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Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. Don Johnston Papers, 1964-1996 and undated

Abstract

The J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT), founded in 1864, is one of the oldest and largest enduring advertising agencies in the United States. Don Johnston held many positions at JWT, beginning his career as a trainee in the Detroit mailroom and retiring as CEO and President.

The Don Johnston Papers span the years 1964-1996 and document his career in various positions with JWT. The collection includes international and domestic inter-office correspondence, personal and administrative files, management manuals, presentations, speeches, budgets, billings and profit reports, and video-cassettes that relate to planning for JWT projects, committee meetings, marketing research, contracts with clients, management directives, and JWT's corporate mission and philosophy. The papers also touch on Joseph O'Donnell's attempted hostile takeover of the JWT Group, and the purchase of JWT by the WPP Group. Clients represented include: Ford Motor Company, Unilever, Chevron, General Foods, and Uniroyal Tire. Offices represented include: Buenos Aires, Toronto, Chicago, Santiago, Detroit, Paris, Frankfurt, Bombay (Mumbai), London, Tokyo, New York, and Johannesburg.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
J. Walter Thompson Company.
Title
J. Walter Thompson Company. Don Johnston papers 1964-1996 and undated
Language of Material
English
Extent
17.5 Linear Feet, 12000 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Don Johnston Papers span the years 1964-1996 and document his career in various positions with JWT. The collection includes international and domestic inter-office correspondence, personal and administrative files, management manuals, presentations, speeches, budgets, billings and profit reports, and video-cassettes materials that relate to planning for JWT projects, committee meetings, marketing research, contracts with clients, management directives, and JWT's corporate mission and philosophy. The papers also touch on Joseph O'Donnell's attempted hostile takeover of the JWT Group, and the purchase of JWT by the WPP Group. Clients represented include: Ford Motor Company, Unilever, Chevron, General Foods, and Uniroyal Tire. Offices represented include: Buenos Aires, Toronto, Chicago, Santiago (Chile), Detroit, Paris, Frankfurt, Bombay (Mumbai), London, Tokyo, New York, and Johannesburg (South Africa).

The collection is organized into four series: Memoranda, Administrative Files, Personal Files, and Audiovisual Materials.

The Memoranda Series includes business correspondence to and from Johnston during his career with JWT and mainly pertains to the day to day operations throughout the worldwide operations of JWT as a transnational entity.

The Administrative Files Seriesincludes reports, plans, inter-office correspondence, general administrative files, as well as information on fund-raising for the JWT archives at Duke University.

The Personal Files Series includes newspaper and periodical clippings, as well as personal correspondence.

The Audiovisual Materials Series consists of promotional works and interviews by Johnston during his tenure with JWT.

Related materials within the JWT Archives may be found in these collections: the Burt Manning Papers, the Thomas Sutton Papers, the Rena Bartos Papers, the Harry Clark Papers, the Joseph O'Donnell Papers, the Greg Bathon Papers and the Denis Lanigan Papers.

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

Collection is restricted.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Use copies are available in the 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 this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Consists of memoranda to and from Johnston from 1969-1984. Includes inter-office memoranda as well as inter-business correspondence. Arranged chronologically.

1974
(6 folders)
Box 1
1975
(6 folders)
Box 2
1975 Oct.-1976 Sept.
(6 folders)
Box 3
1976 Oct.-1977 Dec.
(5 folders)
Box 4
1978
(5 folders)
Box 5
1979 June-Sept.
(7 folders)
Box 6
1979 Oct.-1980 Jan.
(7 folders)
Box 7
1979 Jan.-May
(6 folders)
Box 8
1980 Feb.-Sept.
(6 folders)
Box 9
1980 Oct.-1981 Mar.
(6 folders)
Box 10
1981 Mar.-June
(7 folders)
Box 11
1981 July-Dec.
(7 folders)
Box 12
1982 Jan.-May
(5 folders)
Box 13
1982 June-1983 Jan.
(5 folders)
Box 14
1983 Feb.-Sept.
(5 folders)
Box 15
1983 Oct.-1984 June
(6 folders)
Box 16
1984 July-Dec.
(4 folders)
Box 17

Includes general files, client files, correspondence between Johnston and various JWT offices, historical material on JWT, reports and speeches. The series is organized into five subseries--Administrative Files, Client Files,Historical, Inter-Office Correspondence, and Projects, Reports and Speeches--and alphabetically therein.

AAA (Agency Art Association), 1974
Box 18
Account teams, 1974
Box 18
Advertising agency correspondence, 1980
Box 18
Annual reports, 1973-1978
(6 folders)
Box 18
Board of Directors, 1975-1976
Box 18
Client/Agency review, undated
Box 18
Client retention reports, 1978-1981
Box 18
Corporate advertising, 1975-1978
Box 18
Diners/Fugazy, 1974-1975
Box 18
Executive committee, 1975-1978
(3 folders)
Box 18
Flagship, 1974
Box 18
Formal reporting, 1974
Box 18
IMG (International Management Group), 1973-1979
(3 folders)
Box 19
JWT Group, 1986
Box 19
AMRB (Axiom Market Research Bureau), 1976
Box 19
Deltakos, 1974-1975
(4 folders)
Box 19
Diogenes, 1975
Box 19
Interlease, 1975-1976
Box 19
Lintas, 1972
Box 19
Lord, Geller, Federico, 1976
Box 19
Synapse, 1974
Box 19
Univas, 1979
Box 19
London Office, 1972 and undated

[Includes a poster of London Board of Directors; materials pertaining to a Latin American Managers' meeting in London; a visitor's guide to Soho.]

