Accession 1411

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807

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Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, National Association of Manufacturers records -- CLOSING FOR MAINTENANCE BEGINNING MARCH 2020. PLEASE CONTACT LIBRARY STAFF FOR MORE INFORMATION. (Accession 1411), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807


Descriptive Summary

Dates: 1895-2013, bulk 1930-1980
Accession Number: 1411
Creator: National Association of Manufacturers (U.S.).
Extent: 1269 linear feet
Physical Description: Includes 11 microfilm reels
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: The National Association of Manufacturers was established in the 1890s to protect American goods from foreign competition and promote trade expansion.Their records provide comprehensive documentation on the organization's programs and activities.
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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Records closed for 25 years from date of creation.

Use Restrictions

Literary rights retained by depositor.

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I. General files

II. Chronological/numerical files

III. National Industrial Information Committee

IV. General administrative files

V. Law Dept.

VI. Public Relations Dept.

VII. Industrial Relations Dept

VIII. Membership Dept.

IX. Committee

X. NAM statements

XI. Women's Dept.

XII. Vada Horsch subject files

XIII. Board of directors' and committee minutes

XIV. Chairman and president

XV. Senior staff

XVI. Publications

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Historical Note

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) was organized in January of 1895 when approximately 600 manufacturers met during the 1890s depression in Cincinnati, Ohio, to formulate a program for economic recovery. The aim 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 Mid-West and South. In its first decade, NAM focused on lobbying for a high protective tariff, government support for a canal across the Isthmus of Panama, and a federal Department of Commerce.

During the 1910s and 1920s, NAM was at the center of the Open Shop movement that was being organized in order to counter the successes of organized labor. NAM played a leading role in lobbying state legislatures for uniform workmen's compensation laws that would limit employer liability for industrial accidents. In the 1930s, NAM became the focal point for the business community's opposition to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, and it organized sophisticated public relations campaigns to build support for the free enterprise system and defend an American business system that considered itself as under attack. The National Industrial Information Council (NIIC) was organized in 1934 for this purpose. During the late 1930s and 1940s, NAM worked for the repeal of the Wagner Act that had guaranteed labor the right to organize. This effort culminated in the 1948 passage of the Taft-Hartley Act.

The Marshall provided NAM with the opportunity to play an important role in European postwar reconstruction. Working through the Anglo-American Council on Productivity, NAM helped to train thousands of British, French and Italian managers in American business practices. In the 1950s, NAM adapted its public relations efforts to the new medium of television when it launched its "Industry on Parade" series in 1953. During the next two decades, NAM continued its efforts to roll back the New Deal Order and later, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. With the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980, NAM saw many of the positions it had long advocated become enacted into law.

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Scope and Content

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) records provide comprehensive documentation of the organization's programs and activities.

NAM's early years are documented through the published proceedings of the Congress of American Industry and its pamphlet file. These materials describe NAM's origins, its positions on tariff protection, workmen's compensation, the Panama Canal, and the organization of the Department of Commerce.

The records of the Industrial Relations and Law Departments document the central role that NAM played in the Open Shop movement, its opposition to the New Deal and Wagner Act, and its support for the Taft-Hartley Act and state right-to-work laws outlawing closed shops.

The records of the National Industrial Information Committee (NIIC) document NAM's public relations campaigns aimed at promoting a free enterprise alternative to the New Deal. NIIC records and publications document efforts to counter the successes of organized labor and the CIO organizing drives. The NIIC records demonstrate the way NAM used the print and motion picture media in its economic education programs. Records and publicity relating to "Industry on Parade" document its early efforts at television programming.

Committee records describe lobbying and public relations campaigns from the 1930s through the 1990s. Of particular interest are records of the Committees on International Economic Affairs, Natural Resources, Government Opertions & Expenditures, Science & Technology, Patent, Education, National Defense, Technology, and Telecommunicati‚Äčons.

Records relating to NAM's involvement with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) describe efforts to align ILO with conservative and anti-Communist labor unions. Similarly, files relating to post-World War II reconstruction document NAM's work with the Anglo-American Council on Productivity. The collection also includes board of directors meeting minutes, agendas and supporting documents (1905-2013), executive committee minutes, Washington board reports (1939-1955), minutes of the National Manufacturing Company (1905-1940), and the papers of NAM's chairmen and presidents (1967-1976), particularly R. Heath Larry and Alexander B. Trowbridge.

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