Menu

Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. James Webb Young Papers, 1927-1984

Collection Overview

The James Webb Young Papers chiefly consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, and publications and span the years 1927-1984. These materials provide insights into Young's career as well as the operational aspects of the J. Walter Thompson Company, especially the early development of their international branch offices.

From the perspective of James Webb Young's entire career in advertising, this collection reflects a small portion of his contributions to the J. Walter Thompson Company and the advertising business as a whole, for which he was awarded in 1945 the Gold Medal for a distinguished career in advertising. While these papers represent Young's pioneering work in establishing the J. Walter Thompson Company abroad as well as reflect some his contributions to public service advertising and advertising strategy, primarily through The Compleat Angler, A Footnote to History, and other works in the Publications category, they are an incomplete record of his distinguished career.

The International Branch Notebooks category primarily contains correspondence, minutes, memoranda, research reports and tables which pertain to the organization and initial operations of J. Walter Thompson branch offices abroad, particularly in London, Africa, South America, and Europe during the late 1920s and early 1930s. A substantial amount of this material focuses upon J. Walter Thompson's advertising for General Motors, especially for markets in Europe and South America. Though Young officially retired in 1928, he served as Consultant and director (1928-1964) and became a key figure in establishing the earliest international branch offices for the J. Walter Thompson Company. Among the correspondents in this series are Sam Meek, Stanley Resor, and Henry C. Flowers.

In the Publications category are works written by Young, some of which were privately printed by the Piñon Press in Coapa, New Mexico. The works published by the Piñon Press have been individually cataloged and can be searched by author and title. The Publications category includes editions of A Technique for Producing Ideas and How to Become an Advertising Man. As a whole, these works reflect aspects of Young's advertising philosophy and strategies, and partially document his involvement in public service advertising in the United States as well as his early career from an autobiographical perspective.

Descriptive Summary

Title
J. Walter Thompson Company. James Webb Young papers 1927-1984
Creator
J. Walter Thompson Company.
Extent
1.2 Linear Feet, circa 275 Items
Repository
Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Durham, North Carolina 27708-0185
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 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.

Contents of the Collection

Includes correspondence, memoranda, research reports, minutes, tables, and surveys, which reflect the exigencies of establishing offices abroad as well as the strategies, policies, and protocols to be followed by these offices. Included are estimated billings for the London office. Arranged chronologically, by year.

Notes on JWT Foreign Branch Management, 1927-1929
(3 folders)
Box 1
Miscellaneous Data Having to do with Organization and Early Operations of Foreign Offices, 1928-1930
Box 1
Miscellaneous Data Concerning Organization of Foreign Offices, 1928-1931
(2 folders)
Box 1

Divided into two subseries: Advertising and Autobiographical.

Contains works written by Young and privately printed by the Piñon Press in Coapa, New Mexico. These works reflect his philosophy of advertising as well as his role in developing propaganda to be used on the Western Front during World War I (A Footnote to History) and his understanding of American capitalism during the early years of the Cold War (A Story Still Untold). Arranged alphabetically by title.

The Compleat Angler, 1953
Box 1
A Footnote to History, 1950
Box 1
Mirror For a Lady, 1954
Box 1
Pills For the Angels, 1952
Box 1
A Story Still Untold, 1951
Box 1

Contains photocopies of five books, privately printed by The Piñon Press of Coapa, New Mexico. The works, as a whole, provide a sketch of Young's childhood and adolescence as well as his early career and his eventual advancement from a copy writer to a vice president in the J. Walter Thompson Company. Arranged in the order of the author's chapter numbers.

Ego-Biography: Chapter I-Boyhood, 1955
Box 1
His Girl and His Dinner: Chapter II of An Ego-Biography, 1956
Box 1
The Itch for Orders: Chapter III of An Ego-Biography, 1957
Box 1
Hometown Boy Makes Good: Chapter IV of An Ego-Biography, 1958
Box 1
Full Corn in the Ear: Chapter V of An Ego-Biography, 1959
Box 1

Please see the description under Use Copies: International Branch Notebooks, 1927-1930. (RESTRICTED)

Notes on JWT Foreign Branch Management, 1927-1929(2 folders)
Box 2
Miscellaneous Data Having to do with Organization and Early Operations of Foreign Offices, 1928-1930
Box 2
Miscellaneous Data Concerning Organization of Foreign Offices, 1928-1931(2 folders)
Box 2

Divided into two subcategories: Advertising and Autobiographical. (RESTRICTED)

Contains the originals of the use copies noted above as well as English and foreign language editions of A Technique for Producing Ideas. There are multiple copies for some of the works. Arranged alphabetically by title. (RESTRICTED)

Como Criar Ideias, Fourth Edition, 1960
Box 2
The Compleat Angler, 1953
Box 2
Eine Technik Zum Produzieren von Ideen, 1975
Box 2
A Footnote to History, 1950
Box 2
How to Become an Advertising Man, 1979
Box 2
Mirror For a Lady, 1954
Box 2
Pills For the Angels, 1952
Box 2
A Technique for Producing Ideas, Third Edition, Forward by William Bernbach, 1982
Box 3
A Technique for Producing Ideas, Third Edition, 1984
Box 3
A Technique for Producing Ideas, Fourth Edition, 1960
Box 3
A Story Still Untold, 1951
Box 3

Please see the description under Use Copies: Publications: Autobiographical. Multiple copies of each work are present. Arranged in the order of the author's chapter numbers. (RESTRICTED)

Ego-Biography: Chapter I-Boyhood, 1955
Box 3
His Girl and His Dinner: Chapter II of An Ego-Biography, 1956
Box 3
The Itch for Orders: Chapter III of An Ego-Biography, 1957
Box 3
Hometown Boy Makes Good: Chapter IV of An Ego-Biography, 1958
Box 3
Full Corn in the Ear: Chapter V of An Ego-Biography, 1959
Box 3
International Branch Notebooks, 1927-1931
(2 folders)
Folder 1-2

Historical Note

DateEvent(s)
1886, Jan. 20Born in Covington, Ky.
1907Appointed Advertising Manager and Book Designer of the Western Methodist Book Concern, Covington, Ky.
1907Married Elizabeth Johnson
1912Joined the J. Walter Thompson Company Cincinnati Office as a copywriter
1913Promoted to Manager, J. Walter Thompson Company Cincinnatti Office
1916Appointed Vice President of the J. Walter Thompson Company
1917Appointed Senior Vice President in charge of the Western Division of the J. Walter Thompson Company
1927Traveled to Europe to open J. Walter Thompson offices in Europe
1928Retired from the J. Walter Thompson Company and lived on a ranch near Pena Blanca, N.M.
1928-1964Consultant and Director of J. Walter Thompson Company
1931Appointed Professor of Business History and Advertising, School of Business, University of Chicago
1939-1941Founded the War Advertising Council, which later became the Advertising Council.
1940Published A Technique for Producing Ideas
1964Retired again from the J. Walter Thompson Company
1973, Mar. 6Died, Santa Fe, New Mexico

In addition to his roles in the J. Walter Thompson Company, Young developed for the Creel Committee for Public Information a propaganda plan to be implemented on the Western Front during World War I and held a number of public and private positions, including President of the Board of Trustees of the Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], J. Walter Thompson Company Archives: James Webb Young Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The papers of James Webb Young were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from the J. Walter Thompson Company in 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by: Donna Longo DiMichele and Daniel L. Daily

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

Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.