Fowler McCormick Papers, 1878-1972


Summary Information
Title: Fowler McCormick Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1878-1972

Creator:
  • McCormick, Fowler, 1898-1972
Call Number: McCormick Mss K

Quantity: 5.2 c.f. (14 archives boxes)

Repository:
Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Abstract:
Papers of McCormick, a third-generation executive of the International Harvester Company; consisting mainly of materials relating to the company and to McCormick's personal business interests, plus a few personal papers. Included are correspondence, committee reports, Executive Council minutes, financial statements, magazine and newspaper clippings, pamphlets and other printed materials, speeches, and other papers. The majority of the papers cover the years 1941-1958. Included among the International Harvester materials is information on the 1946 reorganization of the company, on their 1947 lowering of prices to help balance the national economy, on McCormick's business philosophy and influences upon its development, and on many other topics. Other files concern McCormick's involvement in various national governmental economic agencies and committees. Miscellaneous personal papers contain a Rockefeller family genealogy, and earlier family correspondence.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-whs-mcc0000k
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Biography/History

(Harold) Fowler McCormick was a member of the third generation of the McCormick family to head the International Harvester Company, which had its beginnings in the McCormick Harvester Company founded by Fowler McCormick's grandfather, Cyrus Hall McCormick, the inventor of the reaper.

Fowler McCormick was the first child born to Harold F. McCormick and Edith Rockefeller McCormick. He was born in Chicago on 15 November 1898, heir to two of the country's most notable economic dynasties. His father was the third son of Cyrus Hall McCormick; and his mother, the daughter of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., was an heiress to the Standard Oil fortune.

McCormick attended the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago and then Groton in Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1916. During World War I, he served with the American Field Service in France as an ambulance driver, returning home in 1918 to enter Princeton University.

After graduation from Princeton in 1921, McCormick organized his own brokerage firm rather than choosing a career in either Standard Oil or the International Harvester Company, of which his father was then president. Until 1925, he operated this small firm while studying accounting at night. That year he started work as a twenty-five-cent-an-hour student-apprentice at Harvester's Milwaukee plant. For the next four years as student-apprentice he studied manufacturing, engineering, and selling. McCormick worked his way up in the company, becoming president of International Harvester in 1941, from which position he supervised the 1944 reorganization of the company. In 1946 he was elected Chairman of the Board, becoming the chief executive and policy making official.

As head of International Harvester, McCormick set up a research division on labor-management relations and instituted one of the foremost anti-discriminatory policies in American labor relations. In his dealings with the CIO, McCormick developed a new industrial relations theory, balancing the “tripod of stockholders, consumers, and employees.”

McCormick resigned as Harvester's Chairman of the Board in 1951, but remained a member of the Board until 1958.

McCormick married Anne Potter Stillman on 4 June 1931. They had no children, but raised her four children from a previous marriage. Anne McCormick died in 1969, and Fowler McCormick on 6 January 1972 in Palm Desert, California.

Scope and Content Note

The Fowler McCormick papers mainly contain materials relating to the International Harvester Company and McCormick's personal business interests. There is also one archives box of McCormick's personal papers. The collection includes correspondence, committee reports, financial statements, magazine articles, newspaper and magazine clippings, pamphlets and other printed materials, speeches, transcripts, and miscellaneous materials. Although ranging from the latter 19th century to 1970, the majority of the papers cover the years 1941-1958, when McCormick was an International Harvester executive. The collection is divided into six series: International Harvester Company, Manuscripts (McCormick's speeches and articles), National Affairs, Occasions and Events, Publications, and Personal Miscellaneous. Each of these series, other than Manuscripts, is further divided into sub-series.

The largest series in the collection, International Harvester, deals with various aspects of the operation of International Harvester. It includes correspondence, abstracts from speeches, magazine articles, financial statements, pamphlets, and miscellaneous material. The sub-series are arranged alphabetically as follows: “Board of Directors,” “business philosophy,” correspondence, “Director's file,” “foreign operations,” “industrial relations,” “merchandizing,” “news releases,” “organization,” “organization research file,” “pricing policy,” “public relations,” “publications,” “reorganization,” “resignation,” and “stockholder relations.”

