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Ayer, Francis Wayland (1848-1923), advertising agent  

Richard A. Hawkins

Ayer, Francis Wayland (04 February 1848–05 March 1923), advertising agent, was born in Lee, Massachusetts, the son of Nathan Wheeler Ayer, a teacher, and Joanna B. Wheeler. Ayer was educated by his father; he began his career at the age of fourteen in a school near Dundee, Yates County, New York, where he was a teacher for five years. Between 1868 and 1869 Ayer attended the University of Rochester in New York but was unable to complete his studies because of a lack of funds....


Barton, Bruce Fairchild (1886-1967), advertising executive, writer, and congressman  

Dennis Wepman

Barton, Bruce Fairchild (05 August 1886–05 July 1967), advertising executive, writer, and congressman, was born in Robbins, Tennessee, the son of William Eleazar Barton, a Congregationalist minister, and Esther Treat Bushnell, an elementary school teacher. His father brought the family from Tennessee, where he had been an itinerant preacher, to Oak Park, Illinois, before Bruce was a year old, and there William Barton became pastor of the First Congregational Church. He held this post for twenty-five years, serving for a time as moderator of the National Council of Congregational Churches, and he published a distinguished biography of ...


Bates, Theodore Lewis (1901-1972), advertising agent  

Daniel Pope

Bates, Theodore Lewis (11 September 1901–30 May 1972), advertising agent, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Vernal Warner Bates, a businessman, and Elizabeth Brooke Hails. After graduating in 1924 from Yale University’s Sheffield Scientific School with a B.S., Bates took a job with the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City. Six months later the bank’s advertising manager contracted pneumonia, and Bates found himself performing that job. He later recalled that, without training, he relied heavily on the advice of his “very efficient woman assistant.”...


Benton, William (1900-1973), advertising executive, educator, and politician  

J. Garry Clifford

Benton, William (01 April 1900–18 March 1973), advertising executive, educator, and politician, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Charles Benton, a Congregationalist clergyman and professor of romance languages, and Elma Hixson, a schoolteacher. After brief military service in World War I, Benton attended Yale University and graduated in 1921. In 1928 he was married to Helen Hemingway. They had four children....


Bernbach, William (1911-1982), advertising executive  

John N. Ingham

Bernbach, William (13 August 1911–02 October 1982), advertising executive, was born in the Bronx, New York City, the son of Jacob Bernbach, a designer of women’s clothes, and Rebecca Reiter. When he graduated from college (New York University, 1932), with a major in English, Bernbach faced the harsh facts of the depression. Jobs, especially in advertising, were few; the best he could do was take a position as an office boy with Schenley Distillers. Nevertheless, he mustered the enterprise to draft a promotional piece for Schenley’s American cream whiskey and submitted it for consideration. Although the advertising department did in fact use the ad, no mention was made of Bernbach’s having created it. But, his initiative having taken him this far, Bernbach went directly to the firm’s president, Lewis Rosenthiel, to tell him that he had authored the ad. The effort paid off: Bernbach was taken on by the advertising department....


Bowles, Chester Bliss (1901-1986), businessman, politician, and diplomat  

Robert J. McMahon

Bowles, Chester Bliss (05 April 1901–25 May 1986), businessman, politician, and diplomat, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Allen Bowles, a paper manufacturer, and Nellie Harris. His grandfather, Samuel Bowles (1826–1878), a man Chester frequently identified as his inspiration and role model, transformed the Springfield ...


Burnett, Leo (1891-1971), advertising executive  

John N. Ingham

Burnett, Leo (21 October 1891–07 June 1971), advertising executive, was born in St. Johns, Michigan, the son of Noble Burnett, a dry goods dealer, and Rose Clark. Leo Burnett got his first exposure to advertising layout and copy by watching his father prepare ads for the local newspaper. His father’s connections got Leo his first jobs as a printer’s devil at the newspaper and a summer reporter on rural weeklies. After graduating from high school, Burnett served for a time as a rural schoolmaster before graduating from the University of Michigan in 1914. Then he became a police reporter for the ...


Calkins, Earnest Elmo (1868-1964), advertising agent and writer  

James Harvey Young

Calkins, Earnest Elmo (25 March 1868–04 October 1964), advertising agent and writer, was born in Geneseo, Illinois, the son of William Clinton Calkins and Mary Harriet Manville. When Earnest was three months old, the family moved to nearby Galesburg, where his father became a self-taught lawyer, elected city attorney. Except for a brief period of private schooling, Calkins was educated in the public schools. When he was six, measles aggravated an inherited tendency and made him somewhat deaf. His hearing continued to weaken gradually until, in middle age, he became completely deaf. Overcoming this handicap became a central concern of Calkins’s life....


Cannon, Poppy (2 Aug. 1905–1 April 1975), cookbook author, journalist, and advertising executive  

Laura Shapiro

Cannon, Poppy (2 Aug. 1905–1 April 1975), cookbook author, journalist, and advertising executive, was born Lillian Gruskin in Cape Town, South Africa, to Robert and Henrietta Gruskin, Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. (Henrietta’s maiden name is unknown.) The family moved to the United States in ...


Collier, Barron Gift (1873-1939), advertising entrepreneur and capitalist  

Susan Hamburger

Collier, Barron Gift (23 March 1873–13 March 1939), advertising entrepreneur and capitalist, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Cowles Miles Collier, a naval officer and artist, and Hannah Celeste Shackelford. Collier attended the Memphis public schools until age sixteen, when he dropped out to solicit business for the Illinois Central Railroad, to contract with the city of Memphis to improve the street lighting, and to learn advertising and selling for his uncle, owner of the ...


