Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. Norman H. Strouse Papers, 1852-1990 and undated
The J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT), founded in 1864, is one of the oldest and largest enduring advertising agencies in the United States. Norman Hulbert Strouse served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JWT during the 1960s. He was also a noted bibliophile and private publisher. The papers of Norman H. Strouse span the years 1852 to 1990, with the bulk of material dating from the 1950s to the 1960s. Records consist of correspondence, office files and memoranda, reports, writings and speeches, charts, client presentations, notes and notebooks, publications, clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks. The collection primarily documents Strouse's work in the JWT Detroit Office; other files touch on corporate administration for the entire company; company history; and public relations. Major clients include Ford, Kraft foods, and Scott paper products. The collection also partially documents Strouse's interests as a bibliophile: book collecting; the works of Robert Louis Stevenson; and his involvement with Silverado Press.
- Collection Number
- J. Walter Thompson Company. Norman H. Strouse papers
- 1852-1990 and undated
- J. Walter Thompson Company
- 17.3 Linear Feet, 13000 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- General JWT Office Files, 1886-1989 and undated
- Professional Associations Series, 1956-1978 and undated
- Business Writings and Speeches Series, 1935-1968 and undated
- Book Collecting, Library and Printing Interests Series, 1950-1989 and undated
- Personal Materials Series, 1852-1990 and undated
- Oversize Materials
The papers of Norman H. Strouse span the years 1852 to 1990, with the bulk of material dating from the 1950s to the 1960s. Records consist of correspondence, office files and memoranda, reports, writings and speeches, charts, client presentations, notes and notebooks, publications, clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks. The collection primarily documents Strouse's work in the JWT Detroit Office; other files touch on corporate administration for the entire company; company history; and public relations. Major clients include Ford, Kraft foods, and Scott paper products. The collection also partially documents Strouse's interests as a bibliophile: book collecting; the works of Robert Louis Stevenson; and his involvement with Silverado Press.
Collection is arranged into six series: General JWT Office Files; Professional Associations; Business Writings and Speeches; Book Collecting, Library and Printing Interests; Personal Materials; and Oversize Materials.
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 Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], J. Walter Thompson Company. Norman H. Strouse Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Includes materials relating to general corporate administration, management, and corporate history. Arranged into four subseries: Clippings and Photographs; Company History; Corporate Administration; and Correspondence.
Clippings and Photographs consist of newspaper and magazine articles from both domestic and foreign newspapers and magazines as well as photographs, correspondence, newsletters, and telegrams that pertain to the articles, including from Strouse's period at the Detroit Office. Includes materials on outdoor advertising campaigns. Arranged chronologically. Additional items in oversize boxes.
Company History contains correspondence, memoranda, transcripts, writings and a report, related to the history of JWT. Colin Dawkins, a writer for the J. Walter Thompson Company, collected information for a history of the company. This subseries contains the correspondence between Dawkins and Strouse in regard to Dawkins's research. The correspondence includes general information about JWT, especially management, as well as information specifically about Strouse's experiences in the company. The subseries includes copies of some early company correspondence, including: J. Walter Thompson's resignation; letters from Stanley Resor to JWT employees Rae H. Smith and Loyd R. Coleman; and to E.J. Copeland of Nash Motors regarding Kelvinator. There is a commentary by Lewis Mumford concerning the company library for employees, begun by Helen Lansdowne Resor. Some correspondence refers to materials in the Detroit Series, Ford Motor Company Subseries; and the Corporate Administration Series. Basic Roots of the J. Walter Thompson Company is an historical overview of the company compiled by Vice President Howard Henderson. It describes JWT's driving principles and policies and compares it with other agencies, including their standings in worldwide competition. Basic Roots also includes case histories of some company clients and their products for the period from about 1904 to the 1920s. Items are arranged by type of material, then chronologically. The transcripts are restricted until written permission from the interviewee's heirs is obtained. See also in the JWT Archives: Colin Dawkins Papers, Howard Henderson Papers, and Charles Raymond's memoir in the Company History and Reminiscences Collection.
Corporate Administration consists of correspondence, memoranda, reports, billing and organizational charts, notebooks, clippings, and scrapbooks, and includes information on general management concerns and decisions regarding staff, including assignments and compensation; operating expenses; and the succession of top management positions in the 1950s. The subseries documents Mr. Strouse's transition to the presidency and the management reorganization of the New York office, including the establishment of the Executive Team, the Administrative Committee, the Operations Committee, and the Review Boards. Documentation of personnel policy issues is scattered throughout the subseries, especially in regard to upper levels of management. There are also descriptions of the responsibilities of various positions and the professional relationships between various JWT staff members. Strouse wrote numerous memoranda evaluating the course of management policies and changes as well as future prospects for change, including those that would occur as a result of retirements. Memoranda on various aspects of forward planning are scattered throughout the series. Also includes information on the acquisition of new clients and the satisfaction of current clients, trends in advertising, billings, profits, and stock holdings. Contains information about other advertising companies, including comparisons of total billings, market distributions, and evaluation of staff who were under consideration for recruitment to JWT. The Company Image folder includes information on the architectural and interior design of the New York offices as well as discussions of the impressions of the company held by other companies and the public. Materials on public relations document responses to two articles by Arno H. Johnson of the JWT Research Department and a third article, The Best Advertisements from Reader's Digest, 1955-1961, which Strouse had mailed to members of Congress and other federal government officials and some corporate leaders. Arranged with correspondence and memoranda at the beginning, followed by topical files in alphabetical order, and then further divided into Writings and Speeches and Clippings. All folders are arranged chronologically therein. See also Oversize Materials.
Correspondence includes general correspondence files relating to both Norman Strouse's business and private dealings, and documents general management issues; responses to promotions and retirements; and Strouse's visits to international offices. Primarily consists of Strouse's reading files of letters and memoranda written to executives of various JWT offices, business colleagues, friends, and other associates. Some files, though containing mostly correspondence, also contain clippings, brochures and other materials concerned with the issues discussed in the correspondence. Strouse's personal letters in this series detail his serious interest in books, book collecting and printing. All of the correspondence dating after Strouse's retirement in 1968 is personal. Arranged chronologically. See also Oversize Materials.
Some items have a reference to a numbered letter (e.g., letter #9); these numbers refer to letters in the J. Walter Thompson Company History subseries. Arranged by type of material, then subject. See also Oversize Materials.
[Includes information on the architectural and interior design of the New York Offices as well as discussions of the impressions of the company held by other companeis and the public.]
[Oversize items in Box OV1.]
[Clients: P. Ballentine and Sons/"Mitch Miller Show," Nestle's Milk Products/Nescafe, and Seven-Up]
[Clients: E.F. Hutton and Co. and Scott Paper Co./Father Knows Best]
[Clients: Eastman-Kodak, Ford Motor Co., Kraft, Lever Brothers, Pan American, Standard Brands, Scott Paper Co., Seven-Up, and Quaker Oats]
Includes correspondence, memoranda, notes, reports, client presentations and speeches, clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks. These materials primarily document various aspects of the Ford Motor Company account with the JWT and, to a lesser extent, Strouse's personal relationships with members of Ford management. The client presentations, including some to Henry Ford II, include analyses of expenditures and annual budgets, sales and marketing figures, and the results of a study authorized by the Ford Motor Company. Outdoor billboard advertising was an important component of the Ford account, and Norman Strouse was an innovator in this type of advertising. The “Baby Talk” billboard developed for the Ford Motor Company Campaign of 1947 is well documented in the subseries. There are comments from Ford dealers and district managers, outdoor advertising companies, and other J. Walter Thompson Company offices about the campaign. These groups also submitted, to the J. Walter Thompson Company Detroit office, additional solicited and unsolicited comments which they had received from the public or found in newspapers. The “Baby Talk” Billboard Scrapbook, a portfolio presentation album assembled by General Outdoor Advertising for Norman Strouse, also documents the campaign, including the public's response.
Contains correspondence, photographs, brochures and publications pertaining to Strouse's involvement in organizations including the AAAA, panels on which he served, award ceremonies and honorary dinners he attended. See also Oversize Materials. Arranged alphabetically.
Includes the writings and speeches given by Norman Strouse during his time at the JWT San Francisco, New York and Detroit offices. Also included are correspondence, photographs, press releases, programs, articles, clippings, drafts, JWT newsletters, brochures, pamphlets and invitations associated with various speeches or writings. The speeches concern advertising, current affairs and management. The December 1961 “Common Market” speech contains extensive background research materials on the European community. Strouse expressed his views on women in the workplace in a speech to the Women's Ad Club of New York in 1959, mentioning his own career beginnings as a secretary. The Advertising Gold Medal Award file contians a letter from Lyndon B. Johnson to Strouse congratulating him on winning the 1965 award.
Organized into five categories: American Asscociation of Advertising Agencies; Bound volumes; General business talks; Detroit Office; and San Francisco Office. Arranged chronologically. See also Personal Series.
