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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 4403884

United States v. United Shoe Machinery Corporation, District Ct. of the U.S., District of Mass.


The collection contains most of the transcript of the 1949-1952 Sherman Act antitrust proceedings against the United Shoe Machinery Corporation in federal court in Massachusetts. Otherwise complete, the collection lacks trial records from Oct. 18, 1949-Mar. 5, 1950.


  • 1949 - 1952

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.


17 boxes

The collection consists of the stenographic record of the United States v. United Shoe Machinery Corporation trial before J. Wyzanski in District Court of the U.S., District of Massachusetts. The trial lasts from May 17, 1949 to June 12, 1952.

The collection contains volumes 1-121, consecutively numbered p. 1-14194. In addition, the collection includes Supplies Activities of the United Shoe Machinery Corp. by Joel Dean, Plaintiff's Request for Simple Finding of Fact No. B-11 - United Shoe Machinery Corp. Share of Major and Minor Machines Outstanding in American Shoe Factories, and Plaintiff's Request for Simple Finding of Fact No. B-14 - United Shoe Machinery Corp. Share of Major and Minor Shoe Machines Outstanding in 55 Selected Shoe Factories.

The collection is missing volumes 10-20, pages 752-1940, covering Oct. 18, 1949 - Mar. 5, 1950.

Historical/Biographical Information

This collection contains the transcripts and records of the 1949-1952 Sherman Act antitrust proceedings against the United Shoe Machinery Corporation in Massachusetts' federal court.

United Shoe Machinery was created in 1899 by a merger of Goodyear Machinery Company,Consolidated Hand Lasting Machine Company, and McKay Shoe Machinery Company. It quickly became an international corporation and achieved nearly complete market domination in the United States.

United Shoe made its fortune largely on its practice of leasing rather than selling its shoemaking equipment to its customers. Of this innovative approach, FORTUNE magazine wrote approvingly in 1933, "if you can save a man $10 and charge him $2 for the service, it does him no harm if you made a good profit on the $2." Its massive factory complex in Beverly, Massachusetts made the city the richest in the state, and in 1930 United Shoe built Boston's first skyscraper (at 160 Federal Street) for its corporate headquarters. The corporation flourished throughout the Great Depression and the Second World War.

On December 15, 1947 the United States filed a complaint against United Shoe Machinery Corporation in federal court in Massachusetts, alleging violations of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., and charging that United Shoe had been illegally monopolizing the shoe manufacturing industry since 1912.

In his 60-page opinion, Judge Charles E. Wyzanski described the ensuing trial: "A trial of prodigious length followed. The court attempted to shorten the hearings by requiring defendant in advance of trial to submit to the Government's exhaustive requests for discovery, by requiring the Government at the opening of its case to file a brief correlating all its proposed evidence, by encouraging the use of sampling devices, and by insisting that the Government should, in formal answers, indicate in each branch of the case on what evidence it principally relied. Nonetheless, the hearing took 121 days and covered 14,194 pages of transcript and included the offer of 5512 exhibits totalling 26,474 pages (in addition to approximately 150,000 pages of OMR's and over 6,000 soft copies of patents) and 47 depositions covering 2122 pages. At the close of the evidence the Court asked for briefs, and requested findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Government offered briefs totalling 653 pages, and requests totalling 667 pages. United submitted briefs totalling 1240 pages, and requests totalling 499 pages." United States v. United Shoe Machinery Corp., 110 F.Supp. 295, 298-99 (D.Mass. 1953).

The court finally found that United Shoe had violated the Sherman Act, and it prescribed several different remedies but stopped short of dissolving or fracturing the corporation. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed. United Shoe Machinery Corp. v. United States, 347 U.S. 521 (1954).

The case went back to court in 1967. The government petitioned for an order to dissolve the corporation; the corporation petitioned for a less strenuous remedy than the one previously ordered. The district court, under then Chief Judge Wyzanski, ruled that the original order would not be modified since nothing had changed significantly since then. United States v. United Shoe Machinery Corp., 266 F.Supp. 328 (D.Mass. 1967). The Supreme Court reversed, ordering the district court to supply a remedy that would effectively terminate the illegal monopoly, deny the corporation the fruits of its statutory violation, and ensure that this could not happen again. United States v. United Shoe Machinery Corp., 391 U.S. 244 (1968).

After the first wave of antitrust litigation, United Shoe continued to innovate within the shoe manufacturing industry, but it also developed such modern inventions as the hot glue gun, the soda can pop-top, the drive mechanism for the lunar module, and pop rivets for the Concorde. The company's name was changed to USM Corporation in 1968 to reflect its increasing diversification, but the company went deeply into debt financing its new acquisitions, and its stock value plummeted. In 1976 the company was bought by Emhart Corporation (now Emhart Teknologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Black & Decker).

Series List

The material in this collection was originally bound into volumes numbered 1-121. Each volume contains the records from one day of the trial and the pagination is continuous throughout the volumes.

Box/Volume Index:
  1. Box 1 - vols. 1-9, pp. 1-751
  2. Missingvols. 10-20, pp. 752-1940
  3. Box 2 - vols. 21-27, pp.1941-2733
  4. Box 3 - vols. 28-35, pp. 2734-3534
  5. Box 4 - vols. 36-42, pp. 3535-4312
  6. Box 5 - vols.43-49, pp. 4313-5104
  7. Box 6 - vols. 50-55, pp.5105-5917
  8. Box 7 - vols. 56-62, pp. 5918-6778
  9. Box 8 - vols. 63-38, pp. 6779-7607
  10. Box 9 - vols.69-75, pp. 7608-8395
  11. Box 10 - vols. 76-81, pp.8396-9219
  12. Box 11 - vols. 82-87, pp. 9220-10016
  13. Box 12 - vols. 88-94, pp. 10017-10827
  14. Box 13 -vols. 95-100, pp. 10828-11609
  15. Box 14 - vols. 101-106,pp. 11610-12424
  16. Box 15 - vols. 107-112, pp.12425-13185
  17. Box 16 - vols. 113-118, pp.13186-13830
  18. Box 17 - vols. 119-121, pp. 13831-14194;Supplies Activities of the USMC by Joel Dean; Plaintiff's Request forSimple Finding of Fact No. B-11, USMC Share of Major and MinorMachines Outstanding in American Shoe Factories; Plaintiff's Requestfor Simple Finding of Fact No. B-14, USMC Share of Major and MinorShoe Machines Outstanding in 55 Selected Shoe Factories

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Prof. Kaysen, November 1958.

Processing Information

Processed by Julia Meier, July 2004.

United States v. United Shoe Machinery Corporation, District Ct. of the U.S., District of Mass., 1949-1952 Finding Aid
Harvard Law School LibraryCambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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