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Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. Wallace W. Elton Papers, 1909-1990

Collection Overview

The papers of Wallace W. Elton span the years 1909 to 1990, although the bulk of the material dates from the 1940s to the 1960s. They consist of correspondence, memoranda, financial records, advertisements, military records, reports, photographs, drawings and other artwork, diaries, scrapbooks, memorabilia, printed material, and clippings. The collection documents the career of Elton; advertising history, especially agency management and the role of the creative director; and the automobile industry, especially advertising campaigns. Clients of the J. Walter Thompson Company represented in the collection include Chesebrough-Pond's, Ford Motor Company, and Pan American World Airways.

Aspects of Elton's education, his service in the United States Navy, his career, and professional projects and associations, including the International Executive Service Corps, are documented in the Personal Series. An alumnus of Brown University, Elton was active in the affairs of the university from about 1967 to 1985. The Personal Seriesincludes correspondence with Brown University's president and others. The series includes advertisement proofs from NW Ayer & Son, where Elton directed the art and layout work for the Atlantic Refining Company, the Ford Motor Company, and other accounts. After resigning from the J. Walter Thompson Company, he became a Vice President for the International Executive Service Corps [IESC], a non-profit group formed to help improve the performance of private enterprises in developing countries. Detailed diaries recorded during Elton's IESC travel describe his work for the organization and include original illustrations. There are also newspaper accounts of IESC activities.

The bulk of the Personal Seriesdocuments Elton's executive roles in the J. Walter Thompson Company's corporate administration and the creative departments. Company policies, administrative issues including change in the organization, recruitment, and marketing plans are documented. In personal notes, Elton recorded his private observations about the management of the company and client relations. His interest in the history of the company continued after his retirement and is demonstrated in his participation in Retired Directors Reunions and contributions to the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives Fund. Materials that document Elton's work with J. Walter Thompson Company clients or campaigns are in the Clients Seriesand the Advertisements Series. While the former focuses on administrative issues in the creative process and the later series focuses on the advertisements and other graphic materials, there is considerable overlap between these two series.

The Clients Seriesdocuments communications with clients; the development and production of advertisements and campaign implementation; campaign presentations; and marketing schemes. Call reports record meetings or other communications with clients and are scattered throughout the files. The collateral material, which includes brochures, package and label designs, and other point-of-sale materials, were parts of advertising campaigns created to supplement display advertisements in magazines and newspapers and outdoor advertising. They were given directly to consumers or distributed by the clients.

The Ford Motor Company is the subject of the bulk of the Client Series.Since the Detroit Office of the J. Walter Thompson Company is responsible for the Ford account, a substantial amount of correspondence and memoranda from this office is in the series. It documents the interplay between the creative team in the New York office and account management in the Detroit office, and thereby demonstrates features of J. Walter Thompson Company corporate organization. Correspondence and memoranda from Norman H. Strouse document his management of the Ford Motor Company account in Chicago. Some campaigns were developed as lengthy projects, for example "Project X," an around-the-world tour for the 1958 Ford, and entailed extensive planning and time to accomplish. The Ford Motor Company files include documentation for all phases of such projects, including security measures to preserve the secrecy of the project during the planning phases. "Project M" developed around the concept of using Princess Grace [Grace Kelly] and the palace at Monaco to introduce the 1963 1/2 model year cars. The J. Walter Thompson Company negotiated an agreement between the Ford Motor Company and United Feature Syndicate for use of the services of Charles M. Schulz and the rights to use Schulz's Peanuts comics characters in advertising. The subsequent work executed for the Ford Motor Company's Falcon model is described in the Clients Seriesand the advertisements are in the Advertisements Series.

Most of the advertisements in the Advertisements Seriesare from Elton's personal portfolio. For many of the advertisements in the series, he was responsible for the creative idea for the ad copy. Elton sometimes depicted himself, and his wife, as characters in the advertisements. Insight into the creative process and the agency-client relationship can be studied through editorial notes attached to the advertisements or accompanying textual materials which provide information about the campaign or the artwork. A scrapbook contains photographic reproductions of older advertisements paired with tear sheets and proofs of contemporary advertisements developed by J. Walter Thompson Company. Ford Motor Company automobile models were advertised during the year preceding their introduction on the market and, although the publication dates are printed on most of the advertisements, the model year is not always obvious. Several Chrysler Corporation (competitive) advertisements are interfiled with the Ford materials. Norman Rockwell was the artist for some of the Pan American World Airways advertisements. The history of outdoor advertising can be studied from materials in the Personal Series, Advertisements Series,and Pictures Series.

