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The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History acquires, preserves, and promotes materials that document the history of the advertising, marketing, and sales industries, as well as the consumer movement.  The center, housed at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, makes these materials available to a diverse group of researchers from around the world.


The origins of the Hartman Center began with the library's acquisition of the corporate archives of international advertising agency the J. Walter Thompson Company (JWT) in 1987.  In 1992, with funding from Duke alumnus John W. Hartman and others, the library established the Hartman Center to continue to actively collect and promote the use of material related to the history of advertising in society.  In addition to the JWT archives, the most complete historical record of any advertising agency in the world, the center now houses the records of other advertising agencies and trade associations, the papers documenting the careers of advertising and communications professionals, and a large collection of sales and salesmanship literature.

John W. Hartman 

The Hartman Center is named for John W. Hartman (1923-2007), a 1944 Duke graduate.  Mr. Hartman had successful careers in advertising, media, and sales.  As former CEO of Bill Communications, he published a number of business, trade, and technical magazines, including Sales and Marketing Management.  He continued to write for publications after retirement and was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  

Additional support for the center's collections and programs has come from the John & Kelly Hartman Foundation, JWT, the Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Lamar Advertising Company, and numerous other corporate and individual donors.


The Hartman Center is grateful for the generosity of private benefactors, whose donations support our collecting mission and greater access to collections through outreach, processing, and public programming.  We have received most of our holdings as gifts or have acquired them with the support of our donors.  We welcome inquiries from individuals and representatives of businesses and professional organizations about contributing to our collections or supporting the center's mission in other ways.  To make a financial contribution to support our unique collections, you can donate online.


The Hartman Center collections a broad range of historical materials in a number of formats including the following topical areas;   

Advertising Agency Records:

The Hartman Center houses the business records of several advertising and communications agencies including the J. Walter Thompson Co. Archives, D'Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles, Wells Rich Greene, Inc., and Bates Worldwide.


Advertising Collectors:

Gary  P. and Sandra Baden Collection of Print Advertisements, Roy Lightner Collection of Antique Advertisements, Wayne P. Ellis Collection of Kodakiana, and Richard Pollay Acme Advertising Collection to name just a few.

Consumer Advocacy:

In 2019, the Hartman Center acquired the Consumer Reports Archives chronicling the non-profits' 83-year history of consumer activism and advocacy.  You can read more about the collection here.


Direct Marketing: 

Wunderman Archives, Lester Wunderman Papers, Jim Kobs Papers, John Stevenson Papers, Arlie Slabaugh Collection of Direct Mail Literature

Outdoor Advertising Companies

R.C. Maxwell Company Records, Ohio Outdoor Advertising Company Records, Wilkins Media Company Records

Outdoor Advertising Professionals

John Brennen Outdoor Advertising Survey Reports, Robert A. Hamer Papers, John F. Hogan Papers, Garrett Orr Papers

Outdoor Advertising Trade Association

Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA)

Professional Papers:

Alvin Achenbaum Papers, Rena Bartos Papers, Charlotte Beers Papers, Tom Burrell Papers, Gene Federico, Margaret Fishback, Paula Green Papers, among many others found here. The Hartman Center is particularly interested in documenting the experiences of women and Black professionals who worked in advertising and has a number of related collections.


Sales & Salesmanship Literature:

See our online catalog for additions to the sales and salesmanship literature collection.


Tobacco Advertising & Ephemera:

Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company Records, W. Duke, Sons & Co. Records and Advertising Materials, Richard Pollay Tobacco Industry Promotion Collection, Lois Stifel Collection of Tobacco Ephemera, Terence Mitchell Collection of Tobacco-Related Ephemera.


Trade Associations & Promotion:

The American Association of Advertising Agencies, Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Cause Marketing Forum. Halo Awards Records, Mobius Advertising Awards Collection