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A Brief History

On November 5, 1952, Colston Warne (President of Consumers Union) inquired by letter whether Ray Price and Henry Harap would be interested in launching a consumer education association. Warne stated that Consumers Union would contribute financial support to bring several persons together for that purpose. Price and Harap met with Warne in Chicago and approved the proposal. Twenty persons accepted an invitation to attend a planning session at the University of Minnesota. These Charter Members were primarily college and university professors. They approved the selection of an executive committee which was given the following charge: prepare a plan for permanent organization, prepare a budget and obtain financial assistance, choose an executive secretary, and define its functions. The following persons served on this Executive Committee: Marguerite Burk, Eugene Beem, G.E. Damon, Henry Harap and Ray Price. Eugene Beem was chosen to act as Executive Secretary.

The Executive Committee met in Washington on June 1, 1953, after which the Consumers Union made a grant of $7000. This grant enabled the planning group to proceed with the recruitment of members, publication of newsletters and pamphlets, and the organization of an annual conference.

Thus, the American Council on Consumers Interests was formally established in 1953. Initially, the organization was called the Council on Consumer Information and in 1969 it was changed to the American Council on Consumer Interests. ACCI was established for the purpose of stimulating the exchange of ideas among persons interested in the welfare of the consumer and to be non-political, taking no stand on issues of public policy. Its sole purpose was to contribute to more effective fact-finding and dissemination of consumer information. The first annual ACCI conference was held in 1955 in Dayton, Ohio.

*Taken from Henry Harap, "A Brief History of the American Council on Consumer Interests," a photocopied paper distributed by Consumers Union of the U.S., March 1981. 

The American Council on Consumer Interests: An Oral History was published in 1987. See the entire book here.

Today the American Council on Consumer Interests, with a growing number of international Members, is known primarily as ACCI. Governed by an eleven-Member Board of Directors, its office is located in Tarpon Springs, Florida. You are most welcome to contact us at the ACCI Office.