The PHCC’s national auxiliary recently gave some of its archives to the Smithsonian Institution for the American history museum’s collection on the role of women in business.

The collection includes organizing records for the 92-year-old group as well as 27 scrapbooks for what was originally called the Women’s Auxiliary-National Association of Master Plumbers. It is housed in the museum’s archives center.

“This is the archives center’s first collection to specifically document the records of a longstanding women’s organization,” said curator Cathy Keen. “We are delighted the PHCC auxiliary stepped forward to help fill this gap.”

The forerunner to the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Auxiliary was started in 1919, a year before women gained the right to vote. What began as a group that tried to assist their husbands’ businesses evolved into lobbying for better public sanitation facilities. In 1938, it participated in a Texaco gas station promotion about the company’s clean restrooms.

The scrapbooks donated by the group highlight the work it did with manufacturers such as Bradford White Corp., American Standard, Kohler, Ferguson and A.O. Smith.

“These relationships and how the manufacturers capitalized on them are interesting as forms of product and company promotion and advertising,” Keene said.

Lynne Finley, historian for the PHCC auxiliary, said members are honored to be featured in the museum.

“PHCC President David Dugger and PHCC Auxiliary President Sandy Stack’s motto this year is “Go big” and it doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Finley said. “It has been an amazing journey.”

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