The “Board of Directors” sub-series includes McCormick's 1946-1959 correspondence to Board members and others concerning Board activities, and an article that appeared in render="italic"bHarvester World in 1950 about the Board of Directors of International Harvester.

McCormick's tripod business philosophy was not fully developed until his ascension to Chairman of the Board. However, throughout its development, he kept a record of the business philosophies of others, as seen through speeches and articles, and a “trilogy file.” Abstracts from speeches and articles and advertising tear sheets on this theme comprise the sub-series, IHC - “business philosophy.”

The correspondence file is of business correspondence between McCormick and his employees and associates, the majority of which was written during the 1950's. The arrangement is alphabetical by name.

The “Directors' file” sub-series is basically the file McCormick kept while a member of the Executive Committee of Harvester's Board of Directors from 1951 to 1959. It contains the Executive Council minutes (1951-1959); reports of the operations' review committee (1952-1958); Fowler McCormick's exchanges with or about the president of International Harvester (1946-1959); data gathered to establish a capital investment program; financial statements of IHC from 1954 to 1959; correspondence pertaining to Board meetings, travel expenses and Directors' compensation; and McCormick's general and miscellaneous correspondence (1951-1962).

The “foreign operations” material includes correspondence and miscellaneous printed materials about McCormick's 1950 European trip.

The “industrial relations” file contains materials concerning International Harvester's labor relations, its handling of the employment of minorities, and its pension and retirement policy, including correspondence, clippings, pamphlets, and miscellaneous materials.

The “merchandizing” sub-series is a survey done for International Harvester in 1946 on farm machinery trade name usage and related material.

The “major news releases” are those made during the years of McCormick's presidency of International Harvester and during the period he presided as Chairman of the Board (1941-1951). They are arranged chronologically.

The sub-series titled “organization” contains “change” letters written by McCormick (1941-1950) re changes in the International Harvester organization. These are arranged in two sections, a chronological file, and alphabetically by name of the Division in which the change is occurring. Filed here also are charts of the organization, the company's by-laws, and suggested procedures for IHC's engineering organizations (1948-1949).

The “organization research file” consists of correspondence and pamphlets relating to the organization of other companies.

International Harvester in 1947 was one of the first major organizations to initiate a price reduction in order to help balance the national economy. The development of this price reduction and the public response to it are found in the sub-series “pricing policy.”

The “public relations” material is concerned with the “International Harvester Program for University Faculty Members,” 1949-1951. Filed here are correspondence, reports, and articles about the program and its results.

The International Harvester Company underwent a major organizational change in 1944. The “reorganization” sub-series contains a record of the basic thoughts and arguments leading up to this decision, and printed material drafted by McCormick and others about the reorganization and its purpose.

The “resignation” material includes McCormick's notes on the company's position (1951-1954), his personal correspondence, and newspaper clippings about his resignation as Chairman of the Board of Directors of IHC.

The sub-series titled “stockholder relations” contains correspondence and clippings about the annual stockholder meetings (1943-1951); transcripts of the proceedings of the meetings (1942-1949); annual and interim reports to stockholders (1941-1951); correspondence with stockholders (1946-1950); and 1941 lists of stockholders.

Manuscripts was the title McCormick chose for the file of his speeches and articles, or the outline notes or transcripts thereof. The file has been arranged chronologically, and an index is included.

The National Affairs file deals with different aspects of McCormick's involvement in or with various national government agencies or committees. Thirteen sub-series of this segment of the papers are arranged alphabetically. These include correspondence, articles, clippings, pamphlets, reports, and miscellaneous materials concerning McCormick's membership on the Committee for Economic Development, the Economic Stabilization Advisory Committee, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work, the National Industrial Conference Board, the National Planning Association, the U.S. Defense Department's Orientation Conference for Civilian Leaders, the U.S. Department of Labor's Temporary National Economic Committee, the U.S. War Department's Manpower Board, and the U.S. War Department's Industrial Advisory staff; McCormick's February 1951 foreign policy memoranda; articles, clippings and correspondence concerning national politics and McCormick's involvement therein (1943-1950); and McCormick's correspondence with the U.S. State Department's Secretary of State, George Marshall (1947).

Occasions and Events chronicles the various awards and honors bestowed on McCormick (1947-1949). Each of the six sub-series is re an individual award. They are arranged chronologically and contain correspondence, clippings, articles, and/or miscellaneous materials relating to the particular award given.

