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Time study group, McDonald Works, McDonald, Ohio.

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United States Steel Corporation Photographs, ca. 1940 – 1960

From 1940 to 1960, U.S. Steel commissioned photographers to document their plants in more than forty locations across America for public relations purposes. Approximately 1,200 photographs in the collection illustrate raw materials, steel manufacturing processes, employees, physical plants, and steel products. U.S. Steel assembled the images into photograph albums organized by subsidiary or plant location—for example, the Geneva Steel Company in Utah or Tennessee Coal and Iron in Alabama. Captions on the back of each print usually identified the photographer, PR staff ordering the print, subject of the photograph, and descriptive text providing additional details. The collection is an in-depth look at one of America’s largest and most influential industries during a key time period in its history. More than twenty-five photographers are represented in the collection including well known artists such as Russell Aikins, Fritz Henle, Fred Korth, and Robert Yarnall Richie.  

Collection guide:

View the Gary Works Photograph Album

Baker Old Class Collection

The Baker Old Class collection is a particularly valuable resource for tracing the development and growth of American business from the late nineteenth century through the first half of the twentieth century. The rich holdings include trade publications, government documents, corporate histories and publications, and business directories. The collection holds a wide range of public relations literature produced by U.S. Steel such as souvenir booklets, corporate histories, and textbooks. These publications are heavily illustrated with photographs, including United States Steel: A Corporation with a Soul; Steel in the War; Steel Serves the Nation; and Steel Making in America. Researchers will also find valuable resources documenting the emergence of the public relations profession in the early twentieth century such as books, manuals, and newsletters providing advice on public relations strategies and techniques. Titles include And Be Neighbourly by J. Carlisle Macdonald, head of public relations at U. S. Steel, and The Making of a Public Relations Man by John Hill, cofounder of the internationally known public relations company Hill & Knowlton.

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Corporate Reports Collection

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Special Collections holds an extensive collection of corporate annual reports representing more than 27,000 companies. The corporate reports collection is one of the largest of its kind in the world, and includes annual reports for U.S. Steel for the period 1902 to 1978 and from 1981 to 2015, with some gaps. Corporate reports are among the most valuable documents for understanding the history of a company, its financial situation, its organizational structure, and how the company chooses to present itself to a wider audience.

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HBS Retired Case Collection

Instituted in 1921, the case method continues to be the cornerstone of the HBS academic experience. The HBS Archives holds more than 50,000 retired cases used for teaching at HBS from the 1920s to the current day. These cases offer insight into the challenges facing companies and include historic and statistical data. There are over 500 retired cases dealing with the steel industry from the 1930s to the 1960s. Among the many topics included are manufacturing issues, labor relations, collective bargaining, pricing structures, and global business.

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Industrial Film Collection, 1939 - 1981

Baker Library holds an extensive collection of over 1,500 industrial films. Dating from the 1930s to the 1980s, the collection documents the development of this genre of twentieth-century film produced by businesses. Beginning in the 1930s, partnering with the Harvard University Film Foundation, Harvard Business School actively collected industrial films for teaching with the goal of “contributing a background that will hold the discussion closer to the real facts of the case, and for that reason enhance its value.” The collection includes 26 films on the steel industry that focus primarily on steel production as well as labor relations.

Collection guide:

Clip from This is Steel (1950)

This circa 1950s, 16 mm color film was presented by Bethlehem Steel. It provides an overview of the technical aspects of the steel making process and the role of steel products in everyday life.

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