967 and undated, consists of an agreement with Walt Disney Enterprises, sketches by Kay Kamen, Ltd., a press release about Hales Picture Puzzles, and prototypes of Hales Puzzle Pictures. Of note is a copy of the February 1938 Rockefeller Center Magazine. The magazine contains articles about science, technology, publishing, the arts, events at Radio City Music Hall (Disney-related) and television. It offers good documentation of office business machines.
The first series of puzzles Hales introduced in 1937 were four subjects from Walt Disney's characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Donald Duck. The object of the puzzle was to put all of the pieces together in their proper place--some of the puzzle pieces were raised to different levels. After the puzzle was completed, it could be glued to a backboard. There are prototypes for the Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck puzzles. Only the Mickey and Minnie puzzles contain puzzle pieces. The Donald Duck puzzle consists of the box only.
In August 1937, Hales Pictures Inc., entered into a one year agreement with Walt Disney Enterprises that granted Hales the right to reproduce Disney characters for his puzzles and poster pictures. Hales paid Disney the sum of five-hundred dollars as an advance on future royalties. Disney also provided to Hales typical representations of the Disney characters. There are a series of Kay Kamen Ltd., Disney character drawings for Pluto, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, and Mickey Mouse. These drawings were provided to Hales by Kamen. The Minnie and Mickey Mouse drawings have been heavily annotated and mocked up by Hales for the purposes of creating his signature Hales Puzzle Pictures. Kamen (d. 1949) began his professional career as a retail hat merchant and later entered advertising. In 1932, Kamen contacted Disney, soon signed a contract, and was named the company's sole licensing representative. Through merchandising, Kamen made Disney's mouse star popular.
Series 6, Hales Sign Company, 1909 and undated, consists of examples of promotional and branded pieces for Hales's sign painting business that was located in Baltimore, Maryland.
Series 7, Drawings/Sketches, 1927-1930 and undated, consists of pencil, ink and paint sketches. The bulk of the sketches are Christmas-related, such as the poster study for the Macy's Christmas Wonderland, 1927 and the toy department displays for a bridge, drawbridge, house and tower. Other sketches include Noah's Ark, a matador, the "The Wise Woman of Gotham," Carlin's Amusement Park of Baltimore, Maryland, and resort scenes (tennis, golf and sailing).
Series 8, Photographs, 1925-1935, consists primarily of black-and-white prints documenting Hales's work in his studio and for clients such as Macy's. Some of the photographs were taken by Worsinger Window Service, Hughes Company of Baltimore, Le Don Studio of White Plains, New York; Apeda Studio, Inc. of New York City; Schultze Studio of Brooklyn, New York, and H.C. Campbell Company of Oakland, California.
Series 9, Greeting Cards, undated, consists of examples of greeting cards and postcards, primarily for Christmas, Easter, and Valentines Day, assembled by Hales.
Series 10, Clippings, 1922-1935, consists of loose photocopies and original news and magazine clippings in a bound volume. The clippings primarily relate to Hales's work in New York City, but there are clippings about The Corner Shop at Macy's, and there are copies of illustrations assembled by Hales, specifically the "Best Fifty Small Folio Currier and Ives Prints. " The majority of these he clipped from the New York Sun. Also included are clippings about La Chauve-Souris the touring revue during the early 1900s.
The collection is arranged into ten series.
Series 1, Brillant Sign Company, 1908-1909
Series 2, Landy R. Hales, Inc., 1927-1929, 1944
Series 3, Hales Layer Poster Corporation, 1922-1969 (bulk 1920s)
Series 4, Hales Manikins, Inc., 1938-1948 and undated
Series 5, Hales Pictures, Inc., 1937-1938, 1967 and undated
Series 6, Hales Sign Company, 1909 and undated
Series 7, Drawings/Sketches, 1927-1930 and undated
Series 8, Photographs, 1925-1935
Series 9, Greeting Cards, undated
Series 10, Clippings, 1922-1935
Biographical / Historical:
Landy R. Hales was born on September 17, 1889 in Baltimore, Maryland to Landy J. Hales and Fanny Linthicum Hales. Hales grew up in Anne Arundel, Maryland and had one brother, Wesley Hales. Hales began his career with no formal art training and apprenticed as a sign painter in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1908, Hales formed the Brilliant Sign Company in Baltimore to design displays for area businesses. In 1913, Hales married Lenore McCully. They had two children, Elizabeth McCully Hales (b. 1915) and Landy Romain Hales (b. 1921).
