Elwood Whitney was a successful New York art director, advertising executive and the designer for corporate sales promotions.

When he was in his early teens, Mr. Whitney painted backdrops for the burlesque stage while attending five years of evening classes at Cooper Union. He graduated from The Cooper Union in 1924.

He is known in the advertising field for his use of fine art for illustration. He was also an authority on typefaces.

During his career in advertising, Elwood Whitney worked on campaigns for Chanel perfume, Kraft Foods, Post Cereals, Eastman Kodak, Libby, Shell, Maxwell House and the Watchmakers of Switzerland.

He worked for 5 years as Art Director at Doremus & Company and then worked with the J. Walter Thompson agency, where he spent 16 years rising to senior art director, vice president and chairman of the firm’s planning boards. In 1943, he was recruited by Foote, Cone & Belding as a vice president. He was elected a director in 1951, executive vice president in 1954 and was a senior vice president when he retired in 1967.

He authored the reference book, Symbology: The Use of Symbols in Visual Communications, Fourth Communications Conference , published by the Art Directors Club in 1956.

He was on the Board of Directors for multiple companies including Colorado Milling and Elevators. There is a photo of Elwood Whitney posing with other directors of that firm in the Getty Images collection. Link to photo

Elwood Whitney passed away in 1992 at age 88.


Elwood Whitney received the Cooper Union President’s Citation in 1956.


Saxon, Wolfgang, Elwood Whitney, Ex-Art Director, 88; Led in Sales Pitches, The New York Times, November 18, 1992.