William S. Woodside papers
- Woodside, William S. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Extent4 linear feet (3 boxes)
Under Woodside's leadership the American Can Company repositioned itself from a traditional manufacturing corporation to a financial services and specialty retailing firm. Woodside foresaw the future of business in America as a service economy rather than a manufacturing economy. In 1981, Woodside sold American Can's highly profitable forest products and paper business to James River Corporation yielding enough cash to make acquisitions in the financial services and mail order catalogue and record business. The company bought a number of small insurance companies and the brokerage firm Smith Barney, Harris Upham. The can operation was later sold off due to difficulties for farmers in obtaining financing and over capacity. At that point, the corporation was renamed Primerica, Inc. In December 1988 Primerica was sold to the Commercial Credit Corporation for $1.45 billion. Woodside retired in 1989.
In 1982, Bill Woodside undertook the restructuring of the American Can Company Foundation. Until that time, the foundation had carried out a traditional giving program in localities where plants and employees were located as well as providing scholarship funds towards the education of employee's children. Woodside focused the Foundation's approach to three topics: hunger in America, the corporate role in pre-collegiate public education and economic transition in the workforce. Through his work with the Foundation, Woodside became a champion of the social responsibility of businesses and business ethics. During the 1980s and 1990s he gave many lectures on public education, the role of government in social programs, and expanding public-private collaboration of education projects.
Bill Woodside received honorary degrees from Lafayette College, College of New Rochelle and State University of New York at Purchase. He was awarded the Cleveland E. Dodge Medal for Distinguished Service from Teachers College of Columbia University.William S. Woodside died on November 15, 2000.
- Series I. Speeches, 1973-1993
- Series II. Personal material, 1950-1988
- Series III. Audiovisual material, 1984-1991
By: Benjamin Johnson
- Woodside, William S., 1922-2000. William S. Woodside Papers, 1950-1993: A Finding Aid
- Baker Library
- Description rules
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository
Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.
Baker Library | Bloomberg Center
Soldiers Field Road
Boston MA 01263 USA