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OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION

Title: J. Walter Wilkinson Papers

Collection Date(s): circa 1932-1935, 1940-1964, 1985-1987

Extent and Forms of Material: 1 cubic foot, (2 boxes and 2 oversize folders)

Creator: J. Walter Wilkinson

Abstract: The collection contains originals and copy photographs of advertisements and other commercial art work; original sketches; materials documenting a mechanical drafting instrument patented by Wilkinson and his son, Walter G. Wilkinson; a scrapbook of clippings; photographs; awards; oral history interviews; and other materials documenting Wilkinson’s' career.

Repository: Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. archivescenter@si.edu 202-633-3270 www.americanhistory.si.edu/archives

Collection Number: AC0116

Processing Note: Processed by Robert S. Harding, archivist, 1986; revised by Catherine Keen, archivist, June 2010.

INFORMATION FOR USERS OF THE COLLECTION

Conditions Governing Access: The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access : Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation: [Title and date of item], J. Walter Wilkinson Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXXX

 

IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ABOUT THE COLLECTION

Administrative/Biographical History: J. Walter Wilkinson (1892-1988) was an award-winning commercial artist, perhaps best known for a series of six war bond posters he and his son Walter G. Wilkinson (1917-1971) created for the United States Treasury Department. J.

Walter Wilkinson was born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, received formal academic training in art, and worked on newspapers and at an advertising agency before becoming a free lance artist. Wilkinson worked on outdoor magazine advertisements and magazine covers. Major products for which Wilkinson did advertising art work included Ivory Soap, Pabst Beer, and Ballantine Ale.

Scope and Content: The collection includes a scrapbook and scrapbook materials, correspondence relating to advertising awards, proof sheets for advertisements, original sketches, a mock-up of a Saturday Evening Post cover, “stand-alone” beer advertisements, a painting of a cabin cruiser, materials documenting a mechanical drafting instrument patented by the Wilkinsons, a poster advertising Arrow Beer and another promoting war bonds, an advertisement for Landsdowner Whiskey, photographs of both men’s work, oral history interviews of J. Walter Wilkinson, and miscellany. The oral history interviews were conducted by National Museum of American History curator, Larry Bird.

System of Arrangement: The collection is arranged into seven series.

Series 1, Original artwork. undated
Series 2, Correspondence, 1941-1957
Series 3, Photographs, undated
Series 4, Papers relating to the “Math-a-graph”, 1953-1964
Series 5, Scrapbook, undated
Series 6, Printed materials, 1932 and undated
Series 7, Oral History interviews, 1984, 1985 and 1987

Acquisition Information: The collection was donated to the Museum in 1984 by J. Walter Wilkinson.

Custodial History: Transferred to the Archives Center in 1986.

Related Archival Materials: Wilkinson donated 6 oil paintings, 8 posters, and other miscellaneous materials promoting the sale of war bonds and stamps, to the Division of Political History in 1984. See Accession #1984.0653.

Access Points:

Subject/Topical:
Advertising
Advertising art
Graphic design

Subjects/Names:
Bird, Larry
Wilkinson, Walter Gandy, 1917-1971

Form/Genre:
Advertisements
Correspondence
Audiocassettes
Paintings
Photographs
Posters
Proof sheets
Scrapbooks

CONTAINER LISTING

 

Box

Folder

 

 

 

Series 1, Original Artwork, undated

1

5

Original sketches, undated

 

6

Original painting (cabin cruiser), undated

2

1

Original sketches, undated

 

 

Series 2, Correspondence, 1941-1957

1

2

Correspondence (advertising awards), 1941-1957

 

 

Series 3, Photographs, undated

 

7

Photographs of Wilkinson’s work

 

 

Series 4, Papers relating to the “Math-a-graph”, 1953-1964

 

8

Papers relating to the Wilkinson Math-a-graph, including patent, design drawings, correspondence, printed material, 1953-1964

 

 

Series 5, Scrapbook, undated

2

Loose

Scrapbook containing clippings, advertisements designed by Wilkinson, photographs of his work, undated

 

 

Series 6, Printed materials, 1892, 1932 and undated

1

1

Clippings, printed material, writings, a scrapbook page, undated

 

3

Proof sheets and advertisements, undated

 

4

Proof sheets and advertisements, undated

 

9

Photocopies of articles and writings, undated

2

Loose

Theater program from the Globe Theatre, Boston, 1892

 

Loose

Reprint from Vanity Fair on the subject of theater actors, undated

 

2

Proof sheets of advertisements, undated

 

3

Mock-up of Saturday Evening Post cover, 1932

 

4

Proof sheets and advertisements, undated

 

5

Advertising stand-alones, undated

 

O/S Folder 1

Lansdowne Whiskey advertisement, undated

 

O/S Folder 2

Lansdowne Whiskey advertisement, undated

 

 

“You Buy ‘em, We Fly ‘em” (war bond poster), undated

 

 

"Arrow Beer" (poster), undated

 

 

Series 7, Oral History interviews, 1984, 1985, 1987

1

Loose

Oral history interviews of Wilkinson, 1984, 1985, 1987


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Revised: September 13, 2010