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 & 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 JWT, Benton & Bowles, the Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation, D'Arcy, Masius, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, WPP and numerous individual donors.