188

Johnson & Johnson Museum Artifacts Drive

Margaret on April 23rd, 2014 at 5:26PM

Do You Have a Piece of Johnson & Johnson History?

Since 1886, Johnson & Johnson has been part of the lives of generations of patients, families and communities throughout the world.   As we work to preserve our history through the restored Johnson & Johnson Museum, we welcome everyone to join us in this exciting historical project.

Interior of the Johnson & Johnson Museum before restoration.

Interior of the Johnson & Johnson Museum before restoration.

We recognize that our history is a shared experience with the generations of people who have used our products or who have worked for the Company.  Johnson & Johnson and its operating companies have been part of people’s lives for more than a century, and many people still preserve artifacts and stories from Johnson & Johnson’s heritage that have been a part of their families as well.

So…do you have a piece of Johnson & Johnson history?  Find out how you can participate on the blog’s museum artifacts drive page!

 

The countless female scientists in the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies across the world are examples of the pioneering work that women in science do every day.  With so many necessary efforts underway to encourage girls and young women to study science, technology, engineering and math (referred to as STEM), women scientists are crucial role models for girls aspiring to careers in these fields.  Johnson & Johnson has known that women make good scientists for a long time.  Way back in 1907 or 1908, when the barriers to women in science were much higher, Johnson & Johnson hired its first female scientist – a chemist in our Scientific Department.

Johnson & Johnson in 1908, from our archives.  During an era in which opportunities for women in the sciences were extremely rare, Johnson & Johnson hired its first female scientist.

Johnson & Johnson in 1908, from our archives. During an era in which opportunities for women in the sciences were extremely rare, Johnson & Johnson hired its first female scientist.

 

Let’s turn the clock back to the first decade of the 1900s.  The world was a very different place:  long-distance overland travel was still mostly by steam locomotive and, although automobiles were becoming increasingly more popular, the nationwide network of highways in the United States would not exist for another half century.  In the U.S., the struggle for women’s suffrage had been underway since the mid-1800s, but women did yet not have the right to vote:  that would not come until 1920.   Many women did work out of economic necessity, and growing numbers of them pursued higher education, but the prevailing attitude of the day (which may not have matched the reality for many women) remained the Victorian mindset that women should remain in the home, not very independent, and needing to be “protected.”

According to research by the American Association of University Women, only 2.8 percent of women attended college in 1900, a number that was vanishingly small. In 1902, when our first female scientist started her freshman year of college, that number could not have been much different, and the percentage of women studying science was even smaller.  The prevailing stereotype of that era was that going to college would make women into “bookworms” who would be inhibited from fulfilling what was seen then as their traditional role in society.

Page from the 1905 edition of The Gopher, the University of Minnesota Yearbook:  "The Eternal Question: Book worm or Butterfly -- which?  Image Courtesy of University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Page from the 1905 edition of The Gopher, the University of Minnesota Yearbook: “The Eternal Question: Book worm or Butterfly — which!” Image Courtesy of University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

(University of Minnesota Gopher 1905  Yearbook, page 55, at this link.)

In defiance of the prevailing attitude of her day, and no doubt at risk of being considered a “bookworm,” Minneapolis resident Edith von K—- applied to and was accepted by the University of Minnesota (which had admitted women for some years) and she was a member of their 1902 freshman class.  Edith didn’t study rhetoric, as many women undergraduates there did:  she studied chemistry.  Perhaps she was inspired by contemporary scientists like Marie Curie, who would go on to win a Nobel Prize in science in 1903 and one in chemistry in 1911.

A page from the University of Minnesota’s 1905 yearbook, showing what female students wore in the early 1900s.  Image Courtesy of University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

A page from the University of Minnesota’s 1905 yearbook, showing what female students wore in the early 1900s. Image Courtesy of University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

(University of Minnesota’s 1905 edition of The Gopher yearbook, page 55, at this link.)

The women in Edith’s college yearbook wore long skirts with upswept hair in the Gibson Girl style.  Despite the many female students at the University of Minnesota, and despite their very visible presence in the college yearbooks, higher education in the early 1900s was still very much oriented toward men.

Page from the University of Minnesota 1907 Gopher Yearbook, showing Edith von K-- as an instructor in general chemistry.  Image Courtesy of University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Page from the University of Minnesota 1907 Gopher Yearbook, showing Edith von K– as an instructor in general chemistry. Image Courtesy of University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

(University of Minnesota’s 1907 edition of The Gopher yearbook, page 21, at this link.)

It was in this setting that Edith von K— pursued her degree in chemistry.  She must have been good at what she did, since she was listed as first a scholar and assistant and then as an Instructor in General Chemistry in 1907.  You might even say that Edith was (if readers can forgive the excruciating chemistry pun) in her element.  Edith was also cited in a book as having begun research work on the halogen compounds of aluminum, work that was being continued by others in 1912-1913 when the book was published.

Edith graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1907.  Shortly after that, Johnson & Johnson took what was then a tremendously progressive step and hired her as a staff scientist.  (In contrast, Ellen Swallow Richards, the most prominent female chemist of the 19th century and a Vassar and MIT graduate, found that she was completely unable to get a job in industry several decades earlier.)

The Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department in 1906.  Our first female scientist, Edith Von K---, was a university educated chemist who joined the Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department in 1906.

The Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department in 1906. Our first female scientist, Edith von K—, was a university educated chemist who joined the Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department in 1907 or 1908.

 

Edith left Minnesota to move halfway across the United States to New Brunswick, New Jersey to take the position at Johnson & Johnson.  She likely would have traveled by railroad — an adventurous and independent move in an era when young women traveling by train were still advised by etiquette books to keep to themselves and not accept calling cards from male travelers.  Did Edith see an ad for the open position at Johnson & Johnson in a trade journal, or through her university?  We don’t know, but it would be interesting to find out how she arrived at the Company.  Edith would have been hired for the position by our Scientific Director Fred Kilmer, who was an early advocate for women pursuing the profession of pharmacy, so he would have welcomed our first female scientist.

The Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department in 1908, from a program to celebrate the opening of the Company's new Cotton Mill addition.  From our archives.

The Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department in 1908, from a program to celebrate the opening of the Company’s new Cotton Mill addition. From our archives.

Edith von K— is listed in the 1908 program for a reception and dance for Johnson & Johnson employees to commemorate the opening of the new addition to the Company’s cotton mill in New Brunswick.  Under the heading “Executive and Superintending Staff,” she is listed as one of the four members of the Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department, working for our Scientific Director, Fred Kilmer along with two other male scientists.  According to Kilmer, the Scientific Department was staffed by scientists skilled in chemistry, bacteriology, pharmacy and the “allied sciences.”  In Edith’s day the department conducted scientific research, published a scientific journal for the medical and pharmaceutical profession (RED CROSS® Notes) and also oversaw the testing of raw materials and finished products.  Edith and her colleagues examined and tested raw materials used in the manufacture of products, checked and tested them throughout every step of the manufacturing process, and then checked and tested the finished products.

Example of the type of testing work done by Edith von K-- and her colleagues in the Scientific Department lab.  From our archives.

Example of the type of testing work done by Edith von K– and her colleagues in the Scientific Department lab. From our archives.

Scientific Director Fred Kilmer was an early advocate of what we now refer to as transparency, and he made sure the department’s research findings were made available for the advancement of science and the industry:  “The work of Johnson & Johnson’s Scientific Department is accessible to laborers in science through a statement of its results before societies, by publication in journals, and from time to time it adds a quota to the work of lightening the labors of the pharmacopoeial committee.”  .”  [RED CROSS® MESSENGER Anniversary Messenger 1913, Johnson & Johnson, January 1913, Vol. V, No. 8, page 226, “Scientific Department.”]

The Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department in 1906 –in  the year or so before our first female scientist was hired.  The corner of the lab shown in this photo would have been a very familiar sight to Edith.

The Johnson & Johnson Scientific Department in 1906 –in the year or so before our first female scientist was hired. The corner of the lab shown in this photo would have been a very familiar sight to Edith.

 

Settling in at Johnson & Johnson, Edith joined the Laurel Club, the organization for female employees, and she is mentioned in articles in the New Brunswick Times as having been involved in the community volunteer work the organization did.  (As a fellow Laurel Club member, she would have known Elizabeth P—, of stained glass window fame.)  In 1908, Edith was one of five delegates from the Laurel Club chosen to represent the club at a national meeting of women employee clubs in Washington, D.C., which included a reception at the White House with President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt.

“Did you hear the latest news?  We hired a female scientist!”  "How exciting!"

“Did you hear the latest news? We hired a female scientist!” “How exciting!”

 

The arrival of the Company’s first female scientist – a university educated chemist from halfway across the country — must have caused quite a splash at Johnson & Johnson.  It certainly attracted the notice of the Company’s superintendent of manufacturing, W— Johnson Kenyon, a nephew of our three founders.  Kenyon, who had at least one patent to his name – for an early Johnson & Johnson public health product – struck up a friendship with Edith, which led to an engagement, which led to marriage.  (By the way, Edith’s future spouse would go on to further fame in 1920 when he came up with the name for that new product invented by cotton mill employee Earle Dickson: BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages!)

Stop the presses:  an early office romance at Johnson & Johnson!  Clipping from the May 21, 1909 front page of The Home News, courtesy of The New Brunswick Free Public Library.

Stop the presses: an early office romance at Johnson & Johnson! Clipping from the May 21, 1909 front page of The Home News, courtesy of The New Brunswick Free Public Library.

The article about Edith’s wedding mentioned that the wedding was held at her house in New Brunswick – perhaps another sign of her independent spirit.  (The article can be found at this link.)

In keeping with the customs of the Edwardian era, Edith did not, unfortunately, resume her position as staff scientist after her marriage. But she remained local to New Brunswick, and no doubt she kept up with what was happening at the Company through her family and friends.  As an early pioneer in earning a degree and a job in science at a time in which the barriers to women doing both were extraordinarily high, Edith would no doubt have been thrilled to see the advances made by women over the long decades of her life.  And if she were able to be given a glimpse of Johnson & Johnson 107 years into the future, she would no doubt be overjoyed at seeing not only the many female scientists here, but also the many women in leadership roles.  Despite her short tenure at Johnson & Johnson, Edith von K— remains one of our pioneers as our first female scientist, and an example of the opportunities for women at Johnson & Johnson in the Company’s earliest days.

Unfortunately, neither Johnson & Johnson nor the University of Minnesota has a photograph of Edith von K—, so if any readers have a photo, we would love to see one!

General Robert Wood Johnson, the author of Our Credo, had tremendous respect for the dignity and merit of Johnson & Johnson employees at every level of the organization. In or around the 1930s (at our best estimate), he sponsored a very special project:  the creation of a set of beautiful stained glass windows representing the different types of work done at Johnson & Johnson.  The windows featured actual employees, and one of those windows allows us to meet one of the Company’s most remarkable early employees face-to-face: one of our women employees from 1886, the year we were founded.

Three of the four Johnson & Johnson stained glass windows in the Wolfsonian collection.  Images courtesy of the Wolfsonian – full photo credit at the end of this post.

Three of the four Johnson & Johnson stained glass windows in the collection of the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami, Florida. Images courtesy of the Wolfsonian – full photo credit at the end of this post.

The windows, four of which are in the collection of the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami, Florida, originally may have been twelve in number.  They represented a wide range of work at Johnson & Johnson, ranging from mill hands to machinists to lab workers to supervisors to office workers.  Employees were specially selected to model for the windows, and it was a great honor to be chosen.  According to oral histories —  our only source of information besides the windows themselves — the windows either were part of a building that housed the company’s human resources department, or they were in a corridor connecting that department with the rest of the offices.

 

Image courtesy of the Wolfsonian – full photo credit at the end of this post.

 

The rich, jewel tones of the stained glass give the employee portraits a tremendous reverence and dignity and, with the light shining through them, they would have been truly magnificent.  They were a tangible reminder of the centrality of employees to everything being accomplished by Johnson & Johnson, from the first mass produced sterile surgical dressings to the invention of new products, to our employees’ work in the community.   The windows were also a tremendous source of pride to the employees chosen to represent the Company.  Here’s what the daughter of one of those employees said:

“My father…worked in the paint department…and then he was one of the twelve or so J&J employees who were selected for a special project of General Robert Johnson, to display stained glass likenesses of representative persons of the various departments at J&J.  So my father represented the mechanical department…Those portraits were prepared first by taking a photograph of the worker, and then the photograph became an oil painting and finally the resulting product was the stained glass portrait.  They were on display in the employment office, and I know my father took great pride in showing that to us on one of the open house tours of J&J.”  [Transcript of Yolan V-- video interview conducted by Johnson & Johnson, 2003] 

Robert Wood Johnson (left) circa 1930s, and with employees, from our archives.  The stained glass windows were one of his special projects.

Robert Wood Johnson (left) circa 1930s, and with employees, from our archives. The stained glass windows were one of his special projects.

Years later, when the building was taken down, General Robert Wood Johnson had the windows carefully taken out, framed and given to the employees or to their families.  Descendants of those employees still display their windows proudly in their homes, and four of these beautiful windows recently joined the collection of the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach, Florida.

The four Johnson & Johnson stained glass windows in the Wolfsonian collection. Images courtesy of the Wolfsonian – full photo credit at the end of this post.

The four Johnson & Johnson stained glass windows in the Wolfsonian collection. Images courtesy of the Wolfsonian – full photo credit at the end of this post.

The windows in the Wolfsonian collection were acquired in Miami, and they show four Johnson & Johnson employees: three men and one woman.  One of the men wears a shirt and tie and is shown in an office setting.  The other two men, Edward A— and William P— worked in a mill or manufacturing setting, as did the woman.  An empty glass jar to hold sterile dressings can be seen at her left.  The windows came with nameplates, and here’s where the additional surprise comes in:  the nameplate for the female Johnson & Johnson employee identifies her as Elizabeth P—, who joined Johnson & Johnson in 1886, the year we were founded.  Here, now, for the first time, readers can meet one of our original employees face-to-face:

Image courtesy of the Wolfsonian – full photo credit at the end of this post.

Image courtesy of the Wolfsonian – full photo credit at the end of this post.

Meet Elizabeth P—.  Born and raised in New Brunswick, Elizabeth joined Johnson & Johnson in July of 1886, just a few months after the company started operations and — remarkably — she was still at Johnson & Johnson in 1941.  In her window, she is shown representing the Label Department which, as readers might imagine, put the labels on our products.  Her face in the stained glass portrait reflects quiet dignity and pride in her work, and her remarkable at least 55-year career with the company made her an eyewitness to the birth and early history of Johnson & Johnson.

Just a few of the milestones that Elizabeth P--- witnessed, and people she knew at Johnson & Johnson.

Just a few of the milestones that Elizabeth P— witnessed, and people she knew at Johnson & Johnson.

Elizabeth worked in our first building – the four-story former wallpaper factory.  She knew James Wood Johnson.  She witnessed Robert Wood Johnson’s whirlwind arrival at Johnson & Johnson in 1887, and she no doubt heard his favorite enthusiastic phrase of “it’s a go!” many times.  She knew Fred Kilmer.  She was there when we made our first sterile surgical dressings and sterile sutures. She witnessed the Company’s invention of the commercial First Aid Kit in 1888, the birth of JOHNSON’S® Baby Powder in 1894, and the invention of the BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandage in 1920.  She saw our first international expansion from 1919 through the 1930s.  Elizabeth watched as the Company’s leadership transitioned from the first Robert Wood Johnson to James Wood Johnson, to Robert’s son – who she would  have seen grow up as he came to work with his father.  She was part of Johnson & Johnson as the world around her transformed from horses and buggies to automobiles to airplanes.  But there’s more to her story.

Elizabeth P---, who joined Johnson & Johnson in July of 1886.  Image courtesy of the Wolfsonian Museum.  Full image credit at the end of this post.

Elizabeth P—, who joined Johnson & Johnson in July of 1886. Image courtesy of the Wolfsonian Museum. Full image credit at the end of this post.

At a time when it was unusual for women to do so, Elizabeth P — had a leadership role at Johnson & Johnson.  In 1908, Elizabeth was listed as part of the executive and superintending staff, as department supervisor for the Label Department, and she was one of the women listed in 1912 as part of the management and supervisory ranks.  In a February 10, 1910 article about Johnson & Johnson in the New Brunswick Times, she is listed as a head of department at the Company.

Laurel Club invitation, from our archives.  Support for New Brunswick's underserved children was part of the community work that Elizabeth did.

Laurel Club invitation, from our archives. Support for New Brunswick’s under-served children was part of the community work that Elizabeth did.

In 1908, Elizabeth was elected president of the Laurel Club, the first organization for women employees over 100 years ago, and she volunteered in the New Brunswick community.  One of the activities she was involved in was helping the city’s orphaned children.  Elizabeth was also trained in First Aid and in 1912 she was one of the Company’s team of employee first responders.

The Johnson & Johnson Bulletin, November 1, 1941, from our archives.

The Johnson & Johnson Bulletin, November 1, 1941, from our archives.

Decades later, the Johnson & Johnson Bulletin was the Company’s new employee publication, and the November 1, 1941 issue had a front-page story reporting that a dinner had been held in Elizabeth P—‘s honor to celebrate her remarkable 55–year tenure with Johnson & Johnson to that date.  Unfortunately, no one interviewed Elizabeth for the Bulletin, an incredible missed opportunity since, in 1941, she was the only employee remaining who had witnessed the birth of Johnson & Johnson.  (If any readers are considering inventing a time machine, doing that interview might be a good first outing for it.)

While we can’t interview Elizabeth P—, readers who find themselves in Miami can visit her stained glass portrait – and those of her colleagues – at the Wolfsonian Museum.  The Wolfsonian Museum is part of Florida International University, and is located at 1001 Washington Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33139 at the corner of 10th Street and Washington Avenue.  Since the Johnson & Johnson employee stained glass windows are not in the Museum’s public collection, anyone who’s in the Miami area and wishes to visit them can make arrangements by calling the museum at 305-535-2611 or by emailing Lea Nickless at lea@thewolf.fiu.edu.

And if any readers have a Johnson & Johnson employee stained glass window in their homes, I would love to see a picture of your window and hear the story behind it.

 

Thank you to the Wolfsonian Museum for sharing the Johnson & Johnson employee stained glass windows with us!

 

FULL PHOTO CREDIT:  Images of the Johnson & Johnson stained glass windows courtesy of The Wolfsonian – Florida International University, Miami Beach, Florida, the Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. Collection of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Promised Gift. 

 

 

185

The Writing of Our Credo

Margaret on December 18th, 2013 at 5:03PM

This year marks a very significant anniversary at Johnson & Johnson:  the 70th anniversary of Our Credo, the business philosophy that guides Johnson & Johnson.  Written in 1943 by General Robert Wood Johnson and presented to the Board of Directors in December of that year, Our Credo is one of the earliest statements of corporate social responsibility, drafted almost three quarters of a century ago. But the origins of Our Credo actually go back much further than December of 1943.  In fact, they go back to 1935 — and back even further to the founding of Johnson & Johnson.

Early Johnson & Johnson sterile surgical products, from our archives.

Early Johnson & Johnson sterile surgical products, from our archives.

The first tenet of Our Credo: Responsibility to the Medical Profession, Patients, and Consumers:  When Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886, modern health care was in its very early infancy and most of the standards and technologies of modern medicine that we take for granted didn’t exist yet.  The Johnson brothers’ new company, at the forefront of helping make surgery sterile, began addressing the great unmet needs of that era beginning with the introduction of mass produced, ready to use sterile dressings and sutures (1887), and a free how to do sterile surgery manual (1888); the first commercial first aid kits (1888); trusted products for parents to care for babies and small children (1894); maternity kits to make childbirths safer (1894), and more.  Johnson & Johnson pioneered these products with the collaboration of doctors and surgeons and feedback from consumers. The Company also provided free information to the public on prenatal and infant care, disease prevention and more.  This early philosophy of putting patients and customers first was summed up in Fred Kilmer’s 1910 quote about founder Robert Wood Johnson:

“When once convinced that an article which he could manufacture would save life and prevent suffering, he caused it to be manufactured and placed before the [medical] profession irrespective of any consideration of profit.”   [Fred Kilmer, 1910, writing about Robert Wood Johnson.]

Group photo of employees, circa 1890s to 1900, from our archives.  Very observant blog readers will notice Fred Kilmer, wearing a lab coat with a book tucked under his arm, at the bottom right of the photo.

Group photo of employees, circa 1890s to 1900, from our archives. Very observant blog readers will notice Fred Kilmer, wearing a lab coat with a book tucked under his arm, at the bottom right of the photo.

The second tenet of Our Credo:  Responsibility to Employees:   The Company’s early sense of responsibility to employees – at a time before that was usual — was reflected in the wide range of employee benefits at Johnson & Johnson.  The Company had an early emphasis on the health and well-being of its employees, which included – over 100 years ago — on-site medical care, free hot meals for night shift workers, free educational classes, on-site exercise facilities and classes, comprehensive safety measures (again, at a time before that was standard practice) and teams of trained employee first aid responders.  Employees, responding to the care and concern for their welfare, embraced the Company’s attitude and values, and began volunteering in the community beginning in 1907.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, photo taken in 1912: where Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to the community began over a century ago. From our archives.

The third tenet of Our Credo:  Responsibility to the Community:  Caring for the community also has early roots at Johnson & Johnson.  In 1898, when it was discovered that the U.S. Army had greatly underestimated the number of dressings to treat wounded soldiers that it had budgeted for, Johnson & Johnson supplied the additional dressings at no cost, because they were needed to save lives. Johnson & Johnson began its long tradition of disaster relief two years later, in 1900 and, in 1936, General Robert Wood Johnson used some of his own personal stock to form the Johnson New Brunswick Foundation, designed to help the people of New Brunswick through the Great Depression.  Some of the early work the foundation did included feeding and clothing the city’s children, helping residents who had lost their homes, and helping people further their education by attending medical, dental and nursing schools.

Robert Wood Johnson, around the time he began working at Johnson & Johnson.  From our archives.

Robert Wood Johnson, around the time he began working at Johnson & Johnson. From our archives.

General Robert Wood Johnson, the author of Our Credo, had quite literally grown up at Johnson & Johnson.  His father began bringing him to work when he was a small child, and he started his career here as a teenager in the 1910s.  Johnson rose through the ranks and took over the leadership of the Company in 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression.  He expanded on the Company’s business philosophy put in place by his father and uncles.  Johnson’s experience starting his career as an entry level mill hand gave him an appreciation for the dignity of work at all levels of the organization, and his service as mayor of Highland Park, New Jersey during the 1920s emphasized the importance of service and of meeting people’s needs.  Johnson quickly became known as a creative, forward-thinking and outspoken business leader.

Yes, this really is a personal letter from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Robert Wood Johnson, thanking him for his service.  One of the very cool items from our archives.

A personal letter from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Robert Wood Johnson, thanking him for his service! One of the very cool items from our archives.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933 as President of the United States, Robert Wood Johnson sent him a letter outlining his ideas for a plan for the nation’s recovery, calling for a Federal law increasing wages and reducing the number of hours in the work week.  Johnson’s plan received wide attention in the media, and it caught Roosevelt’s attention.  In June of that year  — during the Depression — Johnson gave employees a five percent raise, saying that he hoped it would sent a trend for the rest of the industry.  (It didn’t; very few companies followed his example.)  In that same year, Johnson & Johnson expanded, opening new facilities in Chicago.

A copy of Try Reality – with matching envelope!  From our archives.

A copy of Try Reality – with matching envelope! From our archives.

