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Daniel Rochford papers

Creation: 1925-1983
Accession: 2114


Daniel Rochford (1900-1989) spent the bulk of his career as a publicist in the Employee Relations Department of the Standard Oil Company. Before joining Standard Oil in 1944, he worked a series of jobs trying to utilize his skills in publicity and public relations throughout the 1930s and early 1940s. Rochford's papers are a mix of business and personal items, assembled over the course of his varied career.


  • Creation: 1925-1983



2 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Daniel Rochford (1900-1989) spent the bulk of his career as a publicist in the Employee Relations Department of the Standard Oil Company. Born in Rockford, Minnesota, he attended Yale University and the Harvard Law School. He began his career in journalism, serving as a reporter and aviation editor of the Boston Transcript from 1922 to 1929. The Depression derailed this career, and he spent the 1930s in a series of jobs, trying to utilize his skills in publicity and public relations. He worked successively for Pan American Airways, The Sportsman magazine, the New England Council, Time magazine, R.L Johnson, Inc., and Frank Gannett's (1876-1957) 1940 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, as well as freelance jobs. Rochford's war service was with the Office of War Information, followed by a one-year stint with the advertising agency Young & Rubicam. In 1944, he secured permanent employment in the Employee Relations Department of the Standard Oil Company, from which he retired in 1964. He moved to Peekskill, New York, and died on July 29, 1989.


Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Scope and Content

The papers are a mix of business and personal items. The papers inform the ways in which Rochford's early contacts impacted his subsequent career as a publicist. Individual letters from the likes of pollster Elmo Roper (1900-1971), scientist Edwin Land (1909-1991), magazine magnate Henry Luce (1898-1967), publisher Robert McCormick (1880-1955), boxer Gene Tunney (1897-1978), politician Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), writer Lowell Thomas (1892-1981), and ace pilot Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973), show the range of Rochford's connections. The letters from Yale classmate William Benton (1900-1973) of the advertising agency Benton & Bowles, who aided Rochford in his switch to publicity, are of particular note.

There are a number of pieces on early aviation and Rochford's contacts with aviators who later became airline executives, as well as brochures for Northwest Airlines, Pan American, and Pan American-Grace Airways. There is also material on the America First movement and Frank Gannett's (1876-1957) presidential bid, a speech by Abe Fortas (1910-1982) on the Public Utilities Act, a proposal for publicizing the centennial of the Cunard Line (1939), tourist brochures produced for the New England Council and for southwestern dude ranches, notes from a 1938 ad campaign by Fred Hamlin (1905-1959) to increase the consumption of bread, preliminary ideas for the "Four Freedoms" concept from H. D. Lasswell (1902-1978), and publicity for a 1943 tour of the Sperry Gyroscope factory by Soong Mei-ling, or Madame Chiang Kai-shek (1898-2003).

Among the materials from Rochford's time with Standard Oil years are samples of newspapers and newsletters published for the employees of the Abadan, Iran, refinery, including one in Persian, which depict expatriate life under the Shah. There are also samples of union newspapers and George Seldes' (1890-1995) IN FACT. Also of note is a file on Will Anthony Madden (1883–1973), an African-American monologist and former ESSO employee who operated a small theater in Greenwich Village and whom Rochford aided. The file contains a modernist ode to Standard Oil that Madden apparently wrote and recited. Items on Russia from the 1950s include an Intourist brochure, a copy of the Declaration of Independence in Russian, and a fact book on American life and government in English and Russian.

Access Restrictions

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

These records are located in remote storage. Please contact staff 48 hours in advance of research visit at

Additional Description

Separated Material

Daniel Rochford photographs (Accession 1995.291), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Daniel Rochford papers
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Revised by Angela Schad.
  • 2020: Updated biographical and scope and content notes.

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA