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Consumer movement
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Alma Williams papers

  • US US kmk 2017-18.005
  • Collection
  • 1958-1985

Alma Williams, author of the 1975 book, Educating the Consumer: A Practical Guide, advocated for consumers around the world. Based in Great Britain, Williams was an active member of the International Organization of Consumers Unions (IOCU). Through her work with IOCU, she traveled extensively throughout Europe, Israel, Asia, and the Pacific Region to work with consumer advocacy organizations. Williams served as IOCU’s representative to UNESCO. Her collection includes numerous IOCU programs, proceedings, and reports as well as a questionnaire for consumer advocates and an outline of her tasks at an IOCU Regional Office.
Within Williams' collection, there is evidence of her work for IOCU’s Asia and Pacific Regional Workshop on Consumer Testing and Research. One organization she worked with was the Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development. Materials from this group include scripts for programs targeting consumer products such as shampoo, detergent, and acne preparations.
Williams’ involvement in other international consumer organizations is represented through a variety of documents including conference proceedings, correspondence, papers, consumer education materials, and reports. Some of the organizations she had ties with are the Hong Kong Consumer Council, the Council of Europe, the International Congress on the Children of the Fourth World, Consumers Association, and Consumer Assembly (based in Great Britain).
Williams’ focus on educating consumers is evident in her papers. There is a booklet about adult education and television, a consumer education kit for teachers in Penang, and a paper titled Definition of Consumer Education from Consumer’s Association in London which, interestingly, quotes Dr. Richard L. D. Morse.  Also of interest is correspondence from a House of Lords sub-committee member about her upcoming testimony to that group. On a lighter note, there is a caricature of Williams, as well as a handwritten score for a tune titled Consumer Rights, by Samuel Liew.
A letter in the donor file reveals that Williams remained active in the consumer movement in her later years continuing to represent IOCU at UNESCO, working with overseas consumer organizations, and developing a safety curriculum for the European Commission targeted at children in secondary schools. She noted the curriculum was for twelve countries and would be in nine languages.

Williams, Alma

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