During World War I, Hales designed posters for the Liberty Bond Program, created by then Secretary of the Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941). This poster campaign was intended to popularize the bonds, and Hales created posters using his "layer technique," which was a method of making a poster by placing cut-out pieces of materials such as composition board or wood on a background, then building layers to form three dimensions in the finished product. In the early 1920s, Hales moved to New York City to advance his career and expand his opportunities. In New York, Hales specialized in display devices, commercial art, and advertising. An artist-inventor, Hales patented two ideas, a display device (US Patent 1,563,485) and a manikin (US Patent 2,129,421). He founded Landy R. Hales, Inc. (1925), Hales Layer Poster Corporation (1925), Hales Manikins, Inc. (1941), and Hales Pictures, Inc. 1937. In 1937, Hales Pictures Inc., entered into a one-year agreement with Walt Disney Enterprises that granted Hales the right to reproduce Disney characters for his puzzles and poster pictures. During the same year, Hales leased office space at Rockefeller Center.
Hales worked for Morris Gest, a theatrical producer, creating advertising for the Russian show Le Chauve Sourvis which featured the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers. Hales also manufactured and installed mechanical displays in Macy's Christmas windows at 34th Street and worked as an independent contractor for other department stores such as Gimbel Brothers and Saks & Company as well as the Hotel Nassau, Keystone Manufacturing Company, Rialto Theater, Keith's New York Hippodrome, and the Music Box Theatre.
Hales left New York City in 1945 and returned to Maryland, where he did commercial work for Carlin's Amusement Park in Baltimore and created layer posters for himself and family members. Hales died in 1972 at the age of 84.
Materials at the Archives Center
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Parades:stereographs, circa 1880-1908 (AC0060)
Messmore and Damon Company Records, 1930s-1990s (AC0846)
Hudson Fulton Celebration Parade Photograph Album, 1909 (AC1149)
William L. Bird "Holidays on Display" Collection (AC1288)
The collection was donated by Katharine Landa McNulty Hogben, Frances Helen McNulty Beverage, Margaret Ann McNulty Klipp, Lenore Hales McNulty Frey, and Elizabeth Stuart McNulty on November 27, 2005.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Printed advertisements, scrapbooks, correspondence, marketing research, radio commercial scripts, photographs, proof sheets, reports, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, television commercial storyboards, blueprints, legal documents, and audiovisual materials primarily documenting the history, business practices, and advertising campaigns of the Hills Bros. Coffee Company, Incorporated. Collection also documents the professional and private lives of the Hills family; insight into the cultivation, production, and selling of coffee; and construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of printed advertisements, scrapbooks, correspondence, marketing research, radio commercial scripts, photographs, proof sheets, reports, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, television commercial storyboards, blueprints, legal documents, and audiovisual materials. These materials primarily document the history, business practices, and advertising campaigns of Hills Bros. Coffee Company, Incorporated. Correspondence, genealogies, and home movies reveal a more domestic and social Hills family while company records document business activities outside of the home. Company records also provide insight into the cultivation, production, and selling of coffee, and the company's technological responses to the changes in the coffee trade, and consumer consumption demands. Of interest is the company's participation in social and cultural events including the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915, and the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939. In addition, the collection includes the company's documentation of the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 1936. The collection is arranged into thirteen series.
The collection is arranged into thirteen series.
