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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1209

Papers of Mary Frances Gerety, 1916-1999


Biographical information and professional papers of advertising copywriter, Mary Frances Gerety.


  • Creation: 1916-1999


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Mary Frances Gerety as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


5.21 linear feet ((1 file box, 5 folio boxes) plus 3 photograph folders)

The papers of Mary Frances Gerety contain biographical information about Gerety, including an obituary and a will; an interview with Gerety for the N.W. Ayer Oral History Program; fashion advertisements featuring advertising copy written by Gerety, including De Beers advertisements featuring the "diamonds are forever" slogan; reports to De Beers Consolidated Mines by N.W. Ayer & Son featuring advertising and marketing recommendations; and photographs of Gerety and her family. Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online. Folders are arranged alphabetically.


Mary Frances Gerety, daughter of John A. and Mae J. Pigott Gerety, was born November 17, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Known as Frances, she graduated from the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and studied at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a copywriter at Jacob Reed's and Sons before joining N.W. Ayer & Son in 1943. She remained at N.W. Ayer & Son until her retirement in 1970. Among the companies Gerety wrote advertisement copy for was De Beers, who were prohibited from conducting business in the United States due to their violation of antitrust laws so the advertisements could not promote De Beers or feature images of diamond jewelry. In 1947, Gerety was assigned the task of creating a tagline for a new line for De Beers that would overtly identify diamonds as the sales product. She submitted the phrase "diamonds are forever," which became one of the most recognizable advertising slogans ever created and continues to be used by De Beers. Gerety died April 11, 1999, in Derby, Pennsylvania.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2022-M82

The papers of Mary Frances Gerety were given to the Schlesinger Library by J. Courtney Sullivan in April 2022. Sullivan was given the material while researching her novel The Engagements by the owners of Longview Farm (Gerety's former home) who found the material when they purchased the property.

Processing Information

Processed: January 2023

By: Johanna Carll

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Gerety, Mary Frances, 1915-1999. Papers of Mary Frances Gerety, 1916-1999: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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