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Nelson N. Lichtenstein Wal-Mart Research Materials

Identifier: MC 1871

Scope and Content Note

Materials focus on the Walton family and Wal-Mart as well as corporate culture in the last quarter of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Lichtenstein materials span the period from the mid-1990s through 2011, while Ortega materials span the 1980s and 1990s. Wal-Mart materials include items related to the company's efforts in the United States as well as Asia, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific region. Background materials include materials dating pre-1980, including census records dating to 1880.

Materials include correspondence, publications, internet downloads, manuals, newspaper clippings, and notes. The collection also includes 29 photographs and 30 negatives, as well as two CDs, bumper stickers, posters, and an anti-Wal-Mart campaign button.


  • Creation: 1880-2011


Language of Materials

Materials are in primarily in English. Some materials are in Chinese.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

Use restrictions apply: Materials in Box 21 may not be accessed by patrons.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

The Nelson N. Lichtenstein Wal-Mart Research Materials combines the papers and documents collected by Bob Ortega and Nelson N. Lichtenstein while working independently on projects related to Wal-Mart. While a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, Ortega began investigating the connection between the expansion of Wal-Mart and the resulting negative impact on local communities and businesses, as well as sweatshops and other topics. He published several related articles, with his work culminating in the publication of In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton and How Wal-Mart Is Devouring America in 1998. Lichtenstein is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy. He specializes in labor history. He wrote several books, including one on union leader Walter Reuther, before becoming interested in the Wal-Mart phenomenon. He organized a conference held in April 2004 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, titled “Wal-Mart: Template for the 21st Century Capitalism?”. The papers from this conference became chapters for the book Wal-Mart: The Face of Twenty-first-Century Capitalism, edited by Lichtenstein and published in 2006. In the course of doing research on Wal-Mart, Lichtenstein received Ortega's Wal-Mart materials. Lichtenstein's book, The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business, was published in 2009.


21.5 Linear Feet (23 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are divided in a manner to retain provenance into two groups: materials gathered by Nelson Lichtenstein first, and those gathered by Bob Ortega second. As a result materials related to a given topic may be found in both groups, with earlier materials generally found in the Ortega files, and the Lichtenstein files including materials produced in the late 1990s and the early twenty-first century.

Lichtenstein materials may be found in Boxes 1-11 and 22-23, with Ortega materials located in Boxes 11-19. Each group is organized with materials related to Lichtenstein or Ortega at the beginning, followed by materials related to the Walton family, Wal-Mart history and executives, and then subject files related to Wal-Mart in alphabetical order. At the end of each group are materials not related to Wal-Mart.

Photographs are located in Box 19, while Box 20 contains various oversize materials. Box 21 contains materials that may not be accessed by patrons.

Acquisition Information

The Nelson N. Lichtenstein Wal-Mart Research Materials were donated to the Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, on July 4, 2010 by Nelson N. Lichtenstein of Santa Barbara, California. Additional materials (boxes 22-23) were donated by Lichtenstein on January 18, 2019.

Processing Information

Processed by Todd E. Lewis; completed in August 2011. An additional donation (boxes 22-23) was incorporated by Katrina Windon in January 2019.



Nelson N. Lichtenstein Wal-Mart Research Materials
Todd Lewis
August 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444