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Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. Staff Meeting Minutes, 1927-1938

Collection Overview

Chiefly verbatim minutes of staff meetings of the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) including Account Representatives' Meetings, Creative Organization Meetings, JWT Forum, Monday Evening Meetings, and Apprentice Group Meetings. Also included are advertisements, photographs, and other printed material attached to minutes as background material for the meetings. Topics discussed at the various staff meetings include account histories, new business prospects, market research, activities of foreign and domestic JWT offices, development and use of advertising media (print, radio, billboards, film, television), social trends, and general business conditions. Some minutes include market research reports.

The Account Representatives' Meetings deal mostly with specific accounts and offices, and with business conditions. The Creative Organization Meetings and JWT Forum usually consisted of a lecture by a staff member and focused on advertising practices and account histories. The Monday Evening Meetings were a lecture series featuring prominent outside speakers on general interest topics. The Apprentice Group Meetings were luncheon lectures by senior staff members. Among the outside speakers at the various staff meetings were Clarence Darrow, Edward J. Steichen, and Margaret Bourke-White. Speakers from inside the company included Stanley B. Resor, John B. Watson, William L. Day, William C. Esty, and Ruth Waldo. All minutes are from the New York office of JWT. All minutes are from the years 1927-1938. There are some gaps within those years.

The collection contains a set of photocopies of the all the meeting minutes, designated as "Use Copies." Also included is a set of originals of all the meeting minutes which are restricted.

A summary list of the meetings, with selected topics of discussion and speakers, follows the container list. In addition there is also an detailed index compiled by company staff, which may be contemporaneous with the minutes. The indexes for the meetings are filed at the end of each series. The company index is fuller than the summary list, but its form is idiosyncratic and cumbersome.

Descriptive Summary

Title
J. Walter Thompson Company. Staff Meeting Minutes, 1927-1938
Creator
J. Walter Thompson Company.
Extent
4.8 Linear Feet, 3600 Items
Repository
Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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 the originals is restricted. Photocopies are available for general use.

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. Staff Meeting Minutes 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

The minutes of weekly Representatives’ meetings form the bulk of all minutes. Representatives and guest speakers from within and outside JWT discuss advertising campaigns and their results, account histories, new business prospects, strengths and weaknesses of advertising media (magazines, newspapers, billboards, radio, and TV), ethics and standards in advertising, and general business conditions.

Meeting Minutes (1927, January 11-1929, April 24)
Box 1
Meeting Minutes (1929, May 1-1930, August 26)
Box 2
Meeting Minutes (1930, September 9 -1931, May 26)
Box 3
Meeting Minutes (1931, June 2-1932, February 16)
Box 4

Creative Organization staff meetings were held on a weekly basis between March 1932 and May 1933, with additional meetings in January and February 1934. Top company officials and creative staff attended the meetings, at which one staff member usually lectured on a subject such as advertising practices and media, trade advertising and advertising to specific groups, client campaigns, research, foreign office activities, and legal aspects of advertising. Some of the meetings included question and answer periods.

Meeting Minutes (1932, March 5-1933, March 29)
Box 5
Meeting Minutes (1933, April 12-1934, October 11)
Box 6

JWT Forum is a resumption of the Creative Organization staff meetings. The new meetings, attended by top company officials and the creative staff, were held bi-weekly and featured lectures by staff members. Discussions included advertising practices and media, client campaigns, activities of domestic branch offices, and legal aspects of advertising.

Meeting Minutes (1936, January 7-1938, October 5)
Box 6

Monday Evening Meetings were enrichment lectures by outside speakers presented each week from March through May 1930 in the JWT lecture hall. Speakers included editors and publishers, Clarence Darrow, Rudy Vallee, and motion picture censor Will Hays. Stanley Resor also gave one talk about his trip to the JWT San Francisco and Los Angeles branch offices. All surviving speeches are by men.

Meeting Minutes (1930, March 3-May 26)
Box 6

The Men’s Apprentice Group, made up of new NY Office employees, was established in 1935. Members of the group attended weekly luncheon meetings chaired by Howard Kohl and generally featuring a company speaker. The group also published a bi-weekly newsletter from 1935 to 1938 originally called the Junior News Letter and then the Flash. A Women’s Apprentice Group was founded in 1937 but no additional information about the group has been found.

Meeting Minutes (1936, September 3-1938, October 7)
Box 6

Original meeting minutes for the Account Representative Meetings, Creative Organization Meetings, JWT Forum Meetings, Monday Evening Staff Meetings, and Men’s and Women’s Apprentice Group Meetings.

Account Representatives Meeting Minutes (1927, January 11-1929, April 24)
Box 7
Account Representatives Meeting Minutes (1929, May 1-1930, August 26)
Box 8
Account Representatives Meeting Minutes (1930, September 9 -1931, May 26)
Box 9
Account Representatives Meeting Minutes (1931, June 2-1932, February 16)
Box 10
Creative Organization Meeting Minutes (1932, March 5-1933, March 29)
Box 11
Creative Organization Meeting Minutes (1933, April 12-1934, October 11)
Box 12
JWT Forum Meeting Minutes (1936, January 7-1938, October 5)
Box 12
Monday Evening Staff Meeting Minutes (1930, March 3-May 26)
Box 12
Men and Women Apprentice Group Meetings (1936, September 3-1938, October 7)
Box 12

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], J. Walter Thompson Company. Staff Meeting Minutes, 1927-1938, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The Staff Meeting Minutes were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from the J. Walter Thompson Company in 1987.

Processing Information

Processing of this collection was supported in part by gifts from the J. Walter Thompson Company Fund and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.

Processed by: Rhonda Mawhood

Completed August 22, 1994

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller, Alvin Pollock

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.