Frustrated by the lack of response to his ideas from other business leaders, Robert Wood Johnson sat down at his home in Princeton, New Jersey in 1935 (he was living at Morven, the historic mansion at the time), and wrote a pamphlet called Try Reality.  Johnson was in the habit of writing out his ideas longhand on yellow legal pads (we have some of his letter drafts on yellow legal paper in our archives), and that’s how he wrote Try Reality.  Johnson intended it to be his answer to his peers, and copies of the pamphlet in our archives are housed in specially-fitted envelopes, used to mail the booklet to other business leaders.  Try Reality contains the earliest written expression of the ideas in Our Credo.   Here are some excerpts:

“Industry only has the right to succeed where it performs a real economic service and is a true social asset.”

It is to the interest of modern industry to realize that service to its customers comes first; service to its employees and management second, and service to its stockholders last.  It is to the enlightened self-interest of industry to accept and fulfill its share of social responsibility.”

– Robert Wood Johnson Try Reality, A Discussion of Hours, Wages and The Industrial Future, 1935

Johnson continued to advocate publicly for his ideas and put them into practice at Johnson & Johnson.  He was appointed by President Roosevelt to serve as the head of the Smaller War Plants Corporation in Washington, D.C. in 1942, and while he was in Washington on a leave of absence from Johnson & Johnson, he continued to think about the social responsibilities of business.  (For anyone who’s wondering how Johnson got the title of “General,” his Washington position was a military one.  He was named a one-star Brigadier General, and the title followed him back to civilian life.)

A rare photo of General Robert Wood Johnson in uniform, 1940s, from our archives.

A rare photo of General Robert Wood Johnson in uniform, 1940s, from our archives.

Late in 1943, the Johnson & Johnson Board of Directors got the word that General Johnson would attend the December board meeting, his first since his return from Washington.  At the meeting on December 13, 1943, he presented the board with some momentous news:  Johnson & Johnson was going to go public in 1944, with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. But before that happened, Johnson wanted to reinforce the Company’s philosophy to make sure it remained unchanged as this very personally-run organization went public.  Thanks to D.C. and L.K., here is a quote from the minutes of that historic meeting, at which Robert Wood Johnson and the Company’s Board of Directors formally discussed the defining values Johnson & Johnson has held since its formation.

“General Johnson expressed the thought that it was an opportune time to review the general concepts which he felt should govern the conduct of the corporation’s affairs.  The first concern should be to provide the consuming public with goods of the highest quality…Next in importance he ranked the maintenance of full employment at a fair scale of wages…Fourth he placed an adequate return on the capital invested by the stockholders…  ”  [Minutes of A Meeting of the Board of Directors, Johnson & Johnson, December 13, 1943, from our archives.]

(Although responsibility to the community was understood in Try Reality’s line about companies accepting and fulfilling their fair share of social responsibility, it would not officially be part of the wording of Our Credo until 1948.)  Johnson called these values “…the fundamental basis for conduct of the corporation’s affairs…”

It is to this 1943 board meeting that we date the introduction of Our Credo.  The following year, Robert Wood Johnson published it in his book, But, General Johnson –, calling it “An Industrial Credo” that all of American industry should adopt. Our Credo remains one of the earliest statements of corporate social responsibility.  Seventy years after that historic board meeting — and 127 years after Johnson & Johnson was founded – Our Credo remains the guiding set of values at Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson has just launched a new global giving platform called Care Grows.  Care Grows is a website that allows visitors to pick causes that are close to their hearts and donate to them, and Johnson & Johnson will match their donations.  Since everyone has at least one cause that has special meaning and motivation to them, Care Grows will enable people to make a very personal choice in how they give.  The Care Grows platform is a very high tech, modern way to help make the world a better place.  And although it uses the latest technology, it continues and broadens a legacy of very personal giving at Johnson & Johnson that dates back to the earliest days of the Company.

 

 

The Care Grows platform centers on helping mothers, keeping kids healthy, raising future leaders, empowering women and building healthy families.  Visitors to the site can select one of three ways to give.  The first way is through Johnson & Johnson’s really cool Donate a Photo app, which lets people donate a photo of their choice to a cause they choose.  For every photo they share, Johnson & Johnson matches their contribution by donating $1 to the cause they’ve chosen.  Another way to donate on the site is through partner organization Catapult.org, which crowd sources donations for projects as varied as supporting mothers and babies in Brazil, helping small business women in Mexico, sending emergency relief to children in the Philippines, and helping empower young mothers in Mongolia.  The third organization through which visitors can donate – and through which Johnson & Johnson will match your gift — is Save the Children.  This wide variety of choices allows each person to find a cause that appeals very powerfully and personally, a way of giving that has its roots deep in Johnson & Johnson history.

Fred Kilmer: he was a retail pharmacist before joining Johnson & Johnson, so sending medicines to help people in 1889 was his personal way of giving.

Fred Kilmer: he was a retail pharmacist before joining Johnson & Johnson, so sending medicines to help people in 1889 was his personal way of giving.

The origins of giving at Johnson & Johnson were very personal, and our archives hold a number of early examples of giving back that were close to employees’ hearts.  In 1889, before he joined Johnson & Johnson, our future Scientific Director Fred Kilmer personally donated medications as part of a disaster relief package from the citizens of New Brunswick to Johnstown, Pennsylvania to help victims of the devastating flood that occurred there on May 31 of that year.

Company founder Robert Wood Johnson: helping save soldiers’ lives through donated dressings was one of his personal ways of giving.

Company founder Robert Wood Johnson: helping save soldiers’ lives through donated dressings was one of his personal ways of giving.

In 1898, when it was discovered that the U.S. Army had greatly underestimated the amount of dressings needed to treat wounded soldiers during the Spanish American War, Company founder Robert Wood Johnson made the decision that Johnson & Johnson would supply whatever else was needed at no extra cost.  Johnson — whose older brothers were veterans, and who had employees serving in the military during that conflict — knew that the dressings would be used to save lives.

Three employee volunteers from the Laurel Club, early 1900s, from our archives.

Three employee volunteers from the Laurel Club, early 1900s, from our archives.

In 1907, the Company’s women employees in the Laurel Club began Johnson & Johnson’s tradition of employee volunteerism in the community.  The Laurel Club’s monthly dues supported members’ community work, which included providing warm clothing and holiday meals for underserved children in New Brunswick, buying beds for one of the city’s hospitals and organizing clinics with doctors for the city’s mothers and babies – three very great local needs over a century ago.

General Robert Wood Johnson: born and raised in New Brunswick, his very personal giving during the Great Depression centered around helping families in need in the Company’s hometown.

General Robert Wood Johnson: born and raised in New Brunswick, his very personal giving during the Great Depression centered around helping families in need in the Company’s hometown.

 

In December of 1936, during the depths of the Great Depression, Robert Wood Johnson set aside some of his personal stock to form the Johnson New Brunswick Foundation.  The Foundation – which decades later became the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – was originally formed by Johnson for a very personal reason: to help the people of his hometown New Brunswick through the Depression.  The foundation’s giving centered largely around the needs of children and families in New Brunswick, and some of the things it did were very personal:  providing food and clothing to men, women and children; paying for dental work for an orphaned child, and helping provide housing for families who had lost their homes.

Employees at a Johnson & Johnson operating company in Thailand celebrate the Company's 125th anniversary in 2011 by packing disaster relief supplies to help families in the community.

Employees at a Johnson & Johnson operating company in Thailand celebrate the Company’s 125th anniversary in 2011 by packing disaster relief supplies to help families in the community.

Many decades later, Johnson & Johnson is a global decentralized Family of Companies, and our employees around the world give back to their local communities in a variety of ways.  The Care Gives platform is the next evolution in the Company’s long tradition of employee giving, since it allows not just employees, but everyone with access to a computer or a mobile device to become part of a more than a century-old tradition at Johnson & Johnson:  helping people by giving to a cause that’s close to your heart.

As we celebrate Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day elsewhere in the world, we salute the men and women who serve their countries.

A Johnson & Johnson employee, "Somewhere in France," during World War I.  From our archives.

A Johnson & Johnson employee, “Somewhere in France,” during World War I. From our archives.

Johnson & Johnson has a long heritage of employees serving in the military, dating back to 1898, and the Company has supported the men and women who serve their countries for well over a century.  As the younger brothers of Union Army veterans, the three founders of Johnson & Johnson had tremendous respect for those who serve and a desire to do what they could to help them – whether it was supporting employees during their service, the hiring of veterans or the development of medical innovations to treat wounded soldiers.  During World War I, Johnson & Johnson mass produced one of those medical innovations — a revolutionary new way of treating battlefield injuries and saving soldiers’ lives.

