Roy Dikeman Chapin Papers, 1886-1945, (Majority of material found within 1910-1936)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Chapin, Roy D. (Roy Dikeman), 1880-1936
- 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.
32 linear feet (in 33 boxes)
7 oversize volumes
- Call Number:
- 851435 AC Aa 2
- Finding aid prepared by: Michigan Historical Collections Staff
- Scope and Content:
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.
- Biographical / Historical:
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.
- 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.
The Roy D. Chapin papers have been arranged into three series:
- Correspondence, 1899-1945 (Boxes 1-29)
- Miscellaneous, mostly undated (Boxes 30-33)
- Scrapbooks, 1886-1932 (7 volumes).
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Automobile industry and trade -- United States.
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.
Automobile industry and trade.
Balloons (Aircraft) -- 1910.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gompers, Samuel, 1850-1924.
Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923.
Hoffman, Paul G. (Paul Gray), 1891-1974.
Hudson, Joseph Lowthian, 1846-1912.
Hull, Cordell, 1871-1955.
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.
Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1874-1960.
Romney, George W., 1907-1995.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1887-1944.
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.
Grosse Pointe (Mich.)
United States -- Politics and government -- 1929-1933.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
item, folder title, box no., Roy D. Chapin Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan