Research: Topics: Business & Labor

Tobacco Industry Records Held by the New York State Archives

As a result of the Master Settlement Agreement, the New York State Attorney General's Office was given the opportunity to request copies of records from the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR) and the Tobacco Institute (TI). The State Archives serves New York State government by providing permanent storage of and access to records of state agencies. In that role, it is serving as the repository for records of these two tobacco organizations, and is working with the Office of the Attorney General to accomplish the transfer of records.

Researchers interested in these records should review the information below regarding the records that have been transferred to date, and the tools available to assist users in identifying relevant files. Through a collaborative arrangment with Roswell Park Cancer Institute, these records are being digitized, indexed and made accessible on the web via the RPCI Tobacco Institute Document Scanning Project. For further information please contact Research Assistance.

The status of those records transfers is as follows:

I. Council for Tobacco Research.

The Council for Tobacco Research (originally called the Tobacco Industry Research Committee) was established in 1953 by members of the tobacco industry to fund scientific research that the industry felt would address concerns and issues raised about tobacco and its relationship to health. The CTR was closed in 1998 as part of the litigation between the tobacco industry and the states attorneys general.

Copies of all records identified as having permanent value from the CTR have been transferred to the State Archives' legal custody and are part of the Roswell Part Cancer Institute Tobacco Institute Document Scanning Project. The following information provides an overview of the records:

  • Administrative summary of the CTR

    This brief summary provides a description of the organizational history, the functions, and the organizational structure of the CTR and its predecessor, the Tobacco Industry Research Committee.
  • Series description for CTR records

    Records from the CTR are maintained based on their "provenance", that is, in the office filing systems that were created and used by the CTR. For each group of records there is a brief description of the purpose for which the records series was created, the dates of coverage, and the types of information contained. In addition, for most series there is a box and folder level list provided by the organization that indicates more detailed contents. There is not a item level index to any of this materials.

II. Tobacco Institute.

The Tobacco Institute was incorporated in 1958 as the principal trade association intended to collect and disseminate information regarding: the use of tobacco; scientific and medical material on tobacco; information on the tobacco industry published by any federal or state gov't agency, or from any other non-industry source; and on federal/state legislative and administrative developments affecting the tobacco industry. The Institute was closed in 1999 as a result of the Master Settlement Agreement.

Records from the Tobacco Institute are in the process of being copied and transferred to Roswell Park Cancer Institute for digitization and indexing. The total extent of the TI records is over 8000 cubic feet, and some of those records are duplicative or may not be of permanent value. The State Archives is working in cooperation with the Office of the Attorney General and Roswell Park Cancer Institute to identify those records that merit permanent retention and to effect their transfer.

The following information is available for researchers interested in these records:

  • Tobacco Institute box list of all records.
    A list of all boxes from the TI placed in storage after its closure is available. The list is over 250 pages long, and lists the titles of some 8000+ boxes of records as well as the division within TI that created the records. With the exception of the Scientific Affairs Division records, these records have not yet been transferred to the State Archives. A copy of the box list is available for the cost of reproduction, $58.50 as determined by New York's Freedom of Information law.

For further information on the availability or reference use of these records, please contact:

Reference Services
New York State Archives
11th Floor, Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230
Email: archref@mail.nysed.gov
Phone: (518) 474-8955