skip to searchskip to content
banner
Donaldson Brown papers
print eadcite thisAsk Hagley
Donaldson Brown papers

Accession 1334

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library


PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
302-658-2400
askhagley@hagley.org

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2019-03-07T08:12-0500

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Donaldson Brown papers (Accession 1334), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

icon

Descriptive Summary

Title: Donaldson Brown papers
Dates: 1921-1966
Accession Number: 1334
Creator: Brown, F. Donaldson
Extent: 2.5 linear feet
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: Donaldson Brown (1885-1965) was an industrialist and business executive with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and the General Motors Corporation. These papers relate to Brown's association with General Motors Corp., and reflect his concern with financial policy, organization and operation, and employee relations. They are especially concerned with the period of World War II. Files from the 1920s and 1930s describe Brown's effort to relate pricing policies to financial control.
icon

Administrative Information


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Literary rights retained by Brown's heirs.

icon

Biographical Note

Donaldson Brown (1885-1965) was an industrialist and business executive with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and the General Motors Corporation. Brown was the DuPont Company's treasurer from 1918-1921. He was an expert in internal financial procedures. In 1921 when Pierre S. du Pont reorganized the General Motors' Executive Committee and Advisory Staff he nominated Donaldson Brown to head G.M.'s Financial Staff. Brown was chairman of the G.M. Finance Committee until his retirement in 1946. From 1937-1946 he served as company vice president.

icon

Scope and Content

These papers relate to Brown's association with General Motors Corp., and reflect his concern with financial policy, organization and operation, and employee relations. They are especially concerned with the period of World War II. Files from the 1920s and 1930s describe Brown's effort to relate pricing policies to financial control. Papers from the World War II period document the effects that government regulation had on G.M. There is also correspondence relating to the 1948 antitrust suit which forced the DuPont Company to divest itself of its holdings in General Motors.

Correspondence with Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. (1926-1940) is chiefly during the period of his presidency of the DuPont Company (1940-1948) and is largely concerned with financial policy. Elements relating to General Motors Corp. affairs (1921-1957) cover the years of Brown's vice presidency, when he was in charge of finance (1921-1937), his chairmanship of the Finance Committee (1937-1946), and as a member of the board of directors.

Subjects covered by the General Motors files include: pricing policy in relation to financial control, 1923; a report by John Lee Pratt on the Winton Engine Co., 1929; the Michigan bank holiday, 1933, and Brown's role in meeting the emergency with Detroit banks; labor-management relationships during World War II; letter to James F. Byrnes, director of war mobilization, with memorandum on proposed basis for control of prices of manufactured goods during the immediate post-war period, 1944; General Motors Corp. in relation to "Bigness and Labor", 1934-55; government investigations, 1955; Sloan's story of his association with General Motors Corp.; materials for Brown's personal memoir, SOME REMINISCENCES OF AN INDUSTRIALIST (Privately printed, 1957), 1929-57; and draft of chapters 1-12 of Alfred P. Sloan's MY YEARS WITH GENERAL MOTORS (New York, 1964).

Papers concerning the Gulf Oil Corp.: exchange of General Motors Corp. stock, 1946-47; incentive compensation plan, 1948; dividend policy; matters concerning financial control, 1948-53; organization, including Broseco Corp., Brown's holding company, 1948-1954.

Speeches describe Brown's approach to industrial management and labor relations.

icon

Access Points

Antitrust law.
Automobile industry and trade.
Brown, H. Barksdale
Corporations--Finance.
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company.
General Motors Corporation.
Industrial relations.
Layton, Greta B., 1924-2014
icon

Series Descriptions and Inventory

I. Walter S. Carpenter
Box
1 Correspondence, 1926-1947
Box
1 Correspondence, 1929-1948
Box
1 Correspondence, 1946-1947
II. Miscellaneous
Box
1 Correspondence and newspaper clippings, 1932-1946 [Includes: article about strike settlement in 1937.]
III. General Motors
Box
1 "Pricing Policy in Relation to Financial Control," 1923 June 6 [Columbia Graphophone Manufacturing Co. Typescript "Interpreting financial Statements" by Ralph E. Badger, Dept. of Economics, Brown University.] ; TLS to N. A.
Box
1 "'Report From John Pratt Re: Winston Engine Co.," 1929
Box
1 Michigan Bank Holiday, 1933 [Correspondence and typed memorandum.]
Box
1 Organization Functions as related to Policy Considerations, 1937 June 1 [Memo from Mr. Brown to Mr. Alfred Sloan.]
Box
1 "Management Principles for reference," 1938 [Economic policies.]
Box
1 "Concerning Definition of Sound Economic Policy," 1938 January 24 [Memo from Mr. Brown to Mr. Alfred Sloan.]
Box
1 "Research Organization in Social and Economic Trends," 1938 May 9 [Memo from Mr. Brown to Mr. Alfred Sloan.] ; 5 copies.
Box
1 Memos, 1937-1938 [From Mr. Brown to Mr. Alfred Sloan.]
Box
1 Memo and newspaper clippings, 1921 April 21 [From Mr. Brown to Finance Committee.]
Box
1 tetter Mr. Brown to W. P. Witherow, Pres. NAM, 1942 July 31 [About labor management relationships in the war.] ; Mimeographed, 22 copies.
Box
1 Memo, 1943 January 11 [From Mr. Brown to post-war planning policy group.] ; Mimeographed, 5 copies.
Box
1 Letter from Mr. Brown to James F. Byrnes, Dir. War Mobilization, 1944 September 5 [Includes memo on Proposed basis for control of prices of manufactured goods during immediate postwar period.] ; Mimeographed.
Box
1 Memo, 1945 February 2 [From Mr. Brown to Policy Committee on sale of National Bank of Detroit Stock.] ; Mimeographed.
Box
1 Brown-Sloan correspondence, 1947 [On price controls.] ; Carbon copies.
Box
1 Correspondence, 1949 June 15 [About testimonial dinner given by General Motors Holding Dealers Alumni Committee.]
Box
1 Correspondence and periodical material, 1934-1955 [Related to business and labor.]
Box
1 Government investigations and related matters, 1955 [Includes correspondence with Sloan.]
Box
1 Correspondence, 1954-1957 [About Sloan's story of General Motors.]
Box
1 Miscellaneous material, 1921-1956 [Possibly collected for inclusion in Brown's memoirs.]
Box
2 Resignation letters, 1946
Box
2 DuPont Bonus Committee, 1940-1950
Box
2 Correspondence, 1922-1926 [Includes a letter to P.S. du Pont tendering resignation as Vice President in Charge of Finances.]
Box
2 Publicity and acknowledgements, 1957 [Related to "The Book - Some Reminiscences of an Industrialist" by Donaldson Brown.] ; Black ring binder.
Box
2 Correspondence, 1955-1964 [Letters of appreciation addressed to Donaldson Brown from personnel of General Motors and Gulf Oil.] ; Navy ring binder.
Box
3 "Summary of war operations of General Motors for the year 1943," 1943 September [General Motors report to War Department Price Adjustment Board.] ; Typescript. Large brown binder.
Box
3 "Report to Financial policy committee by Special Committee appointed by President on examination of desirability of resuming operations in Western Germany," 1948 March 26 [Secretary's No. 580.] ; Typescript. 1 report. 1 set of exhibits.
Box
3 Memo, 1948 [Relating to General Motors bonus distribution for the year.]
Box
4 Tentative statement of F. Donaldson Brown, 1952 June 15 [Stenographic record of statements in Justice Harlan's office prior to Government's divestiture suit vs. Du Pont.] ; Mimeographed. Black binder.
Box
4 Memorandum of conferences with F. Donaldson Brown, 1952 July, 1952 August [Laid in: ALS John M. Harlan to Donaldson Brown; cc Brown to Harlan, cc. Brown to Alfred Sloan Jr., memo to J.J. Raskob, and memo to Memagers Securities Co.] ; Black binder.
Box
4 "Origins and operation of General Motors Corp. bonus, managers securities and management corporation plans," 1952 July 1 [By John M. Harlan, cover marked "General Motors Supplemental Compensation Plans."] ; Typescript. Black binder.
Box
4 "The General Motors Story," 1958 December [By Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.] ; Mimeographed. Bound. Marked "Confidential."
IV. Speeches and talks
Box
5 Remarks by Brown before the Mobilization for Human Needs Conference, 1936 September 18 [Washington, D.C.] ; Mimeographed.
Box
5 "Forecasting and Planning Vital to Industrial Prosperity," 1928 May 9 [Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.] ; Carbon copy.
Box
5 Speech before the National Association of Manufacturers, 1939 September 16 [Absecon, New Jersey.] ; Mimeographed, 2 copies. With introductory remarks, 2 copies.
Box
5 "Readjustment Required Within Industry Because of the Defense Problem," 1941 December 30 [American Statistical Association.] ; Mimeographed, 2 copies.
Box
5 Industrial management, based on his experience in General Motors, 1943 March 8 [No title.] ; Carbon copy.
Box
5 Industrial management as national resource, 1943 March 18 [Draft in manuscript and typescript.]
Box
5 "Problems of Industrial Organization and Control," 1945 November 16 [Chicago Chapter of Society for Advancement of Management.] ; Mimeographed, 8 copies.
Box
5 Speech to Motors Holding Dealers at testimonial dinner, 1949 June 15 [Detroit, Michigan.] ; 2 copies, 1 carbon and 1 mimeograph.
Box
5 "The Evolution of Big Business Management," 1957 May 14 [Draft No. 3.] ; Typescript.
Box
5 "Our Expanding Business," undated [DuPont Sales Convention.] ; Carbon copy.
V. Gulf Oil Corporation
Box
6 Exchange of General Motors, 1946-1947
Box
6 General, 1947-1948
Box
6 Gulf incentive compensation plan, 1948 [Blue binder.]
Box
6 Correspondence with S. A. Swensrud, Pres. Gulf Oil, 1949-1953
Box
6 Dividend Policy
Box
6 Financial Control, 1948-1953
Box
6 Incentive compensation plan, 1948-1953
Box
6 Organization, 1948-1954