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Inventory of the Dept. of Commerce Records
F3698:1-534, R256  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Agency History
  • Scope and Content
  • Accruals
  • Related Materials at the California State Archives
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Dept. of Commerce Records
    Dates: 1948-1989
    Collection number: F3698:1-534, R256
    Creator: Dept. of Commerce
    Collection Size: 48 Cubic Feet, including 58 photographs and 9 audio cassettes
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: Originally established in 1969, the Department of Commerce has held the responsibility of encouraging growth in California’s economy by attracting new and expanding existing businesses and industries, stimulating employment for Californians, and enlarging local and state revenue bases to support necessary public services. The records contained within this collection reflect many of California’s economic concerns throughout the middle part of the twentieth century, including unemployment, foreign trade, changing technology and industry, and local and small business development.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information

    Access

    While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult California State Archives staff. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Department of Commerce Records, [Identification number]: [folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Agency History

    Originally established in 1969, the Department of Commerce has held the responsibility of encouraging growth in California’s economy by attracting new and expanding existing businesses and industries, stimulating employment for Californians, and enlarging local and state revenue bases to support necessary public services.
    The department grew out of several predecessor agencies, including the San Francisco World Trade Center Authority and Los Angeles World Trade Center Authority, established in 1947 (Chapter 1508, Statutes 1947). The Center’s objective was to foster and develop domestic and international trade by establishing world trade centers in San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as specific representation in key areas of the international community. In 1965 the Legislature established the Southern California World Trade Center Authority, charging it with the same duties as the San Francisco Center, but specifically for Southern California (Chapter 301, Statutes 1965). The California World Trade Authority Coordinating Council became operative that same year to coordinate the activities of the two centers, as well as manage overseas trade development, and administer the foreign trade offices in Mexico, Japan, and Germany (Chapter 1770, Statutes 1963). The council was composed of nine members (three from the San Francisco Center, three from the Southern California Center, and three at-large).
    The activities of these organizations were consolidated under the California World Trade Authority in 1968 (Chapter 1352, Statutes 1968), and in 1969 placed under the authority of the newly established Department of Commerce within the Agricultural Service Agency (Chapter 138, Statutes 1969). In fact, several agencies that had conducted closely related programs of economic development were then placed under the direction of this single department. The defunct World Trade Center Authorities, the former Office of Tourism and Visitor Services, the Economic Development Agency, and the California Museum of Science and Industry evolved into the Department’s four divisions: (1) World Trade, (2) Economic Development, (3) Museum of Science and Industry, and (4) Tourism and Visitor Services (Chapter 1161, Statutes of 1969). Records from the former Office of Tourism, 1966-1968, and the Economic Development Agency, 1966-1967, are also included in this record group.
    The Department of Commerce was transferred from the Agriculture and Services Agency to the Office of Lieutenant Governor by executive direction on January 21, 1971. Many of the records reflect the Lieutenant Governor’s responsibilities as liaison officer, coordinator, advisor, chairman, member, or ex-officio member of such committees or commissions as: Aerospace Re-employment, Summer Jobs for Youth, California Chamber of Commerce, Shipbuilding, CAL-JOB Program, Space Shuttle Task Force, Federal Contracts, Economic Development, Industry and World Trade, Tourism and Visitor Services, Museum of Science and Industry, and those concerned with the business sector and state and local government.
    The Department’s structure evolved throughout the early years of the 1970s. Legislation in 1971 established the California Commission for Economic Development to replace the Commissions of Industry and World Trade and Tourism and Visitor Services (Chapter 1230, Statutes 1971). The Commission was charged with identifying weaknesses in California’s economy, evaluating the extent of unemployment problems, and designing realistic programs to expand the economy. The California Council of Product Design and Marketing (Chapter 1579, Statutes 1971) was also added in 1971. Its purpose was to improve California’s industrial base, thereby increasing employment in the State through increased utilization of design services by State producers. By 1972, the Division of Business and Industry Development had replaced the Division of Economic Development. Its prime function involved balancing environmentally acceptable new businesses and industry and assisting in the expansion of established California businesses.
    Funds for the Department of Commerce ceased after June 30, 1975, whereupon the department terminated operations. Two years later, in 1977, the State of California enacted legislation to create the Department of Economic and Business Development within the Business and Transportation Agency, essentially resurrecting the old Department of Commerce (Chapter 345, Statutes 1977). It was to be the primary state agency responsible for promoting economic growth in California: evaluating government policy, conducting studies on business and industry, and providing information to visitors and foreign business representatives.
    The work of the department was divided into five offices: (1) Economic Planning, Policy, and Research, (2) Local Economic Development, (3) Business and Industrial Development, (4) Visitor Services, and (5) International Trade (Chapter 345, Statutes 1977).
    Throughout the 1980s, the activities of the Department and its various offices evolved in response to changing economic concerns. Chapter 1526, Statutes of 1982, created within the Governor’s Office the California State World Trade Commission to take over the department’s international trade activities. In 1984, the Department of Economic and Business Development was renamed the Department of Commerce (Chapter 449, Statutes 1984). The offices within the new department included: (1) Economic Planning, Policy, and Research Development, (2) Local Economic Development, (3) Business and Industrial Development, (4) Tourism, and (5) Small Business (Chapter 1280, Statutes of 1984). The California Film Office designed to promote film production in California, was also added to the department in 1984 (Chapter 1639, Statutes of 1984). In 1986, the department’s offices were renamed again: (1) Economic Research, (2) Local Development, (3) Business Development, (4) Tourism, (5) Small Business, and (6) California Film Office (Chapter 994, Statutes of 1986). In 1987, the California Film Commission, created by combining the responsibilities of the California Film Office and the Motion Picture Council, replaced the California Film Office within the department (Chapter 34, Statutes 1987). By the end of the decade, two more offices were added to the department: the Office of Marketing and Communication and the Office of Competitive Technology (Chapter 1318, Statutes 1988).
    In 1992, the previous functions, duties, activities, and programs of the Department of Commerce, the World Trade Commission, and the Oversees Offices were consolidated into the Trade and Commerce Agency (Chapter 1364, Statutes 1992).

    Scope and Content

    This inventory includes records from entities that preceded the Department of Commerce. These records are organized into six subgroups: California World Trade Authority Coordinating Council Records, San Francisco World Trade Center Authority Records, Southern California World Trade Center Authority Records, Mexico Foreign Trade Office Records, Japan Foreign Trade Office Records, and Germany Foreign Trade Office Records. The records contained within this collection reflect many of California’s economic concerns throughout the middle part of the twentieth century, including unemployment, foreign trade, changing technology and industry, and local and small business development.
    Under the Department of Commerce itself, there are eight subgroups: Council for Product Design and Marketing Records, Division of International Trade Records, Division of Business and Industry Development Records, Task Force on Small Business Competition Records, Legislative Unit Records, Executive Office Records, Director’s Office Records, and the Office of Small Business Development Records.
    Bill Files identify legislation that sought to change or create new policies and programs for the Department of Commerce from 1985-1992 (see Legislative Unit and Executive Office Record sub-groups).

    Accruals

    No further accruals are expected.

    Related Materials at the California State Archives

    Records of the Department of Economic and Business Development (1977-1984)
    Records of the Trade and Commerce Agency (1992-1998)
    Records of the Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency (1998-2000)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California. Civil Service Commission
    California State Personnel Board
    California. Dept. of Finance. Division of Personnel and Organization