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Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. Ted Wilson Papers, 1966-1977

Abstract

The J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT), founded in 1864, is one of the oldest and largest enduring advertising agencies in the United States. Ted Wilson was an executive at JWT from 1947 to 1977.

The Ted Wilson Papers span the years 1966-1977, and comprise correspondence, office files, client files, reports, and speeches that document Wilson's career as an administrator coping with JWT's financial difficulties resulting from the world-wide economic hardship of the mid-1970s. In addition, the papers illustrate Wilson's involvement in the reorganization of the company, as well as his management of several advertising account teams, including the New Holland Machine Company and the Phillips Petroleum Company. The papers mention a variety of JWT company operations, including company programs such as Communispond (communications consulting), while touching on a variety of social issues including the employment of minorities and the Watergate affair.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
J. Walter Thompson Company.
Title
J. Walter Thompson Company. Ted Wilson papers 1966-1977
Language of Material
English
Extent
2.4 Linear Feet, 1800 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The Ted Wilson Papers span the years 1966-1977, and document Wilson's career as an executive for the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT). The papers comprise correspondence, office files, client files, reports, and speeches that depict Wilson as a skillful administrator coping with JWT's financial difficulties resulting from the world-wide economic hardship of the mid-1970s. In addition, the papers illustrate Wilson's involvement in the reorganization of the company, as well as his management of several advertising account teams, including the New Holland Machine Company and the Phillips Petroleum Company. The papers mention a variety of JWT company operations, including company programs such as Communispond, while touching on a variety of social issues including the employment of minorities and the Watergate affair. There is no material in this collection documenting the early years of Wilson's career or life after his retirement in 1977. The collection also lacks materials dating from 1971 through mid-1973, the period during which Wilson worked in JWT's Chicago Office.

The collection is arranged in three series: Client Files; Correspondence, and Subject Files.

The Client Files Series documents JWT's relationship with numerous clients such as Inter-Continental Hotels, Miles Laboratories, the New Holland Machine Company, Pan American Airlines, Phillips Petroleum, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), Scott Paper Company and Squibb Beech-Nut.

The Correspondence Series chiefly consists of outgoing letters and memos written by Wilson and his secretaries, originating from Wilson's office in New York. The materials concern a broad range of issues, including the reorganization of JWT, one of the most important administrative tasks Wilson undertook during his presidency.

The Subject Files Series pertains mainly to various company operations, and consists of office files, primarily reports and speeches, originating during the period when Wilson was Associate Manager in JWT's New York Office. The papers illustrate Wilson's career as an administrator as well as an advertising executive. Included are uncollated Review Board records, dating from 1966, for various clients.

Restrictions on access: Sensitive personnel materials pertaining to individual employee matters are closed to non-JWT users until 2045. In addition, Review Board records may be read, but cannot be photocopied.

Related materials within the JWT Archives include the Accounts Files Collection, the Review Board Records, the Dan Seymour Papers, and the Don Johnston Papers. The Biographical Information Files contain a folder for Wilson consisting of news clippings and other materials.

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.

Sensitive personnel materials pertaining to individual employment are closed to non-JWT users for 75 years from the date of the file creation.

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 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 reports, news clippings, and some advertisements pertaining to particular JWT clients. The folders also include the Review Board records from 1970 for many of the individual clients in this series. Those for various clients from 1966 are filed in the Subject Files Series. The series is arranged alphabetically by client.

Sensitive personnel materials pertaining to individual employee matters are closed to non-JWT users until 2045. Those items have been physically removed to Restricted Materials Series; a dummy folder, indicated by a title enclosed in brackets, has been substituted for the original material. In addition, Review Board reports may be read, but cannot be photocopied.

Easter Seal campaign
Box 1
Eaton Yale & Towne
Box 1
Inter-Continental Hotels
Box 1
Miles Laboratories (Parts removed to Restricted Materials)
Box 1
National Association of Home Builders
Box 1
Pan American
Box 1
Phillips Petroleum
Box 1
RCA
Box 1
Saga Mink
Box 1
Samsonite
Box 1
Scott Paper Corporation
Box 1
Squibb Beech-Nut
Box 1
Textron
Box 1

Consists of Wilson's letters, mostly dating from his years as President and Chairman of the Board, and touching on a variety of subjects, ranging from personal matters to company business to historical events such as the Watergate affair during Richard Nixon's presidency. The series contains a copy of Wilson's letter (April 22, 1974) in which he writes to a judge regarding Dwight Chapin, a former Nixon aide. The series also includes materials that reveal Wilson's views on the reorganization of the company, one of the most important administrative tasks Wilson undertook during his presidency. Materials in the series also depict Wilson as an advertising professional. For example, A memo to the Burger King account team, dated Aug. 5, 1976, contains Wilson's suggestions that reflect his experience with advertising campaigns. In addition, materials such as Wilson's memo written on Nov. 4, 1975 highlight concerns over contemporary social issues including the employment of minorities. JWT attempted to expand its minority work force through company programs such as the Jobs Training Program, under which JWT hired and educated "hard-core unemployable" young minorities. Arranged chronologically.

