Curtis Benkendorfer, the Georgetown Airport Manager, shared this great picture of Philadelphia League of Advertising Women arriving in a Ford Tri-Motor. When we asked for some back-story, Curtis came up with a pretty interesting piece.


In 1916, sixteen advertising women organized the Philadelphia League of Advertising Women so that they might attend the annual convention of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World (later the Advertising Federation of America). The need for such an organization was clearly demonstrated as in just three months, membership more than tripled (PCAW brochure). The club, renamed the Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women, set forth a system to promote communication, educate future advertisers, and reward those in the industry worthy of note from every area of communications: writers, artists, production and traffic departments, sales representatives, media buyers, advertising agency and studio administrators, corporate public relations, suppliers (print, typography, photography, etc.) editors, advertising managers, and anyone related to the advertising profession and communications field (PCAW brochure).

The Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women conducted their business via monthly meetings, luncheons, conventions, area conferences, women in advertising exhibits, awards, educational programs and seminars, scholarships and financial grants, social activities, and a placement bureau, along with other less regular activities. In order to become a member, candidates needed to be nominated by a member, to be seconded by another member and to provide business references to the Membership Committee who then made recommendations to the Board of Directors. Seven classes of membership existed: active members (for women engaged in creative, research or executive work; buying or selling advertising; or publicity or editorial advertising work), preferred associate members and associate members (for women engaged in practical advertising work), non-resident members (for women working more than twenty-five miles outside of Philadelphia), sustaining members (for women no longer working in the field but who were active members for at least five years), life members (for women who performed outstanding service to the club and/or to the profession) and honorary members (for non-members who performed outstanding service to the profession). The advantages of membership included: affirm[ing] professional standing, increas[ing] professional skills, open[ing] new vistas of opportunity, offer[ing] valuable contacts, [and] enhanc[ing] the prestige of women employed in the field of advertising (Club’s History, Purpose, Implementation and Advantages).

Education was clearly a priority for the Club as they, starting in 1928, held a ten week "Introduction to Advertising Course", which was open to the public. The Club encouraged further education by providing scholarships for the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism and the Studio School of Design, to name just a few. In 1970, the Club began offering a one day Communications Career Conference for high school and college students. The Club also published a book titled Advertising Careers for Women in 1939 which included twenty-two lectures on advertising vocations.

Affiliated with the American Advertising Federation and the Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women maintained a prominent role in the advertising world by publishing a newsletter titled Ad Land News and presenting awards to their own members as well as those outside the Club. Some awards include: the Silver Medal Award, presented annually to an outstanding local advertising person; the Silver Bell Award, presented annually to a Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women member who gave time and effort to the Club; the Crystal Prism Award, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation and presented annually to a Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women member in recognition of dedication to the Club, the profession and the betterment of the community; and the ADDY Award, presented annually to the local advertising community for creative excellence in the Delaware Valley.

In addition, the Philadelphia Club of Advertising Women participated in local community service by raising funds for the American Red Cross, working for the war effort during both World War I and World War II, and educating consumers about famous advertising women.