Guide to the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Archives, 1929-1995 and undated
The D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B) Archives consists of advertising agency records spanning the years 1929 to 1995. The bulk of the material dates from the 1950s to the mid-1980s. The Archives includes material that documents aspects of three advertising agencies: D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B), Benton & Bowles (B&B), and D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius (D-MM).
The Archives as a whole provides a comprehensive overview of Benton & Bowles advertisements (1932-1995) and commercials (1950s-1980s), primarily those created by the agency's New York office. Other major topics include the advertising careers of William B. Benton and Atherton W. Hobler; research and publication about the history of Benton & Bowles by Gordon Webber and Frank Smith; television programs created by B&B in the 1950s; aspects of employee training, recruitment, and management; and marketing research. The Archives also documents the merger of the D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius agency with Benton & Bowles to form DMB&B in 1985. There is very little information in the Archives about the D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius agency prior to the merger. Also, material about Benton & Bowles offices other than New York is limited, and found mostly in B&B house organs.
The D'Arcy-MacManus Masius Files comprise a very small amount of materials in the Archives. Although the D'Arcy agency had its roots in 1906, the Items gathered here date only from 1972-1985, mainly 1981 to 1985. They consist of corporate publications, notes, and clippings. The 75th Anniversary edition of Between Us contains an overview of the history of D'Arcy-MacManus & Masius, especially of the D'Arcy Advertising Company, and its clients. Profiles, a resource book, provides information on all of the divisions of the D'Arcy -MacManus Masius Worldwide group of advertising agencies.
The Benton and Bowles Files are by far the largest part of the Archives. They include primarily print advertisements (the largest series in the Archives), but also over 500 films, significant documents relating to the work of the agency, photographs, and corporate publications. The Benton & Bowles Files span the years 1929 to 1985, although most of the material dates from 1950s and after. Item types in the collection include internal memoranda; reports; speeches; printed material (manuals, leaflets, pamphlets, and house organs); photographs; research notes; credentials; employee training material; press releases and clippings; book manuscripts; audio tapes of oral history interviews; and financial papers. The Benton & Bowles Files provide documentation of the history of print and television advertising; television programming; the history of the B&B agency and its corporate culture; corporate communications; marketing research; and advertising executives.
The earliest Items in the B&B Files are two small bank books recording account activity of the fledgling agency from 1929 to 1935 and copies of William ( “Billie” ) Benton's long letters to his mother, 1929-1938, in which he confides details of his new advertising agency as well as family matters. A small number of other Items date from the 1930s and 1940s and illustrate isolated aspects of the agency's business in that period.
Long series of various agency house organs begin in 1947 and provide the most complete and continuous views of Benton & Bowles, its clients, advertising campaigns, personnel, and various offices in the U.S. and abroad.
The Advertisements Series is the largest section of the Archives and contains comprehensive files of print advertising campaigns developed mainly by Benton & Bowles from 1932-1980. The Series includes primarily proofs, along with some tearsheets, of consumer and trade advertisements, most from U.S. magazines and newspapers. Files for a few clients include unusual material, such as packaging or client newsletters. Most of the advertisements were removed from large scrapbooks into which B&B employees had pasted them; many have suffered glue damage, but they remain an invaluable source for studying the development of a number of advertising campaigns over long periods of time. Longtime clients of B&B included Procter & Gamble and General Foods, among many others. Neither the Advertisements Series nor any other part of the Archives contains substantial documentation of the creative processes behind the advertisements and advertising campaigns.
For additional information about the Advertisements Series, see the data collection sheets in the Information Folders about the DMB&B Archives. The data collection sheets provide notes about: languages, other than English, used in the advertisements; countries, other than the United States, for which advertisements were produced; the use of celebrities in the advertisements; themes or social and political issues that can be studied in the advertisements; and the use of comic illustrations. The data collection sheets also note the existence of collateral literature for certain advertising campaigns. The Information Folders also contain a list of Benton & Bowles clients and the dates of agency-client relationships.
The Audiovisual Series (RESTRICTED) contains over 500 reels of 16mm film varying in lengths from 200' to 1600'. The majority of the films are compilations of commercials created mainly by Benton & Bowles for many different clients. Also included are several dozen reels of vintage television programs (shows created or sponsored by B&B), several stockholders' meetings, speeches, new business presentations, and outtakes. At the time of this writing, most of the films have not been viewed in their entirety, indexed, or reformatted. However, a selection of films has been reformatted for research use.
Addition (accession #2001-0103) (554 items, 7.5 linear ft.; dated [ca. 1950s]-[1980s]) comprises 16-mm film reels of commercials. Brand names and clients include Crest, Post cereals, Scope, Yardley, Hardees, Grape Nuts, Hasbro, and Pampers. Viewing of commercials is restricted until videocassette use copies are made. For a container list, contact Research Services.