Dietz, Howard (1896-1983), lyricist and publicity director  

Malcolm Goldstein

Dietz, Howard (08 September 1896–30 July 1983), lyricist and publicity director, was born in New York City, the son of Herman Dietz, a jeweler, and Julia Blumberg. While a student at Townsend Harris Hall, a public high school for unusually able students, Dietz took a job as a copyboy on a newspaper, the ...


Edge, Walter Evans (1873-1956), New Jersey businessman and political leader  

Ellis W. Hawley

Edge, Walter Evans (20 November 1873–29 October 1956), New Jersey businessman and political leader, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Edge, a railroad manager, and Mary Elizabeth Evans. In 1877 his family moved to Pleasantville, New Jersey, and in 1887 he took a job as a printer’s devil for the ...


Cover Edge, Walter Evans (1873-1956)
Walter E. Edge Seated, left, at a session of the Senate's Committee on Elections, 1921. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104398).


Fishback Antolini, Margaret (1900-1985), poet and advertising copywriter  

Dennis Wepman

Fishback Antolini, Margaret (10 March 1900–25 September 1985), poet and advertising copywriter, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Frederick Lewis Fishback and Mabel Coleman. Her parents' occupations are unknown. She graduated from Central High School (now Cardozo Senior High School) in Washington, D.C., in 1917 and went on to Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, from which she graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1921. She taught English and history at Columbia Junior High School in Washington, D.C., for her first year after college. The next year she found a job in New York City in the organizational department of Tamblyn & Brown, a prominent fund-raising firm, but she soon found more creative work in the advertising division of R. H. Macy & Company, where she was quickly promoted. In 1926 she started at Macy's as an assistant copywriter, and in two weeks she was promoted to divisional copywriter. From 1930 to 1942 she held the rank of institutional advertisement writer, and from 1940 to 1942 she was chief copywriter for the company....


Hummert, Anne (19 January 1905–05 July 1996)  

Donna L. Halper

Hummert, Anne (19 January 1905–05 July 1996), radio producer and advertising executive, was born Anna Mary Schumacher and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, the oldest of four children of Frederick Schumacher, whom census records list as a steamfitter and a contractor, and Anna Lance Schumacher. At some point in her youth, she began using the name Anne rather than Anna. She loved to write and was attracted to journalism while still in high school, writing an advice column for the ...


Lamb, Theodore Lafayette (1927-1984), southern liberal, advertising executive, and lawyer  

Michael B. Dougan

Lamb, Theodore Lafayette (11 April 1927–06 September 1984), southern liberal, advertising executive, and lawyer, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Foster Lamb, a butcher, and Theodosia Braswell. Lamb’s father owned a small farm near Alexander, outside of Little Rock, Arkansas, where Lamb grew up. After attending the local one-room school, he hitchhiked into Little Rock, where he attended high school and served as class president. In 1944 he took classes at both Little Rock Junior College and Louisiana State University before enlisting in the army. He was sent to Yale University and trained as a Japanese linguist. He then served from 1944 to 1947 as a second lieutenant in the army’s 441st Counterintelligence Corps. He returned to Yale under the GI Bill and graduated in 1950....


Lasker, Albert Davis (1880-1952), advertising executive  

Kevin L. Keenan

Lasker, Albert Davis (01 May 1880–30 May 1952), advertising executive, was born in Freiburg, Germany, the son of Morris Lasker, a merchant and banker, and Nettie Heidenheimer Davis. Both parents, who were American citizens, were in Germany at the time of his birth so that his mother could be treated for poor health. When he was six weeks old, the family returned to Galveston, Texas, where he was raised as one of six children....


Levy, David (1913-2000), advertising and broadcasting executive, television producer, and writer  

David Marc

Levy, David (02 January 1913–25 January 2000), advertising and broadcasting executive, television producer, and writer, was one of twin sons born to Benjamin Levy, an accountant, and Lillian Potash Levy of Philadelphia. He excelled as a student, especially in mathematics and writing, both of which would remain lifelong pursuits. An economics major at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, he received a B.S. degree in 1934 and an M.B.A. in 1935....


Ogilvy, David (1911-1999), advertising executive  

Dennis Wepman

Ogilvy, David (23 June 1911–21 July 1999), advertising executive, was born David Mackenzie Ogilvy in West Horsley, about 30 miles southwest of London, England, the son of Francis John Longley Ogilvy, a stockbroker, and Dorothy Fairfield Ogilvy. Brought up in a cultured family—his father was a Cambridge-educated classics scholar and a cousin was the writer Rebecca West—Ogilvy nevertheless spent an impoverished childhood because of the failure of his father's business. At the age of thirteen, however, he won a scholarship to Fettes, an elite public school in Edinburgh, and at seventeen he won another to Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied modern history. After two years there Ogilvy concluded that he was not cut out for the scholarly life. “Perhaps it was impatience with academe and the itch to start earning a living,” he later wrote. “Perhaps I was intellectually out of my depth. Whatever the reason, I failed every examination” ( ...


Resor, Helen Lansdowne (1886-1964), advertising executive  

Jennifer Scanlon

Resor, Helen Lansdowne (20 February 1886–02 January 1964), advertising executive, was born Helen Lansdowne in Grayson in the mountains of Northwest Kentucky, the youngest of nine children of George Lansdowne, occupation unknown, and Helen Baylett Lansdowne. When Resor was four years old, her mother left her father and took the children to Covington, Kentucky, where she obtained work as a clerk. “You're never going to get caught the way I was. You're going to learn how to work,” Resor's mother told her (Fox, p. 94)....