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National Association of Manufacturers photographs and audiovisual materials

Creation: 1895-2014 Creation: undated
Accession: 1973-418
View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.
View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is “the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all fifty states,” and “is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States.” This collection contains photographs, negatives, slides, digital images, sound recordings, objects, videos, and films that document the history of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) from the mid-twentieth century through the early twenty-first century. The materials provide a visual and audible documentation of the organization’s programs and activities.


  • Creation: 1895-2014
  • Creation: undated



78 Linear Feet

Physical Description

9415 photographic prints : color ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. 4816 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. 184 photographic prints : color ; oversize (larger than 8 x 10 in.). 41 photographic prints : b&w ; oversize (larger than 8 x 10 in.). 1403 contact sheets. 2 albums. 19 prints : lithographs ; 6.25 x 8.5 in., in mat., 9.75 x 14 in. 5116 slides : color ; 35mm. 2309 negatives : b&w ; various. 731 negatives : color ; various. 67 sound tape reels. 66 sound discs. 13 sound cassettes. 80 videotapes (U-Matic). 22 videotapes (VHS). 2 videotapes (Betacam SP). 106 films : sd., col. ; 16 mm. 71 films : sd., b&w ; 16 mm. 2 films : si., b&w ; 16 mm. 2 films : si., col. ; 16 mm. 17 filmstrips. 7 Audiscan cartridges. 50 posters. 8 objects. 7 plaques. 1 billboard. 34 gigabytes.

Historical Note

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is “the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all fifty states,” and “is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States.” [1] It was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1895 when approximately 600 manufacturers met during the 1890s depression to formulate a program for economic recovery. The goal was to develop a strategy to protect American goods from foreign competition and promote trade expansion. During its early years, NAM was largely controlled by representatives of small and medium-sized firms in the Midwest and South.

In the 1930s, NAM launched its first public relations campaign for the “dissemination of sound American doctrines to the public.” [2] Over a thirteen-year period, NAM spent more than $15 million to inform the public about the vital role manufacturing plays in the United States economy. During World War II, NAM created a plant-level employee morale program, titled “Soldiers of Production.” The association also conducted community relations efforts and assisted companies with such wartime problems as priorities and allocations. Before the end of the war, NAM concentrated on helping manufacturers prepare for the postwar period – helping them with issues such as recycling surplus materials, conversion to civilian production, and training of veterans for careers in manufacturing.

In the 1950s, NAM adapted its public relations efforts to the new medium of television when it launched its weekly fifteen-minute Industry on Parade series. In 1950, NAM’s radio and television director, G. W. “Johnny” Johnstone (1900-1976), developed the idea for a television program to highlight American manufacturing and business. He worked with Frank McCall (1907-1981), an NBC News Department Manager, to create a sample which was presented to and supported by the board of directors. The first episode debuted the week of October 15, 1950. Each episode typically contained three or four stories examining some aspect of American manufacturing and business, although towards the end of the series the episodes were arranged thematically, featuring a single type of product, industry, or American consumer. In 1953, NBC decided to focus exclusively on its own productions for broadcast, leading Arthur Lodge (1918-1993), a producer who had been working on the series, to leave NBC and form his own production company. Arthur Lodge Productions produced Industry on Parade from October 1, 1953 until the series ended in the 1960s. Each episode was produced, written, directed, and narrated by Lodge. By 1955, the Peabody Award-winning show was being telecast in seventy-six of the seventy-eight United States television markets. [3]

In 1964, NAM launched the STEP (Solutions of Employment Problems) program, which was a forerunner to the urban affairs division. NAM canvassed the nation in an attempt to determine which companies were developing innovative solutions to manpower problems. Solutions were documented and published in the form of case studies. Taking advantage of new technology in the early 1970s, NAM held four closed-circuit television conferences reaching as many as 8,000 business executives in twenty-six cities at one time. In 1974, NAM moved its headquarters from New York City to Washington, D.C. in order to increase the association’s impact on policy development and be in the center of where the action was taking place.

In 1994, NAM founded the Manufacturing Institute after research showed legislators, the administration, the media, policy influencers, and the public had an antiquated view about manufacturing’s vital leadership in innovation, job opportunity, technological progress, and economic national security. The Institute conducts groundbreaking research and educational and innovative programs to combat misperceptions and stereotypes about manufacturing. In partnership with some of the leading consulting firms in the country, the Institute studies the critical issues facing manufacturing and then applies that research to develop and identify solutions that are implemented by companies, schools, governments, and organizations across the country.

