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Thomas Brooks / Colston Warne Collection


The Thomas Brooks Collection was donated to the University Archives in 1989 by Thomas Brooks, a professor of Family Economics and Management at Southern Illinois University. The collection consists of materials Brooks assembled to write a biography of consumer leader, Colston E. Warne. The biography, however, was never completed because Brooks could not obtain funding to support the project. Warne was a faculty member of Amherst College from 1930-1970 and president of Consumer's Union from 1936-1979.

The collection is organized in 4 boxes (3 cubic feet) and spans the years 1911-1979. It was processed in 1990 by Linda Ackerman and Kim Nelson, Consumer Movement Archives student assistants. This collection was accessed as PC 122, (revised number, PC 1985.30)

The Brooks Collection is 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 the field.

Biographical Sketch of Colston E. Warne

1900        Born, Romulus, New York

1919-1920   Assistant in Economics, Cornell University

1920        B.A. degree, Cornell University

1920        Married, Frances Lee Corbett

1920-1921   Instructor of Economics, Cornell University

1921        M.A. degree, Cornell University

1921-1922   Instructor of Economics, University of Pittsburgh

1922-1925   Instructor of Economics, University of Chicago

1925        Ph.D., University of Chicago

1925-1926   Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Denver

1926-1929   Member, Board of Directors, Cooperative League of the USA

1926-1930   Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Pittsburgh

1927-1929   Summer Professor, Bryn Mawr College, Summer School for Industrial Workers

1928        Helped form Consumers Research

1930-1942   Associate Professor, Amherst College

1931-1932   Summer Professor, Bryn Mawr College, Summer School for Industrial Workers

1934-1936   President of People's Lobby, Washington D.C.

1934        Summer Professor, Bryn Mawr College, Summer School for Industrial Workers

1936-1979   President of Consumers Union

1941        Honorary Vice President of People's Lobby, Washington D.C.

1942        M.A., Honorary, Amherst College

1942-1970   Professor, Amherst College

1943        Consultant, U.S. Coordinator of Fisheries

1943-1944   Member Industry Panels, Wage and Hour Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

1946        Regional Consumer Advisor, OPA

1947-1956   Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Consumers

1947        Refused to sign the Loyalty Check

1947-1951   Advisor to the President of the United States

1953        Organized the first Council on Consumer Information (later became American Council on 
               Consumer Interests)

1954        Instrumental in having Consumers Union removed from the Un-American Activities Committee 
               list of "Subverse Organizations."

1959-1962   Member, Consumer Advisory Committee of the Commonwealth of Mass.

1960        Formed International Organization of Consumers Union

1962-1965   Member, Consumer Advisory Council to the President

1969        Retired from Amherst College

1987        Died, May 20

Scope and Content

The Thomas Brooks Collection/Colston E. Warne Biography reflects the efforts of Brooks to write a biography on consumer leader, Colston Warne. A professor of Family Economics at Amherst College for 40 years, Warne played an important part in organizing professionals in the consumer affairs field. He was known for his many roles in the consumer movement, including: president of Consumers Union, development of the international consumer movement, serving on numerous governmental committees and advisory boards, and helping to introduce the consumers point of view into economic and political public policy decisions.

The collection is organized into six series; 1) Administrative Files, 2) Research Files, 3) Warne's Personal Files, 4) Literary Works, 5) Oral Interviews, and 6) Printed Material.

The Administrative Files are related to Brooks' management of the biography project, and they are arranged in four subseries. The first subseries from this file contains correspondence between Brooks and other individuals. This includes letters between Brooks and people such as; Warne, individuals who knew Warne, and publishers. The second subseries is financial documents and includes budget statements and store requisitions for the project. The third subseries is miscellaneous files of articles and papers written by Warne. The fourth subseries is the Warne biography research proposal written by Brooks and submitted to the College of Human Resources, Southern Illinois University.

