Consumer Federation of America archives its organizational history with K-State Libraries
Thursday, April 14, 2016
MANHATTAN — We've all heard of businesses that prey on vulnerable consumers: The payday loans with a 40 percent annual percentage rate. The robocall that lures recipients to provide personal information. Financial scams that target the elderly.
But perhaps it's not common knowledge that there are nonprofit consumer organizations in the United States that fight against exploitative lenders, unsafe products and financial scams — and that an association representing nearly 300 of these organizations has recently donated its records to Kansas State University Libraries' Richard L.D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections.
Established in 1968, the Consumer Federation of America, or CFA, is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that works on behalf of consumers through research, advocacy and education efforts.
The federation recently donated its organizational records, collected over the last 48 years. The items include statements, minutes, congressional testimonies, press releases and surveys, all offering research potential for historians and other scholars interested in consumer history.
"When Richard Morse, a K-State professor who served as a U.S. Consumer Advisory Council member under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, gave his professional papers to K-State Libraries, it laid the foundation for what's become one of our premier research collections," said Lori Goetsch, dean of K-State Libraries. "Many of Professor Morse's peers and organizations he'd worked with followed suit. We're thrilled that the CFA — a hugely influential organization in the consumer movement field — has also elected to archive its papers at K-State Libraries."
Librarians in the Morse Department of Special Collections are currently processing the Consumer Federation of America donation. They also plan to digitize the federation's annual reports and CFA News, the organization's newsletter. Digitized content will be available online, linked from finding aids on the special collections website.
"The Consumer Federation of America is delighted that Kansas State University has agreed to hold, process and make available our organizational records," said longtime federation executive director Stephen Brobeck. "Dick Morse was an important leader of the consumer movement in the last century, and his generosity and that of his wife have given consumer groups an attractive opportunity to make available their archives to researchers. We are especially pleased that the K-State Libraries are digitizing many of our records so they will be easily accessible to scholars around the world."
"The work that the CFA does is both critical and far-reaching," said Jane Schillie, special collections curator at K-State Libraries. "From advocating that financial planners be qualified to preventing identity theft, the organization serves the public in vital, yet often invisible ways. It's an honor to embark on this partnership and make their material available to a broad and diverse audience."
The Morse Department of Special Collections is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It offers a wide range of services for instructors, students and the general public in using or learning more about the books, manuscripts, photographs, other materials in the collection. For more information, visit www.lib.k-state.edu/special-collections.