The James C. Worthy Papers fill 53 boxes and 25 bound volumes, spanning the years 1932 to 1999. The bulk of the records consist of correspondence, speeches, reports, and published or unpublished papers. A substantial portion of the Papers documents Worthy's political activities. The papers are divided into six subseries, based upon Worthy's original order and organization of the materials: Biographical Materials, Correspondence, Career, Organizations, Political Activities, Publications and Speeches, and Numbered Materials.
Indexes and Cross-References include indexes to the speeches and bound volumes included in the Papers (Speeches, Box 44; Bound Volumes 1-25). One folder holds container lists of materials that Worthy deposited in the archives of Sears, Roebuck & Co. and the Academy of Management (Cornell University) in 1988.
Biographical materials, spanning the dates 1933 to 1998, include general information (news clippings, obituaries, resumes, etc.), date books, passports, correspondence, and genealogical information.
A photocopied “Journal,” with entries dating between 1949 and 1953, contains Worthy's thoughts, outlines, quotations, and other references for future use; in many cases, the topics are political.
Worthy worked on his memoirs for several years and drafted a few different versions. Completed typescripts exist for “Memoirs,” Chapters 1-8, circa 1995. Additional folders contain drafts and notes for chapters 10, 13, and 14 that were either to appear later in the memoirs or in a different set of memoirs (three other folders have titles but no chapter numbers). These folders have the chapter titles Worthy gave them, and contain background materials in the form of correspondence and reports that probably also exist elsewhere in the Papers. The folder entitled “'Memoirs': Notes and drafts, 'Family'” contains Worthy's genealogical research, including copies of love letters exchanged by Worthy's parents, James A. Worthy and Minnie Gressett Worthy (for additional genealogical information, see Box 2, Folder 3). One folder contains correspondence relating to the publication of Worthy's Recollections of a Many-Favored Life in 1998.
One series of folders, which Worthy titled “Changes,” contains correspondence marking his transition from one role to another-his departure from Sears and the Board of Education, his announcements of his new position, and congratulatory letters from friends and supporters (including Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon).
Correspondence, dating between 1941 and 1998, includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Most of the correspondence-filling sixteen archival boxes-is categorized as “General Correspondence” and relates to Worthy's work, participation in volunteer organizations, and personal communications, most commonly with his granddaughters. The materials in these folders are arranged chronologically. Personal Correspondence, arranged alphabetically by subject or correspondent's name, includes letters relating primarily to volunteer organizations in which Worthy was involved, such as the Chicago Theological Society, an Illinois sesquicentennial committee, and Republican political causes such as the Charles Percy campaign. Box 21, Folder 3 contains correspondence with Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Box 21, Folder 6 contains a letter from Richard M. Nixon. Subject Correspondence is organized alphabetically by topic and relates largely to Worthy's reports and books.
Career files, 1934-1997, are organized by the name of the agency, university, or company, in the chronological order of Worthy's employment with the institution. Materials include incoming and outgoing correspondence and drafts of reports. The National Recovery Administration folders include reports on the textile and millinery industries. The Sears, Roebuck & Co. folders include reports on improving efficiency, public relations, and employee satisfaction, as well as correspondence and drafts of his book about the company, Lean but not Mean. Cresap, McCormick & Paget folders include correspondence and reports relating to the firm's consulting practice. Correspondence in the Sangamon State University folders details Worthy's role in developing the management program. The Consulting Clients folders include correspondence between Worthy and his clients.
Organizations files, spanning the years 1936 to 1998, are organized chronologically by the date Worthy became involved in each organization. Within each organization, records are arranged chronologically. Austin Scholars folders include biographies and correspondence related largely to the first class of Austin Scholars, and to an Austin Scholars reunion in 1991. Academy of Management folders primarily contain correspondence relating to this honor society of academics. Illinois Board of Education Materials include reports and memoranda relating to educational reform and higher education in Illinois. Control Data Corporation/William C. Norris Institute files contain interviews, correspondence, and notes, largely relating to Worthy's extensive research of the company for Portrait of a Maverick, his book about Norris, and various reports. Metropolitan Assembly of Urban Planning folders are primarily correspondence.
Political Activities, 1952-1973, document Worthy's extensive involvement in the Republican Party. Materials are foldered alphabetically by subject and chronologically within each subject. Subjects include correspondence and memoranda relating to Republican campaigns and fundraising and attempts to bring political conventions to Chicago. The “1952 Campaign” folder in Box 38 contains a program and ticket stub from the Eisenhower/Nixon inauguration, as well as a letter from President Eisenhower. Box 40, Folder 6 contains extensive correspondence with Nixon, largely relating to his 1960 campaign for President.
Publications and Speeches span the years 1949 to 1997 and include reports, correspondence, reports, speeches, articles, and partial drafts of Worthy's books. The Books folders contain drafts and correspondence of Big Business & Free Men, Odyssey of a Manager, and Shaping an American Institution, as well as commentary on his writing.
Eight boxes contain what Worthy designated as “Numbered Materials.” These 468 folders offer an overview of Worthy's life and work, containing speeches, reports, and articles by and about Worthy, dating between 1940 and 1995. Each item is foldered individually and, in addition to title and date, includes a number (assigned by Worthy). Folders are arranged in numeric order, from 00 to 467. With a few exceptions, the numeric order reflects the chronological order (i.e., a lower number was produced earlier). Some of these items are duplicates, near-duplicates, or drafts, of articles, speeches, and reports that are found within other categories in the series.
Many of the materials included in the twenty-five Bound Volumes (1932-1971) duplicate the reports, speeches and articles in the “Numbered Materials” and elsewhere. The first fourteen volumes are entitled “Papers,” followed by the year-span of the materials within. Other bound materials include Worthy's report for the National Recovery Administration on the millinery industry (1936), a collection of “Essays on Germany” (1932-33), the proceedings of the Second Annual Intersession Public Affairs Colloquium at Sangamon State University (1975), edited by Worthy and Clarence Danhof, and partial manuscripts of books titled “The Rise of Trade Unionism” (n.d., circa 1932) and “The History of Labor Legislation” (1936). There is a list of the volume titles and dates at the end of the Container List; the folder “Bound Volumes” (Box 1, folder 2) contains tables of contents for many of the volumes.