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Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women records

Identifier: BMC-M67

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the records produced and collected by the Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women (PCAW) from its inception in 1916, until 1984. The strength of this collection is its comprehensive assembling of advertising publications, events programs, photographs, and organizational records spanning primarily from the 1930s to 1970s. Because this collection represents comprehensive coverage of this influential women’s organization, it would be of interest to researchers in twentieth-century social history, women’s history, and Philadelphia area organizations.

Within the collection are twenty-nine series. They appear in the following order: Ad-Land News; Administrative Materials; Advertising Clubs; Awards; Better Business Bureau; Camp Council; Children's Country Week Association; Newsletters and Mailings; Committees; Conferences; Conventions; Education; Events; Finances; History; Kite and Key Administrative Records; Meetings; Membership; Organizational By-Laws and Amendments; Outreach; Photographs and Film; Programs; Poor Richard Club Materials and Mailings; Publicity; Reports; Scrapbook; and Unidentified Records.

The “Adland News” series contains “Newsletters” and “Pamphlets” of the Ad-Land News publication from 1929 to 1977. This publication was produced by PCAW to highlight organizational news items and current issues in advertising.

The “Administrative Materials” series contains the records of the Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Corresponding Secretary, and President within the organization, from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The “Advertising Clubs” series contains material related to clubs with which PCAW was involved, such as the American Advertising Federation, Advertising Federation of America; The Exchange; Junior Advertising Club; Philadelphia Advertising Council; Philadelphia Federation of Women's Clubs and Allied Organizations, Inc.; and Women in Advertising.

The “Awards” series contains material related to awards received by PCAW related to their charitable activities. This also includes awards given to PCAW such as the Advertising Woman of the Year. Researchers will find material related to the “Addy Awards,” an award given by the American Advertising Federation.

The “Better Business Bureau” series contains two folders of the records of PCAW’s relationship with the Better Business Bureau from 1943 to 1972.

The “Camp Council” series contains correspondence and records related to the Camp Council organization.

The “Children's Country Week Association Newsletters and Mailings” series contains records related to the Children’s Country Week retreat participated in by the PCAW.

The “Committees” series contains records of several committees within PCAW, from 1930 to 1975. Included are Finance (1940-1969); Nominating (1930-1976); Social (1947-1970); and Program (1966-1967) committees. For additional “Social” material, consult the “Social” series.

The “Conferences” series contains various conferences attended by PCAW (primarily advertising related) from 1930 to 1975. The conferences include Eastern Conference of Women's Advertising Clubs, American Advertising Federation Convention, and the Career Conference.

The “Conventions” series contains conventions attended by members of PCAW, including the Democratic National Convention-Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women Lunch for Women Reporters (1936), and the American Advertising Federation Convention (1970, 1975-1976).

The “Correspondence” series contains PCAW correspondence from 1941 to 1976. Within the series is “General Correspondence” between PCAW, their members, and various other institutions from 1942 to 1976. There are also “Mailings,” which includes brochures and informational material sent by PCAW from 1941 to 1957. Researchers will find “Presidential Mailings,” containing correspondence sent and received by various PCAW presidents from 1947 to 1974. “Thank you notes” and “Stationary” are also located within this series.

The “Education” series contains records from an advertising course, Introduction to Advertising, which was taught by PCAW members from 1935 to 1976. It also contains records related to scholarships given by PCAW, including the Blanche E. Clair Scholarship (1957-1976), and “Essay Contests” from 1947 to 1959.

The “Events” series contains invitations and programs from the scores of dinner dances, social events, and trips hosted by PCAW from 1917 until 1979. The designs of the invitations are particularly noteworthy as they reflected many of the advertising styles and fonts of the day.

The “Federation of Women's Clubs Administrative Documents and Records” series includes the records resulting from PCAW’s involvement with the Federation of Women’s Clubs.

In the “Finances” series, researchers will find financial material, including invoices, and budgets from various PCAW functions from 1934 to 1976.

The “History” series contains biographical essays of PCAW, as well as 50th anniversary material.

The “Kite and Key Administrative Records” series contains some material related to the Kite and Key Society of the University of Pennsylvania from the years 1951 and 1970. It is not included in the series “Administrative Records” as it was found on its own, and was organized in a deliberate order which was maintained.

In the “Legislative Materials” series, researchers will find material related to public policy and government outreach from 1949 to 1976.

The “Meetings” series contains materials related to the meetings held by PCAW from 1940 to 1976. The meetings in this series include Annual Meetings (1951-1976); Board Meetings (1965-1975); and Installation Meetings (1956-1957).

The “Membership” series contains the records of applicants to PCAW, attendance records, as well as recognitions of long-standing members.

In the “Organizational By-Laws and Amendments” series researchers will find material related to PCAW’s organizational policies from 1942 to 1976.

The “Outreach” series contains material related to the outreach efforts of PCAW to the local community through charitable donations, hospital and elderly home visits.

The “Photographs and Film” series contains photographs from various PCAW events including dances, some from the 1930s and 1940s, as well as the 1970s. Many PCAW events included a theme, and the pictures often show women and men in costumes of particular style.

The “Programs” series contains various programs from PCAW meetings hosted and attended from the 1940s to the 1970s.

-The “Poor Richard Club Materials and Mailings” series contains material and mailings received by PCAW from the Poor Richards Club.

The “Publicity” series contains material related to PCAW’s involvement in promoting itself through advertising and media interviews. These interviews exist in the format of transcripts.

