Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Public Action Coalition on Toys Collected Records, 1966-1981

Collection: CDG-A

Contact Information
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator)
Fax: (610) 328-8544
Email: wchmiel1@swarthmore.edu (Curator)
URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/peace/

Descriptive Summary
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Parents for Responsibility in the Toy Industry; Public Action Coalition on Toys
Public Action Coalition on Toys Collected Records
Inclusive Dates
1966-1981 circa
Call Number

Language of Materials
Materials in English
10 linear inches [papers only]
This collection documents the efforts of two groups that worked to raise the issue of violence perpetuated by the manufacture and sale of war toys to children.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Victoria Reiss, April 2006 [acc. 06A-024]
Processing Information
Processed by Anne Yoder, Archivist, April 2009
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item] in the Public Action Coalition on Toys Collected Records (CDG-A), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law

Online Catalog Headings
These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record

Related Collections
Parents for Responsibility in the Toy Industry, 1968 (CDG-A)

Historical Background
The Public Action Coalition on Toys (PACT) was organized by Ralph Nader's staff as a non-profit organization committed to encouraging the development of safe and sensible quality toys, and to discouraging the production of toys that injured, exploited, or limited a child's growth, safety, or welfare. It united groups that wanted to lobby the toy trade to make more socially responsible decisions regarding their products. Among the organizations represented in the coalition were Action for Children's Television, Association on American Indian Affairs, Citizen Action Group, Council on Interracial Books for Children, Gray Panthers Network, National Black Feminist Organization, National Organization for Women, National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, Parents for Responsibility in the Toy Industry, Public Interest Research Groups (of Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina), Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Women Strike for Peace, Women's Action Alliance, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. PACT believed that toys were not merely playthings, but held an important role in advancing the social, emotional, physical and intellectual development of children, and that adults must make certain that toys were safe, non-racist, non-sexist, non-violent, and imaginative.

In the spring of 1973, Victoria Reiss, one of the organizers of PACT, learned that The Quaker Oats Company had taken over the ownership of Louis Marx, one of the largest manufacturers of toy guns. She wrote to Robert Stuart Jr., President of The Quaker Oats Company, pointing out the irony of Quaker William Penn being the trademark for a company now making a game of violence and killing. The company's reply stated: "Our belief at this time is that we should continue to offer toy guns for sale and that the decision on their usage should be a matter of parental responsibility." Reiss again wrote to highlight the fact that toy industry estimates were that at least a third of the toys were bought by children themselves. In the fall of 1973, PACT asked pediatricians, professors and school personnel to write to both The Quaker Oats Company and Marx asking them to be leaders in the toy industry in discontinuing toy guns. This campaign bore fruit, as The Quaker Oats Company decided in Oct. 1974 to agree with PACT's plea.

PACT continued its efforts with other toy manufacturing companies over the next seven(?) years, including offering awards to those companies that created and sold "life-enhancing toys." It is not known when PACT was disbanded.

Collection Overview
This small collection documents the efforts of two groups to highlight the violence perpetuated by manufacturing and selling war-related toys to children. Parents for Responsibility in the Toy Industry was one of the groups that formed PACT. The collection contains some material that helps us understand the efforts of the PRTI and the PACT, including the award they gave out yearly for the manufacture of nonviolent toys, as well as material by/about other related organizations.

Arrangement of Collection
For the most part, material is arranged chronologically.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1
Lists: Board of Directors; Board of Advisors; member organizations
Tax-exempt status
Fundraising efforts
Parents for Responsibility in the Toy Industry, ca. 1966-1973 [includes correspondence]
Toy Fair, 1972
Programmatic efforts, 1973
Typescript mss. “You Choose the Toys,” 1973 (December)
Programmatic efforts, 1974: press flyers; newsclippings
Programmatic efforts, 1975
Programmatic efforts, 1975: award/s for award-winning toys
Programmatic efforts, 1975: T.V. interview on Christopher Close-Up talk show, 1975 November 28)
Programmatic efforts, 1976
Programmatic efforts, 1976: award/s for award-winning toys
Programmatic efforts, 1977
Programmatic efforts, 1977: award/s for award-winning toys

Box 2

Programmatic efforts, 1978
Programmatic efforts, 1979
Programmatic efforts, 1980-1981
Programmatic efforts, undated
Programmatic efforts: pamphlet produced “Guidelines on Choosing Toys for Children,” (1976, 1981) and cover letter
Other organizations: New England WRL -- Stop War Toys Campaign Packet
Other organizations: San Francisco WSP Toy Committee
Other organizations: re: war toys
Other anti-war toy organizations
Reference material: newsclippings and news ads, re: toy guns/ war toys
Reference material: newsclippings and news ads re: war toys
Reference material: Toy Manufacturers of America, Inc.
Reference material: Toy Torture Kits (Nabisco), 1971

This file was last updated on August 21, 2015