Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Direct Mail Advertising Collection

Collection ID:
Wells, Ellen B.
1976-1977, 1980-1981, 1984
Physical Description:
9.6 Cubic feet
29 boxes

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
Unsolicited mail received by Ellen Wells during two twelve month periods, 1976-1977 and 1980-1981. Ms. Wells kept all materials received during these periods as a sample of the changing use of this mass communication medium. Ms. Wells received the first group in Ithaca, New York, and the latter in Alexandria, Virginia. This collection provides a substantial sample of materials used in direct mail advertising and solicitation. These techniques of mass communication have became increasingly sophisticated and more widely used in recent years and the products of these techniques--commonly called "junk mail"--are ubquitious in contemporary society.
Scope and Contents note
Because this collection consists of materials received by only one individual, it is not a scientific sample; however, it reflects the targetting of individual consumers based on interests, tastes, and past buying patterns; and the use of direct mail by a wide range of organizations and institutions and the changing techniques employed.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Donor is a Smithsonian Institution librarian.

NMAH Staff
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Dibner Library, National Museum of American History, through Ellen Wells, 1984.
Processing Information
Collection processed by NMAH Staff, 1998

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Unrestructed research access on site.
Preferred Citation
Direct Mail Advertising Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Copyright and trademark restrictions.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Advertising, Direct-mail Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Direct mail Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
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