Smithsonian Acquires PHCC-National Auxiliary History Documents
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History recently acquired archival materials from the PHCC-National Auxiliary, which tell the story of both women’s history and small business. The collection includes organizational records and 27 scrapbooks documenting the organization’s 92-year-old history. The complete collection relates to business history, especially family-owned business, advertising history and the history of technology in plumbing, heating and cooling.
How Did A Group of Plumbers’ Wives Change American History?
When the ladies auxiliary committee for the National Association of Master Plumbers first formed, it was composed entirely of men. The men were tasked with finding diverting excursions for their wives while the master plumbers association held its annual convention. In June, 1910, for example, the women enjoyed an auto ride, some shopping and a luncheon at the convention held in Chicago. But in 1919, once the auxiliary committee was finally turned over to the women, the organization, which was little more than a social club, would transform into a platform for activism and become one of the oldest women’s organizations in the country.
An Association Auxiliary’s Homage to Businesswomen in History
A story of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Auxiliary and its tribute to women’s influence on business in America.
A Letter from Former PHCC–National Auxiliary President Sandy Stack
It is with great pride that I announce that the historical records of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors–National Auxiliary have been accepted by the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History Archives Center. The records will remain in the Smithsonian collection for preservation, public access and research. It is a tribute to all who have created this amazing history and now it is available for others to share and learn.
This project began in 2005 following the release of our history book, A Partnership Unique, as recorded by our historian, Lynne Finley. Our Archives Committee consisting of Lynne Finley and Jeri Ann Browne were the driving force to preserve our historical records, searching several years to find the proper archive facility.
The scrapbooks tend mostly to relate to convention activities and all include photographs taken at conventions illustrating a lot of ceremony, ritual and pageantry. The scrapbooks cover almost every year of the Auxiliary’s existence, dating from 1919. Original convention programs, printed materials and verbatim annual proceedings of their general business meetings are included and provide further detail. The scrapbooks document the women’s activism as it developed and expanded through the years.
The scrapbooks also document the relationships of plumbing product manufacturers to the Auxiliary. These include InSinkErator, developer of the garbage disposal, Bradford White Corporation, American Standard, Kohler, Copper Development, Ferguson, A.O. Smith, BrassCraft and LA-CO to name a few. “These relationships and how the manufacturers capitalized on them are interesting as forms of product and company promotion and advertising,” said Cathy Keene, Assistant Archivist for the Museum.
“PHCC President David Dugger and PHCC Auxiliary President, Sandy Stack’s motto this year is, “Go Big”! and it doesn’t get any bigger than this. It has been an amazing journey,” said Auxiliary Historian, Lynne Finley.
2012-2013 PHCC—National Auxiliary President