Some of the portraits of Wallace W. Elton in the Pictures Seriesare by photographer Yousuf Karsh. J. Walter Thompson Company executives and staff are depicted at meetings and social events. Henry Ford and Edsel Ford and various models of Ford Motor Company cars, trucks and tractors are also depicted. In addition to photographs in the Pictures Series,there are photographs of Wallace Elton and International Executive Service Corps activities in the Personal Series.

Descriptive Summary

Title
J. Walter Thompson Company. Wallace W. Elton papers 1909-1990
Creator
J. Walter Thompson Company.
Extent
9 Linear feet, 6,750 Items
Repository
Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Durham, North Carolina 27708-0185
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Language
English.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Access to some portions of the Wallace W. Elton Papers is restricted.

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.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives 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.

Contents of the Collection

Includes correspondence, memoranda, advertisement proofs, artwork, military records, diaries, notes, scrapbooks, photographs, clippings, printed material and reprints, and memorabilia. See also oversize materials. Arranged by subjects which reflect the chronology of Wallace W. Elton's education and career path: Brown University, NW Ayer & Son, United States Navy, the J. Walter Thompson Company, and the International Executive Service Corps. The J. Walter Thompson Company materials are arranged alphabetically by folder title within the subject.

Alumni activities, 1967-1985, undated
Box 1
The Brown Jug, cover illustration by Wallace W. Elton, 1929, June
Box 1
Atlantic Refining Co., advertisement proofs with illustrations by Elton ("3 Little Men"), 1934
Box 1
Ford Motor Company, watercolor sketches by James Williamson, undated
Box 1
Officer Service Record, 1942-1955, undated
Box 1
Miscellaneous, 1943-1954, undated
Box 1
American Association of Advertising Agencies Convention, 1958, Apr. 24-26
Box 1
Biographical Files (Wallace W. Elton), 1949-1966, undated
Box 1
Board of Directors, 1987-1988
Box 1
Building Decor: Memoranda from Margaret Tempest, 1960-1963
Box 1
Clippings:
Box 1
1964, 1989
Box 1
Creativity, 1961-1962, undated
Box 1
Company policies, 1956-1957, undated
Box 1
Outdoor Advertising: 18th National Competition and Exhibit of Outdoor Advertising Art, sponsored by Art Directors Club of Chicago (dismantled scrapbook), 1950
Box 1
"Out From Behind the Drawing Board" (Art Department), undated
Box 1
Resignation, correspondence, 1966, Feb.
Box 1
Retired Directors Reunion at Duke University (May 25-27, 1990) and Contributions to J. Walter Thompson Company Archives, 1990, undated
Box 2
Retirement, financial planning, 1957-1976
Box 2
T-Square, undated
Box 2
Miscellaneous, 1952-1966, undated
Box 2
Scrapbook (dismantled), 1966-1971
Box 2
Travel diary, 1965-1969
(2 folders)
Box 2
Travel diaries and illustrations, 1968-1971 (removed from binder)
Box 2
Travel diary, 1970-1971
Box 2
Miscellaneous, 1965-1976, undated
Box 2
1951-1970, undated
Box 3
American Yacht Club, The First Hundred Years of American Yacht Club, Wallace W. Elton, Chairman of the Editorial Board, 1983
Box 3

Includes correspondence, memoranda, artwork and storyboards, scripts, marketing proposals, meeting agendas and minutes, budgets and lists of expenses, itineraries, reports, contracts, notes, speeches, ad copy, awards, scrapbooks, photographs, memorabilia, clippings, and printed material. See also oversize materials. Arranged alphabetically by names of clients. Clients with extensive material are further arranged chronologically and then by subject categories relating to special projects or topics within the chronology.

American Petroleum Institute, 1962
Box 3
Beecham Products, 1961
Box 3
Blue Cross/Blue Shield (United Medical Service), 1961-1963, undated
Box 3
1963
(2 folders)
Box 3
1962-1963, undated, Prince Matchabelli
Box 3
1963, undated, Cutex
Box 3
1963-1964, Angel Face Cosmetic Products
Box 4
1963-1964, Creams
Box 4
Crocker-Anglo National Bank, ca. 1960-1961, undated
(2 folders)
Box 4
Crocker-Citizens Bank, 1963, Apr.-Nov., undated
(2 folders)
Box 4
Crocker-Citizens Bank, 1963; Labatt, 1963
Box 4
Congoleum Nairn, 1961-1962, undated
Box 4
Eastman Kodak Company, 1956-1963, undated
Box 4
Ford Motor Company, 1946-1950
(7 folders)
Box 5
Ford Motor Company , 1951-1953
(7 folders)
Box 6
1953: Ford Motor Company at Fifty
Box 6
Ford Motor Company, 1954-1955
(5 folders)
Box 7
1956-1957: 1957 Retractable Hardtop
Box 8
"Project X": 1957, Apr.-1958
(8 folders)
Box 8
Ford Motor Company: "Project X": World Highways Expedition trophy, 1957

