To read this content please select one of the options below:

Beyond “caste‐typing”? Caroline Robinson Jones, advertising pioneer and trailblazer

Judy Foster Davis (Department of Marketing, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 2 August 2013




The purpose of this paper is to present a biographical review of the career of the late Caroline Robinson Jones (1942‐2001) in order to understand her challenges and contributions to the advertising profession. Prior to her death, she was considered the foremost African‐American woman in the advertising business. She was the first black woman to serve as a vice president of a major mainstream advertising agency and also established a respected agency bearing her own name. This paper focuses on Jones' contributions to marketing practice and her experiences as a woman of color in the advertising industry.


This paper uses a traditional historical narrative approach largely based on archival materials housed in the Caroline Jones Collection at the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. Relevant secondary literature was also employed to provide appropriate context.


While the advertising industry has historically been noted for its lack of diversity among its professional ranks, Jones made significant contributions to the industry. Yet, despite her trailblazing accomplishments, findings suggest her efforts were constrained by structural oppression in the industry concerning gender and race.


Scholarly literature reflecting the contributions and experiences of women of color in the advertising business is nearly non‐existent. This paper provides an analysis using sources which are valuable in understanding career opportunities and challenges for women of color in advertising professions.



Foster Davis, J. (2013), "Beyond “caste‐typing”? Caroline Robinson Jones, advertising pioneer and trailblazer", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 308-333.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles