Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. Sidney Ralph Bernstein Company History Files, 1873-1964
The Sidney Ralph Bernstein Company History Files span the years 1873 to 1964, but the bulk of the material dates from 1963 to 1964. The collection consists primarily of research files containing transcripts of interviews; notes and excerpts copied from publications, facsimile copies, correspondence, and printed material; correspondence and memoranda; manuscripts; speeches; indexes; clippings; lists; and chronologies. The files were created by Sidney Ralph Bernstein and Marianne Keating, his research assistant, for a commemorative history of the J. Walter Thompson Company at the time of its centennial anniversary. The history was not published. The collection documents the history of J. Walter Thompson Company, especially through personal reminiscences, recollections, and evaluations of the company by its executives and other employees; advertising executives; women in the advertising industry; and J. Walter Thompson, founder of the company.
The Correspondence Series documents the planning phases of the project and the selection of Sidney Ralph Bernstein from a pool of prospective authors. Company executive Milton Moskowitz was primarily responsible for arranging the project but the Executive Committee approved all aspects of it. Bernstein's and Keating's research activities are described throughout the series. The correspondence includes biographical material about various company leaders, including William James Carlton and Stanley B. Resor, and information about the 1918 tax law case against the J. Walter Thompson Company.
A substantial part of the project included interviewing company employees about their personal experiences and about clients. The transcripts of the interviews are in the Oral Interview Transcripts Series. Most of the interviews were indexed and provide access to four areas of information: Agencies and associations, accounts, personalities, and selected topics.
The Biographical Files Series has varying quantities of information about officers and staff, some derived from printed sources and some from personal narratives. Most of the files contain information about more than one executive or staff member since, in many of the narratives, subjects discuss other employees. The International Office Series also contains personal narratives about office histories, chronologies, and client relations. Subjects in the Client Files Series that have the most documentation include Chesebrough-Pond's, Eastman Kodak Company, Kraft Foods Company, Pan American World Airways, and Scott Paper Company.
The topical files in the J. Walter Thompson Company Study, Working Files Series comprise a collection of information on various topics, most of which was created by the J. Walter Thompson Company agency or its executives. The Chapter Files Series includes genealogical information about Mr. J. Walter Thompson and his family. Most of the files in the Chapter Files Series are collections of research material to be used in the manuscript; there are no chapter manuscripts in the series.
- Collection Number
- J. Walter Thompson Company. Sidney Ralph Bernstein Company History Files
- J. Walter Thompson Company
- 4 Linear Feet, 3000 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Correspondence Series, 1961-1968, undated (bulk 1963-1964).
- Oral Interview Transcripts Series, 1963-1964, undated
- Biographical Files Series, 1916-1964, undated
- International Office Histories Series, 1946-1964, undated (bulk 1963-1964).
- Client Files Series, 1916-1967, undated
- J. Walter Thompson Company Study, Working Files, 1916-1959, undated
- J. Walter Thompson Company History Series, 1873-1964, undated (bulk 1960s).
- Department Files, 1931-1964, undated
- Chapter Files Series, 1873-1964, undated
- Manuscript Series, 1964.
- Oversize Material
Many of the folders contain excerpts, transcriptions, and other forms of copies of newspaper articles, reports, correspondence, and other documents. The folder dates refer to the date of original material, not the date of the copy. The folders were left in their original order.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open to research.
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 J. Walter Thompson Company. Sidney Ralph Bernstein Company History Files have not been transferred to Duke University. 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], J. Walter Thompson Company. Sidney Ralph Bernstein Company History Files, 1873-1964, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Includes correspondence, memoranda, and manuscript drafts. Arranged chronologically.
Includes a list of interviewees, transcripts, and indexes. Arranged into two parts: Unrestricted Interviews and Additional Interviews; then alphabetically by the names of the interviewee. One group interview is at the end.
Contains correspondence, notes, resumes, clippings, transcripts of interviews, excerpts, and essays. See also oversize. Arranged alphabetically by the names of the subjects, with a miscellaneous folder at the end.
Includes interview transcripts, historical essays and chronologies, correspondence and memoranda, notes, and lists. Arranged with an information file at the beginning; followed by files for various countries, arranged alphabetically by the name of the country.
Includes clippings, notes, correspondence and memoranda, lists, printed material, negatives, speeches, house organs, and advertisements. See also oversize. Arranged alphabetically by the clients' names.
Consists of speeches; commentaries; notes; and excerpts copied from correspondence, speeches, business files, and publications. Files retain Bernstein's original order and folder titles; information in brackets added for clarification Arranged by file numbers assigned by Bernstein.
Includes notes, excerpts, clippings, lists, correspondence, memoranda, house organs, speeches, and writings. Files retain Bernstein's original order and folder titles; information in brackets added for clarification. Arranged alphabetically by folder titles.
Includes clippings, excerpts, memoranda, lists, manuscripts, and notes. Files retain Bernstein's original order and folder titles. See also oversize. Arranged with a report on all departments first, then alphabetically by department name.
Includes correspondence, memoranda, clippings, excerpts, reports, legal papers, research papers, interviews, indexes to chapters, and notes. Dates in parentheses are time spans covered in the chapters. Arranged by numbers assigned to files by Bernstein.
Contains the project manuscript. Arranged by chapter numbers.
|1962, Feb.-1964, July||
Executives in the J. Walter Thompson Company begin to discuss the preparation of a publication for the company's centennial year; potential authors are reviewed
Sidney Ralph Bernstein agrees to write the history; granted leave from Advertising Age where he was Editorial Director
Marianne Keating, a J. Walter Thompson Company staff member, assigned as Bernstein's research assistant
Research materials collected, interviews conducted
Manuscript reviewed by Norman H. Strouse
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Bernstein, Sidney Ralph, 1907-
- J. Walter Thompson Company -- History -- Sources
- J. Walter Thompson Company
- Thompson, James Walter, 1847-1928
The Sidney Ralph Bernstein Company History Files were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library by the J. Walter Thompson Company in 1987.
Processed by: Donna Longo DiMichele
Completed June 3, 1994
Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller
Processing of this collection was supported in part by gifts from the J. Walter Thompson Company Fund and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.