Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Edgar F. Kaiser papers
Date (inclusive): 1886-1981
Collection Number: BANC MSS 85/61 c
Kaiser, Edgar F. (Edgar Fosburgh), 1908-1981
Number of containers: 500 cartons, 32 volumes, 9 oversize folders, 1 box
Linear feet: circa 600
9 digital objects (9 images)
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: The bulk of the papers were transferred to The Bancroft Library by Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. and consist primarily
of corporate files from Kaiser's tenure as president and chairman of the board of Kaiser Industries Corporation. Also included
are records from his earlier career as vice president and general manager of Oregon Shipbuilding Corp. and Kaiser Company,
Inc., followed by those from his tenure as president of Kaiser Motors Corp. and general manager of Kaiser-Frazer Corporation's
automobile plant at Willow Run, Mich. Also included are personal papers given by Kaiser's family.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft
Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which
must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Edgar F. Kaiser Papers, BANC MSS 85/61 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Alternate Forms Available
Digital reproductions of selected items are available.
Title: Henry J. Kaiser Papers,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 83/42 c
Title: Eugene E. Trefethen, Jr. Papers,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 87/35 c
Title: Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. Papers,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 88/205 c
Title: Henry J. Kaiser Scrapbooks -- Hawaii activities, 1955-1956,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 85/155 cp
Title: Kaiser Foundation Hospitals -- Hawaii Region Collection, 1958-1985,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 87/131 cp
Title: Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 91/12 c
- Editions of
The Bosn's Whistle from the Oregon, Swan's Island, and Vancouver shipyards, along with editions of
Flat Top Flashfrom the Vancouver shipyard, have been transferred to the to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
- Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
- Videotapes have been transferred to the Microforms Division of The Bancroft Library.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
Kaiser, Edgar F. (Edgar Fosburgh), 1908-1981--Archives
Trefethen, Eugene E. (Eugene Edgar), 1909-
Henry J. Kaiser Company
Kaiser Industries Corporation
Kaiser Motors Corporation
Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation
Willow Run (Mich.)--History
The Edgar F. Kaiser Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by the Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, Nina M. Kaiser,
and Edgar F. Kaiser, Jr., in the years 1985 through 1987.
Processed by Lauren Lassleben, Project Archivist; JoLynn Subramanian, Assistant Archivist
||Edgar Fosburgh Kaiser born in Spokane, Washington, on July 29, the first child of Henry John and Bessie Fosburgh Kaiser. Attended
grammar school in Seattle, Washington and began working on his father's road paving projects at age 12. Attended high school
in Oakland, California.
||Attended University of California, Berkeley, majoring in economics, but left one semester short of graduation to become superintendent
on a natural gas pipeline project in Kansas and Oklahoma.
||Managed pipeline projects in Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, and Montana.
||Married Dorothy Sue Mead of Washington, D.C., on August 24.
||Started as shovel foreman and became superintendent of canyon excavation for Six Companies, Inc., at Hoover (Boulder) Dam.
||Named administrative manager of Columbia Construction Company's main spillway at Bonneville Dam (on the Columbia River).
||Appointed project manager of the Grand Coulee Dam project in Washington by Consolidated Builders, Inc. Brought Dr. Sidney
R. Garfield there to establish a comprehensive prepaid medical care program for workers and their families, the beginning
of the Kaiser Health Plan, the world's first prepaid health maintenance organization.
||Named vice president and general manager of Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation and Kaiser Company, Inc., with shipyards at Portland,
Vancouver, and Swan Island. Kaiser again sponsored a prepaid health plan for shipyard workers, under the direction of Dr.