The Publications series contains articles and pamphlets written about the McCormick's and/or International Harvester (1933-1962). Each of the ten items is in an individual folder, which contains the article or pamphlet and any related correspondence or clippings. They are arranged alphabetically by author.

Personal Miscellaneous includes scattered material relating to McCormick personally, including his 9th grade English notebook, his father's publications, a Rockefeller genealogy, and correspondence from Nettie Fowler McCormick to Miss H.M. Hammond (1878-1901).

The original order of the Fowler McCormick Papers has been maintained. In the last (fourteenth) box of the collection there is a “shelf list” and “index” to the papers, both of which were part of the original collection as received by the Society.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by the McCormick Estates, Chicago, Illinois, August 7, 1973. Accession Number: M73-227


Processing Information

Processed by Carolyn Dellenbach and Joanne Hohler, 1974.


Contents List
Series: International Harvester Company
Subseries: Board of Directors
Box   1
Folder   1
“Board of Directors,” Harvester World, Vol. 41, No. 12 (December 1950), p. 26.
Box   1
Folder   2
Correspondence, June 1946-March 1959.
Subseries: Business philosophy
Box   1
Folder   3
Abstracts from speeches and articles, 1915-1945.
Box   1
Folder   4
Tear sheets from advertizing, 1946-1960.
Subseries: Correspondence, personal business, 1936-[1945-1960]-1967
Box   1
Folder   5
A - Ho.
Box   1
Folder   6
Hu - L.
Box   1
Folder   7
M - R.
Box   1
Folder   8
S - Z.
Subseries: Director's file
Box   2
Folder   1
Council minutes, July 6, 1951 - May 9, 1958.
Box   2
Folder   2
Operations' review committee, reports, June 12, 1952 - March 7, 1958.
Box   2
Folder   3
McCormick exchanges with I.H.C. president, 1946 - 1959.
Box   2
Folder   4
Capital investment program, 1941-1958.
Box   2
Folder   5
Financial statements, 1954 - 1959.
Box   2
Folder   6
Meetings, travel expenses, director compensation, correspondence, 1951-1958.
General and miscellaneous correspondence, and clippings
Box   3
Folder   1
July 1951 - May 1953.
Box   3
Folder   2
June 1953 - March 1954.
Box   3
Folder   3
April 1954 - April 1956.
Box   3
Folder   4
May 1956 - December 1957.
Box   3
Folder   5
January 1958 - November 1962.
Subseries: Foreign operations
Box   3
Folder   6
European trip, 1950, correspondence, clippings, articles.
Subseries: Industrial relations, 1937-1952
Box   4
Folder   1
Labor relations.
Box   4
Folder   2
Relations with minorities.
Box   4
Folder   3
Pensions and retirement.
Subseries: Merchandizing
Box   4
Folder   4
“Farm Machinery Trade Name Usage - A Survey,” 1946.
Subseries: News releases, major
Box   4
Folder   5
May 1940 - February 1947 (War years generally missing).
Box   4
Folder   6
March 1947 - May 1949.
Box   4
Folder   7
June 1949 - May 1951.
Subseries: Organization
“Change letters” written by McCormick.
Box   4
Folder   8
Chronological arrangement, February 1941 - January 1950.
Alphabetical arrangement
Box   4
Folder   9
Accounting.
Box   4
Folder   10
Canada, International Harvester Company of, Ltd.
Box   4
Folder   11
Chairman of the Board and chief executive officer.
Box   4
Folder   12
Directors, Board of.
Box   4
Folder   13
Engineering research.
Box   4
Folder   14
Executive vice-president.
Box   4
Folder   15
Farm implement division.
Box   4
Folder   16
Farm tractor division.
Box   4
Folder   17
Fiber and twine division.
Box   4
Folder   18
Foreign operation.
Box   4
Folder   19
Industrial power division.
Box   4
Folder   20
Industrial relations.
Box   4
Folder   21
Law department.
Box   4
Folder   22
Manufacturing.
Box   5
Folder   1
Manufacturing research.
Box   5
Folder   2
Merchandising services.
Box   5
Folder   3
Motor truck division.
Box   5
Folder   4
President of the company.
Box   5
Folder   5