An underground trench hospital during World War I, from RED CROSS® Notes, in our archives.

Believe it or not, this was a hospital. An underground trench hospital during World War I, from RED CROSS® Notes, showing some of the conditions of the makeshift medical facilities. From our archives.

World War I, with its muddy trench warfare, gave rise to new and devastating injuries among soldiers.  The wounded were treated in battlefield hospitals behind the front lines of combat, but the types of injuries suffered during the Great War (as it was called back then) were frequently complicated by infection from the trenches, overwhelming the antiseptic methods available to treat them.  To make matters even worse, wounded soldiers often didn’t reach a hospital situation until 36 or 48 hours – or more – after they were wounded.

King George V of England visits a field hospital in France.  Cover photo from a 1918 edition of RED CROSS® Notes, from our archives.

King George V of England visits a field hospital in France. Cover photo from a 1918 edition of RED CROSS® Notes, from our archives.

The results were low survival rates, and surgeons were forced to make immediate decisions to amputate limbs in order to save lives — a dilemma that showed how little some conditions had progressed since the 1860s.  According to Johnson & Johnson’s scientific director Fred Kilmer, 80% of amputations in French military hospitals during World War I were due to infection. [RED CROSS® Notes, Series VII, Number Eight, Special War Issue, published by Johnson & Johnson, 1917, “The Birth of a New Era in Surgery,” p. 195.]

Dr. Alexis Carrel, from our archives.

Dr. Alexis Carrel, from our archives.

A prominent French surgeon, Dr. Alexis Carrel, was working in a temporary field hospital and lab near the forest of Compiegne in France, just six and a half miles from the front.  Carrel realized that the greatest surgical need was a better method of sterilizing wounds, so he and English chemist Henry D. Dakin developed a system that would irrigate wounds with a sterilizing solution – saving soldiers’ lives and limbs.  Dakin developed the solution, while Carrel developed an apparatus to deliver it.  (Carrel would later be awarded the French Legion d’Honneure for this work.)

Madame Carrel demonstrating the Carrel-Dakin method at a French hospital.  From a 1917 edition of RED CROSS® Notes in our archives.

Madame Carrel demonstrating the Carrel-Dakin method at a French hospital. From a 1917 edition of RED CROSS® Notes in our archives.

Fred Kilmer, who had researched and put together Johnson & Johnson’s 1888 Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment and partnered with Company founder Robert Wood Johnson in the drive to help make surgery sterile, understood the importance of the Carrel-Dakin method.  (Kilmer’s son, Joyce, an occasional freelance writer for Johnson & Johnson, was also fighting in the war – as were a number of Johnson & Johnson employees.)  Fred Kilmer wrote:

“Out of that need came the Carrel-Dakin method of antiseptic irrigation of deep wounds, the success of which in France and this country inspires confidence that it will prevent almost all amputations due to infection.  It gives the surgeon perfect control; it makes him master of infection.  [RED CROSS® Notes, Series VII, Number Eight, 1917, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ, “The Birth of a New Era in Surgery” Fred Kilmer, p. 195]

Drawing of the complete Carrel-Dakin equipment, from our archives.

Drawing of the complete Carrel-Dakin equipment, from our archives.

The Carrel-Dakin solution had to be extremely precise.  If the percentages of combined ingredients were even slightly off one way, the solution would be too irritating; if they were off the other way, they would fail to sterilize the wound.  And with the sterile solution having to be mixed from scratch – and then tested — each time it was used, there was a very high margin for error.  There was a tremendous need for the Carrel-Dakin solution to be mass-produced, ready to use, consistent and reliable…so that surgeons had the precise percentages of  pre-measured ingredients at their fingertips, ready to combine and use at a moment’s notice.

Johnson & Johnson employees in our Cotton Mill pose in front of bandages produced to treat wounded soldiers, 1915.  From our archives.

Johnson & Johnson employees in our Cotton Mill pose in front of bandages produced to treat wounded soldiers, 1915. From our archives.

So Johnson & Johnson, already running its production lines around the clock to meet the demand for dressings and bandages, began making mass produced supplies for Carrel-Dakin sterilization.  “Realizing that the exceptional conditions required for making this solution were not available to many hospitals and practitioners, Johnson & Johnson have met the situation by preparing the Carrel-Dakin Solution in a way that is practical and useful under all conditions.”  [RED CROSS Notes, Series VII, Number Nine, War Surgery Issue, published by Johnson & Johnson, 1918, p. 225.]

The Company produced the ingredients for the solution in two ampoules (sealed glass tubes and vials) labeled Package A and Package B, as well as ampoule holders, protective bags for the glass bottle, the rubber tubing, diffusers and charts needed to administer and track the progress of the treatment.  Johnson & Johnson also issued an eight-page illustrated how-to pamphlet called “The Carrel-Dakin Method of Wound Sterilization,” which we made available for free to doctors and surgeons.

Some Johnson & Johnson employee veterans in uniform during World War I, from our archives.

Some Johnson & Johnson employee veterans in uniform during World War I, from our archives.

Not only did the mass produced Carrel-Dakin system save lives, it helped wounded soldiers keep their limbs, making it easier for them to recover and make the transition back to civilian life and work.  “It is believed that the Carrel method opens a new and hitherto unknown field to surgery.  By means of this technique many amputations can be avoided and much suffering prevented.”  [RED CROSS Notes, War Surgery Issue, Series VII, Number Nine, 1918, Johnson & Johnson, “Carrel’s Technique to Benefit All Mankind,” p. 224.]

Shadowbox in the Johnson & Johnson Museum showing wound dressing packet developed by Johnson & Johnson during the war.

Shadowbox in the Johnson & Johnson Museum showing wound dressing packet developed by Johnson & Johnson during the war.

Back in New Brunswick, Johnson & Johnson employees worked in around-the-clock shifts to produce sterile dressings, sutures and bandages – and components of the Carrel-Dakin solution.  Employees were very aware that the products they were making were saving lives – potentially even the lives of their family members, friends, and colleagues, and they doubled their efforts.  In their spare time, they sent care packages to their colleagues that included news, copies of the local newspaper, clothing and personal care items.

The only surviving example of the Carrel-Dakin method of wound treatment at Johnson & Johnson – from our Museum and archives.

The only surviving example of the Carrel-Dakin method of wound treatment at Johnson & Johnson – from our Museum and archives.

Today, Johnson & Johnson operating companies continue the legacy of advancing medical innovation to treat wounded soldiers.  And although — almost 100 years after it was developed — the Carrel-Dakin method of saving lives during World War I has become lost in the pages of history, it remains a key example of the many ways in which Johnson & Johnson has stepped forward to meet unmet needs over the course of its 127-year history.

 

Spooky postcards, the search for a missing explorer, a classic film noir, black cats, and a mysterious castle.  What do all of those things have to do with Johnson & Johnson?  Read on to find out, in a special Halloween edition of Nine More Things You Didn’t Know About Johnson & Johnson.

File this under “S” for spooky:  The New Brunswick Free Public Library at night, courtesy of the New Brunswick Free Public Library’s online postcard collection at http://www.nbfpl.org/postcards/pc99.jpg.

File this under “S” for spooky: The New Brunswick Free Public Library at night, courtesy of the New Brunswick Free Public Library’s online postcard collection at http://www.nbfpl.org/postcards/pc99.jpg.

Today we would just text, but a century ago, postcards were a popular way to send a short note to someone. Many towns and businesses (including Johnson & Johnson) printed photo postcards for that purpose.  Courtesy of the New Brunswick Free Public Library’s online postcard collection, here’s a spooky night view of the New Brunswick Free Public Library around 100 years ago, just in time for Halloween week.

 

The Johnson & Johnson Cotton Mill at night, from our archives.

Here’s an extremely rare photograph of Johnson & Johnson at night.  To keep up with demand for its products, Johnson & Johnson ran manufacturing shifts around the clock, and the Company hired a French chef to prepare hot meals for its night shift workers.  This atmospheric photo from around a century ago shows the Johnson & Johnson Cotton Mill on a winter night, with the light shining from the windows exemplifying the activity of the employees inside making sterile surgical dressings and other products.

You couldn't quite see it from space, but you could see it for miles.  Johnson & Johnson's electric sign circa 1915, from our archives.

You couldn’t quite see it from space, but you could see it for miles. Johnson & Johnson’s electric sign circa 1915, from our archives.

It’s a dark, moonless night in late October.  There’s a chill in the air.  You’re on a Pennsylvania Railroad train going from New York to Philadelphia.  You look out the window, but the cloudy, moonless night makes it impossible to distinguish the towns on your route, and you feel lost — until you see a familiar beacon lighting up the evening sky with a friendly message.  Suddenly, relieved, you know that you’re in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  What is that comforting beacon?

Photo from the Nineteen Teens showing the J&J electric sign on top of one of our buildings. The photo was taken from George Street. From our archives.

It’s Johnson & Johnson’s huge electric sign.  During the Nineteen Teens, the Company had a massive electric sign on top of one of its buildings in New Brunswick, which carried advertising messages, messages of support during World War I and holiday greetings.  The sign could be seen clearly from the train (especially when it was lit up at night), and it became a New Brunswick landmark to passengers traveling on the railroad.

Niagara Falls Gazette August 19, 1925 article about the Johnson brothers' search for the Nutting Expedition, from www.fultonhistory.com.

Niagara Falls Gazette August 19, 1925 article about the Johnson brothers’ search for the Nutting Expedition, from www.fultonhistory.com.

In 1925, Robert Wood Johnson and his brother Seward Johnson went on a trip on Johnson’s new schooner Zodiac to search for clues about the fate of a lost expedition.  In 1924, an explorer named William Washington Nutting set out in an open boat from Reykjavik, Iceland to Labrador, in an attempt to follow the centuries-old navigational trail of the Vikings.  Nutting and his crew were never heard from again, despite the best search efforts of the U.S. Navy.  There was great media interest in the Johnson brothers’ six-week trip, but they didn’t find any trace of the expedition either.  The brothers found no signs that Nutting had landed on the coast of Labrador, and they felt that the most likely possibility was that his boat had struck an iceberg in open water.

Even film noir heroes need First Aid.  Robert Mitchum next to a vintage Johnson & Johnson First Aid Kit, from 1951’s The Racket.

Even film noir heroes need First Aid. Robert Mitchum next to a vintage Johnson & Johnson First Aid Kit, from 1951’s The Racket.

Film noir, with its dark, atmospheric look, features gritty mystery stories and hard-boiled detectives, as well as iconic stars like Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford.  The Racket, a film noir classic from 1951 starring Robert Mitchum, also features something else:  a vintage 1950s Johnson & Johnson First Aid Kit.  The film has a shootout scene in a garage…and as Robert Mitchum stealthily walks down the stairs, the camera reveals a Johnson & Johnson First Aid Kit on the wall in the background, lit with moody film noir lighting.   Thanks to film noir fan S.S. for pointing that out and for sending the images!

Another innovative first:  we apparently created the first published cat meme, courtesy of Fred Kilmer and his cat, Tom Rutgers.

Another innovative first: we apparently created the first published cat meme, courtesy of Fred Kilmer and his cat, Tom Rutgers.

Since black cats have long been associated with Halloween, here’s a picture of a black cat associated with Johnson & Johnson.  Meet Tom Rutgers, Fred Kilmer’s black cat.  Kilmer published a photo of Tom in an issue of The RED CROSS® Messenger, our publication for retail pharmacists over a century ago, potentially creating the first-ever cat meme long before the internet was born.

Trick or Treat, brush my teeth...  A very Halloween-appropriate Zonweiss ad from 1887, from our archives.

Trick or Treat, brush my teeth… A very Halloween-appropriate Zonweiss ad from 1887, from our archives.

Here’s a Johnson & Johnson ad from 1887 to get everyone into the Halloween, er, spirit.  The ad is for Zonweiss, our tooth cream.  It shows an old woman flying through the night sky after brushing the Moon’s teeth.  The toothbrush she’s carrying looks more than a little like a Halloween witch’s broomstick.

 

Finally, no Halloween post would be complete without a spooky, mysterious castle, and we just happen to have a connection to one of those too.  At one time, General Robert Wood Johnson’s younger brother Seward Johnson lived in an actual castle — complete with secret passageways and stained glass windows  — on River Road in Highland Park.  Called Merriewold, the structure was built between 1924-1926.  According to this site, Merriewold was technically speaking an English–style gothic estate house built by New York architect Thomas H. Ellet, using stone from Pennsylvania and roof slates imported from the Cotswolds region of England.  But everyone called it “the castle.”  Merriewold has had some very spooky goings-on over the course of its history.  It still stands today in all its gothic splendor, and serves as the offices of a real estate development firm.

181

Johnson & Johnson and The Adventures of Robin Hood

Margaret on October 4th, 2013 at 6:46PM

Commercial television made its debut in 1939 as one of the innovations at the 1939 World’s Fair.  The fair’s opening was televised, complete with a speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt — the first U.S. President to appear on television.  But television really didn’t take off until the early 1950s, when advances in technology made TV programs easier to produce and much more watchable.  Many advertisers initially were cautious about taking advantage of this new medium, but Johnson & Johnson, having been a creative advertiser throughout its history, made an early decision to become one of television’s first major sponsors.  The Company sponsored a British-American television show designed to appeal to every generation of the family – and especially to kids:  The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Hi! Do you need a BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandage? I sure do, after running around in Sherwood Forest all day! Promotional ad for The Adventures of Robin Hood from 1955 , from our archives.

The sponsorship of an early television show proved to be an excellent decision, since TV helped the Company strengthen its leadership position in its heritage consumer products –including BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages.  (Readers may naturally suspect that, if BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages had existed during the period of history in which the show was set, Robin Hood and his friends would have used many, many of them.)

In addition to reaching people through print and radio ads, the Company could now reach people through the new medium of television, as this very early BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages commercial from 1948 — complete with early special effects — shows.

Television advertising took the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” to an entirely new level:  if a picture in a magazine ad was worth a thousand words, how much more impactful was a moving picture, with sound?

The Company had looked for shows to sponsor that exemplified family programming, and its first major choice was “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” a 30-minute long program filmed on location in England and shown in the U.K., on CBC in Canada and on CBS in the United States.

Richard Greene as Robin Hood, with Maid Marian and (most likely) Queen Eleanor.  Photo from our archives.

Richard Greene as Robin Hood, with Maid Marian and (most likely) Queen Eleanor. Photo from our archives.

Starring Richard Greene, The Adventures of Robin Hood was filmed in Sherwood Forest and other actual locations associated with the legend of Robin Hood.  Johnson & Johnson was one of two major sponsors of the show, and each episode alternated content featuring the sponsors. The sponsors were introduced in the title sequence, after Robin Hood fires an arrow from his bow, and they were acknowledged at the end of each episode as well.

Johnson & Johnson ad for The Adventures of Robin Hood, from our archives.

Johnson & Johnson ad for The Adventures of Robin Hood, from our archives.

The series was set, as one would expect, in the reign of King Richard I (He’s the king who was known as Richard the Lion-Heart) during the late 1100s, with Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, Little John and the rest of the familiar characters facing off against the Sheriff of Nottingham, Prince John and other legendary antagonists.  The show featured the sort of swashbuckling adventures that children (and their parents!) in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. loved, but many of the episodes were based on serious topics such as concepts from English common law and the importance of education.

Friar Tuck and Robin Hood watch Maid Marian drawing a map in baking flour -- a very 1950s thing to do in a show set in the 1100s.  Photo from our archives.

Friar Tuck and Robin Hood watch Maid Marian drawing a map in baking flour — a very 1950s thing to do in a show set in the 1100s. Photo from our archives.

According to Wikipedia, the show’s writers prided themselves on the accuracy of the historical context of these themes and some of the historical situations (despite some glaringly obvious 1950s clothing, hairstyles and other details), courtesy of the historical consultants to the program.   For instance, wicked Prince John of the Robin Hood stories was, in real life, King John, in whose reign the Magna Carta – the basis of much of our modern laws — was written.  (King John had such a spectacularly bad reputation throughout most of history that no other English king since him has used that name.)  Those themes of ethics, fairness and social justice were incorporated into Robin Hood’s adventures.  But the themes went deeper, too:  The Adventures of Robin Hood hired writers who had been blacklisted and prevented from working in Hollywood during the McCarthy era in the early to mid-1950s.

During the McCarthy era, accusations of disloyalty and subversion were leveled against many men and women in the entertainment industry (even reaching as far as superstars like Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn) due to suspected political beliefs or associations, or because they had refused to cooperate with investigators.  The resulting blacklist that was created prevented those accused from working, and it destroyed many lives and careers.  Perhaps the most famous blacklisted writer who worked on The Adventures of Robin Hood was Ring Lardner.  Another writer for the show was screenwriter and film noir producer Adrian Scott.  Famed screenwriter Howard Koch (the writer of Casablanca), also was blacklisted, and he worked on The Adventures of Robin Hood for a time as the script editor.  The blacklisted writers were listed in the credits under pseudonyms, to avoid alerting studio executives.

The Sheriff of Nottingham (left) and LeBlon (right), from an episode of the show.  Actor Edward Mulhare (LeBlon) was one of the famous faces in the show.  Photo from our archives.

The Sheriff of Nottingham (left) and LeBlon (right), from an episode of the show. Actor Edward Mulhare (LeBlon) was one of the famous faces in the show. Photo from our archives.

In addition to featuring some very famous writers working under assumed names, The Adventures of Robin Hood also featured some very famous faces before they were famous, including Desmond Llewelyn — Q in 17 James Bond films, British actor Leslie Phillips, Leo McKern of Rumpole of the Bailey fame, movie and TV actor Edward Mulhare, character actor Donald Pleasence (he played Prince John in the show), and — for all of the Doctor Who fans out there, Patrick Troughton, who played the Second Doctor.  Decades later, The Adventures of Robin Hood’s distinctive theme song was parodied by Monty Python in their famous Dennis Moore sketch on Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Very rare small ceramic promotional statue for the show, featuring Friar Tuck giving Robin Hood a piggyback ride, from our Museum.

Very rare small ceramic promotional statue for the show, featuring Friar Tuck giving Robin Hood a piggyback ride, from our Museum.

The Adventures of Robin Hood television series is remembered with great fondness by those who grew up watching it, and the show still has many fans today.  There’s even an Adventures of Robin Hood Appreciation Society in the U.K.  Half a century after Johnson & Johnson sponsored this groundbreaking show in the early days of television, TV is everywhere – you can even watch it on your smart phone now.  And Johnson & Johnson remains an advertiser on that medium that we took a chance on in the early 1950s, continuing to sponsor family-oriented programs like the 2002 award-winning film Door To Door (part of a series of films Johnson & Johnson sponsored in the early 2000s) to our For All You Love campaign today.  By the way, continuing our tradition of being an early adopter of new media, Johnson & Johnson was also an early adopter of social media – with this blog — way back in 2006.

You can watch episodes of The Adventures of Robin Hood (with the sponsor segments edited out, unfortunately) on YouTube.  Here’s one of the classic episodes:

Are there any readers who watched the show when they were kids?  If so, who were your favorite characters?  And what was your favorite memory from the show?

180

Labor Day: Employees Through Johnson & Johnson History

Margaret on August 29th, 2013 at 5:01PM

General Robert Wood Johnson, the author of Our Credo and a tremendously creative and far-seeing business leader, was once asked to define business.  He came up with a three-word definition:  “business is people.”  Johnson explained that the things most people thought of when they thought of a business:  buildings, equipment, products, were all elements of a business, but it was the people – our employees, with all of their ideas and expertise – who actually were the business and brought the business to life.  In celebration of this Labor Day, here’s a look at some of the many women and men who brought Johnson & Johnson to life throughout our history.  Some of these photos from our archives have never been published before.

An illustration of one of our earliest employees, in a drawing that was part of an 1887 article about Johnson & Johnson.  From our archives.

An illustration of one of our earliest employees, in a drawing that was part of an 1887 article about Johnson & Johnson. From our archives.

Johnson & Johnson began in 1886 with just 14 employees:  eight women and six men, plus our three founders.  These 14 employees were recruited specifically by Company founder James Wood Johnson from Seabury & Johnson, Robert Wood Johnson’s previous business partnership.  James Johnson would have chosen these particular employees because they were innovative and willing to try new things.  Some of them — or many of them — likely had been involved with Robert’s efforts – not shared by his business partner – to get “Listerism,” the manufacture of mass-produced, ready to use products for sterile surgery, off the ground at Seabury & Johnson. These eight women and six men were willing to leave an established company to follow the Johnson brothers and help start a new business that made the first mass produced sterile surgical dressings and sterile sutures in the U.S.  Today the company they helped get off the ground has grown to employ almost 128,000 of their like-minded modern day colleagues across the world.

Johnson & Johnson employees prepare sterile gauze dressings in 1891, from our archives.

Johnson & Johnson employees prepare sterile gauze dressings in 1891, from our archives.

Perhaps the earliest employee photograph in our archives is this photo from 1891 of Johnson & Johnson employees preparing sterile surgical gauze. Are any of the women in this photo among our original 1886 women employees?  We don’t know, but it’s certainly possible.

Undated photo of employees from the Johnson & Johnson Extract Department, from our archives.

Undated photo of employees from the Johnson & Johnson Extract Department, from our archives.

Here’s a never been published photo of two employees from the Extract Department, over a century ago.  These employees likely would have worked with ingredients that went into medicated plasters.  Their responsibilities are reflected in their work clothing, reminiscent of early descriptions of Company founder Robert Wood Johnson with rolled up shirtsleeves and up to his elbows in medicated plaster ingredients.

Gauze Mill employees.  Undated photo from our archives.

Gauze Mill employees. Undated photo from our archives.

Working women have helped Johnson & Johnson grow from our beginnings in 1886.  Here are a few of our Gauze Mill employees around 100 years ago.  Many of these employees were from New Brunswick, New Jersey’s large Hungarian community, and they brought their language and culture to Johnson & Johnson.

A supervisor poses for a picture with young employees.  Undated photo from our archives.

A supervisor poses for a picture with young employees. Undated photo from our archives.

Here are a group of very young-looking employees around a century ago.  Alert readers will have noticed the large wheel and belt suspended from the ceiling in the photograph:  it would have been used to generate power to run machinery.  In the earliest days of the Company, manufacturing machinery was powered by belts driven by steam power, until our new Power House in 1907 (which is now our Museum building!) updated that to the latest electrical power.

Three employees from the 1920s, a never before published photo from our archives.

Three employees from circa the 1920s, a never before published photo from our archives.

Here are three more employees from around  the 1920s – in an updated version of the classic Johnson & Johnson striped uniform and cap that women in our manufacturing facilities wore earlier in our history.

 

A photograph taken at the J&J Foreladies Outing in 1932.  These were women who had supervisory roles, and they certainly look like a no-nonsense group.   Generations before this photo was taken, in 1908, the Company had a number of women in supervisory positions, including the management of our Aseptic Department, which was our sterile manufacturing.

 

Here’s a look at employees in one of our labs in 1936:

Lab employees at one of our operating companies, 1936.  From our archives.

Lab employees at one of our operating companies, 1936. From our archives.

And in the Chicopee offices in 1946:

Employees in the Chicopee operating company  office, 1946.  From our archives.

Employees in the Chicopee operating company office, 1946. From our archives.

And now that everyone’s had a glimpse of Johnson & Johnson employees at work from 1887 to the 1940s, here are the members of our employee Glee Club in 1951.  Never the type to do things by half-measures, our employee Glee Club gave public concerts throughout New Jersey, sang on the radio and performed with a Hollywood movie star.  Their story is here.

Johnson & Johnson employee Glee Club practice, 1951.  From our archives.

Johnson & Johnson employee Glee Club practice, 1951. From our archives.

General Robert Wood Johnson, the author of Our Credo, began his Johnson & Johnson career as a teenaged mill hand, working closely with the mill employees – many of whom were from New Brunswick’s Hungarian community – and they took him under their wing as he grew up.  After Johnson took over the leadership of the Company in 1932, he remained close to the Company’s employees, advocating for higher wages and shorter working hours for all workers nationally during the Great Depression.  Johnson’s championing of wages and hours for workers led directly to the writing of Our Credo 70 years ago, in 1943.

General Robert Wood Johnson (center) surrounded by Johnson & Johnson employees.

General Robert Wood Johnson (center) surrounded by Johnson & Johnson employees.

From all of us at Johnson & Johnson, past, present and future, we wish everyone a happy Labor Day.

An example of a Johnson & Johnson infographic, used in this post on our Corporate Blog: http://www.blogjnj.com/2013/04/making-earth-day-part-of-our-every-day/

Infographics are everywhere today.  They’re colorful, easy to understand, they present information in a graphic, entertaining way, and they appeal to people who learn better visually rather than through the written word alone. If you need to educate and entertain at the same time, then infographics are your tool of choice.  But how could you educate people visually before the modern era of infographics?  You could do a comic book — and that’s just what the LISTERINE® Brand did during the Silver Age of comics in 1956.

LISTERINE® Antiseptic: comic book hero.

LISTERINE® Antiseptic: comic book hero.

The Silver Age of comics began in 1956 (the year the LISTERINE® comic book was published) and it marked the continued development of classic superheroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as well as popular characters like Casper the Friendly Ghost and Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends from Archie Comics.   Always on the lookout for innovative ways to reach people, the Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Company (which made LISTERINE® Antiseptic in that era), decided to take advantage of the popularity of comic books and tell the LISTERINE® story visually.

Cover of LISTERINE® Antiseptic comic book, 1956

Cover of LISTERINE® Antiseptic comic book, 1956

So in 1956, they released a comic book called “Stepping Stones to Success.”  The comic book followed two high school students who achieved success in school through (you guessed it) using LISTERINE® Antiseptic.  But perhaps the most enjoyable part of the book — for those who enjoy Johnson & Johnson history and health care history — is the presentation of Louis Pasteur and Sir Joseph Lister in classic comic book hero-style.

Louis Pasteur, as depicted in Stepping Stones to Success.

Louis Pasteur, as depicted in Stepping Stones to Success.

What’s the LISTERINE® “Stepping Stones to Success” comic book like?  Picture The Archies crossed with a vintage 1950s high school science film.  The story begins by taking us quickly through the history behind antiseptic surgery, which led to the formulation of LISTERINE® in 1879 as a surgical disinfectant that was milder and less irritating than the carbolic acid used by Lister.  From the invention of the first microscope, the story panels transition to a dashing looking Louis Pasteur conducting his experiments showing that germs invisible to the naked eye were the cause of infection.

Sir Joseph Lister: comic book hero. By the way, Lister also featured in a short film produced by the brand many decades ago.

Sir Joseph Lister: comic book hero. By the way, Lister also featured in a short film produced by the brand many decades ago.

In classic comic book style, the next panel shows a square-jawed young Sir Joseph Lister (looking a bit like Clark Kent without the glasses) hitting the books, no doubt reading Louis Pasteur’s findings.  In the next panel, an older and more historically accurate looking Lister is shown applying what he learned as he uses his antiseptic method to operate on a very modern 1950s-looking patient. Bow ties make a significant appearance in the comic book:  not only do Pasteur and Lister wear them, but so does the young high school hero of the story.  (It was the 1950s, after all.)

Meet Jim, and why does the number on his jersey keep disappearing?

Meet Jim, and why does the number on his jersey keep disappearing?

The story then jumps forward to 1956 (which actually doesn’t look a whole lot different from the way the artist drew the 1800s), where it follows Jim, a high school student who’s having trouble gaining a regular spot on the football team.  Naturally, after using LISTERINE® Antiseptic, he’s not only on the team but he scores a touchdown. That’s not the only trouble Jim was having with the football team:  alert readers will notice that the number on his jersey keeps disappearing and reappearing from panel to panel.  Meanwhile, another student named Joan is having trouble keeping friends because, in a nod to the famous 20th century LISTERINE® advertising campaigns, her less than fresh breath is driving them away.

Now let's meet Joan.  Do you think she and Jim will meet?

Now let’s meet Joan. Do you think she and Jim will meet?

Luckily for Joan, her science class that day just happened to be covering the science behind bad breath, or halitosis — a phrase chosen by the Lambert brothers of the Lambert Pharmacal Company in 1921 as a more scientific-sounding way to describe bad breath.

Joan’s moment of realization.

After that very timely science lesson, Joan adjourns to the school bathroom to use a mouthwash (the product’s packaging isn’t shown, but of course it’s LISTERINE® Antiseptic).

LISTERINE® comic book: Jim asks Joan to the prom

Notice how close they are in the panel on the right? Well within breathing distance.

A few weeks later with her halitosis and popularity problems solved, Joan meets Jim at a football practice (at which his number miraculously has returned to the front of his jersey), and he immediately asks her to the prom.  The comic book concludes with Joan and Jim dancing at the high school prom.  While they’re dancing, Joan asks Jim if he’d like to meet her parents – who, in another of the remarkable coincidences that populate the story — just happen to be at the dance with their daughter.

Parents?! You want me to meet your PARENTS? Right now?

Instead of expressing the brief flash of panic that might accompany Joan’s request in the real-world, Jim cooly replies “Gladly, Joan,” and the meeting with Joan’s stern, imposing and definitely not-bow-tie-wearing father is carried off without an issue.

All's well that ends well.  Jim meets Joan's parents, thanks to LISTERINE® Antiseptic.

All’s well that ends well. Jim meets Joan’s parents, thanks to LISTERINE® Antiseptic.

Interestingly enough, the final page of the comic book features a reminder for readers to look for news of an upcoming contest to celebrate the 75th anniversary of LISTERINE®, which was first formulated in 1879.

Perhaps another reason for the comic book: LISTERINE® Antiseptic’s 75th anniversary celebration. Although the product was first formulated in 1879, it looks like the brand celebrated its diamond anniversary in 1956 — 77 years later instead of 75.

So why did the LISTERINE® Brand create a comic book to get its message across?  By using a visual format, the brand could tell its story quickly and memorably, informing and entertaining readers at the same time.  And since people are hardwired to respond to stories, telling the story of Joan and Jim was yet another way to make the information especially memorable to readers.  (In fact, the human need to tell and listen to stories is one of the things that makes social media – like this blog! — so popular today.)  So the LISTERINE® comic book combined two very modern, up-to-the-minute trends — infographics and storytelling — but it did so more than a half-century ago.  If the creators of the book could have foreshadowed social media, no doubt they would have worked that in as well.

“Often a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride.”  A very famous LISTERINE® ad from the 1940s, from our archives.  This creative campaign created halitosis as a problem that needed a solution.

“Often a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride.” A very famous LISTERINE® ad from the 1940s, from our archives. This creative campaign created halitosis as a problem that needed a solution.

 

The classic LISTERINE® ads also featured men!  Here’s one from the 1920s.


The classic LISTERINE® ads also featured men! Here’s one from the 1920s.

 

The LISTERINE® Brand is known for pioneering innovative advertising, which included its famous “Often a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride” campaign, as well as a groundbreaking television show sponsored by the brand that featured guitar legend Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford.  And if that wasn’t enough, they even had digital animation pioneers Pixar create some of their television commercials in the early 1990s.  Here’s an episode of the LISTERINE® sponsored TV show starring Les Paul and Mary Ford:

 

 

So although the “Stepping Stones to Success” comic book may seem a bit quirky and unusual to readers today, creating a comic book during the Silver Age of comics stands firmly in the history of the LISTERINE® Brand’s use of innovative advertising as a way to reach its audiences.

Thanks to J.V.A. for sending me a copy of the comic!

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