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MCI Communications Corporation photographs and audiovisual materials

1915-2001 Majority of material found within 1975-1997
 Collection
Identifier: 2000-239

Abstract

MCI Communications Corporation (MCI) was a large telecommunications company. It was organized in October 1963 in Joliet, Illinois, by John D. (Jack) Goeken (1930-2010), as Microwave Communications, Inc. Goeken and his partners were planning to provide point-to-point private line microwave communications between Chicago and St. Louis to small businesses. This large collection documents the activities of the MCI Communications Corporation and its subsidiaries as well as the development of a competitive telecommunications industry in the United States and worldwide. The materials focus on MCI corporate life, public relations, technical operations, and sales and marketing activities. A vast amount of videotapes makes up a significant portion of the MCI collection, however, there are also photographs, slides, digital files, and audio cassette tapes.

Dates

  • 1915-2001
  • Majority of material found within 1975-1997

Creator

Extent

140 Linear Feet

General Physical Description

Approx. 4,500 photographic prints : b&w and color ; various sizes. Approx. 2,400 negatives : b&w and color ; 35mm. 196 contact sheets. Approx. 2,700 slides : color ; 35mm. Approx. 300 transparencies : b&w and color ; various sizes. 224 compact audio cassettes. Approx. 2,440 videotapes. 7 reels : sd., col. ; 16mm. 7 reels : sd., b&w ; 16mm. 113 GB of digital files.

Historical Note

MCI Communications Corporation (MCI) was a large telecommunications company. It was organized in October 1963 in Joliet, Illinois, by John D. (Jack) Goeken (1930-2010), as Microwave Communications, Inc. Goeken and his partners were planning to provide point-to-point private line microwave communications between Chicago and St. Louis to small businesses that could not afford high telephone rates offered by American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) – a de facto monopoly of the United States telecommunications at that time. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an application from Microwave Communications to construct and operate a private microwave system in August 1969. The approval opened an era of competition in telecommunications industry.

William G. McGowan (1927-1992), who joined the company in 1968, brought in a different vision of its future - participation in the construction of a nationwide common carrier communications system. In August 1968, McGowan incorporated a new company, Microwave Communications of America (MICOM), which changed its name to MCI Communications Corporation, Inc. (MCI) in July 1971. MICOM was created to sponsor the development of affiliated regional companies with local financing, and Microwave Communications became one of sixteen such companies. By March 1971, all regional companies had filed for construction permits for their section of the planned nationwide network. In August 1972, MCI acquired Interdata Communications, Inc., which controlled a New York-Washington microwave route. In February 1973, MCI Telecommunications Corporation (MCIT) was formed as a long distance communications subsidiary of MCI, and during the 1970s all regional carriers merged into it.

AT&T and its affiliated local Bell Companies used their control over local networks as leverage for rate increases and denied connections to their network by MCI and other common carriers. In 1973, with McGowan’s (CEO) and MCI Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Kenneth A. Cox's (1916-) testimonies at the Senate subcommittee MCI launched a campaign against AT&T for violation of U.S. antitrust laws. A decade long regulatory and legal battle changed the very essence of telecommunications in the United States. By the final judgment of the antitrust suit of the U.S. Department of Justice against AT&T (1974-1982), AT&T was divested from its regional companies and all telecommunications companies received an equal access to their network facilities starting from January 1, 1984.

After winning the right to connect its network to local systems, MCI faced another challenge – it had to fight for the business of government, commercial, and residential markets. Before 1984 these customers did not have any choice of telecommunications carrier and used to think of AT&T as the only reliable service provider. MCI’s vigorous advertising campaign introduced innovative sales techniques to the telecommunications industry, such as comparative and negative advertising, celebrity endorsements, extensive telemarketing, local paper ads, and marketing partnerships. This campaign helped MCI gain the level of profitability necessary for staying in competition with rapidly growing telecommunications companies. An important direction of the MCI business development was the company’s involvement into international telecommunications. To pursue this goal MCI acquired two large international communications carriers: Western Union International, Inc. in 1982 and RCA Global Communications, Inc. (Globcom) in 1988, both merging into MCI’s subsidiary MCI International, Inc. During the 1980s, MCI International became one of the dominant international carriers offering leased-line, voice, and electronic mail services in 146 countries. It restructured monopolistic foreign telecommunications markets into competitive ones, stimulating industry growth and making possible its transformation into an integrated global network.

MCI’s rapid progress on telecommunications markets was primarily due to its steady interest in emerging technologies. For instance, MCI was one of the first companies to invest in satellite communications in order to extend its network to the areas where the microwave system could not reach. Formed as early as 1971, joint venture MCI Lockheed Satellite Corporation requested domestic satellite communications authorization from the FCC. In 1974 the company was sold to IBM but in 1986 the same satellite business was bought back by MCI under the name Satellite Business Systems (SBS), which became its subsidiary.

In its aspiration for engaging in new technologies, MCI sometimes appeared to be ahead of time. Efforts to enter paging and cellular phone business in the first half of 1980s via MCI Airsignal subsidiary failed because it lacked subscribers’ interest. MCI returned to the cellular business in 1995.

MCI entered in the electronic mail market in 1983 by introducing MCI Mail, a new data transmission service, which combined the speed of electronic messages with the flexibility of a land courier service. But at that time the public was not ready for the communications via computer, and MCI had to shrink its electronic mail operations in 1985. However, in 1988, enhanced with the fax service, MCI Mail became a valuable product; and in 1990s, combined with Internet access, paging and fax services, and video conferencing, it completed MCI’s portfolio of on-line services called networkMCI.

MCI was the first American company seriously engaged in implementation of fiber optic technology. In 1983 it ordered over 150,000 miles of single-mode fiber optic cable; in March 1984 the Washington, D.C – New York segment of new system became operational; and in 1989 MCI owned two complete transcontinental fiber optic networks that carried a large volume of voice and data traffic at high speeds with high quality. MCI also was the second largest U.S. owner in a joint venture of the first transatlantic fiber optic telephone cable. When in December 1991, MCI converted its entire network from analog to digital transmission, its modernized system turned into an “intelligent network,” which was compatible with other international networks and allowed the company to market new services and attract new business partners in the last decade of the 20th century. In June 1992, the company lost its long-time leader chairman Bill McGowan due to a cardiac arrest. He had his first heart attack in December 1986, survived heart transplantation in April 1987, and returned to an active role in the management of MCI in September of the same year. His death and his role as a telecommunications industry pioneer and visionary were widely reported in the media.

Positioning itself as a company ready to get into the information age ahead of its competitors and to offer customers integrated global voice, data, and networking services, MCI in 1993 developed the “networkMCI” strategy that consisted of several components: creation of a nationwide information superhighway, entry into local telecommunications, building a wireless network integrated with MCI’s products, and formation of global alliances in order to provide seamless services to multinational customers.

Following this strategy, MCI used the high speed SONET technology to provide the National Science Foundation with a new information network NSFNET, a part of rapidly growing Internet (1993). When President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which declared local telecommunications available for competition, MCI was one of the first long distance carriers to enter the marketplace. It used operating facilities in major metropolitan areas owned by its subsidiary MCImetro which was created in 1994 in anticipation of competitive local telephone business. To capture a share of the lucrative wireless telecommunications market, MCI in 1995 purchased Nationwide Cellular Service, Inc., the largest independent reseller of cellular services in the country and made agreements with messaging companies SkyTel Corporation and Paging Network, Inc. MCI’s agreements with Stentor group representing Canadian telephone companies; BT, formerly British Telecommunication; and business venture AVANTEL with Mexican Grupo Financiero Banamex-Accival (Banacci) in 1992-1994 shaped international communications of information age.

In the late 1990s MCI sought a partner in order to increase capital for more efficient competition with domestic and international carriers. After the cancellation of a proposed merger with British Telecommunications Corporation (BT), MCI entered into a merger with the rapidly growing telecommunications firm WorldCom. The agreement completed on September 15, 1998, created MCI WorldCom, Inc., a company that provided local, long distance and international full range telecommunications services such as voice, data, Internet and wireless. To separate its two distinct businesses, at the end of 2000, WorldCom, Inc., arranged two business groups under its umbrella: WorldCom group (high-growth data, Internet, hosting and international businesses), and MCI group (high-cash flow consumer, small business, wholesale long-distance voice and dial-up Internet access); and created two separately traded stocks. The corporation received a SEC Inquiry in April 2002 regarding its capital expenditure accounting irregularities, and as a result of independent audits and financial investigation, filed for bankruptcy on July 21, 2002. Under the Plan of Reorganization filed by WorldCom, Inc. with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in April 2003, the company changed its brand name to MCI. In 2006 the company was bought by Verizon.

Scope and Content

This large collection documents the activities of the MCI Communications Corporation and its subsidiaries as well as the development of a competitive telecommunications industry in the United States and worldwide. The materials focus on MCI corporate life, public relations, technical operations, and sales and marketing activities. A vast amount of videotapes makes up a significant portion of the MCI collection, however, there are also photographs, slides, digital files, and audio cassette tapes.

The collection has been arranged into twenty-nine series. This arrangement is based upon categories that MCI assigned to the videotapes. The series and subseries are listed in alphabetical order, and the materials within the series are arranged chronologically, unless notated otherwise.

At the MCI Corporate Library most of the videotapes were assigned with five-part numbers, where the first part designated the year of recording, three next numbers represented the special content code, and the last one was a consecutive order number within each group. Numbers were designated with no regards to the tape format. Videotapes are boxed in numerical order.

Analyst meeting series

Consists of videotapes of Analyst meetings from 1988, 1993, and 1995 through 1997. These meetings include presentations on the history of MCI, product development, and various operations. There are discussions of the company's strategic plan, financial status, fiscal priorities, products, services, and sales and marketing. There is often a question and answer session during these meetings.

Annual stockholders meeting series

The videotapes of the annual stockholders meetings date from 1981 through 1998 and are divided into four subseries: Classic events, Excerpts, Live recordings, and Presentations. These videotapes contain speeches by Bill McGowan, Bert Roberts, Orville Wright and Daniel Akerson about operations, achievements, financial status, and visions for the future. There are recordings of officer reports, voting on company amendments, and election results. Many presentations or discussions are followed by question and answer sessions.

B roll series

The videotapes in this series date from 1981 through 1998 and are divided into six subseries: Construction/Engineering, Corporate, Facilities, People, Products, and Technology. B-roll is traditionally defined as supplementary footage used in cut-aways during the edited final product to help tell the story. These b-roll videotapes contain construction work, employees working on computers, various equipment, logos, graphics, interior and exterior shots of buildings, and interviews with employees which could be used for sound bites.

Business programs series

This series consists of episodes of television shows which feature MCI executives such as Bill McGowan and Bert Roberts. The recordings date from 1980 through 1997 and are divided into three subseries based on the topics discussed in the show: Financial/Corporate information, General telecom, and Program/Product.

Conferences series

Includes videotapes from the following conferences: Bear Stearns Technology Conference, COMDEX, ICA, IEEE, INET 94, Reston to Westin, Tri-LM, Women & Technology, and an unidentified conference. Bear Stearns was a global investment bank which held an annual technology conference. COMDEX stands for Computer Dealers Exhibition and was a computer expo which was held in Nevada annually between 1979 and 2003. ICA is the International Communications Association which is an academic association dedicated to media communication. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEEE is a professional association which promotes engineering, electronics, and information technology. INET 94 was a conference focusing on the world wide web and was organized jointly by the Internet Society and Internet Society Charter Member RARE (Réseaux Associés pour la Recherche Européenne; now TERENA). The conference took place in Prague, Czech Republic. Reston to Westin was a teleconference for a meeting held in an engineering lab in Reston. Tri-LM appears to be an internal company symposium with presentations from a number of speakers. Women in Technology is an annual summit of technology oriented women executives and entrepreneurs, though the video does not appear to be of the conference itself, but rather just footage of women using technology. These videos date from 1981 through 1998.

Corporate Archives series

The series contains records used and created by Philip Cantelon in preparation of his history of MCI titled, The History of MCI: 1968-1988, The Early Years, and records from the office of the MCI Corporate Archivist Adam Gruen. It is arranged into ten subseries, each is organized alphabetically.

Advertisements subseries

Contains photographs of print ads and stills from television commercials taken between 1970 and 1985. There is also one photograph of MCI’s first trade booth in 1970.

Buildings and facilities subseries

These photographs and slides are of MCI’s network switch called Dallas One, exteriors of MCI Headquarters in Washington D.C., interiors and equipment from the Perryman Data Centers, and various MCI towers. There are photographs of the construction of the MCI Moscow Global Communications Center. These images date from 1981 to 1991.

Events subseries

Contains photographs, negatives and contact sheets from press conferences, ground breakings, grand openings, and an exhibition presumably at the British Telecom Museum in London. There are images from the AT&T antitrust hearings and a visit from First Lady Nancy Reagan. Additionally there are audio recordings, one of Orville Wright commenting on a draft of a speech, another of a talk given at Robert E. Lee High School, and a set of three tapes labeled “William McGowan” with unknown contents at this time.

History subseries

This subseries consists of photographs which document the early history of MCI. It includes organization charts, slides from RCA Global Communications, and satellite paths and coverage maps. There is a copy of Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the letter thanking Bert Robert for his support of President Clinton’s Technology Literacy Challenge program, both sent to Bert Roberts from the White House. These materials date from 1970 to 1997.

Oral history project subseries

Philip L. Cantelon conducted interviews with MCI employees for his book The History of MCI: 1968-1988, The Early Years, 1993. There are over 200 audiocassettes with interview recordings which contain valuable information on many aspects of MCI history. There are also digital files which were stored on floppy diskettes. The digital files are textual documents containing biographies of the individuals interviewed, transcripts of the interview, and cover pages for the transcripts. These files have been removed from the disks and converted from Word Perfect files to Microsoft Word files. PDF/A copies of these files are available for access. There were two disks which were unreadable, therefore there is not a biography and transcript available for every interview. The interviews date from 1987 through 1995.

People subseries

This subseries are portraits of executives and employees taken in the 1980s and 1990s. The images are photographs and slides.

Press releases subseries

Photographs and negatives of executives or technology which would be used to appear in a press release. These images were taken in 1989 and 1991.

Sales promotions subseries

This subseries includes photographs, transparencies, and slides used for various promotions. There are images of a golf tournament, MCI logos, building exteriors, employees, and a trade show. There are slides of stills from television commercials, annual meetings, buildings, microwave towers, and various equipment. The materials date from 1970 to 1984.

Sites subseries

This subseries is primarily slides of the construction of a MCI microwave networks from the 1980s and early 1990s. There are two photographs of the foundation of a facility at Bridgewater, Michigan around 1973.

Technology subseries

Contains photographs, negatives, and contact sheets of construction, wires, cable installation, fiber optics, satellites, and microwave towers. There is a CD-Rom called “Financial the Future: An MCI Living Case Study” which includes various financial data about MCI. Materials date from 1973 through 1994.

Corporate/Business information series

Provides information about the company’s direction, priorities, objectives, and strategies for the future. The videos also highlight past performance, achievements, and operations. The series has been divided into five subseries: Directors meetings; Executives; Financial/Performance reports; Interviews; and Operations. The materials date from 1972 to 1997.

Directors meetings subseries

Primarily contains video presentations that were shown at director’s meetings in 1986, 1992, and 1998. These videos highlight new technologies, products, employee service, and company developments. There are also three charts of the MCI network (1972).

Executive subseries

Training tapes on time management (1981) and finance systems (1990).There is also a mock or practice interview of McGowan about divestiture and MCI plans filmed in 1983.

Financial/Performance reports subseries

Contains videotapes of quarterly and annual reports. These videos cover financial performance, activities, achievements, priorities, and strategies for the future. The reports are given by the company president or executives. The tapes dates are 1982, 1983, and from 1988 to 1997.

Interviews subseries

Consists of two interviews. One of McGowan discussing the NASDAQ (1984), and the second of Vint Cerf talking about the internet (1998).

Operations subseries

Videotapes focus on the activities, developments, and directions for the future of MCI regional divisions, as well as the company as a whole. There are videos of a tour of the Chicago Terminal, information about MCI International, an explanation of the reorganization of MCI’s Midwest division, and a discussion of the results of an employee survey. There are presentations on MCI’s network growth, billing and services, marketing strategies, and the acquisition of RCA Globcom.

Employee Information series

Consists of videotapes intended for viewing by MCI employees. These are orientation, training, and motivational tapes. Some review the company history and philosophy. There are speeches or messages from executives to the staff, as well as information about employee benefits and retirement options. This series has been divided into four subseries: Company Wide Employee, Consumer Markets, Recruitment, and Sales and date from 1981 to 1997.

Entertainment series

Organized into three subseries: Documentaries, Humor, and Talk shows dated from 1979 to 1997.

Documentaries subseries

Videotapes of programs sponsored by MCI or events taken place at MCI. There is an eight part series on the history of television, a PBS special about the American family, and award ceremony presentations.

Humor subseries

MCI gag reels of bloopers from executives speeches and outtakes of commercials. There are parodies and skits, as well as humorous mentions on shows like Saturday Night Live and the Tonight Show. There is also a video of Bert Roberts performing magic tricks.

Talk shows subseries

Contains three programs one of Vint Cerf on the Charlie Rose show, Economic Club of Washington, and Vallance/Roberts at the Commonwealth Club.

Executives series

This series consists of the records of three executives: William G. McGowan, Richard Liebhaber and Robert Sweezey, Jr. Each subseries is organized alphabetically.

William G. McGowan subseries

Contains images of MCI Chairman and CEO William McGowan, including photographs of his family, and portraits from student years up to the time of his death in 1992. There are photographs documenting his participation in nationwide industry conferences, award ceremonies, Senate hearings, as well as in internal MCI events. Other members of MCI and subsidiaries top management are also well represented. Departmental and divisional events and outings photographs present rarely documented facet of corporate culture. Of a special interest are the photographs taken at the 1970 conference for MCI regional carrier executives. Additionally there are some views of MCI buildings and facilities, including a group of photographs related to the construction of the Richardson engineering facility in Texas.

Richard Liebhaber subseries

This subseries consists of a small amount of photographs which chronicle the activities of MCI's engineering, operations, and MIS departments, and document the performance of MCI's network and operations. These materials were transferred from Liebhaber’s subject files depicting fiber optic cable damages and repair work, construction and internal views of MCI digital switch facilities.

Robert D. Sweezy subseries

There are a small number of transparencies, slides and contact sheets belonging to Robert D. Sweezy who was McGowan’s executive assistant in 1970s. At that time Sweezy was the director of investor relations, corporate communications, and federal relations. He was responsible for publishing of first MCI’s annual reports for stockholders and compiled corporate presentations for MCI executives. These are images used in a presentation and annual reports. There are contact sheets of an MCI Stockholders meeting around 1973.

Events series

These videotapes document various MCI events from 1982 through 1998. The series has been organized into subseries: Anniversary parties, Award presentations, Chairman's Inner Circle, Clubs, IBM President’s Class, Other (mostly talent shows), Retirement parties, Technology ‘93, and Trade Shows.

Financial series

These materials reflect the financial relations and operations of the company. The images are arranged into two subseries: Photographs and charts, and Corporate Financial slide presentations.

Photographs and charts subseries

Consists of financial graphs showing revenue, cash balances, disbursements, cash flow, and other fiscal information. There are also over 100 photographs of the construction progress at the Richardson, Texas facility from 1982.

Corporate Financial slide presentations subseries

Fifteen albums of slides for corporate financial presentations, accompanied with speaker’s notes documenting MCI’s quarterly and yearly financial results and long- and short-term strategies for the period of 1990 through 1992.

Hearings series

Videotape recordings of House Committee Hearings, FCC Open Hearings, the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Hearing, and the California P.U.C. Telecom hearings. These hearings date from 1982 to 1991.

Human Resources series

Consists of lists of employees and assigned codes to review employee survey data (1993) and slides from a presentation about the company’s workforce, professional development, and employee benefits (1991).

MCI Commercials series

These videotapes document the company’s television advertising campaigns: 1980 initial residential marketing; 1984 equal access price war, when MCI started featuring celebrities to attract customers; MCI 1-800 service (1987), MCI Operator and MCI Fax services (1988); Friends and Family services and products (1991-1994). The series is arranged into thirty-one subseries by product. The commercials date from 1981 to 1998.

MCI Engineering Groups series

The series contains records produced by groups and individuals responsible for construction and maintenance of various components of MCI’s telecommunications network. Slides, aerial and rooftop photographs and Polaroids document processes of microwave towers and satellite earth stations site acquisition and facility construction, fiber optic routes installation, and telecommunications equipment used at MCI’s facilities in various regions. There are images depicting technical training; work at various offices of MCI customer service, billing, and technical centers; devices used by the MCI transmission systems in order to enhance its services. The series is divided into two subseries: Technology and Operations records and Thomas Leming, Senior Vice President of MCI Transmission Systems. Both subseries are arranged alphabetically and date from 1969 to 1987.

MCI Network Services series

These photographs and negatives are from two different projects of MCI Network Services: the Calendar Project and the Newsletter. The images date from 1990 to 1995.

Calendar Project subseries

Photographs and negatives sent to Peter Brooks of the MCI Calendar Project, San Francisco by local Network Services departments to illustrate a 1992 calendar, which theme was “Our Network at Work.” The photographs are amateur color snapshots depicting divisions’ staff at work and in leisure time, and interior and exterior views of buildings and facilities. The photographs are not annotated, however, there is a list of participants. Folders are organized according to numbers assigned by Calendar Project staff. The folder title usually includes the title of the picture picked for the calendar (these pictures are not in the collection, six of them are separated into the folder “Pix and color seps,” others are missing) and the division’s location.

Newsletters photographs subseries

Sets of photographs sent to Peter Brooks, editor of MCI employee newsletters MCI Network National, 1990-1995 and West Word, 1990-1991, by regional divisions of MCI Network Services. Photographs depict MCI Network Services employees at conferences, award ceremonies, performing fiber optic cable installation, equipment testing and office work at network centers. This subseries also includes copies of March 1991 issue of West Word and some artwork for newsletters.

Meetings series

Videotape recordings of meetings divided into four subseries: Kickoff meetings, Managers meetings, Modified Final Judgement (task force), and Users meetings. These videos highlight accomplishments, products, operations, plans for the future, and updates on recent events. These meetings date from 1982 to 1998.

Newscasts series

Videotapes which present nationwide and local news coverage of telecommunications industry. Episodes primarily contain specific mentions of MCI or MCI sponsored events. This series is divided into five subseries: Community service, Corporate/Financial information, Monterey Jazz Festival, Products/Programs; and the Telecom industry. The newscasts date from 1978 to 1996.

PR/Advertising series

Contains work products and records of various groups within MCI responsible for shaping and monitoring press coverage of MCIs business, legislative and regulatory activities. The series has been organized into four subseries: Corporate Communications, Corporate image, Services, and Tribute to Bill McGowan. The materials date from 1973 to 2001.

Corporate communications subseries

Material consists of slides, photographs, negatives and contact sheets for MCI’s publications, such as Annual Reports and McGowan’s post-mortis press coverage; electronic records documenting multiple versions of MCI’s logo; portraits of MCI and other telecommunications companies executives; pictures of MCI’s sites, facilities, equipment, and corporate events collected for publication purposes.

Corporate image subseries

Videotapes showing the twenty year history of the company and its advertising history. There are programs that highlight technologies, services and benefits to customers, as well as customer testimonials. There is one tape about MCI services to the government during the Gulf War. These tapes date from 1985 to 2001.

Services subseries

Consists of promotional videotapes explaining the services and operations of MCI. There are some advertising spots or promotions for MCI sponsored events. These materials date from 1983 to 1997.

Tribute to Bill McGowan subseries

McGowan died in 1992 and these video portraits were assembled to honor his memory and accomplishments at MCI.

Press conferences series

Video recordings of press conferences on various topics. There are eighteen subseries which are arranged alphabetically by the topic of the press conference. Bill McGowan is often the primary speaker. Presentations by MCI executives are often followed with a question and answer session. These videos date from 1981 to 1997.

Product/Program information series

Video news releases, promotional pieces, and training tapes. Many explain the history, development, and how the product/program works. There are clips from television news shows and talk shows. Some videos include customer testimonials. The series has been divided into forty-five subseries arranged alphabetically by product or program. The videos date from 1983 to 1997.

Sales series

This series documents employees working on various aspects of MCI’s marketing operations and activities. It largely reflects the divisional orientation, decentralized nature and creative process of MCI’s everyday marketing activities after the establishment of divestiture and equal access created a new national advertising market for residential and business telecommunications services. The series is organized into three subseries: Training, Marketing, and Sales meetings.

Training subseries

These sales training videotapes cover how to make sales calls, handle complaints, incorporate digital imaging products into sales programs, business traveling tips, and how to sell door-to-door. Several videos provide general sales training techniques, some of the videos focus on how to sell a specific MCI programs/services such as Advantage Service, Omni-Call service, Friends and Family, Free Calling promotion, VNET, MCI Hard Card, and MCI Mail. A set of videos gives an overview of a new sales commission system and how to use it. One tape discusses how to sell MCI services specifically to bankers and financial officers. There is also one tape about an MCI exhibition booth which discusses each part of the exhibit and how to set up the booth. The videos date from 1982 to 1997.

Marketing subseries

Contains advertisements from newspapers, posters, print ads, direct mail ad samples for new services and joint promotions, and a merchandising kit for Amway/MCI. There are several audio recordings of a radio advertising spots. Three sets of slides/transparencies for promotional presentations on MCI Mail, MCI/McDonald’s joint promotion and MCI/AMEX joint service. There are also electronic records from MCI Design Department Product Requests containing artwork, logos, and other promotional materials. Access copies are available for most electronic files, however, some are inaccessible at this time. These materials date from 1971 through 1997.

Sales meetings subseries

Includes video recordings of sales meeting presentations and events, as well as a few promotional pieces about upcoming sales meetings. Locations of the sales meetings include Denver, Colorado (1984), Dallas, Texas (1987), Atlanta, Georgia (1988), and an unidentified location (1990). Promotional videos are for the Sagamore Sales Conference and a National Sales meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. There is one video containing Spanish language MCI commercials with incorrect subtitles intended as a humorous promotion to be shown at the Atlanta Sales Conference in 1988.

Satellite Business Systems acquisition series

Satellite Business Systems (SBS) was bought by MCI from IBM in 1986 and became its fully owned subsidiary. SBS delivered telecommunications transmissions over the first all digital domestic commercial communication satellite system starting from March 1981. It used satellites designed and built by Hughes Aircraft Company. The transmission system also included Customer Premises Earth Stations (CPES) - small radio frequency (RF) ground terminals with antenna designed to be mounted on the rooftops of SBS and its customers' facilities, or on the ground adjacent to them.

SBS operational records support evaluation of sites and depict CPES construction. This series contains photographs, negatives, slides, transparencies, videotapes, and films. There are three subseries: COMSAT films, Employee information; and Public Affairs subject file photographs

COMSAT films subseries

A group of fourteen 16mm film reels were collected by MCI in connection with its satellite communications business. These films document early efforts in the field of satellite communications by AT&T, COMSAT, and Hughes Aircraft Company. They highlight satellite construction and launching projects, such as Telstar system, led by AT&T and NASA in 1960 through 1963; the world’s first geosynchronous satellite Syncom, built and launched by Hughes Aircraft Company in 1963; and Syncom’s successor Early Bird satellite, launched by Communications Satellite Company (COMSAT) in April 1965.

Employee information subseries

Videotapes of both formal and informal meetings in 1985 and 1986 between MCI and SBS employees regarding the merger. In one set of videotapes MCI executives are presenting to SBS managers about the future plans. Another set of videotapes shows SBS executives and managers presenting to MCI employees about the history and business strategy of the company. There are a few meetings regarding the transition of the merger. Most of these meetings have question and answer sessions. Liebhaber speaks at a meeting to SBS employees about MCI opportunities and benefits. There is B-roll footage of satellite dishes, offices, equipment, and a space shuttle launch.

Public Affairs subject file photographs subseries This series is organized alphabetically by subject and consists of photographs, negatives, slides and transparencies. These images depict antennae installations, computer center work, views of antennae, city skylines, and rooftop views of SBS earth stations. There are photographs of satellites under construction and being launched. Transparencies for presentations of SBS predecessor MCIL show its application for construction and operation of a domestic communications satellite system and present a technical basis of the new telecommunication services pioneered by MCI via its subsidiary. These images date from 1970 through 1985.

Technical/Service series

Training videotapes providing standards for service, managing employees, and technical information. The series has been organized into five subseries: Customer Service, Facilities, Focus groups, Legal, and Telecom.

Customer Service subseries

Training videos for operators, customer service representatives, and technical service representatives dating from 1984 to 1995. Topics include billing, communication skills, standards for performance, and procedures. There are videos which focus on the details of the work of technical service representatives and operators.

Facilities subseries

Video tours of MCI facilities with explanations of technical processes and procedures filmed between 1981 and 1998. Topics covered are how a call is processed, computer center operations, components of network control systems, operations of support systems networks, satellites and transmission systems, electronic controlled access, network management, computer aided facilities management, and video monitoring security system. There is also footage of MCI facilities under construction, including a ground breaking ceremony and the construction of a fiber optic shelter.

Focus groups subseries

Consists of four videotapes of focus group discussions about various aspects of the telecommunications industry, specifically long distance services and commercials. These videos date from 1986 and 1991.

Legal subseries

There are two videotapes in this subseries. One is a training video on how to provide testimony as a witness and the other is about managing risk and ethical conduct of employees. The tapes date 1984 and 1994 respectively.

Telecom subseries

These videos present technical information about telecommunications, specifically signaling, transmissions, binary numbering, auto dialing, grounding, bonding, shielding, monitoring alarms, fraud detection and protection, electronic mail, and synchronous optical networking (SONET). There is a series of videos called the “Basics of Telecommunications” intended for training telecommunications managers. The videotapes date from 1982 to 1994.

Television series

There are sets of videotapes of television programs which feature MCI. The series is divided into five subseries: MCI Channel (1997); The Ad Channel (1996); The Events Channel (1996); The History Channel (1996-1997); and What’s Happening (1996-1998).

Video Magazine series

Contains issues of corporate and divisional video news magazines – Video Magazine, MCI World News, Monitor, The Grapevine, Power Channel, The Pulse/POINTtv, which preserve the patterns of corporation’s everyday life. MCI was quarterly magazine which provided financial and new products/services information between 1983 and 1989. MCI News was an internal program providing its employees with news about MCI from around the world. The MCI New programs in the collection are from 1991. The Monitor (1993-1994) was the Sales and Service Operations video magazine; Power Channel (1995) was for Consumer Markets; The Pulse/POINTtv (1995-1998) were for networkMCI Services, and The Grapevine (1993-1995) was for Business Services Customer Services Centers.

We Couldn’t have Done It Without You series

Consists of 146 videotapes of employee interviews, office building construction sites, microwave towers, equipment, cables, employees at workstations, interiors and exteriors of MCI facilities. Locations include California (Camp Pendleton, Dominguez Hills, Hayward, Rialto, Sacramento, San Francisco), Colorado (Colorado Springs, Denver), Florida (Auburndale, Miami), Georgia (Atlanta), Illinois (Downers Grove), Michigan (Bridgewater), Missouri (Creve Coeur, St. Louis, Olivette), New Jersey (Crystal Lake), New York (New York); Pennsylvania (Pottstown), South Carolina (Charlotte), Texas (Irving, Campbell Creek, San Antonio), Tennessee (Memphis), Virginia (Reston, Richmond), and Washington (Seattle).

Workshops and lectures series

This series consists of videotapes of workshops and lectures and is organized into three subseries: Executive Development, Finance, and Stanford Executive Briefings. The first two are organized by MCI for MCI employees in 1986. The third is a lecture series produced by Kantola Productions LLC in 2008; the lectures focus on various aspects of leadership, each one is given by a different presenter.

Existence and Location of Copies

View selected items online in the Hagley Digital Archives.

Access Restrictions

Access may be restricted; please contact staff in advance of research visit at askhagley@hagley.org for instructions on how to apply for access to material.

Boxes 28-30 and film cans 1-15 are stored offsite in cold storage and must reacclimate prior to use. Please contact the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department at least 48 hours in advance of research visit.

Videotapes in boxes 30-146 are stored in off-site storage. At least 24 hours notice required to allow retrieval of these items.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

Separated Materials

MCI Communications Corporation records (Accession 2225), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Related Names

Source

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
MCI Communications Corporation photographs and audiovisual materials
Status:
Online
Author:
Lisa Kruczek and Laurie Sather
Date:
2015.
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400