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Arthur Louis Danforth junior, known to most as “Art,” was born to Arthur Louis Danforth senior and Grace Landers (Ward) Danforth in New York in 1912. Art began what became a lifelong commitment to cooperatives with the successful organization of a student dining co-op while a student at Cornell Law School. After graduating with his law degree in 1938, he managed small and medium co-op stores and subsequently provided central accounting services for consumer co-ops in both New England and New York. He then worked for the relief agency CARE (the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, now renamed the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) in New York and Hawaii, before relocating to California in 1950 with his wife, Ruth Evelyn (Henley) Danforth, and their two daughters.
During the next 17 years, Danforth worked with co-ops in Berkeley and Palo Alto, serving on various committees as well as on the Berkeley Board. He was a member of Berkeley’s management team for two years, and served as Palo Alto’s Education Director. Offered a position with the Cooperative League of the United States as its Secretary-Treasurer in 1967, he and Ruth moved to the Chicago area where they lived for five years in New York Center Community Cooperative.
Danforth became the League’s specialist in working with consumer cooperatives and provided counsel and assistance to the scores of new emerging food co-ops. He also became one of the country’s most prolific writers on consumer cooperative topics, producing scores of books, booklets and pamphlets on accounting, organizing, legal problems, incorporation, board responsibilities, history and philosophy.
After retiring in 1967 to Falls Church, Virginia, Danforth continued to write and consult with cooperatives. He co-authored a new history on the American consumer cooperative movement, wrote an annotated comprehensive model consumer cooperative act and a study of cause of specific consumer goods cooperative failures. He also helped draft the National Consumer Cooperative Bank Act and lobbied successfully for its enactment. He was also active with the Group Health Association, Greenbelt Cooperative Inc., and Consumer Alliance.
Art Danforth died May 10, 1987, at the age of 74. His last book, in tribute to his late wife, Ruth, was directed at helping the families of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
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A prior historical note for the Art Danforth papers by processor Brittany Roberts. http://www.grocer.coop/articles/art-danforth
Creator Source: Local Authority File
Biographical/Historical Note Author: Patrick C. Dittamo