The Research Files series, organized into seven subseries, contains research material on Warne collected by Brooks. The first subseries is Amherst College, 1931-1960. Because Warne spent most of his career at Amherst, this subseries, contains pertinent information about Warne and his profession. The second subseries is articles on Colston E. Warne. These are specific articles written by others about Warne and they include: "Colston Estey Warne: Mr. Consumer", "Dr. Warne is Honored by Unitarian Society", "Advertising: Study Stirs Debate on Values", "Consumer Groups Going International". The third subseries contains biographical notes taken by Brooks while researching Warne. The fourth subseries is organizations. They include: The American Association of University Women, The American Council on Consumer Interests, and Consumers' Union. The fifth subseries contains information about people. Included are: Ralph Nader, Celia Warne, and Colston Warne. The sixth subseries is subjects and includes files on advertising, consumers in the market, cooperatives, labor, the loyalty check, and speeches/statements. The final subseries is the Warne family tree.

In the third series are Warne's personal files consisting of four subseries. The first subseries is activities and associations. They include: Consumer Advisory Committee, Council of Economic Advisors to the President of the U.S., 1947-1951; Consumers Research, Advisory Board, 1929-1935; Consumers' Union, President and member, Board of Directors, 1936-1979; People's Lobby (Washington D.C.), President, 1934-1936, Honorary Vice President, 1941, Board of Directors, 1936-1950. The second subseries is Warne's diary. This is Warne's personal diary for the years 1911-1918. The third subseries is personal papers of Warne's. Included are his address books, a pamphlet written by him, and correspondence. The fourth subseries is organizations and includes: consumer cooperatives, the consumer movement, Consumers Research, People's Lobby, and other miscellaneous organizations. Two dissertations comprise, Literary Works. The first one is titled, "An Historical Analysis of the Growth of the National Consumer Movement in the United States from 1947 to 1967", by Jeanine Gilmartin. The second is titled, "The Consumer Movement in the Sixties", by David R. Case.

The fifth series contains oral interviews Brooks conducted with Warne, and other persons related to his life. There are typed transcripts for the majority of the interviews recorded on cassette audio tapes. The tapes have been separated from the collection and stored in the Consumer Movement Archives Oral History Collection. Among the thirty-two people interviewed were: Senator Paul Douglas, Leland Gordon, Florence Mason, Margaret Warne Nelson, Barbara Warne Newell, Esther Peterson, Celia Warne Tower, Clint Warne, Colston Warne, and Francis Warne.

The sixth series contains printed material relating to the consumer movement. The majority of the printed material is either written by Warne or written about Warne.

Approximately one hundred photographs were removed from the papers and filed in the University Archives Photograph Collection. The photographs are organized in three groups: Ithaca High School year book of 1916; Warne's career involving consumer movement events; and photographs of Warne at Amherst College. Included among the second group are photographs of the Consumer Advisory Council of 1948 and of 1962, Warne's visit to Japan with the Consumer's Association in 1961, Warne's visit to India in 1969, President Kennedy, Frances Warne, Walter Wilcox, and Richard Morse.

Container List

Box  Folder  

              Administration File
1      01           General, 1947-1979
       02           Publisher, 1973
                 Financial Documents
       03           Budget Statements, 1974-1975
       04           Budget Statements, 1976-1977
       05           Requistions, 1974-1975
       06           1956-ND
       07           1930-1973
       08        Research Proposal, 1974

              Research File
                 Amherst College
       09           1931-1948
       10           1948
       11           1948-1960
       12           ND
       13           ND
       14           ND
       15           Articles on Colston E. Warne, CA 1960
                 Biographical Notes by Brooks
       16           1973-1975
       17           1975-1976
       18           ND
       19           ND
       20           Note cards, ND
       21           Note cards, ND
       22           ND
       23           ND
       24           Association of American University Women, 1944
       25           American Council on Consumer Interest, 1953-1970
                    Consumer's Union
       26               1925-1929
       27               1930-1933
       28               1935-1939
       29               1940-1950
       30               1953-1969
       31               1974-ND
       32               Finding aid for CU, ND
       33               Finding aid for CU, ND
       34               Finding aid for CU, ND
       35           Brady, Mildred, 1963-1965
       36           Cryues, Carloyn S.
       37           Kallet, Arthur, 1975
       38           Landry, Richard, ND
       39           Marsh, Bemjamin C., ND
       40           Matthews, J.B., 1938-1974
       41           Nader, Ralph, 1969-1972
       42           Newell, Barbara, ND
       43           Sandback, Walter, 1966-1972
       44           Sorenson, Helen, 1941-ND
       45           Strong, Lydia, 1964
       46           Warne, Celia, ND
       47           Warne,Colston E., 1961-1972
       48           Advertising, 1936-1948
       49           Advertising, 1961-1962
       50           Consumers in the Market, 1971
       51           Cooperatives, General, 1945
       52           Cooperatives, Illinois, ND
       53           Labor, 1945-
       54           Loyalty Check, 1947
       55           Loyalty Check, 1974
       56           Speechs/Statement, 1967-1972
       57           Warne Family Tree, 1951

              Warne Personal Files
2      01           Report on Activities, 1930-1953
       02           Report on Activities, 1930-1953
       03           Report on Activities, 1930-1953
       04           Diary, 1911-1918
                 Personal Papers
       05           Address books, ND
       06           Impact on consumerism on the market, 1971
       07           Impact on consumerism on the market, 1976
       08           Consumer Cooperative, 1890-1976
       09           Consumer's Movement, 1910-1914
       10           Consumer's Movement, 1932-1966
       11           Consumer's Research, ND
       12           Consumer's Union of the U.S., 1973-1974
       13           Consumer's Union, 1936-1939
       14           Consumer's Union, 1938-1974
       15           Consumer's Union, 1936
       16           Consumer's Union, 1958-1965
       17           Consumer's Union, 1966-1972
       18           League of Women Shoppers, ND
       19           Miscellaneous, 1947-1974
       20           People's Lobby, 1931-1945
       21           People's Lobby, 1931-1940
       22           People's Lobby, 1974

             Literary Works
       23           "An Historical Analysis of the Growth of the  National Consumer Movement in the United 
                        States from 1947 to 1967.", by Jeanine Gilmartin, 1969.
       24           "The Consumer Movement in the Sixties," by David Case, 1972

       25           Angevine, Dave and Erma, 1974
       26           Collery, Arnold, 1974
       27           Damon, G. Edward, 1974
       28           Douglas, Paul, 1973
       29           Fleisher, Henry, 1973-1974
       30           Gordon, Leland, 1974-1975
       31           Guest, James R. (Al), 1974
       32           Hewlett, Horance W., 1974
       33           Isserman, A.J., 1972
       34           Johnson, Margery Watson, 1974
       35           Kanter, Robert, 1974
       36           Kern,Paul and Colston Warne, 1972
       37           Lee, Mrs. John, 1974
       38           Margolius, Sidney, 1976
       39           Mason, Florence, 1972-1973
       40           Nelson, James, 1974
       41           Nelson, Margaret (Warne), 1973
       42           Newell, Barbara (Warne), Dr., 1974
       43           Pabst, William, ND
       44           Palmer, Frank, 1971
       45           Peterson, Ester, ND
       46           Phillips, M.C., 1970
       47           Price, Ray G., 1976
       48           Schlink, F.J., 1970
       49           Southworth, Herman, 1973
       50           Taylor, George R., 1974
       51           Thope, Willard and Claire, 1974
       52           Tower, Celia (Warne), ND
       53           Warne, Clint, Dr., 1973
       54           Warne, Colston E., (CEW), 1971
       55           CEW, 1971
       56           CEW, 1971
       57           CEW, 1971
       58           CEW, 1971
       59           CEW, 1971
       60           CEW, 1971-1972
       61           CEW, 1972
       62           CEW, 1972
       63           CEW, 1972
       64           CEW, 1973
       65           CEW, 1973
       66           CEW, 1973
       67           CEW, 1974
       68           Warne, Francis, 1973
       69           Warne Nelson, Margaret 1973
       70           Woodhouse, Mrs. Chase Going, 1974

              Printed Material
3-4              These materials contain articles written by and about Warne.