I am fascinated by company newsletters. They are so full of a both important and trivial news items, and have been used for a variety of reasons: to inform employees of new policies and/or changes, to promote a sense of teamwork, and also to influence employees’ attitudes and behaviors.
In researching the Crouse-Hinds Company in Syracuse (which was founded in 1897 to make headlights for trolley cars, and still exists to make various lighting options), I looked at several company newsletters from the 1950s and 1960s. Here’s a sample of some news items:
First, did you know actress Betty White was a Crouse-Hinds “Daughter”? Not literally, but her father was the Pacific Divisional Manager of Crouse-Hinds in the early 1950s! The C-H plant newsletter, called Family Circle, featured Betty White on its cover and as the focus of its lead story in June 1954.
While the front pages of the newsletters focused on company policies or announcements, the back pages were the employees’ pages. There was a “Sports” section, recording the results of bowling tournaments, bridge scores, and other sports’ teams results; there were birth and wedding announcements, and even tidbits about employees’ vacations. The C-H newsletter divided up such items by the departments, so there might be one article just reviewing the activities of the workers in the “Sheet Metal” department.
And then there was another interesting feature, at the back of the newsletter called “Something for the Ladies”. This page featured dress designs (in the same issue as the Betty White feature, the female dress designer was a “draftsman” from the Engineering Department in Syracuse). The same issue also highlighted the baking talents of Mrs. Clementina Wright of the Condulet Assembly Department.
But, of course, my favorite topic on the “Something for the Ladies” page has to be from the May 1954 issue. The article is titled “Lunch-Time Knitters Learn New Skill, Have Fun Besides”.
Seven women from two departments had decided to use their lunch hour to learn to knit. The newsletter was even providing free patterns for anyone interested in doing the same patterns as the knitters!