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Harry S. Truman Papers Staff Member and Office Files: Charles W. Jackson Files

Dates: 1944-1952

Program Manager, Media Programming Division, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, 1945-46; Acting Chief, Division of Advertising Liaison, Office of Government Reports, 1946-47; Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President, John R. Steelman, 1947-53

The Charles W. Jackson Files document his work during the Truman administration as an official in the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion and in the Office of Government Reports, and subsequently in the White House Office as an assistant to Dr. John R. Steelman, the Assistant to the President. Throughout this period, Jackson's duties involved serving as a liaison between the federal government and the Advertising Council, a non-profit organization which provided free advertising services and facilities to government agencies and private organizations in order to promote causes that would serve the public or the national interest. Among the public-service advertising campaigns in which Jackson was involved (and which are documented in these files) were efforts to promote food conservation and relieve world hunger after World War II, ensure housing and job opportunities for returning veterans, prevent forest fires, encourage automotive safety, and secure blood donations for casualties of the Korean War. Jackson's other duties as a government official during this period are also documented. The files include correspondence, memoranda, press releases, newspaper clippings, brochures, radio and television scripts, and a variety of advertising materials.

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ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 13.2 linear feet (approximately 26,400 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: Harry S. Truman donated his copyright interest in writings in these files to the United States government. Documents created by U.S. government officials in the course of their official duties arelikewise in the public domain. Copyright interest in any other writings in these files is assumed toremain with the authors of the documents.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1888 (September 1) Born, Oak Park, Illinois
c. 1910 Attended Northwestern University
1918-19 Served in the U.S. Army
c. 1920-40 Worked as an advertising executive in New York City
1942-44 Official, Office of Price Administration
1944-45 Official, Office of War Information
1945-46 Program Manager, Media Programming Division, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion
1946-47 Acting Chief, Division of Advertising Liaison, Office of Government Reports
1947-53 Special Assistant to Dr. John R. Steelman, the Assistant to the President, White House Office
1966 (January 19) Died, West Long Branch, New Jersey

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The Charles W. Jackson Files are part of the Staff Member and Office Files of the Harry S. Truman Papers. They document Jackson's work during the Truman administration as an official with the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, the Office of Government Reports, and the White House Office from 1945 to 1952. Jackson did not take the material in these files with him at the conclusion of his government service. When the administration ended in 1953, his files were shipped to Kansas City as part of Mr. Truman's presidential papers, which Truman subsequently donated to the United States government.

In all three of the jobs that he held during this period, Jackson's principal responsibility was to serve as the federal government's liaison with the Advertising Council, a non-profit organization representing the American advertising industry. The Advertising Council provided federal agencies and private organizations with free facilities and assistance in the development of public-service advertising campaigns. Jackson's files reflect the efforts of the federal government to use the techniques and resources of the advertising industry to encourage popular support for a variety of causes that would serve the public or the national interest. In addition, the files contain information about the Advertising Council's work in behalf of private charities and other non-profit organizations, in which Jackson was also frequently involved.

The government information and advertising programs that are documented in Jackson's files range from armed forces recruiting efforts to the U.S. Forest Service's crusade against forest fires (featuring early uses of the famous "Smokey the Bear" character.) Jackson helped determine the priority of federal advertising programs, consulting with the information departments of the agencies and coordinating advertising campaigns in which more than one agency was involved. Jackson's close working relationship with the Advertising Council is reflected in extensive correspondence with Council officials and in other materials relating to that organization, which can be found throughout his files. A continuation of the War Advertising Council that had assisted government information programs during World War II, the Advertising Council worked with Jackson's office to prepare and present public-service messages through such means of mass communication as newspapers, magazines, radio, television (which was just emerging as a significant advertising tool during this period), car cards, and billboards. Examples of advertising material for all of these media can be found throughout Jackson's files. Particularly notable are the "Radio Fact Sheets" prepared by the Advertising Council for distribution among radio stations; the sheets provide information about each public-service advertising campaign, and suggest the themes that should be emphasized to get the message across to listeners.

The Jackson Files are organized into three series, roughly corresponding to the positions he held in the federal government from 1945 to 1952: an Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion File; an Office of Government Reports File; and an Assistant to the Assistant to the President File. Because Jackson's duties did not change dramatically when he moved from one position to another as a result of postwar government reorganizations, each series is quite similar to the others with regard to the type of materials it contains and the subjects it documents. The Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion File contains correspondence, memoranda, and newspaper clippings, as well as brochures, radio scripts, and other advertising materials, relating to Jackson's work as Program Manager in the Media Programming Division of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion (OWMR). The files indicate that Jackson worked at the OWMR from December 3, 1945, to December 11, 1946, at which time the OWMR was consolidated with other agencies. A large portion of the OWMR File concerns Jackson's work with the Department of Agriculture, the President's Famine Emergency Committee, CARE, and other agencies and organizations that were struggling to cope with the postwar world food crisis. Jackson helped develop advertising campaigns that encouraged the American people to practice food conservation at home and donate scarce resources for shipment abroad. While at OWMR, Jackson was also involved in advertising programs aimed at facilitating the transition to a peacetime domestic economy. Through these programs, Americans were urged to take voluntary steps to combat inflation, ease the housing shortage, and ensure adequate job opportunities for returning veterans. The Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion File is arranged alphabetically by subject.

The Office of Government Reports File contains correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings, speeches, and advertising materials relating to Jackson's work as Acting Chief of Advertising Liaison in the Office of Government Reports (OGR). The files indicate that Jackson worked at the OGR from December 12, 1946, to July 28, 1947. In addition to a continuing emphasis on food conservation and foreign aid--reflected, for example, in extensive information on the European Recovery Program, or "Marshall Plan"--the OGR File contains documentation of a number of other public-service advertising campaigns, including the patriotic rededication program of the American Heritage Foundation, which sponsored the nationwide tour of the "Freedom Train" in 1947-49. Although Jackson apparently left the OGR in 1947, much of the material in the OGR File dates from 1948, and includes some documents from the office files of Lee House, Program Manager in the Advertising Liaison Division of the OGR. The Office of Government Reports File is arranged alphabetically by subject.

The Assistant to the Assistant to the President File, which comprises over one-half of the collection, contains correspondence, memoranda, press releases, printed material, television scripts, transcripts of proceedings, and other materials relating to Jackson's work in the White House Office as a Special Assistant to Dr. John R. Steelman, the Assistant to the President. The files indicate that Jackson began work in the White House Office on August 27, 1947, and evidently contain no material dating after June 30, 1952 (the end of the fiscal year), although it appears that Jackson remained in his post until the end of the Truman administration in January, 1953. This series includes folders for each letter of the alphabet, with each folder containing Jackson's correspondence with persons whose names begin with that letter, filed in chronological order. Thus, the "D" folder contains correspondence with Clint Davis of the U.S. Forest Service regarding forest fire prevention, and the "Q" folder contains correspondence with Spencer Quick, another Steelman assistant, regarding the civil defense program. As in the two previous series, there are also folders under the names of individual agencies, organizations, and topics.

A considerable amount of material in the Assistant to the Assistant to the President File relates to "Battle Report--Washington", a weekly television series of eighty-six episodes that appeared on the NBC network from August 13, 1950, to April 20, 1952. Hosted by Dr. Steelman, the Assistant to the President, "Battle Report featured interviews with top government officials and film footage of contemporary events. With its content dominated by the Korean crisis and the anti-Communist rhetoric of the Cold War, "Battle Report" basically served as a vehicle for presenting the Truman administration's policies and views to the American public. As Steelman's assistant, Jackson was apparently responsible for preparing materials and making arrangements for the series; his files include scripts for the programs and drafts of remarks to be made by Dr. Steelman during the broadcasts.

Jackson's other duties as Steelman's assistant included making preparations for a series of White House meetings at which members of the Advertising Council, or selected business, labor, and church leaders, conferred with top officials of the Truman administration. These meetings seem to have provided the administration with opportunities to present its positions on major issues to select groups of prominent Americans. Jackson's files contain information on these White House meetings from September, 1946, to March, 1952, including correspondence with invitees and transcripts of the proceedings (sometimes featuring off-the-record remarks by President Truman, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and other high administration officials.). Although information regarding these meetings can also be found in the two previous series, most of the relevant material is located in the Assistant to the Assistant to the President File.

This series also contains information on efforts by the Red Cross to encourage Americans to donate blood for casualties of the Korean War, and on other advertising programs related to that conflict. An extensive body of material filed under the name of the Advertising Council contains detailed information on the council's efforts during this period in behalf of such causes as traffic safety, civil defense, and racial tolerance. A folder under Jackson's name contains some personal correspondence and a brief summary of his government service. The Assistant to the Assistant to the President File is arranged alphabetically by subject.

Public information and advertising programs during this period are also documented in the files of two other officials who worked with Jackson in Dr. Steelman's office, John T. Gibson and Spencer R. Quick. Their files, like Jackson's, are part of the Staff Member and Office Files of the Harry S. Truman Papers. Truman Library collections containing material on the U.S. government's foreign information programs--which are also dealt with to some extent in Jackson's files--include the papers of Charles Hulten, Howland Sargeant, John R. Steelman, and Charles W. Thayer.

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1-7 Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion File, 1944-1947 (Bulk Date Span: 1945-1946)
Correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings, brochures, radio scripts, press releases, and other materials relating to Jackson's work as Program Manager in the Media Programming Division of the Office of War Mobilization and Recoversion (OWMR), and primarily documenting Jackson's involvement with the Advertising Council in public-service advertising campaigns dedicated to food conservation, famine relief, and other causes. Arranged alphabetically by subject.
8-14 Office of Government Reports File, 1946-1949 (Bulk Date Span: 1947-1948)
Correspond