Guide to the J. Walter Thompson Company. Howard Henderson Papers, 1867-1978
The papers of Howard Henderson, a J. Walter Thompson Co. advertising executive, span the years 1867 to 1978, although the bulk of the material dates from 1954 to 1960. The collection documents the history of the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT). In particular it illustrates changes in the company's advertising philosophy through 1960; JWT's marketing strategies (especially the use of new findings in the fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology); historical company and client relationships; structural relations and internal policies; analyses of advertising media; the company's adaptation to the changed business situation during World War II; and the career of Henderson and his deep personal involvement with clients, colleagues, and contacts outside of advertising. The material consists of correspondence, office files, memoranda, notes, account histories, advertisements, reports, charts, scripts, clippings, and printed materials. Clients represented include Andrew Jergens, Chesebrough-Pond's (1930s and 1940s especially), Eastman Kodak International, General Cigar, U.S. Playing Card Company (1930s and 1940s especially), NATO, Union Central Life Insurance, Arbuckle, U.S. Brewers Foundation, and Standard Brands (Fleischmann Yeast).
The Correspondence Series contains an extensive collection of letters relating to both personal and business matters. Most of the correspondents have some connection to JWT, either as employees or as clients, and they include William Groom, Axel Hornos, Arno Johnson, Stanley Resor, Norman Strouse, James Webb Young, and John B. Watson. The correspondence discloses reservations about the expansion of consumer culture and advertising's role in it in the late 1950s; discusses advertising as a vehicle for public benefit;, and evaluates new market strategies.
The Clients Series contains material on accounts that Henderson worked on and illustrates the special interest he took in his clients' success. Especially well-documented clients include the Chesebrough-Pond's, U.S. Playing Card Company, General Cigar, and Union Central Life Insurance Company accounts. This series documents JWT's client relationships, the clients' products, specific campaigns, and JWT's methods of acquiring new clients.
The large Special Projects Series comprises files that Henderson created when he began working for JWT half-time and mostly out of his home. Because of the diverse nature of these files, the series is organized into eight subseries. The first of these is the J. Walter Thompson Company Study Subseries, which contains the research materials Henderson collected for a study and survey of JWT's history. Henderson originally designed his study to acquaint JWT employees with the roots of the company and to pinpoint the sources of its basic strengths; however, it evolved to include practical answers to specific conceptual and organizational issues. Other well-documented topics include JWT's use of case studies; N. W. Ayer and Son advertising agency; advertising strategies in the 1940s; development of the JWT Consumer Panel; concerns with house advertising; information on the New York Office, Detroit Office, and London Office; and London's Rowntree account. Also included in this subseries are cables and letters that discuss sending the London Office staff members' children to the US during the bombing in 1940. The Case History Project Subseries complements the J. Walter Thompson Company Study Subseries and includes copies of resulting case histories and some source materials for the histories. Accounts studied for this project include Pan American Airlines, Chesebrough-Ponds, Foundation for Commercial Banks, General Cigar Company, Standard Brands, U.S. Brewers Foundation, U.S. Playing Card Co., and various coffee and tea accounts. The case histories detail successful strategies that Stanley Resor and Henderson hoped would prove effective also for other accounts.
The Eastman Kodak International Advertising Subseries in the Special Projects Series consists of materials generated during Henderson's business trip to research improvements for the international Kodak campaign. Henderson also used this trip to investigate prospects for securing individual European Kodak accounts for JWT's international offices. The subseries includes business correspondence relating to the trip, personal correspondence with Eastman Kodak personnel, and an Eastman Kodak clippings file. A report on his trip to Europe documents company thinking on the need to coordinate and to unify Kodak advertising in all of Western Europe. The Copy Seminar Study Subseries contains materials Henderson generated while investigating the effectiveness of JWT's Copy Seminar. JWT's Copy Seminar was designed to teach staff members about copy writing. Briefly covered in the series is the existence of a Women's Copy Study Group designed specifically to promote copy writing talent among the company's women staff. The subseries includes Henderson's findings and recommendations along with memoranda relating to the purpose and process of the study. The Personnel Department Subseries provides insight into J. Walter Thompson's recruiting and hiring philosophy, especially as it regards gender. The material highlights J. Walter Thompson's early recognition of the importance of women's contributions to advertising. In general, the material collected in this series emphasizes the company's desire to attract the best talent from the country's colleges, shows the intense competition for the few openings each year at J. Walter Thompson, and documents contemporary recruiting policy.
