Pictures From The Edge of The Mad Men Era
The season premier of Mad Men made us dust off our family album and reach for the pictures from the agency's first year (which are best viewed to the sounds of the special Mad Men station on Pandora Radio.)
Hill Holliday officially opened for business on May 13, 1968 in 1,500 square feet of space on the top floor of 143 Newbury Street. The company had no clients and no billings – just the conviction that a combination of ability, hard work and determination would enable them to make it, to succeed where others had failed.
There were also no employees, just the four partners: Jay Hill, Alan Holliday, Jack Connors and Steve Cosmopulos. Operating funds were a bit tight. For floor covering, one of the partners found a bargain on some indoor-outdoor carpeting. Another found a good deal on six slightly used metal desks (they were sure the staff would be growing soon). Steve brought in his own drafting table and, all of a sudden, the place started to look like an ad agency.
A labor union strike at the phone company almost derailed the agency's launch. One of the unions at the New England Telephone Company (predecessor to Verizon) was on strike, and it was impossible for the fledgling firm to get phone service installed. The solution? A roll of dimes. There was a pay phone on the sidewalk in front of the office at 143 Newbury Street and Jack Connors and his partners monopolized it until the strike was over. A local toll call was 10 cents.