In the “Reports” series, researchers will find Annual Reports (1954-1975); Board Meeting Reports (1977-1984); Dinner Meeting Reports (1979-1984); and Bound Yearly Reports (1922-1977).

The “Scrapbook and ephemera” series includes a single bound scrapbook primarily containing memorandums, program notes, and correspondence of PCAW from 1928 to 1929, and pins.

The “Unidentified Records” series probably has little value to researchers as it is simply comprised of unidentified pieces of paper found loose within the collection.


  • Creation: 1916 - 1984


Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Historical note

The Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women (PCAW), founded in 1916 by sixteen women executives in the advertising field, “secure[d] for its members the benefits of discussion and cooperation in matters of interest for the purpose of mutual advancement, … further[ed] the study of advertising in its various branches, … emphasize[d] the work that woman [did] and [was] specially qualified to do, … and cooperate[d] with civic philanthropic and patriotic organizations whose undertakings [were] not for profit but [were] of vital local community interest and require advertising and selling cooperation,” (Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women’s Constitution and By-laws). Over the years, this club became nationally known as a leading advertising club.

In 1916, sixteen advertising women organized the Philadelphia League of Advertising Women so that they might attend the annual convention of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World (later the Advertising Federation of America). The need for such an organization was clearly demonstrated as “in just three months, membership more than tripled,” (PCAW brochure). The club, renamed the Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women, set forth a system to promote communication, educate future advertisers, and reward those in the industry worthy of note from every “area of communications: writers, artists, production and traffic departments, sales representatives, media buyers, advertising agency and studio administrators, corporate public relations, suppliers (print, typography, photography, etc.) editors, advertising managers, and anyone related to the advertising profession and communications field,” (PCAW brochure).

The Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women conducted their business via monthly meetings, luncheons, conventions, area conferences, women in advertising exhibits, awards, educational programs and seminars, scholarships and financial grants, social activities, and a placement bureau, along with other less regular activities. In order to become a member, candidates needed to be nominated by a member, to be seconded by another member and to provide business references to the Membership Committee who then made recommendations to the Board of Directors. Seven classes of membership existed: active members (for women engaged in creative, research or executive work; buying or selling advertising; or publicity or editorial advertising work), preferred associate members and associate members (for women engaged in practical advertising work), non-resident members (for women working more than twenty-five miles outside of Philadelphia), sustaining members (for women no longer working in the field but who were active members for at least five years), life members (for women who performed outstanding service to the club and/or to the profession) and honorary members (for non-members who performed outstanding service to the profession). The advantages of membership included: “affirm[ing] professional standing, increas[ing] professional skills, open[ing] new vistas of opportunity, offer[ing] valuable contacts, [and] enhanc[ing] the prestige of women employed in the field of advertising,” (Club’s History, Purpose, Implementation and Advantages).

Education was clearly a priority for the Club as they, starting in 1928, held a ten week “Introduction to Advertising Course,” which was open to the public. The Club encouraged further education by providing scholarships for the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism and the Studio School of Design, to name just a few. In 1970, the Club began offering a one day Communications Career Conference for high school and college students. The Club also published a book titled Advertising Careers for Women in 1939 which included twenty-two lectures on advertising vocations.

Affiliated with the American Advertising Federation and the Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women maintained a prominent role in the advertising world by publishing a newsletter titled Ad Land News and presenting awards to their own members as well as those outside the Club. Some awards include: the Silver Medal Award, presented annually to an outstanding local advertising person; the Silver Bell Award, presented annually to a Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women member who gave time and effort to the Club; the Crystal Prism Award, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation and presented annually to a Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women member in recognition of dedication to the Club, the profession and the betterment of the community; and the ADDY Award, presented annually to the local advertising community for creative excellence in the Delaware Valley.

In addition, the Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women participated in local community service by raising funds for the American Red Cross, working for the war effort during both World War I and World War II, and educating consumers about famous advertising women.


Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women: Brochure, undated (accession file).

Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women: Club’s History, Purpose, Implementation and Advantages, undated (collection).

Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women: Constitution and By-laws, undated (collection).


17.5 linear ft. (17 containers, 20 volumes)

Language of Materials



The Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women (PCAW) was founded in 1916 by sixteen women advertising executives. The Club participated in charitable efforts, offered advertising courses, published a newsletter (Ad-Land News), and hosted social events throughout its history. These efforts garnered national recognition for PCAW as a leading advertising organization. It also won them recognition locally as an organization committed to helping the community through scholarships and charitable giving.

This collection contains the records produced by PCAW from 1916 to 1984, including material related to their advertising courses, events, history, charity involvement, and meetings. The collection has several strengths, the most notable of which is its comprehensive coverage of organizational activities from 1930 to 1977. Other strengths include the number of Ad-Land News publications within the collection, as well as the event invitations, most of which exhibit graphics and fonts reflecting contemporary advertising styles. Also of note are the records of PCAW’s heavy involvement in local affairs (advertising courses, charitable efforts, etc.), which demonstrates its influence in the area.


The series of this collection are arranged alphabetically. Folders within those series are arranged chronologically, alphabetically, or both depending on the amount of material covered within that series.

Custodial History note

Gift of M. Alcott Cooper, President of the Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women (PCAW), November 8, 1983.

Processing Information note

The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.

This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.

Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.

Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women records, 1916-1984
Leslie O'Neill and Forrest Wright, Melissa Torquato
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.

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