The Trade and Technical Department Study Subseries of the Special Projects Series consists of material on finances, statistics, organization, and policies of the Department. The primary orientation of the materials is toward improving the effectiveness of the Department. The comparatively low percentage of advertising to the retail trade and ways to increase the company's profits in this area are also revealed in this subseries. The International Offices and Special Assignments for Sam Meek Subseries covers a variety of subjects, most of which are related to J. Walter Thompson's international operations during the time Sam Meek headed the International Division. Subjects include taxes on national and international advertising, the use of television advertising overseas, international visitors to the New York Office, international offices' policy letters, advertising for NATO, fund raising for Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies, information on a campaign for the Citizens' Committee to Keep N.Y.C. Clean, and JWT's research procedures and general policy letters. The New Business Presentations Subseries contains material on the company's administrative and departmental structure and provides insight into JWT's procedures for securing new accounts.
The Cincinnati Office Series documents the early activities of the JWT office as well as Henderson's transfer to the New York Office and his appointment as Vice President.
The Clippings Series relates to JWT, its employees and clients, and indicates how thoroughly Henderson involved himself with the life of the company.
- Collection Number
- J. Walter Thompson Company. Howard Henderson papers
- J. Walter Thompson Company
- 4.8 Linear Feet, circa 3,300 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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. 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.
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. Howard Henderson Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Primarily consists of personal correspondence between Henderson and his friends and acquaintances. Many folders contain other materials relating to the correspondent: biographical notes, articles, and speeches. These files are arranged alphabetically by correspondent.
Following the individual files, correspondents are grouped together alphabetically. Correspondents in this section include Carroll Carroll regarding the history of the Hollywood Office, Henry Flower's personal letters and solicitations for the presidential election of 1956, A. H. Gunn and Thayer Jaccaci containing biographical information about Henderson, James Kennedy reminiscing about J. Sterling Getchell, and a letter from Ruth Waldo concerning her appointment as the first woman vice president of JWT. A separate folder contains solicitations Henderson received from various sources.
The folder for Loyd Ring Coleman includes information on the Paris and Belgium Offices, including an anti-Nazi advertisement.
William Groom's folder includes information on the Cincinnati Office.
John James Nance's folder contains correspondence concerning the Cincinnati Office's attempt to get the Frigidaire account.
Stanley Resor's letters contain detailed material on the development of testimonial advertising in the late 1920s and document the strategy JWT used to contract a large number of Hollywood actresses for their Lux campaign.
Includes correspondence, memos, reports, account histories, advertisements, clippings, printed material, including leaflets, pamphlets, government documents and company annual reports, charts and graphs.
Arranged by client name. For clients with multiple folders, the correspondence is filed first, followed by the remaining folder titles in alphabetical order.
The Pond's files include material on life in London during the Blitz, the ways in which World War II impacted the advertising business, and the introduction of testimonial advertising. Also in the Pond's material is a copy of the brief used before the Federal Trade Commission to defend the advertising claim of Pond's cream as a “Skin Vitamin”
The folders for General Cigar contain information on sponsorship of radio commentators Raymond Swing and Raymond Clapper.
The folder for Swift and Company's Wool Soap product contains a research project report on consumer use.
This series is divided into eight subseries: J. Walter Thompson Company Study, Case History Project, Eastman Kodak International Advertising, Copy Seminar Study, Personnel Department, Trade and Technical Department Study, International Offices and Special Assignments for Samuel W. Meek, and New Business Presentations.