Series 1, Hills Family Papers, 1856-1942, undated
Subseries 1.1, Austin Herbert Hills, Sr. Papers, 1856-1875, undated
Subseries 1.2, Austin Herbert Hills, Jr. Papers, 1875-1923
Subseries 1.3, Herbert Gray Hills Correspondence, 1923-1942
Series 2, Background Materials, 1896-1988, undated
Series 3, Coffee Reference Files, 1921-1980, undated
Subseries 3.1, Hills Bros. Coffee Company Literature, 1921-1976, undated
Subseries 3.2, Coffee Industry Literature, 1924-1980, undated
Series 4, Advertising Materials, circa 1890s-1987, undated
Reuben Hills, on one occasion, stated regarding his company's growth; ...success in business is fifty per cent judgment and fifty per cent propitious circumstances." The rise of Hills Bros. Coffee Incorporated from a retail dairy stall in San Francisco's old Bay City Public Market reflects the reality of Reuben's statement. Aided by brother Austin's three years of experience in the retail dairy business the early success of the brothers was in Reuben's own words both circumstance and hard work. When Reuben and Austin began to produce roasted coffee there were at least twenty-five other companies already engaged in some form of coffee production and distribution in San Francisco including, of course, the well-known Folger Company started by William Bovee (which began in San Francisco thirty years earlier). Most of these coffee businesses were started by family groups which contributed to the growth of San Francisco.
San Francisco in the nineteenth century was ripe for the importing and roasting of coffee. The foundation for commercial production of coffee dated back to the 1820s when English planters brought coffee to Costa Rica. By the early 1840s German and Belgian planters followed with coffee plantations in Guatemala and El Salvador, two of the several Central American countries where Hills Bros. would obtain its mild coffee beans. During the Gold Rush (1849) San Francisco rapidly expanded and grew. Coffee was imported and sold, after roasting, to restaurants and hotels. Yankee gold miners and others without equipment to roast and brew their own coffee, populated "coffee houses." In 1873 two brothers, Austin Herbert and Reuben Wilmarth Hills arrived in San Francisco from their home in Rockland, Maine with their father Austin who had come to California some years earlier. Five years later in 1878 A. H. and R. W. Hills established a retail stall to sell dairy products in the Bay City Market under the name of their new partnership "Hills Bros." Their small business expanded in less than four years with the acquisition of a retail coffee store titled Arabian Coffee & Spice Mills on Fourth Street in San Francisco. In two more years (1884) still larger quarters were occupied at Sacramento and Sansome Streets. Soon after this they disposed of their retail dairy business but continued as wholesale distributors of some dairy products including butter. Their coffee was labeled "Arabian Roast"' supported by the now famous trademark design of a man in turban and beard with a flowing yellow gown. This was created by a San Francisco artist named Briggs and since then (1897) has remained as the official trademark of Hills Bros. Coffee - a lasting symbol of coffee quality. Hills Bros. dairy division was eliminated in 1908 after company destruction by the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906. By 1924 all miscellaneous products including tea, had been dropped by the company which from then on referred to itself as "coffee only."
Emphasis on the quality of the finished product has long been a major selling point in the history of Hills Bros. advertising and marketing. The company's desire to keep abreast of technological advances in coffee production is a legacy of Austin and Reuben Hills, and is reflected in the company records, in its advertising and its self-perception. It was probably 1898 when Austin Hills and Thomas Hodge, partners who managed the wholesale dairy product operations were looking for a suitable can for exporting butter that could not be manufactured in San Francisco at that time, decided to consult Norton Brothers, a progressive can manufacture company in Chicago. Whether Austin traveled to Chicago or arranged with his brother Reuben to stop off there in route to New York (where he frequently spent time at the New York Green Coffee Exchange) to present the problem to Norton Brothers, which brother made the actual contact with Norton Brothers is not important today, but the results of that visit were real. Norton Brothers had just received patents on a process for packing foods in vacuum and thought it might solve the butter problem. In short order arrangements were made for shipping cans and machinery from Chicago to San Francisco including agreement for exclusive use on the West Coast for a reasonable period. Thus, Hills Bros. butter became the first known food product to ever be packed in vacuum. Once this started Reuben Hills had the idea that what worked well with butter might also be used for coffee. Experimental vacuum-packing of coffee in butter cans supported the theory that taking the air out of coffee would keep the product fresh for indefinite periods. No time was lost in getting new cans and more machinery and in July 1900 Hills Bros. Coffee as "the original vacuum-pack" was placed on the market. With the advent of this technology Hills Bros. changed the product name from "Arabian Roast" to "Hills Bros. Highest Grade Java and Mocha Coffee" and continued with the new trademark that had been started in 1897. Vacuum-packing extended the shelf life and travel ability of the product, thus new markets, national and international, were opened.
