Colston Estey Warne, Romulus, Seneca Co., NY - NYGenWeb, part of the USGenWeb Project USGenWeb Project NYGenWeb Project

Colston Estey Warne, Romulus, Seneca Co., NY and Warne's father-in-law
Lee Cleveland Corbett , Schuyler County

Colston Estey Warne: Co-Founder of Consumers Union and its Consumer Report magazine. He was the president from its beginning to 1981 (43 years). He also taught at Amherst College from 1930 to 1969.

Birth:14 Aug 1900    Place:Romulus,Seneca Co.,NY
Marr:27 Oct 1919    Spouse:Frances Lee CORBETT
Death:20 May 1987     Place:Bedford,Middlesex Co.,MA
Father:Clinton Arlington WARNE    Mother:Harriet ESTEY


(From unknown news paper May 21,1987)

    Colston E. Warne, 86, the founder and long-time president of the Consumers Union and its Consumer Reports monthly magazine, died May 20 at a nursing home in Bedford,Mass. He had Parkinson's disease.
     The Consumers Union was founded in 1936. Its staff now numbers 266. The number of subscribers to the magazine has grown from 3,000 to 3.8 million. Dr. Warne was Consumers Union president during its first 43 years. He retired in 1981.
    He also was a co-founder of the International Organization of Consumers Unions in 1960 and was its president for the next 10 years. In the 1920's he was a member of the board of the Cooperation League of the USA and in the mid 1940's was a member of the consumer advisory committee to the Council of Economic Advisers from 1962 to 1965, he was on the Consumer Advisory Council to the President.
     The Consumers Union is the largest product testing and consumer information organization of its kind. Dr. Warne maintained that it was established to help people purchase products and services economically. Its magazine publishes numerous product surveys organized by the union staff and does not accept advertising.
     Dr. Warne was a native of Romulus,N.Y., and a 1920 graduate of Cornell University, where he received bachelor's and master's degrees in economics. He received his doctorate in political economy from the University of Chicago. He taught economics at Amherst College for 33 years before retiring in 1959.
     He was head of the Pittsburgh branch of the American Civil Liberties Union in the late 1920's and had chaired the academic freedom committee of the American Federation of Teachers in the mid 1930's.
     His wife of more than 60 years, Frances Corbett Warne, died in 1982. Survivors include one son, Dr. Clinton Lee Warne of Shaker Heights,Ohio; two daughters, Margaret C. Warne Nelson and Barbara Frances Warne.

(From Consumers Report date unknown)

     Colston Warne, one of the founders of Consumers Union and president of our board of directors for 43 years, died May 20. He was 86.
     Warne was one of a handful of visionaries who, back in the 1920's, turned the idea of testing products into reality. In those days, the rapidly developing art of advertising threatened to overwhelm consumers' common sense with merchandising nonsense. Warne and his contemporaries sought, through objective product testing, to give consumers the information needed to make rational choices in the marketplace. Warne, an economist, reasoned that a free market worked best when buyer and seller were equally well informed. That thinking led to the founding of a group called Consumers' Research and the first product testing magazine, Consumers' Research Bulletin. Warne joined the new group's advisory board in 1929.
     He came to this cause from teaching posts at the University of Pittsburgh and, later Amherst College, where he was appointed professor of economics in 1930. He was already active in the labor movement and in the American Civil Liberties Union. During his stint at the University of Pittsburgh, near the mine camps of the coal belt, he had become interested in how unions might improve the living and working conditions of the miners. He traveled from mine camp to mine camp in a dilapidated Ford, visiting union meetings and discovering "what organization might mean to human beings." as he later said.
     When a labor dispute at Consumers' Research turned first into a strike and then into a lockout of the striking workers, Warne, not surprisingly, sided with the strikers. As he later wrote: "Among those organized to help the strikers, the hope was expressed: We have publishing skills, why not beat Consumers' Research at its own game by establishing a competitive publication?" In 1936, Warne and a few others founded Consumers Union. Their "competitive publication" -- CONSUMER REPORT -- now reaches some 3.8 million subscribers.
     Warne was CU's first president, guiding the organization through the war years, when the shortage of consumer goods lessened the need for product testing, and through the McCarthyite 50's, when CU was banded "Red" for its past challenges to the American way of business.
     Warne, being a "cause man" saw the need to institutionalize causes in new organizations. During the years of prosperity following World War II, CU's seed money and Warne's enthusiasm helped found the American Council on Consumer Interests (an organization of consumer economists), the Consumer Federation of America, and the International Organization of Consumers Union, among others.
     Warne wrote and spoke often on the subject of advertising. "Artificial product differentiation and romantic fantasies may for a time capture unthinking consumer loyalty, but these techniques are no substitute for unadulterated truth." he wrote in 1961.
     Warne served as a member of the President's Committee on Consumer Interests in the early 1960's and was a member of numerous consumer and academic organizations. He retired as a professor from Amherst in 1969 and from CU's board in 1979. His wife of more than 60 years, Frances, died 1n 1982. He is survived by a son and two daughters and five grandchildren.
Information contributed by Jim Corbett.