Sensitive personnel materials pertaining to individual employee matters are closed to non-JWT users until 2045. Those items have been physically removed to Restricted Materials; a dummy folder, indicated by a title enclosed in brackets, has been substituted for the original material.

1970, 1973 June-Dec., 1974-1976
(17 folders)
Box 2
[1970-1977: Removed to Restricted Materials]
(2 folders)
Box 2
1977
(4 folders)
Box 3

Contains materials relating to various aspects of company operations as well as a number of JWT programs including Communispond, New Products Development, and Name Development. The other materials include market reports and studies (such as the 1970 Mail Order Study) and Review Board reports for various clients (other Review Board reports for 1970 can be found in the Clients Series). One of the most extensive files, for the Creative Department, contains one year's worth of detailed weekly work flow reports. Some materials do not directly relate to advertising, and reflect the broad responsibility Wilson had as an administrator. These include a published court document of a lawsuit brought against JWT by a former JWT executive. Arranged alphabetically.

Sensitive personnel materials pertaining to individual employee matters are closed to non-JWT users until 2045. Those items have been physically removed to Restricted Materials Series; a dummy folder, indicated by a title enclosed in brackets, has been substituted for the original material. In addition, Review Board reports may be read, but cannot be photocopied.

Communispond program, 1970

Program begun by JWT executive Kevin Daley in 1970 to address the public communications needs of business, such as for presentations and announcements.

Box 3
Corporate direction, 1969
Box 3
Creative Department, 1970
(2 folders)
Box 3
Drug abuse program, 1969-1970
Box 3
Group dental insurance, 1970
Box 3
Information Center, 1970
Box 3
International, 1970 (Parts removed to Restricted Materials)
Box 3
Jobs training program, 1966, 1969-1970
(2 folders)
Box 3
JWT World gallery, 1967-1968
Box 3
Legal Brief, 1970
Box 3
Management Committee, 1967, 1970
(2 folders)
Box 3
Media, 1967-1970 (Parts removed to Restricted Materials)
Box 3
Media Reports, 1966
Box 3
MPO-JWT cost-plus arrangement, 1969-1970
Box 3
Name development program, 1970
Box 4
New business, 1966 (Parts removed to Restricted Materials)
Box 4
New products development program, 1970
Box 4
New York Office administration, 1966
Box 4
[Personnel position reports, 1969: Removed to Restricted Materials]
Box 4
Professional forum, 1966
Box 4
Recruitment, 1965-1966 (Parts removed to Restricted Materials)
Box 4
General, 1965-1966
Box 4
Mail order, 1969
Box 4
Medical, 1966
Box 4
Review Board records for various clients, 1965-1966 (No photocopying of documents)
(2 folders)
Box 4
Speeches and articles, 1965-1966
(2 folders)
Box 4
Study, An Application of Creative Research Techniques to Personnel Problems at J. Walter Thompson, 1970

Study of motivational and retention issues concerning secretaries and clerks at JWT.

Box 4

Restriction on access: Sensitive personnel materials pertaining to individual employee matters are closed to non-JWT users until 2045.

Miles Laboratories, 1970
Box 5
International, 1970
Box 5
Media, 1967-1970
Box 5
New business, 1966
Box 5
Personnel position reports, 1969
Box 5
Recruitment, 1965-1966
Box 5

Historical Note

DateEvent(s)
1920 Aug. 15Born Edward Bohde Wilson II, New York, N.Y.
1942Graduated from Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.)
1942-1945Spent three years in the Army Air Corps, being discharged as a First Lieutenant following service in the European theater with the 9th Air Force
1945-1947Worked for Fibre Conduit Company (Orangeburg, N.Y.)
1947Joined J. Walter Thompson Company
1956Elected Vice-President
1964Promoted to Senior Vice-President
1967Made Associate Manager of the New York Office and elected to the Board of Directors
1971Elected Executive Vice President and a member of the Executive Committee
Moved to the Chicago Office as Managing Director
1972Responsibilities expanded to include the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Hawaii Offices
1973Returned to the New York Office as Chairman of the Executive Committee and Director of All Advertising Operations
1974Became President and Chief Operating Officer
1975Elected Chairman of the Board
1977Retired from J. Walter Thompson Company

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

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

Provenance

The J. Walter Thompson Company Ted Wilson Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a transfer in 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Richard Collier, Akira Ishii, Brooke Stanley, March 2006

Encoded by Richard Collier

Completed March 2006

Accession is described in this finding aid.

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