A change in the coffee industry of America was on the way. Hills Bros. remained the pioneer of vacuum-packing for thirteen years until a similar process was adopted by M.J.B., another leading coffee company in San Francisco. Other packers on the West Coast soon followed, but it was not until after World War I that East Coast coffee producers turned to vacuum-packaging.
Production and advertising of coffee continued to change with new technology. In the late 1880s San Francisco coffee importers began to "cup test" coffee beans for quality but the majority still depended on sight and smell. Reuben Hills and a few other coffee personalities in San Francisco are credited with the cup test method of appraising coffee quality. In its new home office and plant opened in San Francisco in 1926, Hills Bros. adopted "controlled roasting" in which coffee was roasted a few pounds at a time, but continuously. Developed in 1923 under the direction of Leslie Hills and Lee Maede, company engineer, "controlled roasting" employed the use of instruments to control the temperature and speed of operations, resulting in perfect roasting control that could not be depended on from batch to batch by even the most experienced coffee roasting expert. In 1914 the partnership known as Hills Bros. was incorporated under the same name. In 1928 a sales organization was formed under the name of Hills Bros. Coffee, Incorporated, but within four to five years the parent company absorbed Hills Bros. Coffee, Incorporated and adopted its name. A second plant was built in Edgewater, New Jersey, completed in 1941 to meet the needs of the increasing growth of areas between Chicago and the East Coast.
During World War II Hills Bros. faced conservation rules restricting use of tin for coffee cans. A timely method of high-speed packing in glass jars by Owens Illinois Glass Company made it possible for Hills Bros. as well as other companies in the industry to continue vacuum-packing during this period. Price control and coffee rationing were other war time necessities to which the industry adjusted.
Hills Bros. Coffee, Incorporated passed out of family ownership in 1976 when the company was purchased by a Brazilian corporation named Copersucar. In 1983 a group of local investors in San Francisco brought ownership back to where it had started and sold the business in 1984 to Nestlé Holdings, Incorporated, (effective January 1, 1985) which handled the acquisition of several companies in the United States for Nestlé S. A. Vevey, Switzerland.
Historical note written by T., Carroll Wilson, company historian and archivist, 1993.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
NW Ayer Advertising Agency Records, NMAH.AC0059
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, NMAH.AC0060
Princeton University Posters Collection, NMAH.AC0433
Landor Design Collection, NMAH.AC0500
Industry on Parade Film Collection, NMAH.AC0507
Sandra and Gary Baden Collection of Celebrity Endorsements in Advertising, NMAH.AC0611
Fletcher and Horace Henderson Collection, NMAH.AC0797
Division of Cultural History Lantern Slides and Stereographs, NMAH.AC0945
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Records, NMAH.AC1086
Alice Weber Photograph Albums, NMAH.AC1144
Henry "Buddy" Graf and George Cahill Vaudeville and Burlesque Collections, NMAH.AC1484
Division of Cultural History, National Museum of American History
Artifacts include coffee packaging, Golden Gate International Exposition sampling cups and saucers, a bowling shirt, and coffee cans.
