By preserving historical records and archives and sponsoring related programs, the John W. Hartman Center contributes to the study of sales, advertising and marketing in society.
The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University received the J. Walter Thompson Company [JWT] Archives in 1987. Recognizing the opportunity to acquire related collections and promote their use, the library created the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in 1992 with funding from John W. Hartman and others. Through documentation and programming the Hartman Center strives to preserve and provide access to a variety of resources that reflect the rich history of sales, marketing and advertising and their impact on society.
The Hartman Center holds an extensive collection of over 3,000,000 items — correspondence, publications, advertisements, photographs, slides, films, books and serials — that document the history of advertising, sales, and marketing over the past two centuries. In addition to the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives, the most comprehensive historical record of any advertising agency, the Center contains the collections of other key companies and individuals in the dynamic fields of advertising, marketing and sales.
Students, faculty, scholars from around the world, publishers, news media, filmmakers and the general public comprise the broad spectrum of researchers who come each year to use Hartman Center collection in the Rubenstein Library reading room or who contact the Center with remote research requests. Researchers from disciplines as diverse as History, Cultural Anthropology, Music, Literature, Women's Studies, Art History, and Communications have all benefited from resources found in the Center's holdings.
Since the receipt of the JWT Archives and the Center's establishment many other significant collections have been acquired in the following categories:
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