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Finding Aid to the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley Records, 1939-1991
90/140 c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley records
    Date (inclusive): 1939-1991
    Collection Number: 90/140 c
    Creator : Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley
    Extent: Number of containers: 36 cartons, 1 box, 1 oversize folder Linear feet: 45
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: The records of the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, Inc. cover the years 1939-1991. The earliest efforts of its constituency are recorded in the handwritten minutes of the Co-op Unit Council that convened on May 1, 1939. The best perspective on Co-op operations can be found in the minutes and reports of the Board of Directors and in the Co-op News scrapbooks which feature clippings that reflect the viewpoints and practices of a variety of Co-op home economists. The collection includes a voluminous series of Board of Directors minutes, 1939-1977, that document all facets of business and administrative affairs as well as member participation. All corporate levels and departments are documented in the minutes and committee files, or "packets" as they were sometimes described by a Co-op record keeper. The largest group of files are those that document Co-op operations and management during the years 1952-1989. Much of this material consists of subject files compiled by education director Nancy Snow and the Co-op News scrapbooks and clipping files reflecting the concerns and activities of the Home Economist Program. The bankruptcy of the Co-op is also well documented in the form of legal files.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley Records, 90/140 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Related Collections

    Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, fHD3446.B45.C64
    Robert Neptune- premier manager of the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, and long-term manager of Associated Cooperatives / interview conducted by Therese Pipe ; transcribed by Berkeley Oral History Project, BANC MSS 99/67 c
    A conversation with George Yasukochi, controller of Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, 1956-1982 : oral history transcript / an interview conducted by Max Awner in 1979. Transcribed by Berkeley Oral History Project of the Berkeley Historical Society, 1995, BANC MSS 97/125 c
    Reflections on the Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union of Berkeley and the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley : oral history transcript / Matt Crawford. An interview conducted by Mildred Alexander in 1988-1989. Transcribed by Berkeley Oral History Project of the Berkeley Historical Society, 1993, BANC MSS 98/35 c
    Oral history interviews on the history of the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley : with related illustrative materials, 1977-1983, BANC MSS 85/111 c
    Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley photograph collection, BANC PIC 1990.081--PIC
    Annual report / Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, Inc., Bancroft fE11.X061
    Co-op news, Bancroft fHD3446.B45.C65

    Separated Material

    Photographs have been transferred to The Bancroft Library's Pictorial Collections. Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley
    Consumer cooperatives--California--Berkeley
    Cooperative societies--California
    Scrapbooks.
    Minutes.
    Annual reports.
    Advertisements.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley Records were given to The Bancroft Library by the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley in 1989. Additions were made in 1994.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Wayne Silka in 1991. Completed by Lucy Allen in 2007.

    Chronology

    1937 The Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, composed mostly of church and University people, opens a food store in Berkeley.
    1938 The Berkeley Cooperative Union, with members coming largely from the Finnish community, opens a service station and hardware store in Berkeley.
    1940 Starts publication of Co-op News.
    1942 Co-op makes sure it only sells lean ground chuck as hamburger, while other stores were selling "hamburger"-that could mean anything that would go through the meat grinder.
    1946 Helps staff Consumer Information Center for the Civilian Defense Council in Berkeley.
    1947 The Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley and the Berkeley Cooperative Union merge into the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, Inc.
    1948 An enlarged food store is built at University and Sacramento in Berkeley.
    1953 The University Avenue Food Store is again enlarged
    1955 Hires first Home Economist.
      A Co-op auto repair garage is opened in Berkeley.
      A hardware/variety store is opened at 1432 University Avenue.
    1957 Co-op members open their first facility outside of Berkeley- a food center and service station at 1510 Geary Road in Walnut Creek.
    1959 A third Berkeley Venter opens at 1550 Shattuck Avenue.
    1961 Co-op issues its first statements to regulatory agencies and legislatures on standards of identity for orange juice and orange juice products, on fish protein, and on frozen raw breaded shrimp. These statements will be issued regularly throughout the ensuing years, often with significant impact on the success of consumer efforts to enhance food safety and labeling standards.
    1962 Co-op acquires five stores from Sid's chain- in Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and Castro Valley, and converted them to co-ops. One was the Natural Food Store. The addresses were 3000 Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, 1295 South Main in Walnut Creek, 3667 Castro Valley Road in Castro Valley and 1581 University Avenue in Berkeley (now combined with the 1414 University Avenue Co-op Food Store).
    1963 A food center and service station were opened at Eastshore Boulevard and Potrero in El Cerrito, after extensive planning by members in the area.
    1964 Co-op home economists issue first of many advocacy statements urging that all ingredients be listed on ice cream labels.
    1965 Co-ops wrap meat better side down so shoppers will know better what they are buying: a well intended program that did not work well and was discontinued.
      Co-op Low Cost Cookbook first published. It goes through 8 printings. It is first put together by Co-op members and consisted of inexpensive main dishes.
    1966 Co-op lobbies extensively on the Fair Packaging and Labeling Law, which passes on November 2, 1966.
    1967 After ten years of planning, a Co-op shopping complex opens on Tamal Vista Boulevard in Corte Madera, Marin County.
    1968 First began support for farm-worker struggles, United Farm Workers' Union (UFW).
    1970 Begins carrying organic produce.
      Bans sale of hazardous pesticides in stores.
      Establishes a community recycling center in Berkeley.
      Co-op organizes a petition drive to support first bottle bill deposit legislation. A weakened version passes in 1986.
    1971 The Natural Foods Center opens at 1581 University Avenue in Berkeley.
      Bans smoking in Co-op stores.
    1971-1973 One of five markets nationwide chosen by FDA to test nutrition information on food labels and the only input from a group of consumers. The final version became law in 1973.
    1972 Launches a campaign to educate consumers about the benefits of plain aspirin vs. expensive pain killers to help members save money on drugs.
      First store in the U.S. to sell nitrite-free hot dogs.
      Publishes Co-op 35th Anniversary Menu Book, complete gourmet menus donated by Co-op members including accompanying wines and liqueurs.
    1974 Co-op acquires three stores in Oakland from Mayfair and converts them to co-ops; 5730 Telegraph Avenue, East 18th and Park Boulevard, and one in the MacArthur-Broadway Shopping Center.
    1975 Following intensive member initiative, Co-op opens its first San Francisco store, in the Northpoint Shopping Center at Bay and Mason.
      Ceases purchase of fluorocarbon-containing aerosols.
    1976 Lowers milk prices illegally to force the issue of price fixing in milk.
      Recognizing that it has long since outgrown its physical limitations, Co-op begins a complete redevelopment of its first store, the University Avenue Center in Berkeley.
    1977 First sponsors energy and water conservation clinics.
    1978 Because of the energy crisis and reduced traveling, losing operations at the garage and service station are discontinued.
    1979 Starts giving refunds for re-used paper bags and begins to sell Save-A-Tree reusable bags.
      Begins marketing "Natural Pack" Co-op label canned foods- without added sugar, salt and without preservatives or artificial colors.
    1980 Publication of Berkeley Co-op Food Book brings together in one publication the food preparation, health and safety information from prior years' home economists handouts, columns etc.
      Natural Foods products, initially promoted in a separate store in 1971, are emphasized in special departments in all stores, including four specially remodeled for this purpose.
    1981 MacArthur-Broadway (Oakland) and South Main (Walnut Creek) Co-op Centers were closed.
    1982 Castro Valley Co-op closes.
    1983 Begins boycott of Nestle's products because of infant formula scandals in Third World countries.
    1984 North Oakland, Marin, Geary Road and El Cerrito Co-ops close.
      Accepts an ad rejected by other media about sugar in cereals and false advertising.
      Decides to boycott Chilean produce.
    1985 Members vote to support boycott of Coors beer, which is subsequently removed from Co-op shelves.
      Goes on record opposing irradiation of food, calls for labeling of any irradiated foods, and launches petition drive to FDA on these issues.
      Savories (Corte Madera) opens- Co-ops first specialty ranch style market.
    1986 Closes Northpoint and Hardware Variety Centers.
      Receives Nutrition Pace-Setter award from the Center for Science in the Public Interest for innovation in nutrition information and consumer protection.
    1988 The Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley closes.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The records of the Consumers Cooperative of Berkeley, Inc. cover the years 1939-1991. The earliest efforts of its constituency are recorded in the handwritten minutes of the Co-op Unit Council that convened on May 1, 1939. The best perspective on Co-op operations can be found in the minutes and reports of the Board of Directors and in the Co-op News scrapbooks which feature clippings that reflect the viewpoints and practices of a variety of Co-op home economists. The collection includes a voluminous series of Board of Directors minutes, 1939-1977, that document all facets of business and administrative affairs as well as member participation. All corporate levels and departments are documented in the minutes and committee files, or "packets" as they were sometimes described by a Co-op record keeper. The largest group of files are those that document Co-op operations and management during the years 1952-1989. Much of this material consists of subject files compiled by education director Nancy Snow and the Co-op News scrapbooks and clipping files reflecting the concerns and activities of the Home Economist Program. The bankruptcy of the Co-op is also well documented in the form of legal files.
    The records have been divided into seven series structured according to Co-Op corporate management: Board of Directors Files; Board Committees; Congress and Center Councils; Operations; Associated Cooperatives (Affiliates); Conference of Cooperatives Managers; and Legal Files.
    Although there is much documentation concerning the early years and growth period of the organization in the 1940s through the 1970s, there is little information regarding Board business affairs and policy decisions that might chronicle and characterize the decline and ultimate dissolution of the Cooperative in the 1980s. The legal process of the Co-Op's bankruptcy and dissolution, however, are well documented in the form of legal files.