Garfield, which opened to the general public in 1945.
||Appointed general manager of Kaiser-Frazer Corporation automobile plant at Willow Run, Michigan and elected president of Kaiser
||Moved to the Oakland, California headquarters of the Kaiser Companies as the organization expanded, to share management responsibilities
with his father, Henry J. Kaiser.
||Elected president of Kaiser Industries Corporation, the parent company, with his father as chairman of the board and his younger
brother, Henry J. Kaiser, Jr., as vice president.
||Negotiated with labor attorney Arthur Goldberg for a settlement with United Steelworkers Union at Kaiser Steel's Fontana plant
during the national steel strike. Helped create the Long Range Sharing Plan at the Fontana mill.
||Served President John F. Kennedy as a member of the Missile Sites Labor Commission, the President's Committee on Equal Employment
Opportunity, and as an incorporator of the Communications Satellite Corporation in 1962.
||Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. died in Oakland.
||Named National Chairman of United Nations Day by President Lyndon Johnson.
||Selected by President Lyndon Johnson to head the President's Committee on Urban Housing, and named chairman of the board of
incorporators of the National Corporation for Housing Partnerships.
||Henry J. Kaiser died in Honolulu on August 24.
||Elected chairman of the board of Kaiser Industries Corporation, head of all operating divisions, subsidiaries and affiliated
companies (including Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation, Kaiser Steel Corporation, Kaiser Cement and Gypsum Corporation,
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals), and a trustee of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
||Named Alumnus of the Year and awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree by the University of California, Berkeley.
||Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Johnson for his contributions to the development of low and moderate
||Elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
||Sue Mead Kaiser died in Moscow on June 24.
||Appointed by President Gerald Ford to the President's Advisory Committee on Refugees.
||Married Nina McCormick, his long-time executive secretary, on February 1.
||Oversaw the voluntary liquidation of Kaiser Industries Corporation.
||Designated Chairman Emeritus and honorary director of Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation and Kaiser Cement Corporation
in 1978; of Kaiser Steel Corporation in 1979; and of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals
||Died at Moffitt Hospital in San Francisco, California, on December 11.
Scope and Content
The bulk of the Edgar F. Kaiser Papers were transferred to The Bancroft Library by Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation
and consist primarily of corporate files from Mr. Kaiser's tenure as president and chairman of the board of Kaiser Industries
Corporation. Also included are records from his earlier career as vice president and general manager of Oregon Shipbuilding
Corporation and Kaiser Company, Inc., followed by those from his tenure as president of Kaiser Motors Corporation and general
manager of Kaiser-Frazer Corporation's automobile plant at Willow Run, Michigan. The collection was extremely well organized
and, for the most part, original order was retained. Corporate files were supplemented by papers given by Kaiser's family
for inclusion in Series 1: Personal Papers.
The sheer volume of the collection is a testament to the vast and complex nature of the Kaiser family's business undertakings.
When considered in conjunction with the papers of his father, Henry J. Kaiser, which are also housed in The Bancroft Library,
a fascinating picture emerges of the birth, growth, and eventual decline of one of the West's great 20th-century family business
Edgar F. Kaiser inherited an industrial empire that at one time included over 100 Kaiser Companies and affiliates spread around
the globe. After an early apprenticeship on some of the major western United States public works projects of the Depression
years, Edgar Kaiser supervised Kaiser's shipbuilding operations in the Pacific Northwest during World War II, and then presided
over an unsuccessful automobile manufacturing venture in Michigan in the decade following the war. As president and, later,
chairman of the board, Edgar Kaiser led the Kaiser affiliated companies through an unprecedented era of growth during the
1960s, followed by a period of declining profits in the 1970s. This decade culminated in the sale of several companies, a
decline in international projects, and in the voluntary liquidation of Kaiser Industries Corporation, the holding company,
In his writings, interviews and speeches, Kaiser often reflected on the responsibility of American business, both at home
and abroad; on the founding and growth of the Kaiser Companies; on his father's charismatic leadership style; and on his own
role as advisor to American presidents in such areas as equal employment opportunity, urban housing, and satellite communications.
The collection provides rich source material for the study of the growth of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation and Kaiser Foundation
Hospitals, a unique prepaid health plan begun by Edgar Kaiser at the remote Grand Coulee Dam construction site in the late
1930s, and the post-war industrialization of the West, which was given impetus by the Kaiser-built shipyards, the Kaiser Steel
plant at Fontana, California, and the manufacturing of building materials such as gypsum and cement, needed for the post-war
housing boom in California. Also documented are related subjects such as urban renewal, affirmative action, on-the-job training,
public transit, and corporate sponsorship for the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area and on a national scale, as well as the
export of Kaiser technology to Pacific rim, Latin American, and African countries.