These records were donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History by Hills Bros. Coffee Company, Incorporated.
Collection is open for research but the negatives and audiovisual materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Personal papers of Dr. Kranzberg from his undergraduate years at Amherst College through his professional career. Collection documents his involvement with development of the new field of history of technology and his role as principal founder of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT); work as consultant and advisor to domestic and international agencies, colleges, and universities; personal affiliations, lectureships, publications; and teaching and administrative activities for more than 40 years as a college professor.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 140 cubic feet of material divided into nine series and housed in 359 document boxes. Several subseries remain organized in the original order as they were received. There has been no attempt by the archivist to rearrange them. Some folders did not have folder titles. The archivist has provided titles in those instances, and these folder titles have been put in brackets  in the Container List.
Melvin Kranzberg's personal activities from 1934 through 1968 are arranged chronologically in Series 4: PERSONAL ACTIVITIES, including his early education. Series 8: TEACHING AND ADMINISTRATION is divided into two subseries and is comprised of teaching and administrative files compiled by Dr. Kranzberg during his forty years as a college professor.
Series 2: Correspondence between Kranzberg and numerous colleagues in the U.S. and abroad, 1949-1988. He was actively involved with technically oriented societies, U.S. government agencies, and SHOT. Since he also wrote a textbook and several encyclopedia articles, subjects range from business to academic to personal.
Kranzberg's role as a consultant and advisor is located in Series 1: CONSULTATION AND ADVISEMENT. This series is further divided into nine alphabetically arranged subseries. Kranzberg's many professional affiliations are arranged in Series 5: PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS. This series is comprised of eight alphabetically arranged subseries. Series 2: CORRESPONDENCE is also arranged alphabetically and contains much of Dr. Kranzberg's correspondence during the years 1949 to 1988. He was actively involved with a number of technically oriented societies, United States government agencies, and the Society for the History of Technology. Since he also wrote a textbook and several encyclopedia articles, the subjects represented range from business to academic to personal.
Series 7: RESEARCH SUBJECT FILES is arranged alphabetically and documents nearly forty years of research by Kranzberg on hundreds of diverse topics. The results of some of this research is available in Series 6: PUBLICATIONS, which is divided into eleven subseries and contains manuscripts, research, correspondence, outlines, and reprints of various Kranzberg essays and books. In addition, much of Kranzberg's research results were delivered in a verbal format. Series 3: LECTURESHIPS is divided into three subseries, and not only details lectures and speeches delivered by Melvin Kranzberg, but also those given by his colleagues, and those delivered at the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars for Professional Journalists, which he organized.
Series 9: SPECIAL PROJECTS consists of materials relative to a number of projects of varying importance and duration, such as engineering and human values and ethics in an age of pervasive technology.
Collection is divided into nine series.
Series 1: Consultation and advisement, 1958-1987
Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-1988
Series 3: Lectureships and speeches, 1951-1988
Series 4: Biographical, 1934-1963
Series 5: Professional affiliations, 1961-1988
Series 6: Publications, 1942-1968
Series 7: Research subject files, 1940-1978
Series 8: Teaching and administration, 1947-1988
Series 9: Special projects, 1951-1980
Kranzberg's Six Laws
As reported in the July 1986 Issue of Technology and Culture, Volume 27, Number 3, pages 544-561, Kranzberg's Six Laws are listed as follows in the SHOT Presidential Address.
"These are not laws in the sense of commandments but rather a series of truisms deriving from a longtime immersion in the study of the development of technology and its interactions with sociocultural change."
1.. Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.(p.545); 2. Invention is the mother of necessity, (p.548)
3. Technology comes in packages, big and small, (p. 549); 4. Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, nontechnical factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions, (p. 550); 5. All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant, (p. 553); 6. Technology is a very human activity—and so is the history of technology, (p. 557); 7."But if ours is truly a man-made world, I claim that mankind can re-make it. And in that remaking process, the history of technology can play a very important role in enabling us to meet the challenges besetting mankind now and in the future."
