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Finding Aid for the Donald Rady papers on the Brazilian Steel Industry and Volta Redonda, 1883-1986 (bulk 1933-1973)
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Donald Rady papers on the Brazilian Steel Industry and Volta Redonda
    Date (bulk): 1883-1986 (bulk 1933-1973)
    Collection number: 1712
    Creator: Rady, Donald
    Extent: 18 document boxes (8.75 linear feet) 1 microfilm box 2 oversize flat boxes 1 carton 1 map folder
    Abstract: This collection contains items Donald E. Rady compiled for his dissertation and book project focusing on the Brazilian Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) and surrounding Volta Redonda community. After a bidding war between German and US firms to create a new steel center in Brazil, construction began during Vargas's Estado Novo with the help of a US firm, Arthur G. McKee and Company. Materials often originate from government or company sources and situate the importance of the steel mill in Brazilian international politics in the 1930s through the 1950s and in growing Brazil's industrial capacity in the 1950 through the 1970s. Materials also provide a sense of the quality of life and growth of the Volta Redonda community in the city of Barra Mansa in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Content is not restricted to the CSN and highlights the Companhia Siderúrgica Paulista (COSIPA), the Associação Brasileira de Metais (ABM), and the Arthur G. McKee and Company.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Donald E. Rady, date unknown..

    Processing Note

    Processed by Molly C. Ball in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Kelley Bachli, 2008.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Donald Rady papers on the Brazilian Steel Industry and Volta Redonda (Collection 1712). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4232785 


    Donald Rady began compiling the resources in this collection as part of a doctoral dissertation project at the University of California, Berkeley history department. Rady completed the dissertation entitled "Brazil's Volta Redonda Steel Center: A Quarter Century of Progress, 1941-1966" in 1967. He reworked the dissertation and published it in 1973 under the title Volta Redonda: A Steel Mill Comes to a Brazilian Coffee Plantation. The genesis for the project stemmed from a seminar paper written in 1960 and developed significantly while Rady spent two research years (September 1961 through May 1963) in Brazil. In the end he provided a history of the Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) and surrounding Volta Redonda community located in the city of Barra Mansa in the state of Rio de Janeiro, presenting them as a case study of both Brazilian industrialization and American financial and technical assistance in Brazil.
    The CSN came into being under Getúlio Vargas's Estado Novo. After gaining power in the 1930 Revolution, Vargas often undertook projects to increase Brazil's industrial production. In the 1930s he created various commissions to study the possibility of a large iron and steel center in Brazil. This project proved of interest to international powers who hoped to help establish a steel mill in Brazil and share the profits and resources. When Vargas opened bidding for the joint project in 1940, leading bids came from two countries, the United States and Germany. Both countries had strong ties to Brazil and had the means to successfully help finance and outfit a Brazilian steel mill center. However, by 1941 German U-boats had sunk Brazilian merchant ships and long campaigns in WWII left Germany with less financial capital for steel mills in Brazil. As a result, the United States firm, Arthur G. McKee and Company from Cleveland, Ohio emerged as the winner of the Brazilian steel mill bid. With a $20 million loan from the ExportImport Bank (EXIMBANK) and $25 million raised by Brazil, construction of the steel mill center began in the Paraíba Valley under the direction of General Macedo Soares e Silva. By 1946 production at CSN began and Volta Redonda, a community in the city of Barra Mansa, had been transformed from a struggling agricultural town into an industrial center in Brazil.
    Rady followed the first four phases of CSN's construction and growth, in each phase documenting the roles of the EXIMBANK and US companies, the growth and development of the surrounding community, and the role the state-owned company played within the Brazilian industrial sector. Located near iron deposits in Minas Gerais, coal deposits in Santa Catarina, the automotive industry in São Paulo, and shipbuilding and appliance firms, CSN became the largest steel producer in Brazil. However, it was not the only steel company in Brazil: the Companhia Siderúrica Paulista (COSIPA), Companhia Aços Especiais Itabira (ACESITA), Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais (USIMINAS) and Companhia Siderúriga Belgo-Mineira (CSBM) were also major producers. All companies significantly contributed to increasing Brazil's industrial capacity in the 1950s through the 1970s.

    Scope and Content

    Although the bulk of the collection pertains to the Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) and surrounding Volta Redonda community, other companies and topics are also well-represented in the collection. Drafts of Rady's dissertation, correspondence with committee members, and an annotated bibliography in the final thesis (Box 2, Folder 8) that provide insight into his use of the contents of the collection. One of Rady's most valuable sources, industry surveys and taped interviews, is not part of the collection. However, there are handwritten notes from select interviews in the Dissertation Files sub-series of the collection.
    Items related to the creation of the CSN reveal the political importance of its creation. Microfilm roles of German government documents from the United States National Archive and several sets of photocopied and microfilmed US government documents highlight the competition between the two world powers before and during WWII and Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Good Neighbor" policy. Speeches from Brazilian politicians and government publications emphasize the critical role the steel industry and the CSN played in Brazil's industrialization and entrance into the global steel market. Later government sources reference the Alliance for Progress, again showing the political importance of the CSN.
    Non-government sources for the CSN materials span from photocopies of newspaper and journal articles to materials from the company itself. Notable among these are the Boletins de Serviço, daily internal reports covering topics like new technology, management, production and personnel interests, and packets for training courses offered to employees. Published periodicals provide the most valuable materials about the Volta Redonda community in the city of Barra Mansa. The collection contains the bimonthly O Lingote for 1959-1973 (many issues available) and several city and regional newspapers published in 1968 and 1969. Notable non-CSN materials include a set of annual reports and a company history of the Companhia Siderúrgica Paulista (COSIPA), annual reports from Arthur G. McKee and Company, a circular for WillysOverland car factory employees, and a set of papers from the XXIVth annual Associação Brasileira de Metais (ABM) congress.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    • 1. Dissertation Files
      • 1.1. Correspondence
      • 1.2. Notes and resources
      • 1.3. Drafts
      • 1.4. Personal materials
    • 2. Company and Organization Files
      • 2.1. Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN)
      • 2.2. Companhia Siderúrgica Paulista (COSIPA)
      • 2.3. Other industrial companies (steel in Rio, São Paulo, etc., Itabira)
      • 2.4. US steel companies
      • 2.5. Brazilian automobile industry
      • 2.6. Banking Institutions
      • 2.7. Brazilian Professional Organizations (ABM, IBS CEBRACO)
    • 3. Volta Redonda (community)
    • 4. Government Documents
      • 4.1. German documents
      • 4.2. International organizations
      • 4.3. US government documents
      • 4.4. Brazilian government documents
    • 5. Journals and articles
      • 5.1. Complete journals
      • 5.2. Unpublished articles and conference papers
      • 5.3. Journal articles
      • 5.4. Newspaper
    • 6. Monographs
      • 6.1. Government publications
      • 6.2. Non-government publications

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Steel industry and trade --Brazil --Archival resources.
    Volta Redonda (Brazil)