American Council on Consumer Interests records, 1953-1983
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Brief Description:

The American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI) records document the activities of the group from its beginning in 1953 through 1983. The records are contained in four boxes (4.0 cubic feet) and they are divided into the following series: 1) Correspondence, 1963-1983; 2) Board of Directors, 1976-1982; 3) Committees, 1954-1982; 4) Conferences, 1953-1978; 5) Financial Documents, 1956-1979; 6) Miscellaneous, 1965-1982.

The first series contains incoming and outgoing correspondence of the executive directors, Edward Metzen (1973-1976), Karen Stein (1975-1978), Mel Zelenak (1978-1982), and Barbara Slusher (1984- 1986). The correspondence pertains mainly to payment of membership dues, a proposed site relocation, 1978, and publications.

The second series, board of directors, consists of minutes from board meetings and annual reports to the board from the executive directors (1976-1982).

The third series, committees, is one of the largest comprising forty-three folders. The executive committee sub-series (1956- 1982) contains correspondence, agendas, annual reports and documents concerning annual business meetings, meetings, conference calls and miscellaneous matters.

The membership committee (1972-1977) is the second sub-series and contains correspondence regarding membership in ACCI and a promotional manual. Conferences is another sizable series in the records. It spans the years 1953-1978 and is housed in one box. In this series is information about each annual conference including registration, program, finances, and planning.

The fifth series contains financial documents. It is divided into three sub-series; financial documents (1955-1983), grants (1963- 1981), and Internal Revenue Service (1967-1979). The first sub- series includes monthly, budget, and accountants reports, financial projections, and miscellaneous items. The grants sub- series contain information on grants applied for and/or received from Consumer's Union and the Office of Consumer Education. The third sub-series, Internal Revenue Service, has information pertaining to tax status, employee withholding, and miscellaneous tax information.

The last series contains miscellaneous material for the years 1965-1982. It concerns the following; ACCI history (a history of ACCI written by Henry Harap in 1969 is found here), internship program that began with the Conference of Consumer Organizations, booklet on lobbying by public interest charities, National Consumers Week, and testimonies from the Consumer Federation of America.

Held at:
Morse Department of Special Collections
Email: libsc [at]
Created by: American Council on Consumer Interests (1953-), Metzen, Edward and Anita
Volume: 11.0 Linear Feet
Acquired: 06/13/1988.
Arrangement: The records are contained in four boxes (4.0 cubic feet) and span the years 1953-1983. They are organized in the following series:1) Correspondence, 1963-1983, 2) Board of Directors, 1976-1982, 3) Committees, 1954-1982, 4) Conferences, 1953-1978, 5) Financial Documents, 1956-1979, and 6) Miscellaneous, 1965-1982. The collection contains correspondence, minutes, reports, financial documents, and conference material.
Biographical Note for American Council on Consumer Interests (1953-) :

1952    Colston Warne proposed an idea for "launching a consumer education association"

1953    Planning session for further consideration of the project; committee formed to draw up by-laws; plans made for publishing a newsletter and a series of  pamphlets; association named Council on Consumer Information; Eugene Beem, Executive Secretary; CCI located at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan

1954    First pamphlet released, Consumer Look at Farm Price Polices; Membership grew from 70 in July to 139 in late November; Warren Nelson, Executive Secretary; CCI located at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

1955    First Annual Conference held in Dayton, Ohio; Fred Archer, Executive Secretary; CCI located at State Teachers College, St. Cloud, Minnesota

1956    Membership reached 640; Ramon Heimerl, Executive Director through 1965; CCI relocated  to Greeley State College, Greeley, Colorado through 1965

1957    The merger of CCI and the National Association of Consumers was approved

1958    Membership grew to 1041

1962    Five members of CCI were appointed to the President's Advisory Council

1963    Tenth Anniversary of the founding of CCI; membership 1200; eight conferences held, 14 published, and 38 editions of the newsletter distributed

1964    CCI joined the International Organization of Consumers Unions

1966    Executive committee approved the publication of the Journal of Consumer Affairs; Edward Metzen, Executive Secretary through

1975; CCI relocated to University of Missouri, Columbia, its present location

1967    First issue of the Journal of Consumer Affairs published; CCI membership directory published

1968    Membership 1531; CCI became a member of the Consumer Federation of America

1969    Name changed to American Council on Consumer Interests

1971    Colston E. Warne Lecture Series was formed

1972    ACCI Board of Directors established the Distinguished Fellow Award

1973    Title of Executive Secretary was changed to Executive Director; Executive Committee was increased from 8 to 10 members

1975    College student internship program began as a joint project with the Conference of Consumer Organizations (National Consumer Affairs Internship Program); Karen Stein, Executive Director through June, 1978

1977    ACCI received a grant from the U.S. Office of Consumer Education to produce a position paper, "Consumer Information Systems and Technical Assistance Services as Viewed by ACCI"

1978    Mel Zelenak, Executive Director through June, 1983

1983    Barbara Slusher became Executive Director through August 1988

1988    Anita Metzen became Executive Director

On November 5, 1952, Colston Warne (President of Consumers Union) inquired by letter whether Ray Price and Henry Harap would be interested in launching a consumer education association. Warne stated that Consumers Union would contribute financial support to bring several persons together for that purpose. Price and Harap met with Warne in Chicago and approved the proposal. Twenty persons accepted an invitation to attend a planning session at the University of Minnesota. These Charter Members were primarily college and university professors. They approved the selection of an executive committee which was given the following charge: prepare a plan for permanent organization, prepare a budget and obtain financial assistance, choose an executive secretary, and define its functions. The following persons served on this Executive Committee: Marguerite Burk, Eugene Beem, G.E. Damon, Henry Harap and Ray Price. Eugene Beem was chosen to act as Executive Secretary. The Executive Committee met in Washington on June 1, 1953, after which the Consumers Union made a grant of $7000. This grant enabled the planning group to proceed with the recruitment of members, publication of newsletters and pamphlets, and the organization of an annual conference. Thus, the American Council on Consumers Interests was formally established in 1953. Initially, the organization was called the Council on Consumer Information and in 1969 it was changed to the American Council on Consumer Interests. ACCI was established for the purpose of stimulating the exchange of ideas among persons interested in the welfare of the consumer and to be non-political, taking no stand on issues of public policy. Its sole purpose was to contribute to more effective fact-finding and dissemination of consumer information. The first annual ACCI conference was held in 1955 in Dayton, Ohio. *Taken from Henry Harap, "A Brief History of the American Council on Consumer Interests," a photocopied paper distributed by Consumers Union of the U.S., March 1981.

Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
Acquisition Notes: American Council on Consumer Interests  Donation
PreferredCitation: [Item title], [item date], American Council on Consumer Interests Records, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.