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Morris Sayre speeches

Creation: 1906, 1932-1952, undated
Accession: 1720


In 1932, Morris Sayre (1885-1953) became a director of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which he became president of in 1948. The collection contains speeches given by Morris Sayre on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).


  • Creation: 1906, 1932-1952, undated



2 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Morris Sayre (1885-1953) worked for the Corn Products Refining Company and retired as president in 1950. Additionally, Sayre was a director for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and was later elected president in 1948 and chairman in 1949.

Frederick Morris Sayre was born on November 27, 1885 in Montrose, Pennsylvania to Samuel Hunting and Annie Woolsey (Morris) Sayre. Samuel owned an iron foundry and Annie was a descendant of the Morris family, prominent in New York since the Revolution. The family moved to Hampton, Virginia when Sayre was a year old. Sayre graduated from Richmond College (later the University of Richmond) in 1906 with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Art degree. He then entered Lehigh University, graduating two years later with a Master of Engineering.

After graduating, Sayre joined the Corn Products Refining Company as a student engineer, washing boilers at the Granite City, Illinois plant, He eventually worked his way up to assistant master mechanic, assistant superintendent, and finale superintendent of the plant. In 1916, at the age of 31, Sayre became manager of the company’s Argo, Illinois plant.

In 1928, Sayre was sent to New York to be the general manager of the company. He remained with the company the rest of his career, continually climbing to company ladder: director (1929), vice president (1933), executive vice president (1942), and president (1945). Upon his retirement in 1950, he was named honorary chairman of the Board. Under Sayre’s direction, the Corn Products Refining Company became an industry leader producing Mazola Oil, Karo Syrup, and Argo Corn Starch.

Around the same time, Sayre became involved with NAM. He became a director in 1946, elected to the presidency in December 1947 for a one-year term, served as vice chairman and chairman of the Committee on Agricultural Cooperation, chairman of the Agricultural Policy Committee, chairman of the Board in 1949, and honorary vice president and chairman of the Finance Committee until his death. While president, Sayre took a year’s leave of absence from his duties with Corn Products Refining Company to devote his entire time and efforts to the position. He was an outspoken critic of big government and the New Deal and Fair Deal Administrations.

During his life, Sayre was involved with communities and philanthropy. He was a member of the Lions Club, treasurer and a founder of the Corn Industries Research Foundation, a trustee of the University of Richmond and the New York Trust Company, and a director of the International Elevating Company, the New England Grain Products Company, the Commercial Molasses Company, and the Foundation for American Agriculture.

Additionally, Sayre served as the national chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Hoover Report and a member of the President’s War Manpower Advisory Committee. He resigned from both positions in early 1953. In February 1953, he was appointed by Mutual Security Administrator Harold E. Stassen as one of a group of twelve business leaders to evaluate the Mutual Security Administration program in the twelve countries which had received the greatest amount of aid under the United States’ program of postwar technical assistance. Sayre was assigned to Turkey and on the day of his death, he had been inspecting the coal mines of Zonguldak, one of Turkey’s major state-owned industries.

Sayre married Anna Mulford Hand on September 18, 1912 in Anaheim, California. They had two sons: John Morris Sayre and William Mulford Sayre. Sayre died on March 7, 1953 in Zonguldak, Turkey.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains speeches given by Morris Sayre gave on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Most of these addresses were designed to build public opposition to the New Deal and the activist state which developed during the 1930s and 1940s. These speeches reflected NAM's position on free enterprise and the relationship between business and the state. Other topics include: education of industrial leaders, the future of America, capitalism, inflation, the cost of freedom, profits in business, productivity, world peace, political economy, socialism, and leadership in industry. Speeches are arranged chronologically, with undated at the end followed by miscellaneous material.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Related Materials

National Association of Manufacturers records (Accession 1411), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

National Association of Manufacturers photographs and audiovisual materials (Accession 1973.418), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials


Additional Description

Separated Materials

Morris Sayre photographs (Accession 1981.253), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Morris Sayre speeches
Ashley Williams
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA