Nesmith, Robert I.

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At the recommendation of the U.S. War Department’s War Production Board, the Victory Labor Management Committees of Anaconda, Butte, and Great Falls coordinated their efforts to roll out the first issue of Copper Commando in August 1942. The War Production Board selected Robert Newcomb of New York City to develop and head the publication. He was soon joined by associate editor Marg Sammons, who later became co-editor with Newcomb (June 1943). The Labor Management Committees filled their editorial boards (from Anaconda, Butte, and Great Falls) with ACM management and representatives from AFL and CIO unions.

A biweekly newspaper in magazine format, Copper Commando was to be an appealing, pictorial publication that would communicate the importance of metal production to the war effort. Human interest stories and images detailed the activities of Anaconda Copper Mining Company workers as well as housewives, schoolchildren, and others contributing to the cause. A number of pieces illustrated the wartime uses for copper and zinc and explained how Montana metals were helping to win the war. Copper Commando was distributed to the employees of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company in Anaconda, Great Falls, and Butte, to former employees serving in the military, and to union organization headquarters. The publication ran until the War Production Board was disbanded in November 1945.

Robert I. Nesmith (1891-1972) was head of R. I. Nesmith & Associates, a photography firm in New York City, when he began work for Copper Commando . He worked as chief photographer for the paper from its first issue until the beginning of 1944.

Robert Newcomb and Marg Sammons later married and formed the Chicago-based communications consulting firm Newcomb and Sammons. Following his work for Copper Commando, Nesmith became the owner of The Foul Anchor, a Rye, New York, bookstore dedicated to treasure hunting books.

From the guide to the Robert I. Nesmith photographs, 1942-1944, (Montana Historical Society Research Center)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Robert I. Nesmith photographs, 1942-1944 Montana Historical Society Research CenterPhotograph Archives
creatorOf Robert I. Nesmith scrapbooks American Numismatic Society
referencedIn Tram Combs Papers, 1946-1964 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Coinage of the First Mint of the Americas at Mexico City, 1536-1572 American Numismatic Society
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Anaconda Copper Mining Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Combs, Tram, 1924- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Butte (Mont.)
Copper mines and mining--Montana


Birth 1891

Death 1972



Ark ID: w6sc6h41

SNAC ID: 49480347