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John D. Archbold Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: JPK
Date: Aug 2007

Biographical History

John Dustin Archbold (1848-1916) was born in Leesburg, Ohio. He was a capitalist, philanthropist, and President of the Board of Trustees at Syracuse University. He was known as John D. Rockefeller’s right hand man at the Standard Oil Company and was the company's frequent spokesperson. After the Standard Oil Company's dissolution in 1911 due to a Supreme Court decision, he became president of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, a position he occupied until his death. He was a close friend of Syracuse University Chancellor James R. Day, and gave almost $4,000,000 to the University over his lifetime. His donations financed the construction of the Archbold Stadium, Archbold Gymnasium, and the Sims Hall dormitory.

He was at a times a controversial figure, appearing often as the voice of Standard Oil during the federal government hearings leading to the breaking up of the oil trust. In 1915 he was subject to a failed assassination attempt by an unknown assailant. His generosity to Syracuse University and his humble demeanor (he preferred that no buildings be named after him and kept a low public profile), made him a popular and greatly admired figure among the University community.

Sources: Dictionary of American Biography, vol 1, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1928-1958; New York Times, “J.D. Archbold Dies: Mourned by Many,” December 6, 1916, p. 9; Syracuse Post-Standard, “John D. Archbold and George C. Boldt Expire on the Same Day,” December 6, 1916, p. 1; Syracuse Post-Standard, “Gifts to University From Mr. Archbold Nearly $4,000,000,” December 6, 1916

John Dana Archbold (1910-1993) was born in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was a philanthropist, engineer, conservationist, businessman, dairy farmer, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and trustee emeritus of Syracuse University. He financed the renovation of Syracuse Stage’s Archbold Theater in 1980, formally known as Regent Theater. He attended Princeton University (’34) and University of Geneva, Switzerland. He gave frequently to educational causes, and owned properties in Virginia and the British West Indies.

Sources: Syracuse University Archives; Syracuse Herald Journal, “Archbold Makes Generosity Simple,” June 16, 1980;

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John D. Archbold Papers focuses on two members of the Archbold family, John Dustin Archbold (1848-1916), and his grandson John Dana Archbold (1910-1993). The contents of the collection were owned by John Dana Archbold and consist of personal and business materials, research notes, and manuscripts dealing with family history and the life and career of John Dustin Archbold. The collection is divided into three sections: correspondence, financial materials, and writings.

Correspondence (Boxes 1-2) relates to John Dana and has been divided into personal and business. The personal correspondence contains both outgoing letters written by John Dana and incoming letters written to him, covering the dates of 1929-1960. All correspondents are filed in alphabetical order by name (if known.) The business correspondence consists of internal memos, letters, handwritten notes, pamphlets and legal documents. It has been divided into two sections. The first section relates to the purchasing of marine diesel engines between the years 1932-1943. The second section deals with the patents acquired by John Dana for the I.B. Corporation and patents for his design for a rotary internal gas engine, covering the period between 1935 and 1943. The business correspondence has been ordered by date where possible.

Financial Materials (Boxes 2-3) deals with John Dana’s household and business accounts. It details monetary transactions for expenses, stocks and loans, gifts and charities, taxes, bank account balances, and personal properties. The materials are all bound journals and ledgers, covering the period from 1931 through 1962.

Writings (Boxes 4-6) consists of two parts. Part 1 deals with John Dustin Archbold and the Standard Oil Company. Part 2 contains materials on the Archbold family history and genealogy. The majority of the materials in part 1 were compiled or written by Austin Leigh Moore and consist of his transcriptions and notes, as well as numerous copies of unpublished manuscripts and proofs. Also included is a short manuscript authored by Walter Taylor and John Dana’s senior thesis from when he attended Princeton. The research materials in Part 2 consist of transcriptions, notes, newspaper and magazine clippings, and correspondence, and are arranged according to the family members they refer to. Also included are two copies of an unpublished manuscript on Archbold family genealogy, written by various authors and compiled by John Dana, in addition to three copies of a recipe book published by John Dana.

Memorabilia consists of a framed announcement designating Archbold a member of the Chancellor's Council, with photograph of Setnor Hall at top.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is divided into personal and business; within that, they are arranged alphabetically by company or person.

Financial materials are subdivided into journals" and ledgers and are ordered chronologically.

Within Writings, research materials are first, followed by manuscripts, proofs, and/or books.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

The book The Petroleum Industry, 1859-1934 has been removed from the collection and is catalogued separately. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate this item.

See also the Archbold Family Papers.

Subject Headings


Archbold family.
Archbold, John D. (John Dustin), 1848-1916.
Archbold, John Dana.

Corporate Bodies

Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.
Standard Oil Company.
Standard Oil Trust.
Syracuse University -- History.


Archbold family -- Genealogy
Business -- New York (State)
Cooking, American.
Diesel motors -- Drawings.
Marine diesel motors.
Marine engineering.
New business enterprises -- Finance.
Patent law and legislation.
Patent laws and legislation -- United States.
Petroleum industry and trade -- United States.
Photography -- Printing processes -- Patents.
Rotary combustion engines.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Ledgers (account books)
Manuscripts for publication.
Research notes.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John D. Archbold Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mary Anagnost, 1995.

Table of Contents


Financial Materials