Includes speeches, articles, publications, clippings, agendas, correspondence, photographs and a transcript that predominantly relate to Strouse's book collecting, the history of printing and fine printing. Contains documents relating to aspects of Norman H. Strouse's hand press, the Silverado Press, and his bibliophilic interests, especially the work of Robert Louis Stevenson. Norman and Charlotte Strouse were instrumental in the establishment of the Silverado Museum which focuses on Robert Louis Stevenson. Some information about this museum is scattered in the correspondence files of General office and personal series. Reproductions from Norman and Charlotte Strouse's collection of manuscripts and rare books are included in the Christmas Greeting category. The transcript is of the ABC television show Scope entitled Ad Lib that features Norman and Charlotte Strouse. Arranged alphabetically. Divided into four subseries: Writings and addresses by Norman H. Strouse, Silverado Press, Christmas greetings and Miscellaneous. Writings and Addresses by Norman H. Strouse consist of items primarily from the years 1959-1968, arranged alphabeticaly by title. Silverado Press consists of pamphlets privately printed by Norman H. Strouse; works by or about Robert Louis Stevenson; a pamphlet on the Silverado Museum; and artwork for the press's bookplate, arranged alphabetically. Christmas Greetings include privately printed cards and pamphlets with reproductions from the collection of Norman and Charlotte Strouse, along with reprints of essays by Norman Strouse and others. Some include descriptions of the reproductions by the Strouses and others. Several may have been issued by the Silverado Museum. Arranged chronologically. Miscellaneous contains correspondence, articles, programs, photographs and clippings related to and about Strouse's interest in books and libraries. A number of the folders are concerned with National Library Week; Norman Strouse was a member of its steering committee from 1958 to 1963. Arranged alphabetically.
Includes material relating to Strouse's private life. Some materials were collected for a book on Strousse's life, also included in the series, and presented to him on the occasion of his retirement from JWT. The series consists of four categories: Clippings, Correspondence, Memorabilia and Photographs. See also Oversize Materials. Arranged alphabetically.
[Includes signed letter from President Dwight Eisenhower regarding accomodations during the dedication of the AMerican Red Cross Chapter Building in 1963. Also includes transcript of Strouse's 1963 “Profit” speech.]
[Includes photographs, negatives and related newsletters.]
Contains oversize materials removed from previous series.
[Presented to Strouse by Helen and Stanley Resor to commemorate Strouse's 30 years of service at JWT. Presentation also marked Resor's retirement as CEO of JWT and Strouse's appointment to that position. Bowl is an exact copy of one made by Paul Revere in 1768.]
|1906 Nov. 4||
Born Norman Hulbert Strouse, Olympia, Washington
Advertising Department, Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Washington
Space buyer, J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) San Francisco Office
Account Representative, JWT San Francisco Office
Account Supervisor and Assistant Pacific Coast Manager, JWT San Francisco Office
Army Air Force; Executive Officer of Information and Education, Special Staff Section in the Pacific
Account Supervisor, Ford Motor Company account, JWT Detroit Office
|1946 Aug. 2||
Married Charlotte A. Holt
Elected Vice President, JWT
Manager, JWT Detroit Office
Elected Director, JWT
Elected President, JWT
Elected Chief Executive Officer, JWT
Elected Chairman of the Board, JWT
Retired from the J. Walter Thompson Company
|1993 Jan. 19||
Died, St. Helena, Calif.
Norman H. Strouse was a member of the following advertising and marketing organizations: the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Chairman of the Board (1964-1965); the Marketing Science Institute, Trustee (1962-); and the National Outdoor Advertising Bureau, Director and Board Chairman (1964-1965).
Library or bibliographic-related organizations with which he was involved include: the Bibliographical Society; the Book Club of California, Board Member; the Friends of the Columbia Library, Advisory Council (1963-); the Grolier Club, Council Member (1961-); the Manuscript Society; the National Book Committee, Chairman (1962-1964); the National Library Week Steering Committee (1958-1963); and the New York Public Library, Trustee (1963-).
For further biographical information, see the Biographical Information series of the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Ford Motor Company
- J. Walter Thompson Company
- John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
- J. Walter Thompson Company
- J. Walter Thompson Company. Detroit Office
- Kraft Foods Company
- Strouse, Norman H.
- Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894
- Silverado Press
- Scott Paper Company
The Norman H. Strouse Papers were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from the J. Walter Thompson Company in 1987.
Processed by: Donna Longo DiMichele, Jessica Wood
Completed December 2, 1992; revised November 2008
Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller, Jessica Wood
Processing of this collection was supported in part by gifts from the J. Walter Thompson Company Fund and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.
Accessions 1998-0154, 2004-0078, and 2005-0039 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.