Roy Dikeman Chapin Papers: 1886-1945 (bulk 1910-1936)
Summary Information
Title: Roy Dikeman Chapin Papers
Creator: Chapin, Roy D. (Roy Dikeman), 1880-1936
Inclusive dates: 1886-1945
Bulk dates: 1910-1936
Extent: 32 linear feet (in 33 boxes)
Extent: 7 oversize volumes
Abstract:
Lansing, Michigan businessman, founder of the Hudson Motor car Company, Secretary of Commerce in the Hoover Administration, leader of the "good roads movement" and the Lincoln Highway Association. Collection includes correspondence, speeches, business papers, clippings and scrapbooks and photographs.
Call number: 851435 AC Aa 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Michigan Historical Collections Staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection (donor no. 3584) was the gift of Mrs. Roy D. Chapin and other members of the Chapin family. The bulk of the collection came to the library in 1940; other smaller additions came throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Additional materials were donated by Horace A. Davies ((donor no. 11329) in September 2015 and March 2018.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., Roy D. Chapin Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Arrangement

The Roy D. Chapin papers have been arranged into three series:

  1. Correspondence, 1899-1945 (Boxes 1-29)
  2. Miscellaneous, mostly undated (Boxes 30-33)
  3. Scrapbooks, 1886-1932 (7 volumes).

Biography

Roy D. Chapin, automobile manufacturer and secretary of commerce in the administration of Herbert Hoover, was born February 23, 1880 in Lansing, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan but did not graduate, leaving in 1901 to join the Olds Motor Works. Desiring to establish his own company, Chapin and other Olds employees went out in 1906 in search of the money needed to produce the car that had been designed by one of their number Howard E. Coffin. They first received financial backing from E. R. Thomas, then later in 1908, when Thomas dropped out of the picture, from Hugh R. Chalmers. The company they formed was Chalmers-Detroit Motor Company.

Within the Chalmer organization, Chapin and Coffin still had dreams of producing the Coffin-designed car. With backing from department store giant Joseph L. Hudson, they established the Hudson Motor Car Company. Originally part of Chalmers, the Hudson became independent when Chalmers bought out the interest of Chapin and Coffin in his company. With this restructuring, Chapin became president of Hudson.

During World War I, Chapin served as chairman of the highway transport committee of the Council of National Defense. After the war, Chapin initiated changes in his company. He introduced a popularly priced car, the Essex, in 1919; in 1922, he began offering closed cars similarly priced to the traditional touring car; and in 1922 also, he reorganized the company's finances which provided new capital for expansion.

In 1923, Chapin resigned as president to become chairman of the board. This move allowed him to devote more time to other interests, such as the good roads movement. Chapin was vice president of the Lincoln Highway Association chairman of the good roads committee of the Automobile Board of Trade, and chairman of the highway transport committee of the International Chamber of Commerce.

In 1932, Chapin was appointed Secretary of Commerce. He served briefly, returning in 1933 to Hudson to take over again as president. Chapin died February 16, 1936.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Roy D. Chapin papers include correspondence, speeches, articles, interviews, business papers, receipts, scrapbooks, photographs, and miscellaneous notes and files of Chapin's wife, and his biographer, John C. Long, concerning family matters, highway transportation, the automobile industry, general economic conditions, foreign trade, World War I, national defense, state and national politics, the Republican Party, and the University of Michigan. The collection also contains extensive papers concerning the Hudson Motor Car Company, including information on management policies, production, and labor organizing.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Aeronautics.
  • Automobile industry and trade -- United States.
  • Balloon ascensions.
  • Commerce.
  • Trade-unions -- Automobile industry workers -- Michigan.
  • Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1932.
  • Roads -- United States.
  • Strikebreakers -- Michigan.
  • World War, 1914-1918.
  • Michigan -- Politics and government -- 1929-1938.
  • Grosse Pointe (Mich.)
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1929-1933.
  • Airplanes.
  • Automobile industry and trade.
  • Automobiles.
  • Balloons (Aircraft) -- 1910.
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Chapin, Roy D. (Roy Dikeman), 1880-1936.
  • Green, William, 1870-1952.
  • Hays, Will H. (Will Harrison), 1879-1954.
  • Henderson, Leon, 1895-1986.
  • Hughes, Charles Evans, 1862-1948.
  • Hutchins, Harry B. (Harry Burns), 1847-1930.
  • Lewis, John Llewellyn, 1880-1969.
  • Murphy, Frank, 1890-1949.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919.
  • American Automobile Association.
  • American Federation of Labor.
  • Automobile Manufacturers Association.
  • Battle Creek Sanitarium.
  • Chalmers-Detroit Motor Company.
  • Economic Club of Detroit.
  • Hudson Motor Car Company.
  • Olds Motor Works.
  • Republican Party (Mich.)
  • University of Michigan. Student Religious Association.
  • United States. Dept. of Commerce.
  • United States. National Recovery Administration.
  • University of Michigan. Alumni Association.
  • University of Michigan. College of Engineering.
  • University of Michigan. Library.
  • Michigan Union.
  • University of Michigan -- Students -- Correspondence.
  • University of Michigan -- Students -- Social life and customs -- 1891-1900.
  • William L. Clements Library.
  • Chapin, Roy D. (Roy Dikeman), 1880-1936.
  • Durant, William Crapo, 1861-1947.
  • Duryea, Charles E., 1861-1938.
  • Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937.
  • Ford, Edsel, 1893-1943.
  • Ford, Henry, 1863-1947.
  • Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964.
  • Joy, Henry Bourne, 1864-1936.
  • Macauley, Alvan, 1872-1952.
  • Nash, Charles W., 1868-1944.
  • Olds, Ransom Eli, 1864-1950.
  • Rickenbacker, Eddie, 1890-1973.
  • Sloan, Alfred P. (Alfred Pritchard), 1875-1966.
  • Twain, Mark, 1835-1910.
  • Wright, Orville, 1871-1948.
  • Hudson Motor Car Company.
  • Olds Motor Works.
  • Alger, Frederick Moulton, 1876-1933.
  • Baker, Newton Diehl, 1871-1937.
  • Baruch, Bernard M. (Bernard Mannes), 1870-1965.
  • Bates, Henry Moore, 1869-1949.
  • Bezner, Frederick O.
  • Brucker, Wilber Marion, 1894-1968.
  • Burton, Marion Le Roy, 1874-1925.
  • Chalmers, Hugh, 1873-1932.
  • Clements, William L. (William Lawrence), 1861-1934.
  • Coffin, Howard Earle, 1873-1937.
  • Couzens, James, 1872-1936.
  • Dingell, John D. (John David), 1894-1955.
  • Ferris, Woodbridge Nathan, 1853-1928.
  • Firestone, Harvey Samuel, 1868-1938.
  • Fisher, Carl G.
  • Fleming, Arthur.
  • Ford, Edsel, 1893-1943.
  • Gompers, Samuel, 1850-1924.
  • Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923.
  • Hoffman, Paul G. (Paul Gray), 1891-1974.
  • Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964.
  • Hudson, Joseph Lowthian, 1846-1912.
  • Hull, Cordell, 1871-1955.
  • Johnson, Pyke.
  • Joy, Henry Bourne, 1864-1936.
  • Knox, Frank, 1874-1944.
  • Lasker, Albert Davis, 1880-1952.
  • Leland, Henry Martyn, 1843-1932.
  • Little, Clarence C. (Clarence Cook), 1888-
  • Long, John Cuthbert, 1892-
  • Meyer, Eugene, 1875-1959.
  • Murfin, James Orin, 1875-1940.
  • Newberry, Truman Handy, 1864-1945.
  • Osborn, Chase S. (Chase Salmon), 1860-
  • Paley, William S. (William Samuel), 1901-1990.
  • Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948.
  • Putnam, George Palmer, 1887-1950.
  • Reeves, Alfred L., 1873-
  • Rice, Grantland, 1880-1954.
  • Rickenbacker, Eddie, 1890-1973.
  • Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1874-1960.
  • Romney, George W., 1907-1995.
  • Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
  • Roosevelt, Theodore, 1887-1944.
  • Sloan, Alfred P. (Alfred Pritchard), 1875-1966.
  • Smith, Shirley Wheeler, 1875-1959.
  • Strauss, Lewis Lichtenstein, 1896-
  • Street, Julian, 1879-1947.
  • Thomas, Lowell, 1892-1981.
  • Townsend, Charles E. (Charles Elroy), 1856-1924.
  • Vandenberg, Arthur H. (Arthur Hendrick), 1884-1951.
  • White, Albert Easton, 1884-1956.
  • Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924.
  • Wood, Leonard, 1860-1927.
  • Woodin, William H. (William Hartman), 1868-1934.
  • Yost, Fielding Harris, 1871-1946.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Correspondence 1899-1936 [series]

The Correspondence series dates from 1899 to 1936 with some scattering of family and estate materials dating up to 1943. It is the largest series in the collection and concerns family matters, highway transportation, the automobile industry, general economic conditions, foreign trade, World War I, national defense, state and national politics, the Republican Party, and University of Michigan affairs. Correspondents include national and state political and business leaders.

Box   1  
1899-July 1914 (35 folders)
Box   2  
August 1914-July 15, 1916 (30 folders)
Box   3  
July 16, 1916-March 22, 1917 (26 folders)
Box   4  
March 23, 1917-December 10, 1917 (27 folders)
Box   5  
December 11, 1917-October 21, 1918 (34 folders)
Box   6  
October 22, 1918-May 31, 1919 (32 folders)
Box   7  
June 1919-March 21, 1920 (37 folders)
Box   8  
March 22, 1920-November 30, 1920 (38 folders)
Box   9  
December 1920-June 21, 1921 (42 folders)
Box   10  
July 1921-February 24, 1922 (38 folders)
Box   11  
February 25, 1922-December 30, 1922 (38 folders)
Box   12  
January 1923-January 25, 1924 (44 folders)
Box   13  
January 26, 1924-December 5, 1924 (42 folders)
Box   14  
December 11, 1924-April 30, 1926 (81 folders)
Box   15  
April 30, 1926-April 25, 1927 (46 folders)
Box   16  
April 26, 1927-February 10, 1928 (44 folders)
Box   17  
February 10, 1928-1928 undated (40 folders)
Box   18  
1928 undated-August 17, 1929 (34 folders)
Box   19  
August 19, 1929-March 23, 1930 (40 folders)
Box   20  
March 24, 1930-February 10, 1931 (39 folders)
Box   21  
February 11, 1931-March 9, 1932 (43 folders)
Box   22  
March 10, 1932-August 9, 1932 (28 folders)
Box   23  
August 10, 1932-October 10, 1932 (32 folders)
Box   24  
October 11, 1932-1932 undated (32 folders)
Box   25  
1932 undated-May 31, 1933 (34 folders)
Box   26  
June 1, 1933-December 31, 1933 (36 folders)
Box   27  
1933 undated-August 31, 1934 (33 folders)
Box   28  
September 1934-December 1935 (35 folders)
Box   29  
January 1936-1943 (21 folders)
Box   29  
Letters of thanks concerning the Chapin biography 1945 (5 folders)
 
Photographs [series]

The photographs include images of Chapin's associates in the automobile industry, promotional photos for Hudson Motor Company, pictures of automobiles and auto plants and portraits of Chapin and his family. The scrapbooks series also contains some photographs.

Box   30  
Auto Executives, group photos
Box   30  
Curtis Aerocar
Box   30  
Hudson Promotional Photographs (including shots with Amelia Earhart and Orville Wright) (3 folders) [view selected images]
Box   30  
Hudson cars, automobile testing, auto workers [view selected images]
Box   30  
Howard Coffin with Steamer car, Henry B. Joy, and Miscellaneous [view selected images]
Box   30  
Henry B. Joy, formal and informal portraits
Box   30  
Henry B. Joy, informal photographs and with family and friends [view selected images]
Box   30  
Ford, Henry 1863-1947
Box   30  
Ford, Edsel
Box   30  
Chapin, Roy D
Box   30  
Sloan, Alfred P., Jr
Box   30  
Olds, R.E
Box   30  
Duryea, Charles
Box   30  
Duran, William Crapo
Box   30  
Macauley, Alvan
Box   30  
Nash, G.W
Box   30  
Nash, G.W
Box   33  
Outsize photographs

(Includes group photos of Hudson Motor Company and auto industry executives, and a composite print of pictures from a cross-country auto trip.)

Box   30  
Chapin family 1932-1956

Includes portraits of Chapin's wife Inez Tiedeman Chapin and their children.

Box   30  
Tiedeman, Carsten and Mary D.
 
Miscellaneous Papers and Clippings [series]

The Miscellaneous series include such things as clippings, a volume relating to his service with the Highway Transport Committee during World War I and personal items.

Box   30  
Newspaper clippings
Box   30  
Miscellanea
Box   31  
Commemorative program
Box   31  
School essays 1895
Box   31  
Scrapbooks (5 volumes)
Box   31  
Summary of bills paid 1918
Box   32  
Notebooks containing receipted bills 1914-1917
Box   32  
Highways Transport Committee: field organization notebook
Oversize Box   33  
Diplomas
Oversize Box   33  
Citations
Oversize Box   33  
House plans
Oversize Box   33  
Photographs
 
Scrapbooks [series]

The Scrapbook series consists of seven oversize volumes dating from 1886 to 1946. The scrapbooks are primarily newspaper clippings, but also contain many photographs. The scrapbooks include material on the Hudson Motor Company, the auto industry generally, Chapin's activities with national automobile organizations and his political activities, including service as Secretary of Commerce in the Hoover administration.

Oversize Volume   1  
Oversize Volume   2  
1911-1918
Oversize Volume   3  
1918-1926
Oversize Volume   4  
1926-1928
Oversize Volume   5  
1928-1932
Oversize Volume   6  
1932-1946
Oversize Volume   7  
1932