Contains the research materials compiled by Henderson for his writing of the “ JWT Study,” a survey of JWT's history, a trial draft of the study, and a brief capsule version.
Contains the records of Henderson's work on the compilation of case histories of selected accounts.
Arranged alphabetically by client, preceded by a section of memoranda and notes on the development of the project.
Materials were generated from a research trip taken by Howard Henderson and Kodak representative Richard Holtz to investigate advertising practices in Kodak's European markets, September to November, 1953. Consists of correspondence both business and personal, clippings, pamphlets, reports, and slides. Slides show primarily store displays and meetings; they also include pictures of the J. Walter Thompson London office staff, Charles Rheinstrom, Shirley Woodell, James Webb Young and his son, and others.
The material contained in the International Meeting folder delineates the long relationship between J. Walter Thompson and Kodak since 1930.
Contains participant lists and notes on their activities in their departments along with seminar literature. Arranged chronologically within the sections.
Material in the Participant and Survey Notes folder collects data on Seminar participants, their time with the company, their reasons for leaving, and lists criteria for judging prospective copy writers.
Consists of a college recruitment booklet Henderson worked on in 1958, along with background material, memoranda, and drafts of the booklet. In addition, there is a section of memoranda, correspondence, and notes relating to personnel recruitment and training for 1954 to 1958. Included in this subseries is information on the Chicago Office training program and a memo from 1939on apprentices.
The Seminars folder provides information both on the increasing number of seminars, classes, and workshops taught at J. Walter Thompson and on their content.
The memos and reports circulated to Henderson and John H. Morse, head of the Trade and Technical Department, suggest cost reductions by increasing economy, promoting efficiency, and terminating unprofitable accounts.
Materials are arranged chronologically.
Consists of correspondence, reports, notes, memoranda, campaign texts and scripts, and printed materials.
Materials are arranged in subject sections according to Henderson's original folder labels, then chronologically.
(The material in the Keep N.Y.C. Clean folder provides an example of a campaign that integrates public education and advertising.)
(The International Policy folder provides insight into the relations between the company's New York Office and J. Walter Thompson's international offices.)
(International Visitors folder documents the increasing involvement between the advertising business and national politics.)
(The Memos folder contains materials mostly from the late 1950s that address questions of growth, especially in J. Walter Thompson's international operations, and questions relating to new product development.)
(The NATO folders document the advertising campaign by JWT that aimed to promote the organization's image. These folders include ad texts, scripts for film commercials, lyrics for a NATO song, and a printed document entitled Fifteenth Annual Report of the Advertising Council, which contains information on other Advertising Council campaigns that JWT created.)
(The material in the Policy Letters folders address company principles including promoting similar products for different clients, adherence to standard practices throughout the company, conflict over ownership of intellectual property in advertising, the relationship between agency and advertiser, advertising contests and awards, interoffice operations, commissions in international advertising, repetition of ads, and company thinking about the usefulness of Gallup-Robinson polls. There is also substantial material on speculative presentations and whether they should have a place in new business solicitations.)
(The Research Releases folder contains substantial material discussing JWT's research procedures.)
(The School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University folders concern a fundraising drive among leading U.S. businesses and potential international contributors on behalf of the School.)
(The Taxes on Advertising folder contains newspaper clippings, letters, and other documents that illustrate the struggle between the advertising industry and local and state governments over proposals to tax advertising. The folder also contains information about taxes on advertising practices in India, France, Italy, and the territory of Hawii.)
(The Television Advertising folder includes a detailed memo on TV and movie theater commercials for overseas markets that discusses ways of keeping costs down and the division of responsibilities among representatives. There is also some material on the beginnings of TV advertising in Germany and a memo on services and clients of the Frankfurt office.)
(The U.S. Information Agency material offers a glimpse of that agency's activities and its influence on overseas advertising business.)
Includes organizational charts of departments and offices throughout JWT, detailed information on competitors' services in relation to services rendered by J. Walter Thompson, and information on the Company's account team structure. It also includes a presentation prepared by Richard Brecker for Sunkist Growers.
Includes account figures of the Office from 1918 to 1935, a manual of policy letters and operating principles of the Office, sample letters of terms, correspondence on the Marietta Chair, Gruen Watch and Jergens accounts, notices of account termination, some advertising booklets, and correspondence relating to the 1935 closing of the Cincinnati Office. Much of the correspondence in this series is personal in nature and includes letters from James Webb Young, Stanley Resor, William Groom, Ruth Waldo, and H. T. Stanton.
(One folder contains notes by Henderson on a manuscript entitled World Peace Through Advertising (1924) and a summary of Henderson's 1928 speech Human Nature in Advertising.)
(The advertisement booklets are for Hooven and Allison (rope), Breneman (window shades), and Richardson and Company (roofs).)
Consists of biographical information on Howard Henderson, his personnel records from the 1950s, information on his investments, speeches that he gave, material concerning his search for an academic position in 1930, and correspondence and other information pertaining to three civic organizations of which he was a leading member: the Westchester County Civil Defense League, the Public Affairs Committee, and the International Recreation Association.
Within sections materials are arranged chronologically.
Includes clippings from J.W.T. News, Advertising Age, The New York Times, and other publications.
Articles on JWT are filed together at the beginning of the series. Arrangement thereafter is alphabetical by individual or company.
Contains photographs of staff members from J. Walter Thompson's domestic and international offices, photographs of clients and of some client's display windows, and slides of ads Henderson worked on during his years in the Cincinnati Office.
|1895 July 16||
Born in Hingham, Mass.
Received AB from Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass.
Discharged at end of the war.
Served in the US Naval Reserve Force as Yeoman First Class.
Joined Charles Scribner and Sons as a bill collector
Joined the Charity Organization Society of New York City as a case worker.
|1919 Sept. - 1920 June||
Was a Graduate student at Harvard Divinity School
Taught English at Purdue University, Ind.
Joined Watson Advertising Agency in Chicago as a Copywriter
|1921 October 31||
Joined J. Walter Thompson Co. (JWT), Chicago office, as a member of the Research Department. Soon promoted to a position as copywriter.
|1922 June 17||
Married Sarah Whitman
Transferred to J. Walter Thompson Co. Cincinnati office; worked in the Copy and New Business departments.
Served as a member of the City Charter Committee in Cincinnati; in 1935 elected Chairman of committee on Education.
Lectured on Marketing and Advertising in the Evening School, College of Commerce, at the University of Cincinnati
Became manager of JWT Cincinnati Office
Was Director of the Hamilton County Good Government League, Cincinnati; Member of the Civic Club of Cincinnati; Trustee of Cincinnati Better Business Bureau.
|1936 January 1||
Elected Vice President and transferred to J. Walter Thompson Co., New York Office
Was Director of Bronxville, NY, Community Chest;
Served as Civilian Defense World War II zone warden
Elected to Bronxville Board of Education; president 1947-1949.
Was Director of Public Affairs Committee, a non--profit organization in New York City and publisher of Public Affairs Pamphlets.
Began working part-time for JWT after a serious illness.
Worked as a consultant to the US Information Agency in Washington
Director of International Recreation Association
|1961 January 31||
Retired from the J. Walter Thompson Co.
|1965 June 27||
Wife Sarah died
|1966 July 15||
Married Leonore Turner
Struck by a car while visiting in Hingham, Mass.; never fully recovered from this accident.
Second wife Leonore died
|1982 January 10||
Died in Ridgewood, NJ
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Eastman Kodak Company
- Henderson, Howard, 1895-
- J. Walter Thompson Company -- History
- John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
- J. Walter Thompson Company
The Papers of Howard Henderson were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from the J. Walter Thompson Company in 1987.
Processed by: Katherine Hufstetler, Sabine Engel, Donna Longo DiMichele
Completed July, 1996
Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller
Processing of this collection was supported in part by gifts from the J. Walter Thompson Company Fund and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.