Collection inventory

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Plastics History Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 9 Aug 2010

Biographical History

In 2008 the National Plastics Center & Museum in Leominster, Massachusetts transferred the majority of its holdings to Syracuse University's Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). The collections include more than 40 manuscript collections from organizations and individuals, as well as several thousand plastics artifacts. The Plastics History Collection includes miscellaneous materials not directly associated with those other collections but pertinent to the history of plastics.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Plastics History Collection is comprised of a range of materials relating to the history of the plastics industry and support organizations and notable individuals.

Documentaries and training films consists of recordings of varying length on Bakelite, polyethylene, and other plastics-related topics. Formats include film, VHS, and DVD.

Exhibitions contain materials related to the National Plastics Exposition, ranging from the 1960s to the 2000s, and several posters on the history of plastics.

Interviews and biographies consists of biographies of and interviews with members of the "Plastics Pioneers," notable figures in the industry. The Plastics Pioneers Interviews were originally recorded in 1952 on 1/4" reel tapes (now at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History), and were digitized onto ten CDs by the donor.

Photographs contain images of machinery and products related to Dupont and Star Manufacturer Co.

Professional organizations contain printed material from the Plastics Historical Society, the Society of Plastics Engineers, the Society of the Plastics Industry, and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Technical papers contains professional papers written by engineers on plastics molding and materials.

Miscellaneous contains awards, bibliographies, and miscellaneous printed/produced items, including manufacturing calculators and material on Monsanto's "House of the Future."

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by subject and chronologically within a folder.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

One issue of the SPI publication Plastics & You (spring 1989) has been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging with other issues. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate this item.

Other general plastics-related collections include the Plastics Artifact Collection and the Plastics Product Literature Collection. For a complete listing of all plastics-related collections held by Special Collections Research Center, please refer to the SCRC Subject Index .

Special Collections Research Center also maintains a comprehensive website which provides historical information on companies, products and individuals. The website serves as a portal for access to digital images of artifacts, print materials, company histories, finding aids for our manuscript collections, and more. Please visit the Plastics Collection website at

Subject Headings


Anderson, Norman.
Beall, Glenn L.
Kline, Gordon M. (Gordon Mabey), 1903-1996.
Oskin, Ernest T.
Thomas, Islyn.

Corporate Bodies

Imperial Chemical Industries, ltd.
Monsanto Company.
Plastics Hall of Fame.
Plastics Historical Society.
Plastics Industries Technical Institute.
Society of Plastics Engineers.
Society of the Plastics Industry.
University of Massachusetts at Lowell .


Bakelite -- History.
Plastics -- History.
Plastics industry and trade.
Polyethylene -- History.

Genres and Forms

16mm (photographic film size)
45 rpm records.
Catalogs (documents)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Collective biographies.
Compact discs.
Documentary film.
Examinations (documents)
Long-playing records.
Sound recordings.
Technical drawings.
Technical reports.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Plastics History Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Majority of collection, and unless otherwise noted below, gift of Glenn Beall, 2010-2019.

Other items, gifts of various donors as noted in the inventory below.

Table of Contents

Documentaries and training films


Interviews and biographies


Professional organizations

Technical papers