Ernest Dichter photographs and sound recordingsCreation: 1941-1988
Ernest Dichter (1907-1991) was one of the pioneers in consumer motivational research. He started his own consulting business in 1946. It was incorporated in New York as the Institute for Research in Mass Motivations, Inc. in 1952 and renamed the Institute for Motivational Research, Inc. in 1955. This collection consists of photographs, negatives, slides, contact sheets, and audio cassettes.
- Creation: 1941-1988
- Dichter, Ernest, 1907-1991 (Person)
2 Linear Feet
General Physical Description
367 photographic prints : b&w 9 x 12 in. or smaller. 31 photographic prints : color : 5 x 7 in. or smaller. 6 photographic prints (solarization photographs) : b&w : 4 x 5 in. 37 contact sheets : b&w. 2 negatives : b&w : 8 x 10 in. 1 negative : b&w : 4 x 5 in. 26 negatives : b&w : 120 mm. 1 negative : color : 120 mm. 66 negatives : b&w : 35 mm. 5 slides : color : 35 mm. 1 item (booklet). 20 audio cassettes.
Ernest Dichter, one of the pioneers in consumer motivational research, was born in Vienna on August 14, 1907, and died near Peekskill, New York, on November 21, 1991.
Dichter came to the United States as a refugee from the Nazis in 1938 and worked for the advertising agency J. Stirling Getchell, Inc. and for the CBS Network before starting his own consulting business in 1946. It was incorporated in New York as the Institute for Research in Mass Motivations, Inc., in 1952 and renamed the Institute for Motivational Research, Inc., in 1955. Dichter maintained branch offices in Paris (1958), Rome (1959), London (1958-69), Zurich (1968-80?), and Frankfurt (1970-74?), the latter two surviving as independent organizations.
Dichter specialized in the "depth interview" in which samples of target consumers were subjected to a battery of psychological tests and something approximating psychoanalytic sessions. Dichter provided these services for a wide range of clients, including large United States and European manufacturing firms. He is perhaps best known for helping coin the "put a tiger in your tank" slogan for Exxon Corporation. Dichter's type of qualitative motivational research was going out of style in the United States by the mid-1960s, although it remained popular in German-speaking Europe, and as his regular business contracted, he turned more to employee motivation, writing and speaking. Dichter remained active until a few years before his death.
Scope and Content
This collection consists of photographs, negatives, slides, contact sheets, and audio cassettes from the Ernest Dichter Papers, Hagley Manuscript Accession 2407. Many of the photographs are of Ernest Dichter himself, either posed portraits, or shots of Dichter attending international conferences and seminars. Two folders of "miscellaneous" photos appear to be shots of unidentified persons at various conferences. The collection also includes photographs of posed models, possibly headshots from a modeling agency, and photographs of products and product displays in both Europe and the United States.
Cassette tapes are two audio programs by Ernest Dichter: "Marketing Plus: Finding the Hidden Gold in the Market Place," 1988, and "Everyday Creativity: 12 Steps to Innovative Thinking."
Existence and Location of Copies
A large portion of the Ernest Dichter papers was digitized by Adam Matthew Digital (AMD) in 2013 and is available to on-site users and database subscribers via the AMD database, Market Research & American Business, 1935-1965.
An additional selection of items from this collection is available to view online in the Hagley Digital Archives.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Ernest Dichter photographs and sound recordings
- Judy Stevenson and encoded by Karen Herman in 2014.
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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