American Council on Consumer Interests records

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk P1988.41

Level of description



American Council on Consumer Interests records


  • 1953-1983 (Creation)


11.00 Linear Feet, 4.00 Boxes

Name of creator


Administrative history

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.

Name of creator

Biographical history

In 1999, Edward and Anita Metzen donated their collection of American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI) affiliated documents to Kansas State University Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections at Hale Library as part of the Consumer Movement Archives. As an addition to the previously donated ACCI records described in a separate finding aid, these collected documents of two notable past Executive Directors of ACCI provide a window into the organization's scholarly contribution to the study of consumerism over the last half of the twentieth century, including the non-profit's published pamphlets, newsletters, and reports. The files also contain considerable research on a broad range of issues and research interests of the organization under their tenure, including consumer education, governmental business regulation, product testing, and the setting of weight and packaging standards on consumer goods.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI) records document the activities of the group from its beginning in 1953 through 1983.
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, the 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), an internship program that began with the Conference of Consumer Organizations, a booklet on lobbying by public interest charities, National Consumers Week, and testimonies from the Consumer Federation of America.

System of 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.

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Conditions governing access

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

The ACCI donated its records to Kansas State University Libraries in May 1988.
The accession was assigned the number 119. It was updated to PC 1988.41 (P1988.41).
The Metzen addition was assigned the acession P1999.02.
Additional AV materials were sent in May of 2014 from ACCI executive director Ginger Phillips and assigned acession number P2014.07.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: American Council on Consumer Interests
Acqusition Method: Donation
Acqusition Date: 19880613

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


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General note

Box number 12 has been created and does not follow original order

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Preferred Citation: [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.

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Processing Info: Archon processing by Edward Nagurny, graduate research assistant, April 2015.

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Physical storage

  • Box: Containers
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 1, A83412033659
  • Box: Box 2,
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 3, A83412040800
  • Box: Box 1,
  • 5" Flip Top, Legal: Box 2, A83412065224
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 3, A83412050554
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 4, A83412049943
  • 5" Flip Top, Letter: Box 5, A83412065216
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 6, A83412050588
  • Box: Box 7,
  • Box: Box 8,
  • Box: Box 9,
  • Box: Box 10,
  • Box: Box 11,
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box, A83412045907
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 13, A13411853736
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box NA 1, A83412041490
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box NA2, A83412040436
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box NA3, A83412032378
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 5A, A83412059184
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box, A83412045868
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 2, A83412046204
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box, A13411853100
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box, A83412038861
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box, A83412038887
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box, A83412045892