Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office. Resor Library Records, 1822-1967
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.
- Collection Number
- J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office. Resor Library records
- J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office
- 4.5 Linear Feet, 616 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
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.
The collection consists of two series: General Files and Books. The General Files Series contains correspondence, memoranda, invoices, book lists, and inventories related to Resor Library book purchases. The Books Series contains books purchased for and housed in the Resor Library.
Access to the Collection
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.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], J. Walter Thompson Company. New York Office. Resor Library Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Contains correspondence, memoranda, invoices, book lists, and inventories related to the Resor Library. Maintained in the original order received from JWT Archives.
Contains books purchased for the Resor Library at the recommendation of Lewis Mumford. Organized alphabetically by title.
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.]
Related materials may be found in the following Hartman Center collections of the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives:
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
The Resor Library Records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a transfer in 1987.
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.