Scope and Contents
Series 1 includes: news articles about the company and the Simmons family; photographs of the machinery, factories, factory workers, products and showrooms; annual reports; various corporate periodicals; audit reports; patents; and materials relating to sleep research conducted by Simmons. Series 2 includes product catalogues, scrapbooks of advertisements, advertising artwork and mechanicals, sales kits, point of purchase items, marketing plans and surveys, sales training videos and filmstrips, and commercials. Of special note are the materials on Simmons involvement in the New York World's Fair in 1964-65 and the XIII Winter Olympic Games in 1980. Most newsprint in this collection has been photocopied onto acid-free bond paper and the originals destroyed. Unless otherwise noted, the materials appear in date order within each subseries or sub-subseries. Physically, the materials are arranged by type and size. Series 1: CORPORATE MATERIALS, 1892-2000, n.d.
Subseries A: History, 1892-2000, n.d. - Kenosha, WI, history (news articles and other documents), Simmons Company history (news articles, correspondence, and commemorative publications), and Simmons Centennial materials. Of note are transcripts of a series of interviews conducted for the 1996 commemorative book; the interviews are in alphabetical order by the interviewee's last name. Some WWII materials are also located within this subseries. Subseries B: Photographic Materials, 1892-1990s [bulk dates] - Included here are photographs (black and white, color), negatives, transparencies, and slides.
Sub-subseries 1: Machines, 1925-1969, n.d. - Features photos of the devices used to make Simmons mattress and furniture including the Marshall pocket machine, stitching machines, and coiling machines. The photographs are arranged alphabetically by type of machine, and there under by date.
Sub-subseries 2: Products, 1936, 1962, 1970s-1990s, n.d. - Some of the photographs may have been used in advertisements, catalogues, and other Simmons publications.
Sub-subseries 3: Personnel, 1917, 1937-1974, 1980s, n.d. - Photographs of Z.G. Simmons, Grant Simmons, Jr., sales force, and board members. Of interest are the sales force photos featuring meeting initiations and "All-American Annual Trips" for top selling employees. Sub-subseries 4: Facilities, 1892, 1920s, 1936, 1940, 1955, 1960s, 1975, 1980s, n.d. - Photographs of domestic and foreign manufacturing plants, office buildings, warehouses, and stores.
Sub-subseries 5: Other, 1915, 1935, 1940, 1964, 1979, n.d. - Slides used for presentations and photographs that do not fit into the above sub-subseries. Subseries C: Annual Reports, 1946, 1949, 1952-1983 - Reports given to stockholders focusing on Simmons financial returns and business activities for the year. Subseries D: Publications, 1926-1994 [bulk dates] - Periodicals published by Simmons for their staff (sales force, plant employees, etc.) and outside parties.
Sub-subseries 1: Owl, 1947-1954 - A nearly complete run of this in-house organ; it was published about once every two months.
Sub-subseries 2: Bedpost, 1984, 1986, 1988-1998 --In-house organ. There are no examples of an in-house organ that may have been published between 1954 and 1984.
Sub-subseries 3: Other Publications, 1926, 1929, 1941, 1970s, 1980s, 1994 - Items published by Simmons and sent to merchandisers. Subseries E: Business Records, 1903-1987 [bulk dates]
Sub-subseries 1: Records, 1903-1998, n.d. - Consists, in part, of correspondence, speeches, personnel directories, and financial accounting books. Of note is the folder of materials on Simmons participation in atomic testing in 1955.
Sub-subseries 2: Presentations, Studies, and Reports, 1936, 1958, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1987, n.d. - Business plan presentation from Gulf & Western and Wickes. Issues of Consumer Reports magazine featuring Simmons products. Subseries F: Audit Reports, 1917-1952, 1959-1967, 1977 - Year-end financial audits for Simmons Company, its subsidiaries, and foreign incarnations. Subseries G: Legal Matters, 1914-1977 [bulk dates] - Federal Trade Commission activities, bills of sale, licensing agreements, trademarks on Simmons logos, and lawsuit exhibits. Subseries H: Patents, 1904-1954, ca. 1960s, n.d. - Correspondence and legal documents for foreign and domestic patents, many by John Gail. Also included here are the Patent Committee meeting minutes. Subseries I: National Association of Bedding Manufacturers (NABM), 1949, 1952, 1960s-1970s, n.d. - Materials reflect Simmons involvement with this organization. Several Simmons employees held high ranking positions within NABM. Subseries J: Sleep Research Materials, 1929-1970s, 1994, n.d. - Materials relating to Simmons sleep research endeavors, especially the Sleep Research Center at the Mellon Institute. Included are journal articles, booklets about sleep and bedding, and a scrapbook of news clippings related to a 1956 article, "Sleep--ust 80 Minutes a Night." Series 2: MARKETING, 1896-1990s, n.d.
Subseries A: Catalogs, 1896-1956, 1970s, 1980, n.d. - The earliest catalogs are from the Northwestern Wire Mattress Company. Catalogs from the regional distributors of Simmons, as well as from England and Canada. Subseries B: Price Lists, 1939, 1940, 1952-1957 - Institutional and divisional price lists for Simmons products. Subseries C: Records of Marketing, 1920s-1930s, 1950s, 1970s-1990s, n.d. [bulk dates] - This subseries reflects the business materials used to market Simmons mattresses to consumer groups and merchandisers including artwork for advertisements, mattress labels, television and radio commercial scripts, and pamphlets aimed at consumers. Subseries D: Advertisements, 1920s-1990s, n.d. - A nearly complete continuum of Simmons advertising. The scrapbooks were dismantled to ensure proper preservation. They have been kept intact and the pages numbered to ensure order. The contents of the scrapbooks, in many cases, are duplicated both in the loose advertising and in other scrapbooks. A few of the scrapbooks were completely dismantled and integrated into the loose advertising. There is no record of the original order of these scrapbooks.
Sub-subseries 1: Consumer Advertisements, 1920s-1990s, n.d. - Advertising pamphlets, mailers, local advertisements, and national advertising campaigns. Competitors' advertisements are included in this sub-subseries.
Sub-subseries 2: Trade Advertisements, 1920s-1980s, n.d. - The trade advertisements are aimed at the bedding industry and related home furnishings publications. Literature for hospitals, hotels, and interior decorators is found here. Some trade advertising is located in scrapbooks with the consumer advertising; an effort has been made to note these occurrences in this finding aid. Subseries E: Sales Kits, 1931, 1933, 1946, 1950s-1998, n.d. - These kits were mailed or presented by Simmons sales force members to dealers/merchandisers. The materials feature Simmons products, upcoming promotions, and advertisements that could be customized for each store's location. **Please note, the Sales Kits, Sales Force Materials, and Dealer Materials, in some instances, are interchangeable. Similar items can be found in each subseries. It is therefore wise to look in all three areas to find comprehensive information. Subseries F: Point of Purchase Aids, 1960s-1990s, n.d. - Items placed at the store to be used in conjunction with Simmons products. These include counter cards, informational cards and pamphlets, and display material. Subseries G: Sales Force Materials, 1923-1927, 1931, 1937-1939, 1940s-1980s, n.d. - Materials aimed at the sales force featuring Simmons products, upcoming promotions, goals and objectives in selling the products, and correspondence. Sometimes these materials could also be shown to dealers/merchandisers. The "All-American Annual Trip" materials are found here, featuring the winners (the top sellers), travel itineraries, and commemorative posters. Subseries H: Dealer Materials, 1920s-1980s, 1990, 1998, n.d. - Materials aimed specifically at the dealer/merchandiser of Simmons products. These items feature Simmons products, upcoming promotions, and advertisements that could be customized for each store's location. Many contain promotion and publicity items designed to help the dealer/merchandiser sell Simmons products. Subseries I: Marketing Studies and Research, 1933, 1939-1949, 1986-1989 - Simmons used marketing studies to customize advertising and further promote products to the proper demographic. A study done in Danbury, CT, Simmons "Mattress Buyers : Their Homes and Occupations" (1933), and the "Magazine Interview Promotion" (1936) contain photographs of the mattress buyers and their homes, personal information, and reasons why they chose to buy a Simmons mattress. Subseries J: World's Fair Materials, ca. 1964-1965 - Simmons participated in the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. This subseries reflects their preparation and participation mainly through artwork and photographs. Most of the preparation was probably done years prior to the Fair taking place. Subseries K: Olympic Materials, 1978-1980 - Simmons was an official sponsor of the XIII Olympic Winter Games in 1980 which took place in Lake Placid, NY. Official Olympic sponsor materials make up the bulk of this subseries. Olympic Games related advertisements can be found in Series 2:D:1 and 2:F. Subseries L: Audio/Visual Materials, 1940s-1990s - Film, video, filmstrips, and audio materials featuring sales force training, commercials, and point-of-purchase videos for the consumer to view in the store. **The materials are currently arranged by medium. This arrangement will change; please see the audio-visual archivist.
Sub-subseries 1: Videos, 1940s-1970s, 1983-1990s, n.d. - Training videos for sales force, in-store videos, television appearances on MSNBC and QVC, and commercial compilations.
Sub-subseries 2: Films, 1970s, 1980, n.d. - Commercials, films sent to dealers featuring upcoming promotions.
Sub-subseries 3: Filmstrips, 1963-1964, n.d. - Informational strips on sleep research, strips directed at sales force training, and a factory tour.
Sub-subseries 4: Audio, 1963, 1965, 1976-1979, 1991, n.d. - Cathy Rigby's fitness program LP, sales force training, radio commercials, and sales meeting recordings. Audiocassette and reel-to-reel.