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James Webb Young papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Ax 739

Scope and Contents

The collection contains final and/or published advertising copy, articles, and books by Young on advertising.

There are also files on agencies Young worked for: the Advertising Council, which contains a history of the council, a speech by Young, and memoranda concerning the Council's role during and after WWII; The Indian Arts and Crafts Board, which consists of Webb's appointment and resignation papers, and a report of 1934; and the Committee on Public Information and Committee on Internal Security, which contains supportive material on Webb's role in German propaganda during WWI and WWII.

There is a separate file of incoming correspondence. Correspondence can also be found in the autobiographical files. The autobiographical material also includes a manuscript with notes, five published volumes, and articles.

The collection also contains speech files, personal and professional related photographs, and a personal scrapbook. The subject of the scrapbook is primarily Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce work related and includes memoranda, clippings, certificates and autograph letters, including letters from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Nelson Rockefeller.

There are also files on working notes on science, advertising, communication, psychology and other subjects.

The collection also includes a book about advertising that honors Young's contributions to the field, titled, The Promise of Advertising (1961). There are five other publications regarding advertising, and one includes an introduction by Young.


  • 1933-1972


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

James Webb Young (1886-1973) had a long career in advertising, as the head of the Advertising Council, as key figure with J. Walter Thompson company, and with varied national and government agencies. Young spent fifty-two years in association with the Thompson company, starting as a copywriter and becoming branch office manager, creative director, senior vice president, and senior consultant. He was described as "the idea man behind the idea man.

During World War I, Young worked with the Creel Committee to develop the plan for American propaganda designed to effect the morale of German troops on the western front. He then opened the J. Walter Thompson offices in Europe in the later 1920s.

In the 1930s, in addition to his work with the Thomson company, he worked with the Department of the Interior to draft the plan for the Indian Arts and Drafts Board, of which he became a long standing member. His interest in Indian affairs continued with the marketing of their crafts.

In 1939, he served as the Director of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce where he secured the support of businesses for the gathering of new types of business statistics, now a basic guide to national economic forecasting. He then accepted a position with Nelson Rockefeller to organize the communications section of the Rockefeller staff while Rockefeller was Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.

During World War II, Young became the chairman of the War Advertising Council. After the war, he worked with Paul Hoffman and the Ford Foundation. Young became the foundation's Consultant on Mass Communication , and as such established its television workshop which produced the experimental cultural program, "Omnibus."

In 1961 he was visiting professor at the University of Illinois where his professional associates have established the James Webb Young Fund for Education in Advertising.

Along the way, Young established two successful small businesses, one with his son, Webb Young, selling by mail the native craft work of New Mexico; the other, the growing of "Old Jim Young's Mountain Grown Apples," with sales from his New Mexico ranch. He presented the ranch to the University of New Mexico some years before his death in 1973.


0.5 linear feet (1 container) : 1 manuscript box

Language of Materials



James Webb Young (1886-1973) had a long career in advertising as the head of the Advertising Council, as key figure with J. Walter Thompson company, and with varied national and government agencies. The collection (1933-1972) contains printed and published documents pertaining to Young's career in advertising and also speeches, photographs, working notes, personal scrapbooks, Christmas cards designed by Young, autobiographical material, and files regarding his professional service and employment.


Material within this collection is minimally arranged. Any arrangement is either derived from the records' creators or custodians or from staff at the time of initial processing. It may be necessary to look in multiple places for the same types of materials.

Other Finding Aids

Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections & University Archives.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff, December 1973.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Guide to the James Webb Young Papers
Complete Description
Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA