To house the artifacts Kellogg’s amassed since opening in 1906, the Kellogg’s Archive was formed in 1978. Today, it occupies about 14,000 square feet at Kellogg’s Battle Creek, MI, headquarters and holds 10 different collections – some containing 10,000 to 50,000 pieces. Here, the manager of Corporate Records and Archives, Alinda A., discusses her role and how Kellogg’s, as an innovative company, draws on the past for inspiration.
It’s not every day you meet an archivist. How did you get started?
ALINDA: I was actually an intern my senior year of college here in the Records Management Department. After graduation, I was hired to do the Records operations, and from there I slowly progressed in responsibility, which led me to managing the entire department, including the Historical Archives. I’ll be celebrating 29 years with Kellogg Company in September, with Archivist accountabilities since 1997.
What’s the best part about your job?
ALINDA: I love seeing how employees use the facts and artifacts provided to them after a request has been researched. For example, I provide images of past advertising and then see them hanging on the walls of employee offices; or I provide facts and images for media requests and then can see how it is all used in the story in final print.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve uncovered?
ALINDA: Years ago, I was glancing through a book on collectibles and stopped for a closer look when I saw Kellogg memorabilia. I had to do a double take when I saw an old carton flat, which I do have in the Archives, was listed for something like $7,500. I was amazed because I don’t keep track of the value of any of our artifacts.
How many different television commercials do you have on file?
ALINDA: I’d have to say it’s in the thousands. We’re a global company, so we have television commercials from many locations – Great Britain, Japan, Australia and Mexico, just to name a few. Kellogg first used television in 1949 for advertising Corn Soya during “The Singing Lady” program. Today, we’re occasionally asked to look up commercials with actors and actresses after they’ve become more well-known, which are always fun to find and watch.
What’s your favorite piece of Kellogg history?
ALINDA: I can’t pick a favorite fact, but I do think it’s amazing that when the Kellogg Company was founded in Battle Creek there were 42 other cereal companies in business. (Today, there are 2 cereal companies).
Do you have memorabilia dating to 1906, when Kellogg was founded?
ALINDA: Yes, packages, print advertising, photographs and even an old ledger. However even earlier than that, the Archive actually has some early print advertising and publications that were used at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. The Sanitarium was owned by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, our founder, Mr. Kellogg’s, brother. Mr. Kellogg worked for his brother for a number of years before he ventured on his own to incorporate the Kellogg Company in 1906.
What is one thing you hope people remember about Kellogg’s past?
ALINDA: Who our founder was: Mr. Kellogg. He was a very bright businessman with some great foresight, as many of the ideals he began are incorporated into our K Values, which guide 30,000+ employees today. When he first started the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company he was already 46 years old and there were only 25 people on the payroll.
What are you most excited to see from Kellogg in the future?
ALINDA: The continued use of our historical assets through many types of communication. Whether it's internal awareness within the company, used in advertising, packaging, and media, or posted and shared on social media - it is really exciting to see the end result of how our historical images are used.