The passage of 100 years is something few of us will get the get chance to witness. Instead, we use photos, journals, news accounts, oral histories and folklore to do our best to understand and appreciate our history. Over the next 18 months, the Direct Selling Association (DSA) will engage in exactly this process of piecing together a century of working on behalf of direct selling companies and the millions of Americans who have realized success through our method of product and service distribution.
Formed in 1910, the same year the Boy Scouts of America was founded, John D. Rockefeller retired to become a philanthropist and Mark Twain passed away, the Agents Credit Association, as the DSA was originally named, was born in Binghamton, N.Y. Ten companies came together with the primary purpose of handling direct selling credit matters and account collections. Through war, recession, depression, rapidly evolving social change and technical advancement, this organization and method of distribution have survived and thrived.
Of course, the fabric of the DSA’s history is woven with the threads of thousands of direct selling companies, each having made a unique contribution to the path we have taken. The DSA’s 2010 Annual Meeting, June 6–8 in San Francisco, Calif., will be a celebration not just of the DSA, but, most important, of the direct selling model itself. The celebration will only begin in San Francisco, though. We invite every DSA direct selling member company to make sure its story is a part of the DSA’s historical record, which will come to life over the coming months.
At the DSA, we look at the opportunity to reflect on the last 100 years as a way to not only celebrate the past, but also to prepare for the next century of serving the direct selling industry.
Amy M. Robinson is Vice President of Communications & Media Relations for the Direct Selling Association.
- Sunday Evening Social Party during Annual Meeting (year unknown).
- Alan Luce and Neil Offen on Capitol Hill working to secure permanent independent contractor status for direct sellers.
- DSA Chairman of the Board Carol Cook, Annual Meeting Chairman Noel Black and Carla Black during the 1980 Annual Meeting.
- Gary McDonald of Tupperware presents the 1965 Hall of Fame award to Harold Schatz of The West Bend Company and Lyman Stuart of C.H. Stuart Inc. (Maynard DuRei accepted the award on behalf or Mr. Stuart.)
- The DSA Lawyers Council meets in 1973.