[Trophy removed to the JWT Artifacts and Memorabilia Collection, Box AM13]

Box [box 9 removed]
"Project X": 1958, May: Documentary script, "One Road," 1958, May
Box 10
"Project Y": 1957, Aug.-Dec.
Box 10
1958 Campaign: First Program marketing presentation booklet, 1957, July
Box 10
1958, July
Box 10
1958, Aug.-Nov., Brussels World's Fair
(2 folders)
Box 10
1959-1961, May, Charles M. Schulz and "Peanuts" characters
Box 10
Charles M. Schulz and "Peanuts" characters:
Box 11
1959, Oct.-Nov., Contract with United Features Syndicate
Box 11
1961, June-1963, General
Box 11
1963-1964, Contract Amendment
Box 11
1963, Documentary Film by Lee Mendelson
Box 11
1964, undated, General
Box 11
1960, Plans for 1964 World's Fair
Box 11
1961-1963, "Project M":
Box 11
1961-1962, n.d, Background information for Aug. 9, 1962 meeting
Box 11
1962, June-Sept., "Project M"
(3 folders)
Box 11
"Project M":
Box 12
1962, July, Report :"Project M: An advertising and promotion opportunity for the introduction of the 1962 1/2 cars"
Box 12
1962, Oct.-1963, Apr.
(2 folders)
Box 12
1962, Nov.-1963, May: Union with Ferrari
Box 12
1963, Jan.-Aug.
(3 folders)
Box 12
1963, Sept.-1964
(4 folders)
Box 13
undated, "Product Philosophy Report,"
(3 folders)
Box 13
Advertising Awards, 1956-1960
Box 14
Collateral literature:
Box 14
1953-1964, undated
(3 folders)
Box 14
Color and upholstery samples, 1959
Box 14
Competitors (Lincoln-Mercury), 1955
Box 14
Ford Dealers Association, 1962, Sept.-Nov., undated
Box 14
Outdoor advertising:
Box 15
"National Outdoor Advertising Awards, 1934 to date," 1962 (dismantled scrapbook)
(3 folders)
Box 15
Designs for billboards, 1948-1955, undated
Box 15
Institute of Life Insurance, 1961-1963
(2 folders)
Box 15
Jones Dairy Farm, undated
Box 15
Labatt, 1963, undated (See also Crocker Citizen Bank)
Box 15
Unilever Conference on Creative Advertising, 1962-1963, undated
Box 15
Unilever Conference on Creative Advertising-Speeches, 1962
Box 15
Liggett & Meyers Tobacco Co., 1962-1963,
(2 folders)
Box 16
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., 1962-1963
Box 16
Meredith Publishing Company, 1962-1963, undated
Box 16
Pan American World Airways: Collateral literature, undated
Box 16
R.T. French, 1960-1962, undated
Box 16
Miscellaneous, undated
Box 16

Includes photographs, a set of reproductions, captions, and press releases. See also oversize materials. Arranged into personal, clients, and miscellaneous sections.

Elton, Wallace W., 1909-1969, undated
Box 16
NW Ayer, U.S. Navy, International Executive Service Corps, Retired Directors, 1930s-1990, undated
Box 16
People, including Wallace W. Elton and J. Walter Thompson Company staff, 1964-1983, undated
Box 17
Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, presentation about Wallace W. Elton, 1984
Box 17
Art Directors Club Hall of Fame Election Dinner, 1985, Dec.
Box 17
Ford Motor Company:
Box 17
Automobiles, undated
Box 17
Henry Ford and Sons, 1930-1959, undated
Box 17
Ford Falcon-"Peanuts" group, including Charles M. Schulz, 1960
Box 17
Miscellaneous, undated
Box 17

Chiefly color advertising proofs and tear sheets, some with correspondence, memoranda, and notes attached; pencil and chalk sketches and roughs; photographs; and a scrapbook. Arranged alphabetically by client; the Ford Motor Company is arranged in chronological order according to model year.

