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Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office. Resor Library Records, 1822-1967

Abstract

Founded in 1864, the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) is one of the largest and oldest enduring advertising agencies in the United States. The Resor Library was a project initiated by Helen Lansdowne Resor to enhance the intellectual and cultural environment in the JWT New York corporate headquarters at the Graybar Building on Lexington Avenue.

The Resor Library Records contain books and book inventories, as well as correspondence, memoranda and invoices related to purchases of books for the JWT Resor Library between 1927-1930. The bulk of the books were published between 1890 and 1919. Acquired as part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office.
Title
J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office. Resor Library records 1822-1967
Language of Material
English
Extent
4.5 Linear Feet, 616 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Resor Library Records contain books and book inventories, as well as correspondence, memoranda and invoices related to purchases of books for the JWT Resor Library between 1927-1930. The bulk of the books were published between 1890 and 1919.

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 open for 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. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

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

Contains correspondence, memoranda, invoices, book lists, and inventories related to the Resor Library. Maintained in the original order received from JWT Archives.

Mumford list of original 125, 1927 Apr. 2
Box 1
Preliminary list, 1927 May 27-June 17
Box 1
First thousand, 1927 June 8, 2 copies
(2 folders)
Box 1
Preliminary list, 1927 June 29
Box 1
Preliminary list, 1927 June
Box 1
Second thousand, 1927 June 17
Box 1
Final list: Dauber and Pine copy, 1927 Oct.
(4 folders)
Box 1
Final list: company copy, 1928 Sept.
(4 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, memoranda and invoices regarding dealers other than Dauber and Pine, 1927-1929
(3 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, memoranda and invoices regarding Dauber and Pine, 1927-1928
(8 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, memoranda and invoices regarding Dauber and Pine, 1929-1935
(6 folders)
Box 2
Correspondence and memoranda regarding Lewis Mumford, 1927-1930
(4 folders)
Box 2
Correspondence and memoranda regarding progress on Resor Library, 1927-1930
Box 2
Lists of missing books, 1930-1942
Box 2
Inventory of books, 1966-1967
Box 2

Contains books purchased for the Resor Library at the recommendation of Lewis Mumford. Organized alphabetically by title.

Binyon, Laurence. Painting in the Far East: An Introduction to the History of Pictorial Art in Asia Especially China and Japan, Second edition. New York: Longmans, Green & Co.; London: Edward Arnold, 1913
Box 3
Birrell, Augustine. Obiter Dicta. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1893
Box 4
Buckle, Henry Thomas. History of Civilization in England, vols. I-II. London: John W. Parker & Son, 1857
Box 4
Butler, Samuel. Hudibras: A Poem, vols. I-II. London: Ackerman, Strand, 1822
Box 4
Carlyle, Thomas. Frederick the Great, vol. I. London: Chapman and Hall,1858-1865
Box 4
Carlyle, Thomas. Frederick the Great, vols. II-V. London: Chapman and Hall, 1862-1865
Box 5
Carlyle, Thomas. Frederick the Great, vol. VI. London: Chapman and Hall, 1862-1865
Box 6
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quixote, vol. I. Translated by Henry Edward Watts. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1898
Box 6
Compayre, Gabriel. Abelard and the Origin and Early History of Universities. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1893
Box 7
Croce, Benedetto. European Literature in the Nineteenth Century. Translated by Douglas Ainslie. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1924
Box 7
Cushing, Frank Hamilton. Zuni Folk Tales. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902
Box 7
Farrand, Livingston. Basis of American History: 1500-1900, vol. 2 of American Nation: A History. Edited by Albert Bushnell Hart. New York: Harper & Bros., 1904
Box 7
Faure, Elie. Ancient Art, vol. 1 of History of Art. Translated by Walter Pach. New York: Harper & Bros., 1921
Box 7
Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison and John Jay. The Federalist, vol. I. Washington, D.C., M. Walter Dunne, 1901
Box 7
Holroyd, Charles. Michael Angelo Buonarroti. London: Duckworth and Co., 1911
Box 8
Homer, Iliad of Homer. Translated by Alexander Pope. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1899
Box 8
Pater, Walter. The Renaissance. New York: MacMillian and Co., 1901
Box 9
Ruskin, John. Fors Clavigera: Letters, vols. I-IV. London: George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, 1896
Box 9
Ruskin, John. Sesame and Lilies. London: George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, 1898
Box 9
Ruskin, John. Seven Lamps of Architecture. London: George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, 1898
Box 9
Ruskin, John. Stones of Venice, vols. II and III. London: George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, 1898
Box 10
Smollett, Tobias. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. London: George Routledge and Sons., Ltd., 1895
Box 10
Thackeray, William Makepeace. Irish Sketch Book. London: Smith, Elder & Co.; Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1886
Box 10
Thackeray, William Makepeace. Lovell the Widower. London: Smith, Elder & Co.; Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1886
Box 10
Whitehead, A.N. Organization of Thought, Educational and Scientific. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1917
Box 10

Historical Note

In 1927 the New York office of the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) moved from 244 Madison Avenue to the Graybar Building at 420 Lexington Avenue. The event provided Helen Lansdowne Resor an opportunity to create a showcase in JWT's new corporate headquarters. She commissioned Norman Bel Geddes to design a lecture hall and hired numerous interior designers (among them Elsie de Worl) to decorate specific offices. Additionally, she commissioned Samuel Yellin to create iron grill-work for the executive wing and moved an entire Colonial kitchen to serve as a private dining room.

Lansdowne Resor wished to improve not only the visual appeal of the offices but also the intellectual and cultural environment. Therefore she commissioned noted historian Lewis Mumford to compile a list of three thousand books to be purchased for the use of company employees. Mumford was likely chosen because of his views on the study of civilization; Mumford emphasized the importance of the study of the interrelationships between social, economic and artistic events. He applied this approach in particular to the study of America's history and as a result is largely credited with the re-discovery and renewed appreciation of our popular cultural heritage.

Mumford solicited input from a variety of sources: existing book lists; outside experts; employees' recommendations; as well as his own choices. He divided the books into three general categories: Science, Arts, and Ideologies. Sub-categories were included under each general heading.

The project of physically collecting the individual volumes fell to Fanny Bell of the Research Library. Bell was charged to supply the volumes as quickly and cheaply as possible, which Bell began to do in February 1927. In April 1927 she discovered Dauber and Pine Bookshops, a used book dealer on Fifth Avenue. For the next six years, Dauber and Pine was the primary supplier for the library. By 1930 books began to disappear from the collection. The last survey, taken on October 23, 1967 listed 44 remaining titles. Sometime later the collection was dispersed. Materials in this collection comprise all the volumes that remain of the library.

[Notes derived from those written by JWT Archives staff.]

Subject Headings

Related Material

Related Material

Related materials may be found in the following Hartman Center collections of the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives:

Colin Dawkins Papers

Norman H. Strouse Papers

Artifacts and Memorabilia

Newsletter Collection

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office. Resor Library Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Resor Library Records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a transfer in 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by JWT Archives staff, August 1981

Encoded by Jessica Wood, March 2009

Multiple accessions were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

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

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.