Melvin Kranzberg (born St. Louis, Mo.) received his A.B. from Amherst College (1938), and his M.A. (1939) and Ph.D. (1942) in modern European history from Harvard University. When World War II commenced, Dr. Kranzberg went, with an Amherst professor, Charles W. Cole, to work at the Office of Price Administration in Washington, D. C. At that same time, he enlisted in the Signal Corps Reserve. Since he was regarded as "educable," he was sent for electronics training at Catholic University, and then to Johns Hopkins for a three-year course in electrical engineering that was crammed into sixteen weeks. Instead of receiving a commission, he was sent to Philco Radio Laboratories in Philadelphia for another three-month crash course, this one in radar.
By the end of his course of study, however, the Signal Corps no longer needed officers and he was put in the infantry. After basic training, he was assigned to the Army's Specialized Training Program. His language skills enabled him to engage in an intensive three-month study of Turkish. Since invasion of Turkey was not likely, he then entered a language program in German. This led to appointment in Military Intelligence, where he was charged with interrogating German POWs, often on the front lines. That assignment lasted from about September 1944 through the Battle of the Bulge, until the German surrender. He received three Battle Stars, a Combat Infantry Badge, and a Bronze Star. He was awarded honorary doctorates of letters (Litt. D.) by New Jersey Institute of Technology and Northern Michigan University, doctorates of engineering (D. Eng.) by Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Colorado School of Mines, and doctorates of humane letters (L.H.D.) by Denison University and Amherst College.
Dr. Kranzberg's major professional contribution has been the establishment of a new field of history: the history of technology. He was the principal founder of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), founding editor (1959-81) of its quarterly journal, Technology and Culture, and served as SHOT Secretary (1959-74) and President (1983-84).
A cofounder of ICOHTEC (International Committee for the History of Technology, a Scientific Section of the International Union for the History Science [UNESCO], he served as its vice-president from its inception in 1968. When he retired from that post at ICOHTEC'S 17th International Symposium (Hamburg, 1989), he was elected honorary president for life.
In 1979-1980 Dr. Kranzberg was national president of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society (120,000 active members in 500 chapters and clubs). Over the years, he has been a Sigma Xi National Lecturer and has served on various committees of the honorary organization.
He was Chairman (1966, 1979) of Section L (History and Philosophy of Science) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Chairman (1978-81) of the AAAS Committee on Science Engineering, and Public Policy. From 1977-1980, he chaired the Advisory Committees of the Policy Research and Analysis (PRA) and Science Resources Studies (SRS) Divisions of the National Science Foundation (NSF). An original member (1964) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's History Advisory Committee (Chairman, 1966-71, 1984-87), he also served on NASA's National Advisory Council (1984-87).
In 1989, Dr. Kranzberg was elected to the newly founded Board of the National Association for Science, Technology, and Society (NASTS), an "umbrella organization for educators, scientists, engineers, public policy analysts, public interest groups, media, and individuals interested in the impact of scientific and technological development on society." At its 1992 Annual Technological Literacy Conference, Kranzberg was honored by being the initial recipient of a NASTS Honorary Lifetime Membership.
Other activities include: Vice-President, AAAS (1966); Chairman (1957-58), Humanistic-Social Division, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEEO; Vice-President (1959), Society for French Historical Studies; Trustee (1979-), Charles Babbage Foundation; and Chairman (1972-73), U.S. National Committee of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science. He has served on the Technology Assessment Panel of the National Academy of Sciences and the NAS Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering, The National Research Council's Committee on the Education and Utilization of the Engineer, and various advisory committees of the National Academy of Engineering.