(Clients: Chesebrough-Pond's; Douglas Aircraft Co.; Eastman Kodak Co.; Fanny Farmer Candy Shops; Florida Citrus Commission; Ford Motor Co.; J.B. Williams Co.; Kraft Foods Co.; Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corp.; Lever Brothers; Libby, McNeill & Libby; Oneida; Pan American World Airways; Penick and Ford\Vermont Maid; Pineapple Growers of Hawaii; Radio Corporation of America\RCA Victor; R.T. French Co.; Scott Paper Co.; General Time Corp.\Seth Thomas Clocks; Shell Oil Co.; Swift & Co.; U.S. Brewers; U.S. Marine Corps; and United States Lines)
Box 18
P. Ballantine & Sons, 1953; Chrysler, undated; Crocker-Anglo National Bank, ca. 1960; Crocker-Citizens Bank, 1963; Florida Citrus Commission, 1951-1952
Box 18
1946-1958
(4 folders)
Box 18
Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts" characters, 1960-1963
Box 18
Ford Motor Company: Early Models (by NW Ayer & Son), undated
Box 18
Labatt, 1963; Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, 1963
Box 18
Pan American World Airways, 1953-1957
Box 18
J. Walter Thompson House Advertisements, 1951 and 1956
Box 18
1950-1963
(4 folders)
Box 18
Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts characters, 1960-1963
Box 18
Pan American World Airways, 1953-1957
Box 18
Outdoor Advertising: 18th National Competition and Exhibit of Outdoor Advertising Art, Art Directors Club of Chicago (dismantled scrapbook), 1950, Feb. 14-15
Cy Klauck drawings (gift to Wallace Elton), 1959
Opening of Pittsburgh Office, signed booklet, 1961
International Executive Service Corps, 1982-1984
Chesebrough-Pond's, 1963; Eastman Kodak, 1950
Oversize Box 18
Brussels World's Fair, 1958; Project M, 1962; 1963 Model: The Big Change . . ., Ford Motor Company supplement to the Chicago Tribune, 1963, April 4; Advertising Awards, 1951-1955; Collateral Literature, 1939-1954?; Ford Dealers Association, 1962; Outdoor Advertising: 1949; "National Outdoor Advertising Awards, 1934 to date," (dismantled scrapbook), 1962
Charles M. Schulz and "Peanuts" characters, 1961-1963
Collateral literature, 1955-1963
Marty Links and Bobby Sox, 1947
Seat belt safety, Ford Safety Story Blankets Nation, 1955
Elton, Wallace W. by Yousuf Karsh, undated
Brown University, Miscellaneous, undated
Ford Motor Company: Automobiles, 1965

Historical Note

DateEvent(s)
1907, Dec. 15Born, Dorchester, Mass.
1929Received a Ph.D. from Brown University; editor of The Brown Jug
1929-1939Assistant Art Director, NW Ayer & Son advertising agency, Philadelphia, Pa.
1935Married Mary Helen Birchard
1941Senior Art Director, J. Walter Thompson Company and Lennen and Mitchell agencies, New York
1942-1945Lt. Commander, United States Naval Reserve
1945, Dec.Director, Art Department, (rehired) J. Walter Thompson Company
1950Elected Vice President, J. Walter Thompson Company
1952-1961Copy Supervisor, Elected Vice President, J. Walter Thompson Company
1952-Creative Group Head, J. Walter Thompson Company
1956Elected to the Board of Directors, J. Walter Thompson Company
1960-1964Member of the Executive Committee, J. Walter Thompson Company
1961Elected Executive Vice-President, J. Walter Thompson Company
1963Elected Senior Vice-President, J. Walter Thompson Company
1965International Executive Service Corps advertising and marketing advisor in Taiwan; leave of absence from J. Walter Thompson Company
1966Retired from the J. Walter Thompson Company; Vice President, International Executive Service Corps (1966-1987)
1967-Brown University, Regional Director of Associated Alumni; Alumni Trustee; Regional Vice President of Associated Alumni
1977Married Jane Vrooman Rice
1984Inducted into Art Directors Hall of Fame
1991, Feb.Died, Coral Gables, Fla.

Wallace W. Elton was a member of the following advertising and art organizations: the National Society of Art Directors, the New York Art Director's Club, and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Eastern Region Chairman.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. J. Walter Thompson Company. Wallace W. Elton Papers. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Wallace W. Elton Papers were transferred to the Special Collections Library by the J. Walter Thompson Company in 1987. An addition to the papers was donated by Jane Elton (Mrs. Wallace Elton) in 1991. Processing of this collection was supported in part by gifts from the J. Walter Thompson Company Fund and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.

Processing Information

Encoded by Alvin Pollock

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.