Guide to the Procter & Gamble Company Product Packaging Collection
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Deskey, Donald, 1894-
Procter & Gamble Company
Physical Description:
1.5 Cubic feet
3 boxes
A collection of flat-folded product packages for soap and detergent. Some of the packages were designed by industrial designer Donald Deskey.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Collection comprises of sample packages, and signs for Proctor & Gamble products. The samples were for test marketing product names. Some of the products have the date stamped on the item. The industrial designer Donald Deskey designed a number of the packages. Most of the materials are personal care products, but there is a substantial amount of household products. Researchers interested in graphic design and the creative process of developing packaging for consumer goods will find this collection useful.
Series 1, Packaging, 1946-1980, includes sample packages for products such as soaps, shaving creams, laundry detergents, dental care, household cleansers, hair care and dish detergents. The packages are arranged first by size and then in alphabetical and chronological order.
Series 2, Signs, undated, includes two signs for Lennox and Naptha soaps. These materials are arranged in alphabetical order.

Collection is arranged into two series.
Series 1, Packaging, 1946-1980, undated
Series 2, Signs, undated

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Candle maker William Procter and soap maker James Gamble formed a partnership in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1837 to sell their products. Procter & Gamble is probably best known for developing Ivory Soap, but the company has also developed other products such as Ivory Flakes, Chipso (the first dishwasher soap), and Crisco. Innovations in production, distribution, market research and advertising have also contributed to the success of the Procter & Gamble Company.

Caitlan Maxwell
Processing Information
Processed by Caitlan Maxwell, intern, 2007.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the National Museum of American History by Procter & Gamble in 1984, along with many artifacts.
Custodial History
The Division of Science, Medicine and Society (now Division of Medicine and Science) transferred the product packaging portion of the collection to the Archives Center in 2003.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research and access on site by appointment.
Preferred Citation
Procter & Gamble Company Product Packaging Collection, 1940s-1970s, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Packaging Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
advertising Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Soap Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ivory Soap (Brand name) Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Science, Medicine, and Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012