Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Lippincott Library supports business related research and study at the Wharton School, the business school of the University of Pennsylvania. The library collected World War II corporate wartime publications as a resource for Wharton students.
World War II was in many ways a war of production. When the United States entered the war in December of 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor, manufacturing companies across the country mobilized along with the military, shifting and increasing production to include weapons, military vehicles, and other industrial parts to move the military machine forward. The manufacturing power that the US brought to the Allies far outstripped what the Axis was able to produce and helped contribute to the Allied victory.
In addition to the weapons, vehicles, parts, and other machinery these companies produced, they also issued publications describing their operations and commitment to the war effort. These publications served multiple purposes – they publicized the company's impeccable craftsmanship and patriotic work for victory, highlighted when company products contributed to a significant event overseas, reinforced the power of American manufacturing, and recognized company employees serving in the military. In this way, the publications served as both company public relations and as war propaganda. Photographs included in these publications show celebrations, campaigns for enrolling in payroll deduction plans for buying war bonds, people waiting for gasoline ration cards (along with explanations of how accepting rationing was "doing your part"), and images of posters that "remind willing workers of the job to be done... every day" (Box 1 Folder 13).
The Lippincott Library collection of WWII corporate wartime publications consists of publications collected by Lippincott Library as a resource for business students. The publications in this collection were produced primarily by different divisions within the General Motors Corporation. Other companies include Firestone Tire and Rubber Co.; General Cable Corporation; General Electric; General Mills, Inc.; Gibbs & Cox, Inc.; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; and Gulf Oil Corporation.
The publications in this collection were produced during or immediately following the war and highlight the wartime contributions and achievements. They document how companies' manufacturing was converted from peacetime products to wartime machinery at increased levels. Publications frequently include descriptions of new parts, products, processes, and production spaces. They include facts and figures, and often even information about where new products were used in the war and how they contributed to a successful outcome.
In addition to the manufacturing information, these publications tend to include sections about commendations the company or division received from the military (for excellence in production, participation in the war bonds program, etc.) and lists of names of company employees serving in the military. Some publications included other material that further highlighted how companies and employees were contributing to the war effort; such as holding blood drives, buying war bonds, and producing radio programs and victory revues for entertainment and inspiration.
Many of these publications include photographs – of products, production facilities, employees, battles in which the company's products were used, etc. Some also include copies (often only partial) of newspaper articles that mention the company, one of their products, or important moments in the war.
This collection is organized alphabetically by company/division name.
- General Mills, Inc.
- General Electric Company
- General Cable Corporation
- Firestone Tire and Rubber Company
- Gulf Oil Corporation
- Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
- Gibbs & Cox
- General Motors Corporation
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Rayna Andrews
- Finding Aid Date
- 2017 June 12
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.