I’ve seen a few employee handbooks in my time, but nothing quite like the 1943 Disney handbook, which is filled with a number of illustrations as one might expect and some blatant sexism along the way.  It’s kind of like watching an episode of “Mad Men” where you can’t believe what was acceptable or the norm.

Some of the highlights: 

  • Charges of outgoing calls – “At the risk of interfering with the even tenor of your social life, we must ask that you limit personal phone calls to emergencies.  You know, of course, that you will be charged for all outgoing personal calls.”
  • Holidays are the same – “You will be provided holidays for New Years’ Day and Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  •  Not sure if there are any all male penthouse clubs any more – “Penthouse Club – For all particulars, membership, and like that, check with Walt Pfeiffer  - Men only!  Sorry, gals. . .”

There are a number of other interesting tidbits from the manual.  The running theme throughout the manual is that the exemplar male employee is obsessed with his co-female employee and restaurant waitress. (see below) By the way Walt Pfeiffer was a writer for Disney according to IMDB but apparently also ran the penthouse club.