Box 19
Managers manual, undated
(2 folders)
Box 19
Media, 1974-1977
Box 19
Meek, Sam, undated

Meek (1895-1981) was Vice President in Charge of International Operations until his retirement in 1964.

Box 19
Mission and philosophy, 1964-1981
Box 19
Multinational account management, 1978-1979
Box 19
Recruiting, 1979-1980 and 1984
Box 19
Standard operating procedure, 1980
Box 20
Technology, 1974 and undated
Box 20
Troutbeck meetings, 1980-1981

Contains memoranda about the meetings in 1980 and 1981 at the Troutbeck Inn in Amenia, N.Y. to discuss the creation and implementation of the JWT Group.

Box 20
20th Century Fox, 1981-1983
Box 20
Amtorg, 1974
Box 20
Braun, 1972-1973
(2 folders)
Box 20
Burger King, 1976 and 1988
(2 folders)
Box 20
Chevron, 1977
Box 20
Congoleum, 1979
Box 20
Continental Car, 1974
Box 20
DeBeers, 1972-1983
Box 20
Emery, 1981
Box 20
Florida Grapefruit Association, 1982
Box 20
General, 1973-1974
Box 20
Audit, 1976-1978
(2 folders)
Box 20
Europe, 1982-1982
(4 folders)
Box 20
Germany, 1985-1986
Box 20
International, 1985
Box 20
Letter of Terms, 1973
Box 20
Permanent File, undated
(2 folders)
Box 21
General Foods, 1976-1978
(2 folders)
Box 21
Gilette, 1975
Box 21
Goodyear, 1981
Box 21
Heineken/Guinness, 1973
Box 21
Institute of Life Insurance, 1974-1975
Box 21
Joh. Jacobs and Co., 1974
Box 21
Kellogg's, 1974-1975
Box 21
Kodak, 1983
Box 21
Kraft, 1974
Box 21
Labatt's, 1974
Box 21
Lever Brothers, 1972
Box 21
Mentholatum, 1974
Box 21
Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 1975
Box 21
Nestlé, 1982
Box 22
Orkin, 1976
Box 22
Pearle, 1981
Box 22
Pillsbury, 1983
Box 22
R.J. Reynolds, 1980
Box 22
Ryder, 1983
Box 22
Scott, 1979
Box 22
S.C. Johnson, 1970s and undated
Box 22
Schlitz, 1978
Box 22
TWA, undated
Box 22
1971-1973
(12 folders)
Box 22
1974
(3 folders)
Box 23
Uniroyal, 1973
(2 folders)
Box 23
United States Marine Corps, 1974
Box 23
Vereinigte Papierwerke, 1973
Box 23
Warner-Lambert, 1974
Box 23
Argentina, 1978
Box 23
Canada, 1977-1978
(3 folders)
Box 23
Chicago, 1978
Box 23
Chile, 1973-1974
(2 folders)
Box 24
Detroit, 1977-1978
Box 24
Europe, 1976 and 1978-1982
(3 folders)
Box 24
Far East, 1978-1981
(3 folders)
Box 24
France, 1974-1975
(2 folders)
Box 24
Frankfurt, 1977-1980
(2 folders)
Box 24
India, 1970s
(5 folders)
Box 25
General, 1970s
(4 folders)
Box 25
Europe, 1970s
(2 folders)
Box 25
Memoranda, 1970s
(2 folders)
Box 26
Seminars, 1969-1973
Box 26
Japan, 1973-1974
Box 26
Latin America, 1976-1980
(3 folders)
Box 26
London, 1978-1981
Box 26
Madrid, 1979-1980
Box 26
South East Asia, 1976
Box 26
South Africa, 1979
Box 26
Treasure, John, 1973-1978

Treasure was Chairman of JWT London from 1967-1974.

Box 26
U.S. Inter-office, 1975
Box 26
Advertising and Black America, 1977 and undated
Box 26
Advertising and Spanish speaking America, undated
Box 26
Informe de la visite a Chile, 1973-1974

Entirely in Spanish.

Box 27
Report on Chile, 1973-1974
Box 27
Consumers in Crisis, 1974
Box 27
Desensitization of America to Violence, 1976
(3 folders)
Box 27
Dialog, 1974
Box 27
Diversification and Business project, 1974
Box 27
Duke University, JWT archives, 1990

Contains fund-raising letters written by Johnston and other former and current JWT executives on behalf of the Hartman Center at Duke University.

Box 27
Future Environment for Advertising, 1977
Box 27
JWT Consumer Advertising, 1974
Box 27

Presentations at the Fifth JWT World Management Meeting in 1978. Presenters included Denis Lanigan, Burt Manning, and Marie Luisi.

Clients, Client Relations, and Client Service: Their Effect on the Agency Performance and Profit and How to Manage Them
Box 27
Growth and Return on JWT Investment
Box 27
Is There a Crisis in Branding in the U.S.?
Box 27
JWT: Reputation and Reality
Box 27
People--A New York Office Perspective
Box 27
Product and Profit: You Can't Have One Without the Other
Box 27
Profit
Box 27
Reshaping JWT for Future Needs and Opportunities
Box 27
The New Medium: Television in the 1980's
Box 27
Yes, But What Responses?
Box 27
Managing the Agency, circa 1978
Box 27
Media Buying: Recommendations for a JWT Test Market in Europe, 1972
Box 27
Rena Bartos research surveys, 1973-1974
Box 27
Research and Media, 1977-1981
(2 folders)
Box 27
[Spain--Las ramblas de Barcelona moved to Oversize Folder 1.]
Box 27
T-Plan, 1972-1974
(3 folders)
Box 28
Women--Lorrell Burke study, 1974
Box 28
Don Johnston speeches, 1977-1996 and undated
(5 folders)
Box 28
JWT Executive Speeches, 1974-1983

Includes speeches by Denis Lanigan, John Treasure and Wayne Fickinger.

Box 28

Contains personal correspondence that related mainly to the hostile takeover attempt of JWT by Joseph O'Donnell, the WPP takeover of JWT, and Johnston's retirement from JWT. Organized into two subseries--JWT History and Personal Correspondence--and alphabetically therein.

Original correspondence from notable individuals is closed to researchers. Photocopies can be found in the respective folders.

Articles and interviews, 1973-1974
Going private, 1974
JWT history, 1983
Replacing Tom Sutton, 1970s
Succession planning, 1984-1985
Box 29
JWT treachery, 1986-1987
Box 29
Photos with Joe O'Donnell, undated
Box 29
WPP Takeover, 1987
Box 29
Autographed letters, 1978-1985

[Contains photocopies of letters written by Jacqueline Onassis, Henry Kissinger, and Jimmy Carter to Johnston. Originals are closed to patron use.]

Box 29
Correspondence from outside directors, 1976-1980
(2 folders)
Box 29
Correspondence from retired directors, 1976-1982
(3 folders)
Box 29
Client responses to retirement, 1987
Box 29
JWT responses to retirement, 1987
Box 29
Personal responses to retirement, 1987
Box 29
Post takeover letters, 1987
Box 29
Other letters, 1974-1977
(2 folders)
Box 29
Autographed letters, 1978-1985

Contains letters written by Jacqueline Onassis, Henry Kissinger, and Jimmy Carter to Johnston.

Box 30

Consists of video tapes of presentations given by Johnston. Originals and Reference Master copies are closed to patron use.

OR1. CEO Closeup: Don Johnston, undated. VHS.

Use Copy UC1 in Box 32.

Box 30
OR2. Don Johnston: The Best Thompson Yet, 1987. VHS.

Use Copy UC2 in Box 32.

Box 30
OR3. The Thompson Way, undated. VHS.

Use Copy UC3 in Box 32.

Box 30

Format: BetacamSP. Created: 2006.

MC1-MC3
Box 31

Format: DVD. Created: 2006.

UC1-UC3
Box 32
JWT Spain--Las ramblas de Barcelona, 1974

[Photographs and art with essay on Barcelona's main street. Text in Spanish.]

Folder 1

Historical Note

Chronology List

DateEvent(s)
1927Born George Donald Johnston, Elmira, NY
1950B.S., Summa Cum Laude, in Journalism and Economics, Michigan State University
1951Began career with JWT as a trainee in Detroit Office mail room
1952M.A with Honors in International Economics, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Johnston attended on a JWT scholarship.
1952Assistant International Account Representative, JWT New York
1953Representative, JWT Colombia
1956Account Representative and Account Supervisor, JWT New York
1961Managing Director, JWT Amsterdam
1964Managing Director, JWT Tokyo
1966Vice President-Europe, JWT Frankfurt
1967Vice President-Europe, JWT London
1971Senior Vice President, JWT Latin America
1972Executive Vice President-International JWT New York
Member of Board of Directors and Executive Committee
1974President and CEO of JWT Company
1978Chairman of JWT
1980Chairman of newly formed JWT Group Inc.
Chairman of American Association of Advertising Agencies
Won International Advertising Association Annual Award.
1986Established Sarita and Don Johnston Professorship in Latin American Studies at Johns Hopkins University
1987Retired from JWT

Upon retirement from the JWT, Johnston was named Chairman of the International Executive Service Corps. Johnston is currently a Trustee Emeritus of Johns Hopkins University.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

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

Provenance

The Don Johnston Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as transfers in 1995 and 2003.

Processing Information

Processed by Greg Johnson and Andrea Franzius, May 15, 2006

Encoded by Greg Johnson

Completed June 15, 2006

Accessions 96-021, 96-092, 96-093, 96-112, and 03-0258 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and our local Style Guide.