- Collection Number
- D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Archives
- 1929-1995 and undated
- D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles
- 152 Linear Feet, 30,220 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
However, original audiovisual materials are closed to researchers. Some use copies are available in the collection. Consult research services for further information.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. There may be a 48-hour delay in obtaining these materials.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in the D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Archives have not been transferred to Duke University in their entirety. For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles Archives, 1929-1995 and undated, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Contains records addressed to the “Organization,” that are usually related to the work of the entire company. It also contains “Inter-office,” memoranda that refer to specific individuals or groups within the organization. Materials document new partnerships between Benton & Bowles and other companies; changes in management; company directives; announcements; the results of surveys; employee activities; policies; and office operation. Announcements of new, or renewed, client accounts are also documented. Arranged alphabetically by the name of the part of the company to which the memoranda were addressed, then chronologically.
Contains mostly publications and printed materials created by the Benton & Bowles Research Services and Public Relations. Some reports were distributed to clients or the general public; others were used primarily by company employees. The reports were based on research about consumer perspectives, economic conditions, or potential markets for particular products such as whiskey (1938) or frozen foods (1976). Potential markets in the new state of Alaska are described in a 1959 report. Lou Harris and Associates prepared a 1978 report about Benton & Bowles. See also oversize materials. Arranged in chronological order.
Divided into four categories: Biographical Information; Speeches; Staff Resources; and Recruitment.
Includes correspondence, pictures, press releases, printed material, testimony, notes, manuscripts, reprints, clippings, a scrapbook, photographs, and a press book. The section includes limited information about a few Benton & Bowles employees, except for William B. Benton and Atherton W. Hobler, who are documented more fully. The letters from Benton to his mother contain information on the early history of the company as well as on Benton's personal life. The correspondence gives a personal perspective on the early years of Benton & Bowles and chronicles financial changes, marketing strategies, personnel matters, and the general development of the company throughout the Depression of the 1930sIn the early letters, Bowles also describes his work with the Lord & Thomas agency. Additional information on Hobler and his family is in the History section. Also included is a scrapbook documenting the Crusade for Freedom, a 1950s era anti-communism activity. Arranged alphabetically by individuals' names. See also Oversize Materials.
[William R. Baker, Jr., was chairman of the Public Information Committee, New York Campaign, to establish and to fund Radio Free Europe.]
Contains speeches given by company executives to professional associations such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies; in workshops on color advertising; at testimonial banquets; and for clients. See the Meetings section for speeches given at Benton & Bowles corporate meetings. Arranged alphabetically by speaker's name, then chronologically.
Includes manuals, leaflets, pamphlets, printed material, and lists created for reference or personal use by the employees of the company. Employee training; information for media specialists; lists of staff; employee activities; and management's ideas about employees' responsibilities to the company are documented in this subseries. The materials are grouped in four sections: Account Executives and Assistant Account Executives; Employee Information; Production, including General, Media, Television and Print; and Miscellaneous. Arranged chronologically within sections.
Materials prepared by Benton & Bowles to attract new employees to the company. Includes primarily printed material. Arranged chronologically.
Includes primarily printed materials, as well as photographs and negatives, manuscript drafts of publications, and memoranda. The publications chronicle company history from 1947 to the 1980sMost of the runs for each publication are complete and they form the bulk of the section. Many of the stories about advertising campaigns center on human interest factors, such as the role of an actor in a commercial or a company event that launched the campaign. Organized into three sections: House Organs, Credentials, and Press Releases. The Credentials were created by Benton & Bowles to give prospective clients a general overview of the company and its services. House Organs focus primarily on news about the company, but also include a considerable amount of information about clients and advertising campaigns, management, domestic and international offices of Benton & Bowles subsidiary companies, corporate research, other advertising agencies, and various business, social, and personal activities of Benton & Bowles employees. The Press Releases include news about management changes, research reports, and clients. Credentials are arranged chronologically; House Organs, in alphabetical order by title, then chronologically; and Press Releases are in chronological order. See also oversize materials.
[Clients: AMF; Apollo; J. Aron & Co.; Blistex; Corning Glass Works; Ericsson; Everstyl; Folio Society; Marine Midland Bank; Jeffrey Martin; Milliken & Co.; Brown Forman Distillers; Pinkerton Tobacco Co.; Prestel International; Quincy's Family Steakhouse; RCA Showtime; Refining; Texas Commerce Bankshares; UNICEF; Coalition for Literacy]
Includes correspondence, memoranda, press releases, client lists, clippings, and printed material. Primarily documents Manning, Selvage and Lee, a public relations firm. There is information about its mission and the purchase of the firm by Benton & Bowles. There is little information about Medicus Communications or Riverview Productions. Arranged by subsidiary company name, and then chronologically with pictures at the end.
Includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, collateral literature (leaflets, brochures), press releases, notes, clippings, research records, printed material, photographs, and storyboards. Documents several aspects of advertising, including agreements for new advertising campaigns between Benton & Bowles and its clients; marketing strategies, including the early use of coupons; the adapting of advertising copy for use in local settings; the effectiveness of radio and television commercials; and the employment of celebrities in advertising campaigns. Clients most heavily represented include: Procter & Gamble Co.; General Foods; and Standard Brands . Additionally, there are research notes on consumer recall testing of television commercials for the Florida Citrus Commission, General Petroleum Company of Calif. (Mobil Oil), H.C. Moores Co. (Pream Instant Coffee Cream), and Texaco. Press releases about clients may be found in Corporate Publications. Arranged with a 1982 list of clients at the beginning of the series, then alphabetically by clients' names. Where the materials are further subdivided, they are arranged alphabetically by names of products; followed by correspondence, memoranda, and reports that are not product-specific.
Contains speeches and agendas. See also oversize materials. Arranged by type of meeting and then chronologically.
Includes clipping compilations and loose clippings. Arranged by title of the compilation, then chronologically. Loose clippings arranged in chronological order. See also oversize materials.
Contains company history research files and manuscripts that were created by three Benton & Bowles staff members: Atherton Hobler, Frank Smith, and Gordon Webber. Arranged into three categories: Atherton W. Hobler Autobiographies, Frank Smith Project, and Gordon Webber Project, Our Kind of People.
Includes manuscripts and some correspondence. Includes information about Hobler's earlier advertising work with the Gardner Advertising Company. Hobler's writings include information about the development of Benton & Bowles advertising campaigns for clients, such as General Foods (Maxwell House Coffee, Cool Whip), the Florida Citrus Commission, Procter & Gamble (Ivory Snow, Pampers, Prell, Scope, Tide, Zest), S. C. Johnson & Son (Pledge), and Vick Chemical Co. (Nyquil), and information about company operations and the activities of its executives. Hobler's career is also documented in the Officers and Staff Series (Biographical Information). Arranged with draft manuscripts first, followed by correspondence and chapter drafts.
Includes manuscript drafts, notes, correspondence, memoranda, manuals, printed material, clippings, transcriptions, and press releases. There are a few original research notes; materials consist primarily of resource materials collected from B&B company files and manuscript drafts. Frank Smith's manuscript was not published. Arranged by form of draft (e.g., first draft), followed by correspondence, memoranda, and resource materials about various time periods. See also oversize material.
Includes audio tapes, printed material, and advertisements. Contains research for Our Kind of People: The Story of the First 50 Years at Benton & Bowles, published by Benton & Bowles for its 50th anniversary in 1979The audiotapes of Webber's interviews with B&B executives provide personal views of the company's history. Also includes advertisements that were considered, but not used, for illustrations in the book. Arranged with published volume first, followed by the original manuscripts, and then research by type of material. See also oversize materials.
Includes certificates, printed material, correspondence, invitations, photographs, a video cassette and reports. Arranged alphabetically by subject. See also oversize materials.
Contains a chronological history of D'Arcy Advertising and its mergers that formed D'Arcy-MacManus Masius (D-MM); a profile directory that provides information relative to the D-MM Worldwide group of advertising agencies, biographical and historical notes, and clippings about the company.
Includes directives and announcements that were issued by the New York and Corporate Offices about events, policies, procedures, personnel changes, benefits, employee recreation, and other company business. Arranged in reverse chronological order.
Contains two major research reports and related clippings.
Contains staff resources printed material and related correspondence. Arranged chronologically. See also oversize materials.
Adventures and Momentum are house organs and convey primarily internal news. Includes printed material and related correspondence. Arranged alphabetically by title, then chronologically. See also oversize materials.
Contains story boards, photographs, and negatives.
Contains speeches given at the DMB&B Worldwide Management Meeting in 1987Arranged alphabetically by name of speaker.
News and events related to DMB&B and its clients through articles that were compiled on a monthly schedule and distributed as press clipping books to the Worldwide Management executives. Also contains some loose clippings. Arranged chronologically.
Includes photographic prints, contact prints, negatives, transparencies, and a memorandum. Primarily documents the company's officers and staff, including those at subsidiary companies. Photographs of staff at merger celebrations worldwide form about one-half of the materials. The theme We're So Excited is displayed on banners held by staff in many of the merger photographs. Includes pictures of the DMB&B Worldwide Management meeting and other meetings. Also includes photographs of the staff of Benton & Bowles subsidiary companies. Arranged in four sections: Officers and Staff, in chronological order; Merger-related events, by office location, U.S. and internationally; and Miscellaneous subjects, in chronological order.
General Foods is the client for which the most extensive corpus of material exists; the Procter & Gamble Company is represented in the second largest corpus of advertisements. Other clients with extensive amounts of material include: Allied Chemical Corporation, AVCO Manufacturing Company and its Crosley Division, Best Foods, the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company, the Florida Citrus Commission, International Business Machines (IBM), and West Point Pepperell. Benton & Bowles house advertisements are also included. Many items are fragile, some having been damaged by glue used to mount them in scrapbooks. Arranged alphabetically by the name of the client. See also oversize materials.