Kranzberg has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of the following journals: Engineering Education; Science, Technology & Human Values; Knowledge in Society; History and Technology; and Research in Philosophy and Technology; and the "Inside Technology" book series of the MIT Press. In 1980, he coordinated the Course-by-Newspaper on "Energy and the Way We Live" with 400 newspapers and was awarded a $10,000 prize by the Academy for Educational Development. He was a TV commentator on the PBS "Connections" series and lectured throughout the world, including USIA tours to India, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
He has written or edited: The Siege of Paris, 1870-1871 (1950; reprinted 1970); 1848: A Turning Point? (1959, 14 printings); the two-volume
Technology in Western Civilization (1967; Japanese, 1976; Spanish, 1980); Technology and Culture: an Anthology (1972; Arabic, 1976; Spanish 1980); By the Sweat of Thy Brow: Work in the Western World (1975 [an alternate selection of the Fortune Book Club]; Italian, 1976); Technological Innovation: A Critical Review of Current Knowledge (1978); Energy and the Way We Live (1980); Ethics in an Age of Pervasive Technology (1980); Bridge to the Future: A Centennial Celebration of the Brooklyn Bridge (1984); Technological Education/Technological Style (1986); and Innovation at the Crossroads Between Science and Technology (1989). He is also the author of over 150 articles in encyclopedias, learned journals, and scholarly collections on topics in European history, engineering education, history of technology, science-technology policy, and science-technology-society interactions.
Dr. Kranzberg taught at Harvard, Stevens Institute of Technology, Amherst College, and Case Western Reserve University, where he established the first graduate program in the history of technology at an American university. From 1972 to 1988, he was Callaway Professor of the History of Technology at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). He is a member of the honorary societies Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Epsilon Pi Tau, and Phi Kappa Phi. His awards include: Leonardo da Vinci Medal, Society for the History of Technology (1968); Apollo Achievement Award, NASA (1969); Special Research Day Citation, Case Western Reserve University (1970); Special Recognition Award, American Industrial Arts Association (1978); and the Roe Medal, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1980). Dr. Kranzberg was one of 100 Americans presented the State of Israel's Jabotinsky Centennial Medal (1980) for eminence in the sciences and letters, and was elected (1985) an Honorary Foreign Member of the Czechoslovak Society for the History of Science and Technology, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. In 1991, the Liberal Education Division of the American Society for Engineering Education presented him its Olmsted Award for "outstanding contributions to engineering education by bringing the humanities and technology together for the mutual benefit of both." In November 1991, the Society for Social Studies of Science (SSSS) and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) presented him the Bernal Award for "outstanding contributions to the social studies of science." At its 1994 meeting in Zaragoza, Spain, the prestigious International Academy of the History of Science elected Dr. Kranzberg to its membership.
The January-September 1976 issue (Vol. 12, Nos. 1-3) of Lex et Scientia (The International Journal of Law and Science) was devoted to Kranzberg's 1975 Mellon Lectures at Lehigh University, and the French Centre de Recherche sur la Culture Technique dedicated its June 1983 (No. 10) issue of Culture Technique to him. In 1985 The Society for the History of Technology and the MIT Press co-published John M. Staudenmaier's, Technology's Storytellers: Reweaving the Human Fabric as a "tribute" to him, and Lehigh University Press published (1989) Stephen H. Cutcliffe and Robert C. Post's, In Context; History and the History of Technology — Essays in Honor of Melvin Kranzbergr containing articles by major historians of technology.
When Dr. Kranzberg became emeritus in June 1988, the Georgia Tech Foundation established the Melvin Kranzberg Professorship in the History of Technology. The first occupant of this chair was Dr. Bruce Sinclair, former head of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto and a former student of Dr. Kranzberg. Dr. Melvin Kranzberg married tLouise Lester Clark.
Collection donated by Georgia Institute of Technology, through Dr. Melvin Kranzberg, August 24, 1988.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Rad Lab : oral histories documenting World War II activities at the MIT Radiation Laboratory / produced by the IEEE Center for the History of Electrical Engineering ; principal investigators, John Bryant ... [et al.] ; editorial and production staff, Jill Cooper ... [et al.]