Without me realizing it, the Friends of FMCS (Federal Medication and Conciliation Service) History archive began in 1964 when I joined the FMCS as a mediator intern in the FMCS National Office in Washington D.C. That job, in the old U.S. Department of Labor Building, was not very demanding on my time, so I spent many hours in the wonderful DoL library reading about the USCS (United States Conciliation Service), the processor to FMCS.
By Spring 1965 when I was transferred to Milwaukee to begin my mediation career, I had made copies of everything I found of interest on USCS and FMCS: news paper articles, speeches, annual reports, case reports, budgets, academic papers and thesis, and more.
In Milwaukee for the next four years, I saved FMCS materials that crossed my desk and I wrote two published articles about mediation. During that time and the next four years, I remained completely unaware of what my small, personal collection would become.
In early 1970s, I was promoted to a top executive position in the FMCS national office with responsibility for research, and training new mediators, mediator interns and updating experienced mediators, as well as other functions. That gave me the opportunity to look for historic materials that could be used for exhibits and training. With great effort, I found new mediator class photos beginning with the first class in 1950. When assembled a complete set of class photos, I had them framed and displayed.
The next big addition to my collection occurred when I began a doctoral program at George Washington University, and I needed a topic for my dissertation. I selected labor-management training programs of FMCS as my topic. That caused me to interview a dozen mediators. Since the mediators’ stories were so rich and interesting, I continued to record mediators and retired mediator long after my dissertation.
As a result there are 200 of my oral history recording in the collection. Plus, 32 oral histories recorded by others and 33 oral history interviews I conducted of Eastern Air Lines negotiations in 1980s..
Another growth to the collection resulted from interviewee gifts. Many of my early interviews were done at retired mediators’ home. They frequently gave me materials they had brought home from the office when they retired.
By 1992, the collection had grown too large to fit in my home, so I rented space in a public office building and began paying rent. That year, I also started the not for profit Friends of FMCS History Foundation (Tax ID 20-5851357), and began seeking donations and grants.
Tax-deductible donations can be made by check payable to Friends of FMCS History Foundation or online . See Contact Us for more information.
In the summer of 2011 and 12, much of the collection was donated to the Special Collections of GWU, where it is available for researchers and others to use.
What started as a personal collection of this mediator intern in 1964 is now reported to fill 135 linear feet at GWU.
For a more comprehensive version of the Friends Archive story, see the FMCS History Archive Story.