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GUND, Inc. records

 Collection — Box: 1-38
Identifier: 115.915
This collection contains historic archival materials from GUND, Inc. Document types include legal papers, financial ledgers, photographs, toy patterns, advertising materials, artwork, scrapbooks, company history, and more. A sizeable portion of this collection covers marketing and publicity. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1942 and 1969, and again from 1984-1998.

The GUND, Inc. records are arranged into five series, three of which have been further divided into subseries. The collection is housed in 38 archival document boxes.


  • 1912 - 2002
  • Majority of material found within 1942 - 1969
  • Majority of material found within 1984 - 1998


Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, the company has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.


38 Linear Feet


The GUND, Inc. records are a compilation of historic business records from GUND, Inc. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1942 and 1969, and again from 1984-1998.

Historical Note

German immigrant Adolph Gund founded GUND in 1898, using premier fabrics to manufacture stuffed animals. In 1925, Mr. Gund retired and sold his company to employee Jacob Swedlin, who retained the GUND name and its underlying principles. Swedlin hired his brothers Abraham and John to construct the early framework of the company. Jacob Swedlin’s son-in-law, Herbert Raiffe, joined the company in 1956 and served as President of GUND from 1969 to 1993. Herbert’s wife, Rita, started working at GUND full-time in 1972 in the design department; her creations are among the most recognized GUND plush toys. Herbert and Rita’s son Bruce was promoted to President in 1993 and later became Chairman of the Board. Enesco, an international corporation specializing in gifts and home décor, purchased GUND in 2008. As of 2015, Bruce Raiffe continues to serve as President of the GUND division at Enesco.

GUND pioneered innovations in safety and manufacturing, setting standards in the plush toy industry. GUND also introduced licensed plush toys to the American public through partnerships with Walt Disney Productions and comic strip syndicates. GUND became the first plush manufacturer to launch national advertising campaigns, and they are still known today for the slogan “Gotta Getta GUND!” For more than a hundred years, GUND plush toys have delighted consumers worldwide.

While the company stylizes its brand name as GUND, the Library of Congress authorized subject heading is the lowercased “Gund, Inc.”

System of Arrangement

Series I: Company history, 1922-2002

Subseries A: Leadership
Subseries B: Correspondence
Subseries C: Internal publications and reports
Subseries D: Awards and service

Series II: Legal documents and patents, 1912-1972

Series III: Financial records, 1929-c.1947

Series IV: Advertising, 1913-1999

Subseries A: Marketing
Subseries B: Publicity

Series V: Visual materials, 1922-1998

Subseries A: Patterns
Subseries B: Artwork
Subseries C: Photographs
Subseries D: Scrapbooks
Subseries E: Miscellaneous

Custodial History

The GUND, Inc. records were donated to The Strong in March 2015 as a gift from GUND, Inc. The papers were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 115.915. The records were received from Bruce Raiffe, President of GUND, Inc., in 53 boxes, along with a donation of historic GUND plush toys and GUND trade catalogs.

Related Materials

Trade catalogs and sell sheets from GUND are housed in the library stacks of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong. These materials range in date from 1927 through the early 2000s.

The Strong museum holds more than 200 GUND plush toys within its collection.

Processed by

Julia Novakovic, June-October 2015


Finding Aid to the GUND, Inc. Records
Julia Novakovic
27 October 2015
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)