NAM has affiliated associations with the State Association Group (SAG) and the Council of Manufacturing Association (CMA), in addition to the non-profit Manufacturing Institute. SAG serves as the voice of NAM in all fifty states, Puerto Rico, and local communities throughout the country. It plays a critical role in the grassroots effort to advance policies that will enhance business growth and job creation. SAG aims to facilitate communications among affiliates and enhance relationships NAM and other associations have with national issues, federal legislators, and government agencies. CMA is made up of manufacturing trade associations that work together on behalf of manufacturing in the United States. NAM provides knowledge, resources, and a network to help these associations CEOs create a stronger and more prosperous manufacturing sector.

NAM has produced different weekly, monthly, and quarterly publications for members including Enterprise (1977-1987), Member Briefing (1997-2001), Just in Time (1998-2004), and Member Focus (2002-2008, online 2009-2017). These journals were intended to inform members of important issues, what NAM was currently doing, and spotlight member companies across the United States.

Scope and Content

This collection contains photographs, negatives, slides, digital images, sound recordings, objects, videos, and films that document the history of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) from the mid-twentieth century through the early twenty-first century. The materials provide a visual and audible documentation of the organization’s programs and activities. The NAM collection is arranged into four series: Advocacy; Promotional; Conferences, committees, and meetings; and Administrative.

The Advocacy series includes photographs, negatives, films, videos, digital items, sound recordings, and objects from the things NAM does to raise awareness about manufacturing. As NAM describes, it is through its grassroots manufacturing outreach and employee engagement efforts that manufacturers of all sizes can build relationships with policymakers and help advance manufacturing policy issues with pro-manufacturing legislation. The series is comprised of six subseries: Government meetings, Events, Awards, Testimony, Press events, and Tours. The material is arranged chronologically, with undated material arranged alphabetically.

One of the key advocacy efforts for NAM is building relationships with elected officials. To accomplish this, NAM officials and members meet with a variety of government officials including presidents, vice presidents, cabinet members, senators, representatives, and governors. The Government meetings subseries includes materials from these various meetings with government officials. Additionally, NAM hosts Congressional dialogues, held at manufacturing facilities in the Congressional district or state. The materials date from 1957 to 2007.

The Events subseries includes material from one-time events hosted by or attended by NAM and range from 1961 to 2012. NAM hosts several types of events to help promote manufacturing.

The Awards subseries features awards presented to NAM and awards NAM gave out between 1953 and 2007. Each year, NAM awarded the manufacturing legislative excellence award to members of Congress who vote in support of manufacturing at least seventy percent of the time. At the end of each Congress session, NAM member companies hosted events to thank their legislators for supporting the pro-manufacturing policies.

Members of NAM testify before various Congressional committees to help promote issues important to manufacturing. The Testimony subseries includes photographs and negatives from these testimonies, and many of them include images of members speaking to Congressional committees and speaking individually to members of committees. Materials range from 1967 to 2007.

The Press events subseries includes images from various press conferences held at NAM headquarters, Capitol Hill, and places officials visit. These press conferences were held to help promote and disseminate their position on issues. Materials date from 1960 and 1973 to 2004.

Members open their doors to members of Congress and their staff for plant and facility tours. NAM suggests these are a way to build relationships with companies and their employees to increase support for a pro-growth, pro-business agenda. The tours provide an opportunity for lawmakers to meet their constituents, hear success stories and the struggles manufacturers face, as well as see how policies work in real life. In several instances, Congressional staff tours would visit cities and tour several plants in one trip. Materials range from 1988 to 2006, with a video from 1977 about best practices for plant tours.

The Promotional series encompasses items meant for consumption by the general public or businesses, and includes films, video, photographs, negatives, slides, and sound recordings. Materials are arranged chronologically, with undated materials arranged alphabetically. The series is comprised of eight subseries: Presentations, NAM produced films and video, Industry on Parade, Non-NAM produced media, TV and radio, Publication photographs, Marketing, and Displays and posters.

One way for NAM to promote its agenda is through various presentations. A significant portion of this subseries contains 35mm slide presentations and supplemental paperwork. Materials date from 1955 to 1987, with a portion of the material being undated. The subseries also includes “Citizen at Work,” a six-course seminar on political education, and “Solutions to Employment Problems” (STEP) program, which sought to help provide training and recruitment programs for undereducated employees.

The NAM produced films and video subseries includes films that were produced or sponsored by NAM, and range from 1955 to 2011 with two films originally made in 1912. Several films were part of the “Precinct Power Seminar” series, which was intended to motivate citizens to participate in campaigns and politics. Industry on Parade, NAM sponsored the short television program, aired from 1950 to the 1960s, but Hagley does not have the complete run – only select episodes from 1954 to 1966. The weekly episodes typically featured three to four stories highlighting some aspect of American manufacturing and business. Many of the episodes also include public service announcements between story segments or at the end of the episode to promote capitalism, the American way, and the rewards of a free market economy. Films that were not produced or sponsored by NAM are separated into a subseries of their own. While many of the films and videos align with NAM, those in opposition can also be found in this subseries too. These films and videos date from 1944 to 2005.

The TV and radio subseries includes photographs, negatives, recordings, and transcripts from a variety of television and radio programs. The materials range from 1957 to 1982.

NAM produced several publications for members. This subseries predominately contains copies of photographs used in publications along with the publication. Materials date from 1977 to 1980 and 1994 to 2006, with one book from around 1958. The two primary publications are the weekly produced Briefings and monthly produced Just in Time. The subseries also includes photographs of publications and pamphlets, frequently arranged on a table for display.

The Marketing subseries is comprised of annual report photographs, computer program promoting manufacturing, and marketing and promotional photographs. The materials date from 1941 to 2012, with gaps in years between materials.

The Displays and posters subseries contains photographs and negatives from various displays and exhibits NAM participated in or created as well as promotional posters. Materials range from 1917 to 1956 and 1995 to 2002. Some displays are small – one panel items for use at a conference – while others were large exhibits that toured the country. Also included in this subseries are photographs from national manufacturing week, a week devoted to celebrating modern manufacturing and inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Additionally, the subseries includes posters from World War I used to promote industry, liberty bonds, and ways to help the war cause. There is also a billboard and prints of billboards used in the late 1930s and 1940s to depict industry in a positive light.

NAM has several committees and sub-committees, which have evolved over NAM’s history. These committees have included marketing, patents, research, employee health and benefits, and industrial relations. The committees represent the multiple aspects of NAM’s interests in the employee, the employer, relationship with the government, and public perception. The Committees, conferences, and meetings series also contains materials from the Congress of American Industry and board meetings. Every year until the mid-1970s, NAM held the Congress of American Industry. These multi-day meetings had different speakers and panels of interest to attendees. Often times, these events had signifigant political figures as speakers, including multiple sitting presidents. Additionally, the committees, conferences, and meetings series contains materials from the multitude of conferences and meetings hosted with other organizations. The series includes photographs, negatives, contact sheets, CDs, sound recordings, and video, and is arranged chronologically with undated materials arranged alphabetically at the end. Materials date from 1943 to 2011.

The Administrative series includes photographs, negatives, contact sheets, objects, film, and video that were likely created for internal uses. It is comprised of five subseries: Members, Representative photographs, Board members, Staff, and Behind the scenes. Names are given in the fullest form possible; in some instances it is just a last name, while others have a full name.

The Members subseries includes oversize matted photographs and other items from member companies. These photographs depict buildings, employees at work, and various equipment pieces, and have been professionally mounted on foam core. Images have been arranged in alphabetical order by company with unknown at the end. Most of the photographs do not have dates, but are likely from between the late 1980s to the early 2000s.

The Representatives’ photographs subseries has been arranged alphabetically by state with United States territories and cabinet positions last. It includes headshots of several Senators and Representatives. Most of the photographs do not have dates, but likely range from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

The Board members subseries contains photographs, negatives, and contact sheets of former members of the board. Original folder names were retained. There may be some discrepancy as not all the people in these folders may have served as board members. The “former board members” folders do not have dates, but are likely from between 1950 and 1970.

The Staff subseries includes photographs, negatives, contact sheets, digital files, plaques, and films. General staff photographs are first followed by specific staff members, which are arranged alphabetically. Headshots of NAM presidents, chairmen, and small and medium manufacturers chairs are included. The images are of individuals and range from 1895 to 2014.

The Behind the scenes subseries is comprised of photographs, negatives, contact sheets, videos, and digital files from NAM’s office and events and celebrations for staff members. The files are arranged chronologically. Among the celebrations are staff members’ milestone anniversaries with NAM, holiday parties, and retirement celebrations. Also included in this subseries is a large fabric backdrop that was used during press events and meetings.

Existence and Location of Copies

View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.

Access Restrictions

Records subject to 25-year time seal from the date of creation due to privacy/security reasons.

Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

There are no viewing or listening stations for analog audio, video, or film in the reading room. To access this material, please place a digitization request for the item(s).

Negatives and slides are stored offsite in cold storage (Boxes 77-80). At least 48 hours notice required to allow retrieval of these items.

Film material is housed in cold storage and must reacclimate prior to viewing (Film Cans 1-183). Please contact the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department at least 48 hours in advance of research visit.

Use Restrictions

Literary rights retained by depositor.

Related Material

Industry on Parade Film Collection, 1950-1959, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Language of Materials


Additional Description


On Deposit from the National Association of Manufacturers (U.S.).

Separated Material

National Association of Manufacturers records (accession 1411), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

National Association of Manufacturers centennial calendar (accession 1995.281), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Publications were transferred to the Imprints Department and are now cataloged in Hagley’s online catalog. Contact the Imprints Department for details.


Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

National Association of Manufacturers photographs and audiovisual materials
Ashley Williams
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA