BAS Newsletter, 2001 vol. 18, no. 1

Business Archives Section Newsletter

2001 vol. 18, no. 1

Premiere Online Issue!

Welcome to the premiere online issue of the SAA Business Archives Section Newsletter!! The Newsletter began in 1984, and is prepared and published twice a year. Each issue of the newsletter is posted to the Business Archives Section Website, and is distributed upon request to individuals on an official mailing list provided by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). To be added to this list, please contact SAA To contribute articles to the SAA Business Archives Section Newsletter, contact the current editors.



  • Accessing the Past Through Present Technologies: Wisconsin Business History Resources Web Site / by Michael Doylen, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • The Cleveland Orchestra Archives and the Marketplace / by Carol Jacobs, Cleveland Orchestra Archives  
  • The Coca-Cola Company Donates a Comprehensive Collection of Its Television Advertising to the Library of Congress /  by Philip F. Mooney, Coca-Cola Company
  • Drawing on the Archives: California State Automobile Association's Centennial / by Tracey Panek, CSAA




Accessing the Past Through Present Technologies: Wisconsin Business History Resources Web Site

by Michael Doylen, Academic Archivist, Golda Meir Library, University of Wisconsin,Milwaukee

The Wisconsin Business History Resources (WBHR) Web site provides access to a wealth of information about Wisconsin business, past and present. The site was created by the Archives department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Golda Meir Library and went on-line in January 2001. It may be accessed at

One of the main features of the WBHR site is an index of the Incorporation Papers of Defunct Domestic [Wisconsin] Corporations, 1848-1945 (Series 356), an archival collection held by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (SHSW). The physical collection consists of more than 50,000 records occupying about 1,000 cubic feet. The records were originally filed with the Secretary of State, which required corporations to submit articles of incorporation from 1848 to 1996. Most files contain articles of organization and amendments, annual reports, statements of changes in officers and directors, and statements of dissolution. These records are a gold mine of facts for historians, genealogists, and other researchers, providing otherwise elusive details about company founders, products, and stocks.

For instance, the records of the Love-Me Ice Cream Stores, Inc. show that Ernest L. Riebau, Herman J. Jongebold, and Robert A. Ewans signed articles of incorporation on August 21, 1931. These articles state, in the prosaic language of official documents, that the company's purpose was "to manufacture, buy and sell, both retail and wholesale, ice cream products, candies, fruits, ice cream manufacturing machinery, refrigerators of any and all kinds and to generally engage in the retail and wholesale ice cream business." Located at 1639 N. 12th Street in Milwaukee, the company was already doing business under the name "Love Me Ice Cream Company." Company officers filed only one annual report before formally dissolving the corporation on February 8, 1933. Although the records offer no explanation for their action, we can speculate that the Great Depression was not a boom time for selling luxury products like ice cream.

Furthermore, some records provide surprising glimpses of the personalities that created them.  For instance, in the statement of dissolution of the Nasonville Co-operative Cheese and Butter Co., the company president and secretary affirm that "the foregoing copy of such resolution is a dull, true, and correct copy of the original thereof"!  Although company officers were often exasperated by the paperwork forced on them by the state, today's researchers are glad that such documentation survives and find the records of these defunct companies anything but "dull."

Each entry in the on-line index contains the company name, the county in which it was incorporated, and a file number.  The Archives anticipates that the ability to search for defunct corporations by county will prove popular with public libraries and county historical societies. More than one-third of the entries relates to businesses based in Milwaukee county.  Researchers submit file numbers to the SHSW, whose staff then retrieves the physical records from an off-site storage facility.  Records may be consulted at the SHSW or transferred to any of the thirteen Area Research Center network member institutions.  Researchers should allow ample time for the records to be retrieved.  The SHSW may reproduce records for researchers who cannot travel to Madison or an Area Research Center; contact the SHSW about fees.  The index may be accessed at

The Archives is in the process of indexing the SHSW archival collection Charter Documents--Domestic Nonstock Corporations, 1889-1993 (Series 357).  When completed, this index of defunct, nonstock corporations will complement the index of defunct, stock-holding corporations.

The indexing project was funded by the Founding Industries of Wisconsin, whose database of state businesses is also included on the Web site.  This organization was established in 1987 by three Milwaukee businessmen:  Theodore Friedlander, marketing consultant and former vice president of the Phoenix Hosiery Company; John C. Geilfuss, former chairman of the Marine National Exchange Bank and Marine Corporation; and Edward Van Housen, executive vice president of the Marshall & Isley Bank.  Concerned that historical information about Wisconsin companies was in danger of being lost or destroyed, the three men created a database that provides information about more than 5,000 Wisconsin companies, existing or defunct, with at least 100 employees. This database and the paper records compiled during its creation are held in the UWM Library Archives.  The WBHR Web site includes an on-line version of the database that provides information such as company names, locations (by city and county), dates of incorporation, etc.  It may be accessed at

The WBHR Web site also provides access to information about current Wisconsin corporations: links to the Web sites of more than 500 corporations, contact information of business associations, and links to other business resources, such as the Corporate Report Fact Book, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Business Section, and the Small Business Times.

Anyone interested in providing information for the Wisconsin Business History Resources Web site is encouraged to contact the Archives by e-mail at or by phone at (414) 229-5402.

The Cleveland Orchestra Archives and the Marketplace

by Carol Jacobs, Cleveland Orchestra Archives

Recent trends in television programming, heightened interest in genealogy, and increasing reliance on primary sources by students, have all pointed to a resurgence of interest in history and archival repositories. Archivists have always known that archival repositories are gold mines. Now it appears that the general public is also beginning to realize that archives can be rich sources not only of evidence, information and documentation, but also of downright good stories.

The recent publication of a comprehensive history of The Cleveland Orchestra by Donald Rosenberg, The Cleveland Orchestra Story: Second to None, has demonstrated the value of archival repositories in providing both information and good stories. Like most repositories, The Cleveland Orchestra Archives has provided textual documentation for numerous studies, articles and books. An orchestra's archives can also play a significant role in enhancing the organization's marketing efforts through the promotion and use of its multi-media primary source materials.

Over the years, numerous items from the Archives have been used to help create or develop merchandise available for sale to the public.  Images from archival photographs and art works have graced or enhanced a number of products such as mugs, guidebooks, compact disc covers, posters, books, and even postage stamps.  As is the case with many repositories, archival photographs and footage from the Cleveland Orchestra Archives have been used effectively in documentaries.  Integrating archival images with live interviews and narratives has formed a compelling story in a number of cases, most notably at the time of the Orchestra's seventy-fifth anniversary in 1993, and at the reopening of Severance Hall in January 2000 after an extensive renovation project. 

All of these products and documentaries, based on sources from the Archives, have played a modest role in how we "position" ourselves, or how we want to be viewed by the public. This image-making process also includes an educational component, which shows information in new ways and which dares people to consider or try the unfamiliar. The many different sources and formats found in the Archives can be effective and evocative tools in this process.  But in keeping with the Orchestra's mission of consistently reinforcing artistic excellence, these tools have to be the best possible examples, or at least the best we can offer at the time given the available resources.

Perhaps the most dramatic and effective way to enhance the Orchestra's historical image is to mine its sound archives. After all the most fundamental historical record of any orchestra is its sound. Programs, photographs and correspondence are important and have their place, but nothing quite documents an orchestra like hearing how it actually sounded at a given point in time. The sound archives does not refer to commercial recordings, which are comparable to published documents. Rather, it refers to the Orchestra's collection of broadcast recordings. These are live performance recordings done for broadcast and archival purposes, which include not only how the orchestra actually sounded but also how the audience clapped, how it coughed, and any glitches in the performance of the music. Naturally, only the most pristine performances are considered in the search for marketable items.  The historical aspect is important, but it is secondary to musical and acoustical qualities.

As the commercial recording industry plunged into its downward spiral in recent years, the mining of orchestras' sound archives and the self-publishing of private label retrospective compact disc collections has become almost the only successful recording activity in the classical music world today.  This type of project is a great promotional tool, and it can be profitable as well.  About twenty years ago the Chicago Symphony began this trend of showcasing one's sound archives when it began issuing discs of live performances made from broadcast tapes as fundraising premiums.  They proved to be extremely popular.  In the late 1980s, The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus began creating biennially a new Christmas cassette tape (later compact disks) that used the broadcast tapes of previous Christmas concerts.  These sell phenomenally well and are used to augment the Chorus's travel fund. 

At about the same time, the Orchestra itself began producing discs that used both past commercial recordings and broadcast tapes of live performances as premiums for our various fundraising campaigns.  Recently we issued a 2-CD set for private distribution that was taken (with permission) from a radio program produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation and aired in Britain in the spring of 1999 called "The Building of an Orchestra."  The original BBC program consisted of commercial recordings, broadcast recordings, and interviews of various people associated with the Orchestra (including the Archivist!).

An interesting example of a multi-faceted project to create a product based on materials mined from the Archives (both sound and otherwise) is the George Szell Centennial CD set that was released in 1997, and is still available for sale today.  While the project was in its conceptual phase, we deduced that there was a market for Cleveland Orchestra retrospective CDs, based on the success of our 1993 ten-disc Seventy-Fifth Anniversary set of historic recordings, which had completely sold out.  Plus we knew that there is a special and enduring interest in the Orchestra's fourth music director.  The number of reference requests in the Archives concerning George Szell , the continuing world-wide popularity of his commercial recordings, the brisk trade in his bootlegged recordings, and the relative dearth of published material about Szell all led to the conclusion that this conductor was still marketable amongst a wide segment of the classical music-loving public.

We certainly had the primary source material from which to choose. Since our regular series of broadcast recordings began in 1965, five years before Szell's death, we had a core of live concert recordings that had not been heard before on the commercial market.  In addition, we had access to a unique set of live concert recordings made during the 1956/57 season as part of a project to test an experimental method of multi-channel 3-track recording.  These 1956/57 concert tapes are especially important historically because they capture the Orchestra on the brink of international prominenceÖa few months before it embarked on its first tour of Europe and just as it started to appear regularly at New York's Carnegie Hall.  Several of these early concert recordings were of contemporary works and they were included in the Szell Centennial CD set not only because they were good examples of how the Orchestra sounded at this seminal point in its history, but also because they helped to correct the misconception that Szell conducted only the standard repertoire.

The CD booklet that accompanied the set required a great deal of support from the Archives.  It was filled with photos, many of which had not been seen before, and most of which were not fully identified either as to the content of the photo or the photographer.  Filling all those blanks required hours of digging. The Archives also provided numerous published articles on Szell as historical background for the publication staff.  Among those articles, the full text of Szell's lengthy obituary in the New York Times was chosen for inclusion in the CD booklet.

Even the design of the packaging of this CD set utilized resources from the Archives.  First of all, a good example of Szell's signature was needed.  Since we have many documents with his signature, that item was relatively easy to supply.  Szell's distinctive signature appears not only on the CD set's slipcover, jewel cases, and booklet cover, but also on each disc as well.  The composite photograph used on the box cover and then on each of the components inside had been created by a former Orchestra photographer who had recently participated in the Archives' oral history project.

The last disc of the set captures the speaking voice of George Szell in segments of interviews conducted during the 1960s.  These tapes were in the Archives in reel-to-reel format and had been transferred to a cassette tape for access purposes.  For inclusion in the Szell CD set, the original reels were used in order to obtain the best transcription possible.  The interview segments add a great deal to the set's historical quality.  There is nothing quite like hearing the voice of George Szell himself.

Of course all of these self-produced retrospective CD sets reveal only a small portion of The Orchestra's Sound Archives.  Not only does it contain five seasons of George Szell, but also ten seasons of Lorin Maazel, seventeen seasons of Christoph von Dohnànyi, several years worth of various associate conductors and guest conductors, and a few miscellaneous performances from the mid 1940s.  In recent years, the seemingly limitless opportunities of the Internet have opened up new possibilities in the preservation and mining of all orchestras' sound archives.  The Cleveland Orchestra is currently searching for ways to utilize the ever-developing technology of the Internet, while at the same time protecting the rights of musicians.   There seems to be little doubt, however, that this is the wave of the future, especially in a world where the classical recording industry has virtually died.   Not that music on the Internet will replace the live concert experience, but it will supplement, and ideally, reinforce and greatly enhance that experience.  The Cleveland Orchestra Archives, and all orchestra archives, have the chance of a lifetime to participate in something truly entrepreneurial and revolutionary.Presented originally in longer format by Carol Jacobs at the Society of Ohio Archivists Spring Meeting, April 6-7, 2000.


"New Millennium, New Archives--Shaking Your Money Maker:  Ohio's Archives & the Marketplace"

Donald Rosenberg, The Cleveland Orchestra Story:  Second to None [Gray Publishing Co., 2000]

reportedly stated by Henry Fogel, Executive Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Magazine 38 (August 1987): 27

The Coca-Cola Company Donates a Comprehensive Collection of Its Television Advertising to the Library of Congress

By Philip F. Mooney, Director, Archives Department, The Coca-Cola Company

At a November, 2000 reception in Washington, DC, the Library of Congress announced that The Coca-Cola Company was donating a major collection of television advertising as part of the Library's Bicentennial Gifts to the Nation program. It is estimated that the gift will be in excess of 20,000 ads to be conveyed to the Library over the next 3-5 years. The collection will include both US and international ads dating from 1950 to the present. Once the initial transfer of materials is complete, ongoing periodic additions will be made to the collection to insure its completeness.

On the surface, it may seem unusual for a business archives to divest itself of a major element in its collection, but the partnership between the Library of Congress and The Coca-Cola Company yields significant benefits to both parties. Not only does the Library obtain a major advertising collection that extends over half a century, capturing the music, lifestyles and mores of people in their communities, it also receives these commercials fully catalogued when they arrive. From the Company perspective, the gift allows historians, social scientists and students of popular culture access to a body of work that would be impossible if those materials remained in the corporate archives. Additionally, the Company received extensive press coverage of the gift including segments on the Today show and the CBS Evening News.

However, when the project began, months earlier, neither the Library of Congress nor visions of media interest in television advertising for Coca-Cola were considerations. Rather, the issue at hand was the preservation of a large collection of television advertising elements that had been stored for years in a New Jersey warehouse. In attempting to piece together a complete collection of American television advertising for the Archives, we discovered that the advertising agencies that had worked on the Coca-Cola account had been sending their production elements to a warehouse that was used by most of the major tv advertisers. A further review revealed the depth of the problem. Over 7,000 boxes of uncatalogued material existed in this one facility alone. Records of these materials did not exist anywhere in the Company, and the annual storage fees for these materials were considerable. In essence, the Company was investing in an inactive resource that was not providing any benefit to the business.

There seemed to be two basic choices with respect to these commercials. We could continue to leave the materials in dead storage, or we could opt to convert this collection into an active resource for the business. The Archives Department had already launched an on-line Image Library of over 8,000 advertising and photographic images on the Company's Intranet site that was very heavily used, and to expand this concept to include television commercials, making them available at the desktop, seemed a logical next-step. Still, the appraisal, cataloging and digital conversion of such a large collection of moving images would require a very significant allocation of funding and technical support. As the proposal made its way through several layers of management, there was general agreement that the project benefits outweighed the costs and that a failure to act would insure that a major element of the Company's advertising history would be lost through benign neglect. After several months of review and some significant management changes, the project was approved.

The Advertising Preservation Project, as it had been titled internally, would provide Company associates with easy access to the body of television commercials produced for our brands, but it would do little for those external researchers who would have interest in a similar body of work. If we could identify a research institution where such an advertising collection would add value, we could enhance the value of the project and open the archival collection to a wider audience.

The Library of Congress soon emerged as the most desirable repository for this collection. Their Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recording Sound Division housed the largest collection of films and television broadcasts, and 2000 marked the Bicentennial of the Library itself. Subsequent inquiries to the Library confirmed their interest in the donation, and a deed of gift was executed.

Under the terms of the gift, the Library will receive the master production elements for the commercials along with catalogued digital tapes, while the Company will receive digital tapes for its collections. The strength of this partnership is that a resource that had been unusable to both internal and external audiences now is available to both. Additionally, the resulting publicity concerning the gift created positive media coverage for the Company while providing a heightened public awareness about the Library's collections and its Bicentennial program.

Drawing on the Archives: California State Automobile Association's Centennial

by Tracey Panek, CSAA Archives

The year 2000 became a year for celebrations. Millennial for the world. Sesquicentennial for the state of California. Centennial for the California State Automobile Association (CSAA). CSAA operates as the AAA affiliate in Northern California, Nevada and Utah. Although AAA national incorporated in 1902, CSAA dates its predecessor organization to 1900. CSAA Archives, newly formed in 1998, became a primary support center for the company's centennial celebration. As many archivists will be involved in a celebration of some type, this article provides a review of the archives' efforts during the centennial as well as recommendations.

Preparation for the celebration began with a book project in 1999. CSAA hired writers and a publisher to produce a coffee-table book complete with glossy photographs and archival images. The archives provided the graphics for the book, combing through files of photographs, maps, documents and artifacts. Archives Manager, Alison Moore, developed company timelines for each decade with events such as the date CSAA established emergency roadside assistance and the date CSAA first offered insurance.

CSAA used the centennial book, Spirit of the Road, throughout the celebration. Members purchased the books at district offices, on-line or by mail. The book also became a handsome gift to long-time members, dignitaries and others.  In addition to providing timelines and graphics, the archives also helped host a book-signing event for CSAA's employees complete with cake and a book discount.

A series of roadshows at shopping malls throughout CSAA's territory became the hallmark of the celebration.  The mall exhibit simulated the company's district offices with kiosks representing services such as travel, membership, insurance and automotive services. Visitors to the roadshow applied for membership, reserved cruises or purchased insurance. In the center of the roadshow, the main kiosk featured a video on the company's history that included interviews with officers and an abundance of archival photographs. The main kiosk also included a historical timeline of the company, again illustrated with documents and ephemera from the archives.

Giveaways were a popular feature of the roadshow. These included flashlights, key chains and other items imprinted with CSAA's centennial logo, "Ready for the Next 100 Years". Guests also completed a trivia quiz that included questions about company history, becoming eligible for vacation packages or other prizes.  The archives created its own giveaways with postcards containing reprints of historic photographs and the covers of longtime CSAA magazine, Motorland (now Via).

Throughout the year, the press and newspapers reported on the centennial.  The archives answered questions and provided photographs for reports featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune and local newspapers. The company was even featured in several television productions including KTVU's "My Twentieth Century."

The centennial proved to be a very rewarding experience. Most notably, the centennial demonstrated the value of the archives to the company. It also made company history meaningful to employees and members who discovered that CSAA has been a pioneer in California automobile history.

Here are several recommendations to others who may be embarking on a celebration:

  1. Keep duplicate copies of popular photographs on hand.  Inevitably, the media or other users request graphic images.  We found that certain images were used repeatedly as they tended to symbolize a service or capture the feeling of an era. You can save time by having duplicates images of these frequently requested items already available.
  2. Make your work count.  Try to get the most mileage out of your projects by using them more than once.  For instance, we reproduced the roadshow kiosk timeline as separate panels that could be transported for display.   Throughout the year, we displayed the timeline at member and employee events and other celebrations.  The archives even used these same panels for a display at San Francisco City Hall during the Chamber of Commerce's 150th anniversary celebration.
  3. Create giveaways.  People love getting something for nothing.  This is especially true for items with a vintage quality.  Mine your archives for graphic images that can be reproduced on giveaway items.  We produced vintage postcards and float pens, both of which were popular pieces.
  4. Give projects a local slant.  Along with creating a generic company timeline, the archives also created chronologies for display in 37 local district offices.  We found that tailoring our projects to our audiences worked wonders.  For example, a Santa Rosa, California newspaper included a story uncovered by the archives about CSAA officers dining with famous Santa Rosa native, Luther Burbank, who took them on a tour of his gardens.

Enjoy the opportunity to let the archives shine during company celebrations. Above all, make your company history fun and exciting. In the end, the archives will become a key source of your company's culture.


Katie Dishman became the corporate archivist for General Mills, in Golden Valley, Minnesota, in August 2000. She left her position as the archivist and research librarian at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after seven years and moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. General Mills is the maker of many foods including Betty Crocker products, Cheerios, Wheaties, and Yoplait, among others.

Brooke Hinrichs, in March, began a new position as archivist at The History Factory in Chantilly, Virginia. Her duties at The History Factory include processing and research services for a number of corporate clients. Hinrichs previously worked as archivist/researcher at She has a Masters of Library Science with a concentration in archives and records management from the University of Maryland, College Park.

In Memoriam: Liz Holum Johnson

We are sad to report the passing of Liz Holum Johnson on October 24, 2000, after a four-year battle with breast cancer. Liz had been the corporate archivist and records manager at H.B. Fuller Company in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota. Prior to that she worked in historic preservation at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Liz grew up in Minneapolis and received her B.A. from St. Olaf College in 1979 and her M.A. from Colorado State University in 1981.

Liz was active in MAC, ARMA, TCART (Twin Cities Archives Round Table) and SAA. She served as chair of the Business Archives Section of SAA from 1995-96 and was the co-editor of the Directory of Corporate Archives in the U.S. and Canada. She also was president of TCART in 1991. She enjoyed attending archival conferences and interacting with her colleagues.

Liz was intelligent and kind and devoted to the archival profession and her family. She will be missed by all those who knew her.

Liz is survived by her husband, Dan, and two children, Sara and Ryan.

Memorial contributions can be made to the business records program at the Minnesota Historical Society, an organization dear to Liz. Please send your donations to Ms. Therese Downey, Development Office, Minnesota Historical Society, 345 Kellogg Blvd. West, St. Paul, MN  55102. Please specify that it is for the Liz Holum Johnson fund.


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  • Anne Millbrooke, United Technologies, 1984-1986
  • Colleen Wickey,  Center for History of Chemistry and Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, 1987-1989
  • Ellen Lawson, National City Corporation, 1990-1992
  • Deborah Shea, The Winthrop Group, Inc., 1993-1994
  • Paul Lasewicz, Aetna, Inc., 1995-1996
  • Debbie Waller, The History Factory, 1997-1998
  • Cheryl Chouiniere and Steve Hausfeld,  The History Factory; Eleanor Fye, Microsoft Corporation, 1999-

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