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Currin V. Shields Papers


The Currin V. Shields Papers were donated to the University Archives in November 1987 by Mrs. Currin V. Shields (Marjorie). Prior to his death in 1984, Currin Shields was active in consumer affairs and consumer organizations on the national and local levels. He was a faculty member in the Department of Government at the University of Arizona from 1960-1984, and director of the Community Services Center, 1972-1984.

The Shields papers are part of the Consumer Movement Archives (CMA) established by the K-State Libraries in 1987. The purpose of the CMA is to provide a national repository for historical materials of leaders in the consumer movement and for records of consumer organizations, and to promote scholarly research in this field.

The papers are contained in four document boxes (1.6 linear feet) and span the years 1966-1987. They are organized in the following series, 1) Arizona Consumers Council, 1966-1984, 2) Arizona Dairy Products Litigation, 1974-1987, 3) Conference of Consumer Organizations, 1973-1975, and 4) Printed Material, 1974-1982. The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, legal and financial documents, newspaper clippings, brochures and newsletters.

The bulk of the collection documents Shields' association with the Arizona Consumers Council (2 boxes) and the Conference of Consumer Organizations. The papers describe his activities with consumer organizations and identify the consumer issues they were addressing. The collection contains papers of Marjorie Shields' participation in consumer affairs, especially her role in litigation against dairy firms in Arizona.

The literary rights of the unpublished writings of Currin Shields have been transferred to the University Archives of Kansas State University. There are no restrictions regarding access to the papers.

The Currin V. Shields Papers are identified as University Archives accession number 100 (revised number, PC 1988.26). Processing of the papers was completed by Anthony R. Crawford in March 1988.

Related collections in the Consumer Movement Archives include: Richard L. D.Morse Papers, Louis Meyer Papers, and the Consumer Education Resource Network Records.

Biographical Sketch

1918          Born, LaPorte, IN

1937-1938     Advertising art dept., Chicago Tribune 

1939-1941     Research assistant, Legislative Council, Nebraska

1941          A.B. degree, University of Nebraska

1941-1943     Research assistant, political science dept., University of Wisconsin

1943          Ph.M. degree, University of Wisconsin

1943-1944     Assistant to director, Civil Affairs Training School

1944-1946     2nd lietenant, U.S. Army

1946-1947     Assistant in instruction, Cowles fellow, political science dept., Yale University

1948-1950     Instructor, Yale University

1950          Ph.D., degree, Yale University

1950-1960     Assistant and associate professor, political science dept., UCLA

1953-1955     22nd Congressional District, Democratic Council of California

1953-1955     Host, radio program, "What's the Issue?" station KFWB, Hollywood

1953-1961     Consultant, legislative education program, United Steelworkers of America

1955-1957     Co-chairman, political action committee, California Democratic Council

1958          Author, Democracy and Catholicism in America

1959-1960     Consultant, National Endowment for the Humanities

1960          Married Marjorie Miller Rowe (second marriage)

1960-1984     Professor, Department of Government, University of Arizona

1963-1972     Director, Institute of Government Research, University of Arizona

1968          Democratic candidate for governor of Arizona

1969-1974     Board member, Consumer Federation of America

1969-1980     President, Arizona Consumers Council

1970          Platform Committee, Democratic Party of Arizona

1972-1984     Director, Community Services Center, Univ. of Arizona

1973-1975     Member, consumer advisory committee, Federal Energy Commission

1975-1979     Member, National Advertising Review Board

1974-1977     Chairman, National Conference of Consumer Organizations

1975-1978     Director, Group Health of Arizona

1976-1984     Member, President's Consumer Advertising Council

1976-1984     Director, National Consumer Affairs Internship Program

1977-1984     Director, National Consumer Symposium, Inc.

1984          Died, April 25 (Age 66) 

Scope and Content Note

The four boxes of Currin V. Shields Papers are associated with his activities in the consumer movement from 1966-1984. They also reflect Marjorie Shields' involvement in consumer affairs, especially the Arizona Dairy Products Litigation that extended to 1986. Papers describing Shields' career as an educator and his political activities (he was the Democratic candidate for governor of Arizona in 1970) are not included in the collection.

The Shields Papers are organized into four separate series thereby preserving, for the most part, the order in which they were maintained by Shields and received by the Consumer Movement Archives at KSU. A few minor adjustments in the arrangement were made to facilitate labeling and access. For example, in the Arizona Consumers Council series the financial documents and typed reports were separated into individual sub-series. In addition, groups of printed material were brought together in the fourth series.

Currin Shields was a national figure in the consumer movement. He was president of the Arizona Consumers Council in from 1969 to 1980, and the organizer of the Conference of Consumer Organizations in 1973. He directed the National Consumer Affairs Internship Program, National Consumer Symposium, and Consumer Affairs Seminar. His papers document his association with these organizations and the consumer issues both he and the groups addressed.

The first series, Arizona Consumers Council (1966-1984), is housed in two document boxes and comprises the largest series in the collection. It is divided into four subseries; correspondence, general files, financial documents and reports. The items are in chronological order within each subseries. The correspondence and general files constitute all but three of the folders in this series.

Dr. Shields maintained the ACC correspondence and general files in separate notebooks, although their contents are similar. The major difference between the two is the correspondence series contains Shields' individual letters and documents regarding the ACC and his activities, while the general files include correspondence, minutes, surveys, membership data, annual and board meeting documents and miscellaneous material related to the affairs of the organization. The general files can be described as the central office files for the ACC while Shields was president from 1969-1980. Both sub-series contain papers dealing with the major consumer issues the ACC was confronting including the following: consumer protection program for Arizona, consumer fraud, unit pricing regulations, energy and environment, public utility rates, milk and bread prices, food price fixing, labeling and dating of perishable foods, national meat boycotts, food sale tax, aging, group health plans, Arizona Consumers cooperative store, anti-trust suit against bakeries, price fixing suit against Tuscon Cement Co., and bicycle safety.

The ACC correspondence contains letters between Shields and the following consumer leaders: Erma Angevine, Carol Tucker, Lee Richardson, Ester Peterson, and Edwin Palumbo; Arizona senators and representatives (Douglas S. Holsclaw, Helen Grace Carlson, David B. Stone, Manuel Pena and Anna J. Cullinan); consumer groups in other states, state and local government officials, national organizations such as the Consumer Federation of American, and federal agencies including the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Federal Energy Administration, and Federal Trade Commission.

The remaining ACC subseries contain financial documents for 1977-1978 and seven typed reports on consumer issues, 1972-1976.

The second series of the Shields Papers, Arizona Dairy Products Litigation, contains four files of legal documents and correspondence regarding a class action suit against four major dairies for violation of antitrust laws (1974-1976; 1986-1987). The class action was a partial result of the bread and milk price surveys conducted by the Arizona Consumers Council in the 1970s. Currin and Marjorie Shields were plaintiffs in the case. The litigation continued after Dr. Shields' death and the files indicate Mrs. Shields involvement, including settlements in favor of the plaintiffs.

Material associated with the Conference of Consumer Organizations (COCO) is contained in series three. It is stored in 21 folders and covers the years 1973-1975. The series was kept in its original order of three related sub-series; correspondence, general and steering committee. The entire series reflects the formation and early years of COCO and Shields' direct involvement with establishing the organization and service as chairman.

Related organizations represented in the COCO series include: National Symposium on Consumer Movement, numerous state consumer organizations, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Arizona Consumers Council, and National Consumers Congress. Individual correspondents include: Colston E. Warne, Roy Kiesling, Patricia Van Betten, Lynn B. Jordan, William Fasse, Eileen Hoats, Janet Ann Hutchinson, Robert McEwen, William Pate, Helen E. Nelson, Ellen Zawel, Arline Mathews, Louis Meyer and Henry E.K. Lee. COCO documents consist of by-laws, minutes, reports, membership data, financial statements and correspondence.

The fourth series of the Shields' Papers contains printed material divided into four sub-series as follows: Conference of Consumer Organizations, National Consumer Affairs Internship Program, National Symposium on Consumer Movement/National Consumer Symposium, and Consumer Affairs Seminar.

The COCO sub-series contains two folders of its monthly newsletter, Intercom, for the years 1974-78.

The National Consumer Affairs Internship Program was initiated by Shields in 1975. Originally a joint project between COCO and the American Council on Consumer Interests. It was chartered as a separate non-profit educational corporation in the State of Arizona in 1978. The six folders (1975-1983) contain brochures, articles of incorporation, internship descriptions, application procedures, membership lists, and newsletters.

Printed items describing the National Symposium on the Consumer Movement (1973-1975)/ National Consumer Symposium (1976-1979) make up the third sub-series. This annual conference was directed by Shields as part of the Community Services Center, Division of Continuing Education, University of Arizona. The material consists of descriptions of the symposium, programs, and lists of speakers and registrants.

The Consumer Affairs Seminar (4th sub-series) was also conducted by the Community Services Center at the University of Arizona. Each of the five seminars from 1976 to 1980 is described in a folder of printed material.

Container List

Box  Folder 

              Arizona Consumers Council
1      01           1969 (Dec)-1970
       02              Jan
       03              Feb 1-15
       04              Feb 15-28
       05              Mar-Apr
       06              May
       07              Jun-Aug
       08              Sep
       09              Nov
       10              Dec
       11              Jan-Apr
       12              May-Nov
       13           1973
       14           1974
       15           1975
       16              Feb
       17              Mar-May
       18              Aug-Dec
                 General Files
       19           1966-1969
       20              Consumer Fraud, 1967
       21              Maricopa County, 1967
       22              Jan-Aug
       23              Oct-Dec
       24              Jan-Sep
       25              Oct-Nov
       26              Dec
       27              Jan
       28              Feb-Mar
       29              Apr-May
       30              Jun-Jul
2      01              Aug-Sep
       02              Oct
       03              Nov-Dec
       04              Jan-Mar
       05              Apr-Jul
       06              Aug-Dec
       07              Jan-Apr
       08              May-Sep
       09              Oct-Dec
       10              Jan-Jun
       11              Jul-Dec
       12              May-Jun
       13              Jul-Oct
       14              Nov-Dec
       15              Jan
       16              Feb-Mar
       17              May-Dec
       18              Jan-Feb
       19              Mar-Apr
       20              Nov-Dec
       21           1978
       22           1978, Bicycle Safety Educ. Report
       23              Jan-Jun
       24              Jul-Dec
       25           1980
       26           1981
       27           1982
       28           1983-1984
                 Financial Documents
3      01           Treasurer's Reports, 1977-1978
       02           Reports, N.D.
       03           Reports, N.D.

              Arizona Dairy Products Litigation
       04        1980
       05        1986
       06        1986
       07        1987
       08        Newspaper Clippings, 1974-1976

              Conference of Consumer Organizations
       09           1973
       10              Jan-Feb   
       11              Mar-Apr
       12              Jun-Sep
       13              Oct-Dec
       14              Jan-Mar
       15              Apr
                 General Files
       16           1973, Dec
       17              Jan-May
       18              Sep-Dec
       19              Dec, Membership
       20              Jan-Apr
       21              May-Jul
                 Steering Committee
       22           1973, Dec
       23           1973, Dec
       24           1973, Dec
       25              Jan
       26              Feb
       27              Mar-May
       28              Jun-Oct
       29              Nov
       30           1975, Mar

              Printed Material
                 Conference of Consumer Organizations
4      01              1974-1975
       02              1976-1978
                 National Consumer Affairs Internship Program
       03           1975
       04           1976
       05           1978
       06           1982
       07           1983
       08           Newsletters, 1978-1982
       09        National Symposium on Consumer Movement (1st), 1973
       10        National Symposium on Consumer Movement (1st), 1973
       11        National Symposium on Consumer Movement (2nd), 1974
       12        National Symposium on Consumer Movement (2nd), 1974
       13        National Symposium on Consumer Movement (3rd), 1975
       14        National Consumer Symposium (4th), 1976
       15        National Consumer Symposium (4th), 1976
       16        National Consumer Symposium (5th), 1977
       17        National Consumer Symposium (5th), 1977
       18        National Consumer Symposium (6th), 1978
       19        National Consumer Symposium (7th), 1979
                 Consumer Affairs Seminar
       20           1976
       21           1977
       22           1978
       23           1979
       24           1980

Addition received from Marjorie Shields, Jan. 23, 1989

4      25        Legal documents: National  Consumer Symposium, 1977-1982