Research

New York State Bureau of State Publicity Advertising Portfolio of State Tourism Promotions during 1939 World's Fair

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series consists of materials prepared for the Bureau of State Publicity by the Barlow Advertising Agency of Syracuse to promote nationwide attendance of the World's Fair of 1939-1940, specifically to encourage out-of-state travel to and from the fair through New York State rather than through Pennsylvania. The series includes maps, proofs of newspaper and magazine advertisements, scripts of radio advertising interviews, and copies of newsletters to legislators on the progress of the campaign.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
0.9 cubic feet (1 volume including 5 maps) :print, col. annotated ;23 x 28 cm or larger within portfolio size of 57 x 44 cm.
Inclusive Dates:
1939
Series Number:
A3324

Arrangement

Arranged by type of material (maps, advertisements, newsletters, scripts) and therein geographical or chronological.

Administrative History

The Bureau of State Publicity was established (by Chapter 808 of the Laws of 1935) as part of the Conservation Department to undertake advertising and promotion of tourism. It later combined with the Executive Department's Division of State Planning to become the Division (later Department) of Commerce, which was in turn renamed as the Department of Economic Development in 1987.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of materials prepared for the Bureau of State Publicity by the Barlow Advertising Agency of Syracuse to promote nationwide attendance of the World's Fair of 1939-1940, and specifically to encourage out-of-state travel to and from the fair through New York State rather than through Pennsylvania. The legislature appropriated money for this publicity campaign. The series includes maps, proofs of newspaper and magazine advertisements, scripts of radio advertising interviews, and copies of newsletters to legislators on the progress of the campaign.

Attendance at the fair was estimated to be about 15 million, with many people making car trips from the Midwest especially to see it. Through this publicity the bureau offered special "World's Fair Folders" to the public that included maps of routes to the fair through various parts of the state. The publicity campaign also aimed to highlight the scenic beauty and natural attractions of New York and promote out-of-state tourism generally; the advertising agency obviously hoped that this campaign would signal the start of a continuing effort to sell New York State to the nation.

The portfolio includes: two maps of the U.S. showing zones from which traffic to the fair would originate and the normal traffic routes to New York City (some through Pennsylvania that were the focus of the diversion tactics); three maps showing newspaper, radio, and magazine advertising saturation in "primary field" areas; advertisements promoting scenic spots in the state and offering travel folders with maps showing various routes past scenic/historic sites; sample newsletters published exclusively for members of the legislature as progress reports on the media campaign; and twenty scripts of radio spots interviewing Governor Lehman, various state and local officials, and celebrities (such as Kate Smith and Lowell Thomas) about regional attractions throughout the state.

The maps are entirely illustrative in nature. They are color coded and measure 23 x 28 cm within neat lines on sheets 25 x 30 cm.

Proof ads are printed in black and white and come in two sizes: 49.5 cm x 30.5 cm and 33.5 cm x 17 cm. Their format is a state map (annotated with sites of interest) superimposed over a photograph of a scenic view of the region being promoted. These areas include: Niagara Falls, Lake George, the Finger Lakes, the Thousand Islands, the Hudson and Mohawk river valleys, the Adirondack and Catskill mountains, and the cities of Saratoga Springs and Albany. Included is a mail coupon to be clipped and sent to the Bureau of State Publicity for additional information at no cost. Each proof carries the name of the newspaper or magazine in which it appeared and its date of appearance.

The newsletters are original signed typescripts dated from July through August 1939. They contain statistical information on the progress of the campaign and anecdotal reports of visits of company executives (around the state and to the Midwest) to promote the campaign or to check up on promotion response. They discuss such topics as total circulation for newspaper and magazine advertising and radio coverage; work of photographers taking pictures of travelers to be printed in hometown newspapers; and increases in receipts from the state gas tax, traffic over various bridges, and usage of hotels, taverns, and gas stations--all used as evidence of the campaign's success.

Typescripts of the radio interviews are between 2 to 4 pages long; only one script contains penciled annotations. Each script has a slip attached giving program number; the name of the guest speaker; a list of broadcasting radio stations; and the city, dates, and times of each broadcast.

Items Online

New York State Archives Digital Collections

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