Series IV. Department File

Series IV, Department File, contains records of three departments which operated at Dixie’s plant in Easton, Pennsylvania and is arranged in three subseries. Subseries 1, Manufacturing (1917-1949), contains some records of Wilbur T. Soulis, who was head of the Manufacturing Department in Easton, and director of development in Chicago in the 1940s. The Instruction Book (ca. 1917-1925) and Management Letters (1920-1936) originate from his files while he served as plant superintendent at the Easton plant. The Instruction book contains “sheets” issued to the management staff in all departments. These memoranda contain instructions regarding such items as pay and bonus rates, operating of machinery, cup inspection guidelines, safety and welfare of staff, phone usage, break policy, ventilation schedule, and payroll. Other items that Soulis filed here include correspondence and minutes of the Manufacturing Committee. The correspondence between Soulis and engineering consultant Cesare Barbieri (1948-1949) concerns machine development, preparation of patent applications, and machine maintenance. These same files also contain correspondence with engineers Arne P. Pettersen and Andrew C. Wood of the Easton plant.

Subseries 2, Sales (1922-1950), contains various types of manuals that were used by salesmen and other representatives of the company. While some of the manuals include information for only one year, the bulk of them were compiled over a longer period of time. These files contain instructions to sales staff, and provide a unique source of information about Dixie retail and wholesale pricing and product descriptions and illustrations. There is also a unique manual (1935) which contains templates of major designs printed on Dixie cups and containers.

Subseries 3, Sales & Promotion (1924-1955), contains the files maintained by Drew Catlin, hired in 1929 as the Sales Promotion Manager, his assistant Floris Lipsett, and editor Hilda Long. (Catlin served as the Advertising and Public Relations director when the department was renamed the Market and Public Relations Department in 1945. In 1954 the department was renamed the Advertising and Sales Promotion Departments, at which time Catlin was made assistant to the Sales Director and responsible for guiding personnel development and sales training for the Marketing Development Department).

Although this series provides only a fragmented record of Catlin’s first two decades with the company, it does document Dixie’s earliest marketing victories. Of particular interest is the extensive collection of advertisements (some oversize) that promoted Dixie products in magazines and newspapers. The promotion handbooks and plans, including “The Big Idea” which was used to promote the franchise business with ice cream manufacturers, provides an interesting look at Dixie’s marketing strategies. There are several files about the “Dixie Circus” radio program which aired on NBC beginning in 1928, which contain correspondence, promotional booklets, tickets, programs, and clippings. There are various picture sets that were sent to children as part of the popular Ice Cream Dixie “Premium Lid Program.” Beginning in 1936, the Dixie- Vortex Company published a monthly magazine called Dixie News for its employees. This publication, edited by Hilda Long until 1957, serves as a good source for news at the various Dixie plants and biographical information about Dixie employees. Some of the more recent material in this series concerns information about the Melody cup design (1951), an unfavorable poll about serving beer in paper cups (1951); and a 1953 luncheon given in the honor of Samuel Crumbine, one of the earliest crusader against the common drinking cup. For further correspondence with Drew Catlin and further documentation of the various promotion campaigns see also Series I.