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Howard B. Bishop Papers 1921-1961 (bulk 1940-1960)
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Collection Scope and Content Note


Promotional flyers, advertisements, correspondence, articles, editorials and various corporate records (1921-1961; 18.25 l.f.) document Howard Bishop's post-retirement activities as the founder and driving force behind the Human Engineering Foundation (HEF) and his efforts to counteract the physical and moral ills of tobacco use, caffeine, and alcohol.

The bulk of collection is Bishop's HEF correspondence (1948-1960) where he writes to a wide variety of high-profile private and public figures, with all blunt candor, about his disdain for the product, its harmful effects, and the low personal morals engendered by such pandering--both outgoing letters and responses are included. For example, upon seeing an offensive television or print advertisement or hearing a radio ad, he would write the corporation president or pitch-man and express his dismay. Notable persons found in the chronological correspondence sub-series include John Foster Dulles (cigarettes), Groucho Marx (cigars), Branch Rickey (chewing tobacco), and John Ringling North of Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey circus fame.

Also of particular interest are the illustrated promotional flyers, tracts and buttons Bishop created 1947-1957) that are found in the Promotional Material sub-series within Series 2. Here is a rich collection of visual material created to promote Bishop's cause. They succinctly summarise his goals and opinions about what consitutes a healthy life, and the dangers to avoid. The narratives contained within also demonstrate Bishop's conservative political agenda that bears a close similarity with Nazi German attitudes toward wholesome morals, clean living, and their importance to a democratic society. The original "printing elements" graphics for many of these flyers are found in the Advertising sub-series.

There are also HEF incorporation records, some annual reports, and a miscellany of other scattered records (1939-1960). Under the name of the Human Brands Company, Bishop also marketed some exercise equipment and food products to help one lead a healthy life.

Lastly, included in the papers are correspondence and other data related to Bishop's work as the organizational chair of the 1949 American Vegetarian Convention held in Wisconsin.

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