Currin V. Shields papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk P1988.26

Level of description



Currin V. Shields papers


  • 1960-1984 (Creation)


2.00 Linear Feet, 4.00 Boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

Currin V. Shields was a political scientist and leading consumer advocate. Shields received his A.B. degree from the University of Nebraska in 1941, followed by his Ph.M. from the University of Wisconsin in 1943. From 1944 to 1946, he served in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. After his time in the military, Shields was an instructor at Yale University until he earned his Ph.D. from Yale in 1950. From 1950 to 1960, Shields was a professor of Political Science at UCLA. He also served on the 22nd Congressional District, Democratic Council of California and host of a radio program entitled “What’s the issue?” at station KFWB in Hollywood. Shields was co-chairman of the California Democratic Council Political Action Committee from 1955 to 1957, and in 1958, he published his book “Democracy and Catholicism in America.” From 1960 to 1984, Shields was a professor in the Department of Government at the University of Arizona. Shields was a failed candidate for Governor of Arizona in the 1968 Democratic primary. Shields’s work as a consumer advocate began in 1969 when he became a board member of the Consumer Federation of America, as well as president of the Arizona Consumers Council, a position he would hold until 1980. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Shields was a member and director of several consumer groups, including the Consumer Advisory Committee, the National Conference of Consumer Organizations, the President’s Consumer Advertising Council, the National Consumer Affairs Internship Program, and the National Consumer Symposium, Inc. Shields died in 1984 at the age of 66.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

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 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, an anti-trust suit against bakeries, a 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's 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 the 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.

System of arrangement

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.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restriction:  All materials are open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

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

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

The Currin V. Shields papers was first given accession number 100 and later revised to number PC1988.26 (P1988.26).

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: Donated by Mrs. Marjorie Shields in 1987
Acqusition Method: Donation.
Acqusition Date: 19870101

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

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 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.


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related Materials: Richard L. D. Morse papers
Richard L. S. Morse addition
Louis S. Meyer papers
Consumer Education Resource Network papers

Related descriptions

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Currin V. Shields papers, 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: Processing was completed by Anthony R. Crawford in March 1988. Archon processing by Edward Nagurny, graduate research assistant, May 2015.
Publication Date: 2015-05-21

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Physical storage

  • 5" Flip Top, Legal: MISSING Box 1, A83412062585
  • 5" Flip Top, Legal: MISSING Box 2, A83412062577
  • 5" Flip Top, Legal: MISSING Box 3, A83412029901
  • Box: Box 4,