Purchasing and traffic.
Box   5
Folder   6
Refrigeration division.
Box   5
Folder   7
Sales department, general line.
Box   5
Folder   8
Steel division, Wisconsin.
Box   5
Folder   9
Supply and inventory.
Box   5
Folder   10
Treasury.
Box   5
Folder   11
Charts of organization, 1941 - 1951.
Box   5
Folder   12
Company by-laws, May 1943 - May 1956.
Box   5
Folder   13
Engineering organization, January 1948 - July 1949.
Subseries: Organization research file
Box   5
Folder   14
Organization of other companies, 1943-1951.
Subseries: Pricing policy
Box   5
Folder   15
Price reductions, March 1947, clippings, correspondence, papers.
Box   5
Folder   16
Public response to price reduction announcement, correspondence.
Subseries: Public relations
Box   5
Folder   17
University professors' program, correspondence and reports, March 1950-November 1951
Subseries: Reorganization of I.H.C., 1944
Box   6
Folder   1
Basic thoughts and arguments.
Box   6
Folder   2
Harvard Business School, Marketing case study, “IHC Divisional Organization - 1944,” 1947.
Box   6
Folder   3
Employee educational material.
Box   6
Folder   4
McCormick, Fowler. “Harvester Adopts `Division' Type of Organization,” Harvester World, February, 1944.
Subseries: Resignation
Box   6
Folder   5
Position notes, February 1951 - January 1954.
Box   6
Folder   6
Letters from employes, associates, stockholders, friends, etc., May 1951 - January 1952.
Box   6
Folder   7
Newspaper clippings.
Subseries: Stockholder relations
Annual meetings of stockholders,
Box   6
Folder   8
Correspondence, clippings, May 1943 - May 1951.
Proceedings' transcripts
Box   6
Folder   9
1942 - 1944.
Box   6
Folder   10
1945.
Box   7
Folder   1
1946 - 1949.
Box   7
Folder   2
Annual reports to stockholders, 1941 - 1951.
Box   7
Folder   3
Correspondence with Mrs. Wilma Soss, Federation of Women Stockholders in American Business, Inc., 1947 - 1951.
Box   7
Folder   4
Correspondence with stockholders, 1946 - 1950.
Box   7
Folder   5
Interim reports to stockholders, 1942 - 1951.
Box   7
Folder   6
Lists of common stockholders, November and December, 1941.
Series: Manuscripts (Writings and speeches)
Box   8
Folder   1
Manuscript file index
Manuscript file
Box   8
Folder   2-45
File envelope number 1 (12 April 1924) -file envelope number 44 (26 January 1940)
Box   9
Folder   1-28
File envelope number 45 (23 October 1945) -file envelope number 71 (4 November 1949)
Box   10
Folder   1-16
File envelope number 72 (9 November 1949) -file envelope number 87 (23 February 1956)
Series: National Affairs
Box   10
Folder   17
Committee for Economic Development (McCormick a member and honorary trustee): Correspondence, articles, and pamphlets, October 1946-October 1968
Box   10
Folder   18
Economic Stabilization Advisory Committee: Correspondence, articles, clippings, November 1950 - June 1951
Box   10
Folder   19
Foreign policy memorandum
Box   10
Folder   20
National Association of Manufacturers: Correspondence, July 1951-October 1957
Box   10
Folder   21
National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work: Correspondence and clippings, August 3, 1949-January 22, 1952
Box   10
Folder   22
National Industrial Conference Board: Correspondence, pamphlets, August 1951-June 1970
Box   11
Folder   1
National Planning Association: Correspondence, March 1951-November 1959
Box   11
Folder   2
Politics: Articles, clippings, correspondence, June 1943-October 1950
Box   11
Folder   3
U.S. Defense Department: Orientation conference for civilian leaders, April 9-16, 1951Correspondence and booklets
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: Temporary National Economic Committee. Correspondence, papers, reprints
Box   11
Folder   4
June 1939-April 1940
Box   11
Folder   5
May 1940-March 1941
Box   11
Folder   6
U.S. State Department, Secretary of State George Marshall: Correspondence, clippings, February 1947-September 1947
Box   11
Folder   7
U.S. War Department, Office of Chief of Staff, War department Manpower Board: Correspondence, reprints, January 1943-September 1945
Box   11
Folder   8
U.S. War Department, Office of Chief of Ordnance: Industrial Advisory Staff, Correspondence, January 1943-September 1944
Series: Occasions and Events (Awards and Honors)
Box   11
Folder   9
Honored guest, American Management Association. “American business and its Human Relations,” Feb. 25, 1947 (an address by Fowler McCormick)
Box   11
Folder   10
Medalist, Forbes magazine presentation: Fifty foremost business leaders, November 5, 1947
Box   11
Folder   11
Award in Human Relations, Chicago Commission on Human Relations, December 17, 1948
Box   12
Folder   1
Gnatt Medal Award, American Management Association, June 9, 1949
Box   12
Folder   2
Meeting in Chicago with the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Javaharlal Nehru, October 26, 1949
Box   12
Folder   3
Honored guest, Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. “The Business Future,” November 22, 1949 (an address by Fowler McCormick)
Series: Publications
Box   12
Folder   4
Benson, Nathaniel. “Men of Achievement: Fowler McCormick,” Forbes, July 15, 1948. (article along with related correspondence)
Box   12
Folder   5
Chandler, Alfred D., Jr. Strategy and Structure. M.I.T. Press, 1962. (with references to I.H.C. and FMcC on structure and reorganization)
Box   12
Folder   6
Forbes, B.C. “Our Twelve Foremost Business Leaders,” Forbes, June 1, 1951, p. 11-25
Box   12
Folder   7
“Fowler McCormick: Self-Made Man,” Fortune, September 1946 (with original drafts, related correspondence, and clippings)
Box   12
Folder   8
“Fowler McCormick Sparks the Reorganization of Harvester,” Finance, April 10, 1945
Box   12
Folder   9
“Harvester's Board of Directors,” Harvester World, Vol. 41, No. 12 (December 1950)
Box   12
Folder   10
“International Harvester,” Fortune, Vol. 8, No. 2 (August 1933) (with notes on McCormick)
Box   12
Folder   11
“More than Grain is Reaped,” The Ropemaker, July 1947
Box   12
Folder   12
“The Negro Problem,” Life, March 14, 1949 (editorial with notes on F. McC)
Box   12
Folder   13
Roots in Chicago--100 Years Deep, 1847-1947 (Commemoration of I.H.C.'s 100th year in Chicago, 1947)
Series: Personal Miscellaneous
Box   13
Folder   1
Francis W. Parker School: English notebook, September 1911-March 1912 and 1916 Parker Record
Box   13
Folder   2
Groton School: 1916 Class Book and Fiftieth Reunion Booklet
Box   13
Folder   3
KyKuit (home of the Rockefellers): Leaflet describing house and gardens and paper re dedication of Nelson Rockefeller sculpture, June 1970
McCormicks
Box   13
Folder   4
Rich, Daniel Catton. “Chauncey McCormick: Some Recollections,” Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly, Vol. 48 (November 15, 1954), p. 62-66
Box   13
Folder   5
Miscellaneous correspondence of Fowler McCormick, his parents and grandparents
Box   13
Folder   6
Cyrus McCormick: Fishwick, Marshall W. “Walnut Grove--Where Farm Merchandise Began,” The Iron Worker, Autumn 1956, p. 1-12
Box   13
Folder   7
Employee's Record Cards of Cyrus, Cyrus Jr., Harold F., and Fowler McCormick
Box   13
Folder   8
McCormick, Harold F. Development of the Study of Human Relations, February 1929 (circa). (Booklet)
Box   13
Folder   9
McCormick, Harold F. How Terms of Peace Can be Automatically Prepared While the War is Still Going On. Zurick: Concilum Bibliographicum, 1916
Box   13
Folder   10
Leander McCormick: Genealogical line of, through June 1 1946
Box   13
Folder   11
Memorial Resolution of Harold F. McCormick, Adopted by Board of Directors of I.H.C., November 27, 1941
Rockefellers
Box   13
Folder   12
Descendants of William Avery and Eliza Davison Rockefeller and Their Families, 1810-1970 (Booklet)
Series: Original Collection Notes
Box   14
Folder   1
“Index.”
Box   14
Folder   2
“Shelf-list.”