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Guide to Collections Related to Pan American World Airways: Introduction

Selected collections and materials in Duke University Libraries related to Pan American World Airways.

Norman Rockwell for Pan Am

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Josh Larkin Rowley
Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library


Pan American Airways' blue globe logoPan American World Airways (popularly known as Pan Am) was founded in 1927 as an air mail and passenger service. Throughout the decades of its existence, Pan Am was the largest international airline, and it remained a premier airline until its collapse and acquisition by Delta Airlines in December 1991. The Hartman Center has multiple collections pertaining to Pan Am, including print advertisements and company records. While most of these materials are from the J. Walter Thompson Company and its various personnel, our collections also include documents from other ad agencies including Wells Rich Greene, Inc., and the Wunderman Agency, as well as other advertisers and individuals associated with Pan Am or its agencies.

How To Use This Guide

This guide is arranged by material and subject type. The first two sections, Advertisements and Business Files & Correspondence, comprise many of the Hartman Center's Collections and contain numerous resources. All lists within each section of the guide are arranged alphabetically.

  • Advertisements: This section is the place to start if you are interested in advertisements for Pan Am and its affiliates. This section is further broken down by advertisement type:
  • Business Files and Correspondence: This section is the place to start if you are interested in the "behind-the-scenes" activities of advertising for Pan Am. This section lists collections that contain unpublished print and manuscript materials related to Pan Am. Most of these materials are reports, correspondence, and memoranda, and most of them are from various personnel working at or with the J. Walter Thompson Company.
  • Photographic Materials: The collections listed in this section of the guide contain photographic materials related to Pan Am, including slides, negatives, and photographic prints. Subject matter of the images varies.
  • Audiovisual Materials: The collections listed in this section of the guide contain various commercial and non-commercial audiovisual materials (cassettes, film reels, etc.) that contain content related to Pan Am.
    • Note that original audiovisual materials are closed to research use. Use copies can be requested.
  • Memorabilia: The collections listed in this section of the guide contain memorabilia (primarily certificates) from Pan Am.
  • Published Works: This section of the guide is the place to start if you are looking for works published about Pan Am. It includes histories, memoirs, and government publications.
    • Published by Pan Am: If you're interested in guides and other publications produced by Pan Am, then this section is the place to start. It includes Pan Am's long-running New Horizons publication, as well as many other guides.

Additional Information

Duke Libraries Catalog
The on-line catalog provides the most comprehensive way of finding items across all of the Duke libraries. Advanced searching is also available, allowing you to limit the returns based upon multiple words or phrases, or even physical location (such as Rubenstein).

Collection Guides (Formerly "Finding Aids") 
Collection descriptions, listed as Collection Guides, contain collections of personal or corporate records which more fully described than in the catalog, and are key-word searchable. You can search multiple terms simultaneously.

Further questions
For additional information, please contact the Hartman Center Reference Archivist.