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Lewis Gilbert Papers

 Collection
Identifier: M147

Lewis Gilbert was an advoate for corporate shareholders, who challenged the executives and directors of major corporations in the United States on behalf of their shareholders. His aim was to make the public aware of how corporations were governed and how decisions were made, not always to the benefit of the shareholders. The Lewis Gilbert papers consist of his publications of the reports of annual meetings of corporations and scrapbooks of clippings and material on his quest for corporate openness.

Dates

  • 1938-1984

Creator

Extent

62 Linear Feet (31 17" x 20" scrapbook boxes)

Scope and Contents

The Lewis Gilbert papers consist of the publications on corporate annual meetings and scrapbooks documenting the work of Lewis and his brother, John, in bringing light to the corporate boardroom.

Biographical / Historical

Lewis Dusenberry Gilbert was born in Palo Alto, Calif. He inherited sufficient wealth from his parents and grandparents to make him financially independent. He worked briefly as a reporter for weekly newspapers in the New York metropolitan area. In 1933, he went to his first annual meeting at the Consolidated Gas Company, which later became part of Consolidated Edison.

Mr. Gilbert undertook a crusade to make corporate executives more responsive to the stockholders who owned their corporations. Despite being cold-shouldered by many managements and hissed by some other shareholders, he continued to appear regularly at annual meetings to voice his views. He and his brother, John J. Gilbert, lived on their dividends and were very interested in the management of the companies that supplies their livelihood.

Gilbert was an army corporal in World War II. One of his successes was to challenge Generals Douglas MacArthur and Lucius Clay for serving as directors of corporations in which they owned no stock. Both Generals subsequently purchased stock.

The annual report of activities by stockholders at annual meetings, issued by Lewis D. and John J. Gilbert, Corporate Democracy Inc., was published until 1979. Lewis Gilbert also wrote a book about corporate democracy, ''Dividends and Democracy,'' in 1956.

Lewis Gilbert died in 1993 of a heart ailment.

Arrangement

The papers are organized in two series: 1. Scrapbooks. 2. Annual Meeting Reports.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

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