Skip to main content

Douglas Leigh Papers, 1903-1999

Leigh, Douglas, 1907-1999

Businessperson

Collection Information

Size: 17.6 Linear feet

Summary: The collection measures 17.6 linear feet and dates from 1903 to 1999 (bulk 1924-1992) and documents the career of advertising designer and executive Douglas Leigh. Found are 83 volumes of publicity scrapbooks that contain mostly photographs, clippings, printed materials, and scattered letters, drawings, and blueprints. Also included are professional correspondence; photographs of project installations, aerial advertising, and entertainers; plaques and awards received by Leigh; and printed material, which includes clippings, press kits, advertising materials, designs and original sketches for projects by Leigh. The material reflects Leigh's continuously imaginative use of a wide range of media in promoting his clients' products. Among the projects/campaigns represented are 7up, Airships (Tydol, Flying Red Horse, MGM, Wonder Bread and others), Allied Chemical Tower, Amoco, BlueCross-Blue Shield, Camel cigarettes, Coca-Cola, EPOK, Eveready, Flamingo Frozen Foods, Four Roses Whiskey, Fram Oil Filters, Helmsley Building, Old Gold Cigarettes, Pan Am Building, Pepsi-Cola, R. J. Reynolds, Schaefer Beer, Spectaculars, Stag Beer, Times Tower Building, and Wilson Whiskey.

Biographical/Historical Note

Douglas Leigh was born in Anniston, Alabama, in 1907. After graduating from the University of Florida in 1928, he began his career as a salesman for the General Outdoor Advertising Company of Atlanta, Georgia. He moved to New York City in 1930 and developed his ideas for animated and illuminated advertising signs primarily in the vicinity of Times Square. He established his own advertising company, Douglas Leigh, Inc., in 1933 and created the popular Camel Cigarette billboard that featured a man's face exhaling smoke rings over Broadway.

Provenance

The Douglas Leigh papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Leigh's widow, Elsie M. Leigh, in 2000.