     Another "famous person" was Colston Estey WARNE's father-in-law Lee Cleveland CORBETT b.21 Oct 1867 Watkins,Schuyler Co.,N.Y.; m.Evelyn L. NORTHRUP23 Feb 1936;d. 13 Jul 1940 Washington,,D.C. While he was not from Seneca Co you may want to know about him someday as well. His data follows:
     Lee Cleveland Corbett, horticulturist, scientist and author. He received his B.S. from Cornell in 1890, and his M.S. from Cornell in 1896, and an honorary Ph.D. was conferred upon him by Maryland University in 1921.
     Dr. Corbett was connected with the U. S. Dept. of Agriculture from 1901 to 1913 as horticulturist; from 1913 to 1915 as assistant chief of the Bureau of Plant Industry; from 1915 on, as director of Horticultural and Pomological investigations.
     Dr. Corbett has been honored by election as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the Association for the Promotion of Agricultural Science; the Society for the Promotion of Horticultural Science, of which he is an ex-president; the Botanical Society of Washington; The Washington Academy of Science; The Cosmos Club; and as delegate to the International Institute of Agriculture at Rome in 1920.
     Dr. Corbett's family holds thirteen Cornell degrees. Besides two of his own, his three sons and his son-in-law hold one Ph.D., one M.A., two M.S., two B.S., two B.A., and one LL.B. (1928). His daughter and daughter in law hold a B.S. and an A.B. respectively. (Melvin C. Corbett)
     Lee was also author of many articles and papers, which included the following Garden Farming, Intensive Farming, Agriculture Experiential Station Bulletins, also bulletins of Cornell the Univ. ofSouth Dakota, West Va., and the U.S. Dept. Agriculture.
     His obituary follows: Dr. Corbett,73, Plant Expert Dies at Home. Dr. Lee Cleveland Corbett,73, nationally known horticulturist and former assistant chief of the Agriculture Department, Bureau of Plant Industry, died yesterday at his home after an illness of two weeks.
     Death came to the scientist three years after his retirement and four years after his marriage to C. Louise Phillips, librarian at the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Dr. Corbett's first wife, the former Evelyn L. Northrup, died in 1931.
     The author of numerous Agriculture Department bulletins, Dr. Corbett was best known for "Market Gardening" a college textbook that is used widely.
     He wrote several other books on horticulture and was horticulture editor of the revised edition of the "international Encyclopedia" and the "Century Dictionary". He contributed articles to the "Encyclopedia of American Horticulture".
     A native of Watkins Glen, N.Y. he attended Cornell University, receiving his bachelor of science degree in 1890 and his master of science degree in 1896. In 1921, he received the degree of doctor of agriculture from University of Maryland.
     From 1891 to 1893 he was assistant horticulturist at Cornell. Then for two years he was a professor of horticulture and forestry at South Dakota Agricultural College. He then transferred to the University of West Virginia and taught there for six years.
     He entered the Department of Agriculture 1n 1901 and in 1913 became assistant chief of the Bureau of Plant Industry. From 1915 to 1929 he was in charge of horticultural investigations for the Department and in 1929 became principal horticulturist.
     A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he was also a member of the Association for the Promotion of Agricultural Science and a past president of the Society for the Promotion of Horticultural Science.
     He was a member of the Botanical Society of Washington, the Washington Academy of Sciences and the Cosmos Club.
     Surviving, besides his wife, are five children, Dr. Roger B. Corbett, of Storrs,Conn; Laurence W. Corbett of Minneapolis, Minn,; Thurston Corbett, of Rochester, N.Y.; Mrs Colston Warne, of Amherst,Mass. and Miss Ruth E. Corbett of Troy, Pa.
     Funeral services will be at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow at his home, 535 Cedar Street northwest, with burial in Fort Lincoln Cemetery. (unknown Washington paper)
Information contributed by Jim Corbett.

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