Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Harry S. Truman Papers
Staff Member and Office Files:
John T. Gibson Files

Dates: 1945-1951

Assistant in the Media Programming Division, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, 1945-1947; Chief of the Advertising Liaison Division, Office of Government Reports, 1947-1948; Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President, Dr. John Steelman, 1948-1951.

The John T. Gibson Files document his work from 1945-1951 as a member of the White House staff. During this time period, he worked closely with the Advertising Council, a non-profit group that provided assistance in developing public service advertising campaigns. Documents include campaigns for armed forces recruiting, Savings Bonds, income taxes, better schools, nursing, and disease prevention, among other topics. The files include print, radio, and television advertising materials, correspondence, memoranda, agendas and meeting minutes, press releases, progress reports, and other printed material related to various advertising campaigns undertaken by federal government agencies. The collection has one series, a subject file, arranged alphabetically.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 1.6 linear feet (ca. 3200 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Harry S. Truman donated his copyright interest in writings in these files to the United States government. Documents created by U. S. government officials in the course of their official duties are likewise in the public domain. Copyright interest in any other writings in these files is assumed to remain with the authors of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: James R. Fuchs (1956); Tammy Kelly (2001) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: David Clark and Amy Williams.

[ Top | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1945-1947 Assistant in the Media Programming Division, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion.
1947-1948 Chief, Advertising Liaison Division, Office of Government Reports.
1948-1951 Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President, John Steelman.

[ Top | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The John T. Gibson Files document his work in three different offices and positions: assistant in the Media Programming Division, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion; Chief of the Advertising Liaison Division, Office of Government Reports; and Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President, Dr. John Steelman.

The Gibson Files are a part of the Staff Member and Office Files of the Harry S. Truman Papers. Gibson did not take the material in these files with him at the conclusion of his government service. Instead, this material was shipped to Kansas City in 1953 as part of Mr. Truman's presidential papers. Truman subsequently donated his papers to the United States government. The collection is approximately 1.6 linear feet in volume, arranged alphabetically by folder title in one series, a Subject File.

In all three positions, Gibson's chief role was to be a liaison between the government and the Advertising Council, a non-profit group comprised of representatives from the American advertising industry. The Advertising Council's mission was to provide federal agencies, as well as private groups, with free facilities and assistance in developing advertising for "non-controversial" topics and public service announcements. Gibson's files include reference to advertising campaigns for both federal agencies as well as private groups that sponsored messages deemed important to the national welfare.

In terms of federal agencies, the Gibson Files include work done by the Advertising Council on behalf of the Armed Forces in general, as well as the individual branches of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Much of this related to recruitment campaigns. The Advertising Council also worked with the Department of the Interior, the U. S. Public Health Service, the Veteran's Administration, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Department of the Treasury. Some private advertising that had an impact on national welfare include campaigns related to nursing, schools, and juvenile delinquency. Often, this advertising was co-sponsored or approved by a related federal agency, such as the Justice Department in the case of juvenile delinquency. Several of the campaigns illustrate aspects of the baby boom that would become problematic in the later 1950s, such as better schools.

Some notable types of documents in the Gibson Files include samples of print advertising (posters, billboards, newspapers, magazines, car cards), radio advertising copy, and "Radio Fact Sheets", which were distributed to radio stations and summarized the goals of the particular ad campaign and provided suggestions for radio ads. Also included is a small amount of material related to television advertising, which was just emerging as a media format. There are three large folders that contain weekly and monthly progress reports that summarize action taken on the different advertising campaigns in progress. Also included are advertising expenditures reports, press releases, correspondence with Advertising Council executives, memos from others in the office, and agendas and meeting minutes.

Related collections in the Truman Library are those of Charles W. Jackson and Spencer R. Quick. Their files, like Gibson's, are part of the Staff Member and Office Files of the Harry S. Truman Papers. The John R. Steelman Papers also contain information relating to Gibson's government service.

[ Top | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.Series
1-4 SUBJECT FILE, 1945-1951
Correspondence, memoranda, press releases, clippings, print and radio advertising copy, agendas, minutes of meetings, monthly/weekly progress reports, drafts of remarks, and other printed material documenting Gibson's work as assistant in the Media Programming Division, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, Chief of the Advertising Liaison Division, Office of Government Reports, and Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President, Dr. John Steelman. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

[ Top | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]


FOLDER TITLE LIST

Box 1

    SUBJECT FILE, 1945-1951
  • Advertising Council-Correspondence, 1950
  • Advertising Council-General, 1950
  • Advertising Council-Miscellaneous, 1945-47
  • Advertising Council-Reports, 1946-47
  • Advertising Liaison-Inter-office, [1945] 1947, 1948, 1949
  • Advertising Liaison-Inter-office, 1950
  • Armed Forces-General, 1950
  • Armed Forces Prestige-Armed Forces Day, May 20, 1950
  • Armed Forces Prestige-Correspondence, 1948
  • Armed Forces Prestige-Correspondence, 1950
  • Armed Forces Prestige-General
  • Armed Forces Prestige-Meetings
  • Better Schools Campaign-Correspondence, 1949
  • Better Schools Campaign-Correspondence, 1950
Box 2
  • Better Schools Campaign-Miscellaneous 1950
  • Better Schools Campaign-Releases, Ads, Publications, etc.
  • Careers in Nursing-1950
  • Coast Guard, U. S.-1948, 1949 Programs
  • Coast Guard, U. S.-1950 Program
  • Committee for Economic Development
  • Diabetes Detection Week-October 10-16, 1949
  • Graphics 1947-1948 Distribution
  • "I Am An American"-Justice Department
  • Income Tax Program-1946, 1947, 1948, 1949
  • Industrial Editors Meeting-June 10, 1948
  • Industrial Safety Program-1949
  • Industrial Safety Program-1950
  • Interior Department
  • Juvenile Delinquency Control
  • Marine Corps Recruiting (Regular)
  • Media Programming Division and Advertising Liaison Division of Office of Government Reports-Monthly Progress Reports
Box 3
  • Media Programming Division and Advertising Liaison Division of OGR-Weekly and Monthly Progress Reports and miscellaneous
      [1 of 2]
      [2 of 2]
  • Miscellaneous [remarks of Dr. Steelman, FAO Council Report, meeting minutes, and correspondence, 1948, 1950]
  • National Guard Campaign-1949
  • National Guard Campaign-1950
  • Navy Department-1948
  • Physically Handicapped Campaign-1950
  • Physically Handicapped Programs-1950-Correspondence
  • Public Health Nurse Week-April 11-17, 1948
  • Radio Allocation Plan-General
  • Rat Control [National Urban Rat Control Campaign, 1948]
  • "Register Automatic Weapons" Campaign-Bureau of Internal Revenue
  • Savings Bonds Campaign Correspondence-June 1948-December 1949
  • Savings Bonds Campaign Correspondence-January 1950
Box 4
  • Savings Bonds Campaign-1950-Miscellaneous
  • Student Nurse Campaign-1948
  • Student Nurse Campaign-1950
  • Treasury-White House Meeting (March 10, 1948)
  • U. S. Marine Corps-Reserve Recruiting and 172nd Anniversary, November 10, 1947
  • Venereal Disease Campaign-U. S. Public Health Service
  • Veterans-Terminal Leave Pay
  • Veterans Administration-General
  • War Trophy Safety Campaign-Internal Revenue
  • White House Conference-September 17-18, 1946
  • White House Meeting-February 15-16, 1950

[ Top | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]