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"The Seagram Spotlight" photographs

1947-1957
 Collection
Accession: 1996-310

Abstract

The Bronfman family of Canada acquired the Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Co. of Waterloo, Ontario, in 1927. By the 1950s, Seagram was one of the world's largest alcoholic beverage firms. This collection is composed of photographs used as illustrations in The Seagram Spotlight, a "monthly house organ published by and for the staff of Seagram Distiller's Corporation," according to the 20th anniversary issue (December 1936).

Dates

  • 1947-1957

Creator

Extent

3.25 Linear Feet

General Physical Description

approximately 2300 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x10 in. and smaller. 237 negatives : b&w ; 4 x 5 in. and smaller

Historical Note

The Bronfman family of Canada acquired the Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Co. of Waterloo, Ontario, in 1927. In 1934, a year after the repeal of Canada's prohibition, the company entered the American market with a line of blended liquors. Seagram's success in the United States has been attributed to two things--quality products and savvy advertising. The coincidental development of photo-journalism (in the form of Life Magazine--begun in 1936--and its competitors) gave Seagram's huge national advertising outlets. Advertising for Seagram Five and Seven Crowns whiskey and other Seagram products was supplemented by point of purchase displays in liquor stores and bars. By the 1950s, Seagram was one of the world's largest alcoholic beverage firms.

Scope and Content

This collection is composed of photographs used as illustrations in The Seagram Spotlight, a "monthly house organ published by and for the staff of Seagram Distiller's Corporation," according to the 20th anniversary issue (December 1936). Only images from the following issues are represented: 1947 March-April, May-June, July-August, September-October, November-December; 1948 January-February, March-April, May-June, July-August, September-October, November-December; 1949 January-February, March-April; 1955 March, May, August, October; 1957 February, April, June, September, December.

The magazine targeted Seagram's national salesforce and Seagram distributors who were collectively addressed as "Seagramerica." Its editorial content featured information about company news including promotions and sales meetings; creative liquor store displays in "Good Ideas" which were contributed by associate editors from different regional sale divisions for each issue; information about advertising and marketing campaigns; articles about bars and restaurants that featured Seagram liquor; and personal interest items about salesmen. As well as recording the alcoholic beverage industry, some of the photographs provide a general documentation of 20th century American culture. This can be seen, for example, in articles titled "The Shopping Center: A New Retailing Phenomenon" (1957), "Who Say's It's a Man's World?" (1957) and "Negro Affairs which Attract Seagram Sponsorship" (1955); images of bars advertising the ownership of televisions; bar signs welcoming presidential conventioneers (1948); drive-through liquor stores; campaigns to promote responsible drinking; salesmen and spouses dressed for business dinners; and even racist advertising signs by an individual bar owner in Wisconsin.

In addition to the photographs used in Seagram Spotlight, there are some miscellaneous images of liquor stores in the Wilmington and Dover, Delaware, areas, ca. 1948; images of liquor store display windows, interiors, and internal displays; images of bars and restaurants; some images related to Kessler Whiskey; some undated charts and graphs of sale and display statistics of consumer marketing research from the following sources: the Advertising Institute , DuPont [Company] Impulse Purchasing Study, George A. Hormel Co., and A.C. Nielson Company; some photographs of an unidentified Seagram plant that show views of the analysis of ingredients by a chemist, whiskey production, and the packaging and shipping of Seven Crown whiskey; a science symposium held in 1957 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel which included many well-known scientists and TV journalists.

Existence and Location of Copies

View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.

Access Restrictions

Access restricted; please contact staff in advance of research visit at askhagley@hagley.org for instructions on how to apply for access to material.

Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

Related Material

Seagram Company, Ltd. records (Accession 2126), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Seagram Museum collection of photographs and audiovisual material (Accession 2000.202), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Seagram Museum collection (Accession 2173), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Provenance

On Deposit from Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Inc.

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
"The Seagram Spotlight" photographs
Status:
Author:
Barbara Hall and encoded by Laurie Rizzo
Date:
2013
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400