Front cover image for Engineering Laboratory Office records subgroup, 1920-1952

Engineering Laboratory Office records subgroup, 1920-1952

The Engineering Laboratory Office records subgroup is comprised of the following series: Business and Personal Correspondence series, 1920 (13.2 cubic ft.), Acc. 284; Business and Personal Correspondence Addendum series, 1920 (2.8 cubic ft.), Acc. 284; the In-House Subject and Name Filing System series, January-June, 1921 (7.6 cubic ft.), Acc. 285; Library Bureau Filing System series, July 1921-1929 (429.6 cubic ft. and 4 oversize boxes), Acc. 285; Amberg Filing System series, 1930-1949 (781.6 cubic ft.), Acc. 285; In-House Name File with Subjects Filing System series, 1950-1952 (14 cubic ft., 1 oversize box, and 1 oversize folder), Acc. 285. Basically, this subgroup contains an unbroken run of Henry Ford office correspondence from 1920 through 1952. During these years however, filing systems changed, which is reflected in the names of the series into which the subgroup has been broken. The finding aids for the collections contain detailed descriptions of the filing systems and how to access them. The Engineering Laboratory Office records subgroup is a remarkable collection of material that documents a period of more than thirty years of activity of one of the world's great industrialists and his company. The records are arranged by year and then alphabetically according to the filing system used during that year. Typically for each year files can be found for most domestic and foreign Ford Motor Company branches, including Highland Park and the Rouge plant, as well as most company departments such as accounting, advertising, auditing, disbursement, employment, chemical laboratory, chemical and metallurgical, engineering, medical, purchasing, sociological, service, the President's office, general sales, and traffic and for other ventures pursued by Henry Ford, especially those that were managed by his secretary E.G. Liebold, such as Henry Ford Hospital, Dearborn Publishing Company, Dearborn State Bank, Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad and Dearborn Realty and Construction Company. Additional subjects that have multiple folders through the years include antiques, Dearborn Water Works, Dearborn Inn, Dearborn Country Club, Berry Schools, Edison Institute, Boreham House Estate, Michigan Bell Telephone Company, Michigan Central Railroad Company, Michigan Public Utilities Commission, Henry Ford Flour Mill, Henry Ford and Son, Lincoln Motor Company, Lincoln and Lincoln-Mercury Divisions, Botsford Inn, Wayside Inn, Michigan Iron Land and Lumber Company, Hamilton and Rossville Hydraulic Company, Henry Ford's yacht Sialia, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and various Village Industries. Also included in the collection is material about the Edison Botanic Research Corporation, a corporation formed by Henry Ford and Firestone in 1927 to research sources of domestic rubber, based out of Thomas Edison's Fort Myers Laboratory. Accident reports and insurance information from the firms Lucking, Helfman, Lucking and Hanlon; Kelly, Halla, Peacock and Hughes and Johnson and Higgins are found in multiple years as well. Individuals with multiple folders include Henry, Edsel and Clara Ford, newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane, Jens Jensen, Herbert Hoover, Ford real estate agent William T. Gregory, John Burroughs, G.K. Chesterton, Calvin Coolidge, Thomas Edison, Sialia captain Perry T. Stakes, Harvey Firestone, Albert Kahn, and missionary Joseph Bailie. There is one letter from Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-Sen inviting Henry Ford to expand automobile industry work in China. The records also include hundreds of thousands of letters from individuals asking Henry Ford for financial assistance, employment, donation of a vehicle, wanting to donate or sell something to him for his museum, providing opinions on Ford products, or opinions on projects and ventures Henry Ford was involved with or supporting; the letters offer insight into the social conditions of the period. While there is no way to access this particular material by subject, as it is filed by the last name of the correspondent, almost any box in the collection contains these types of letters. The records are worth checking if the name of an individual or subject is known as well as a general time period. Office staff and later archivists handling the collection have provided extensive cross-reference sheets in the boxes to aid in subject access
Archival Material, English, 1920