Collection inventory

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Fred Conley Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 27 Mar 2013

Biographical History

Fred (Fay Oliver) Conley (1899-1981) was an American plastics and automotive engineer.

A descendant of one of the oldest families in the country, Conley's ancestors can be traced back to Mayflower immigrants in 1620. He was the founder, first president and distinguished member of the Society of Plastic Engineers, a charter member of the Plastic Pioneers Association, and a senior member of the Engineering Society of Detroit. He assisted Louis Chevrolet with the first production model of the Chevrolet car, and was a distinguished member of the Automotive Old Timers. According to the Plastics Hall of Fame website, "He is credited with developing several plastics "firsts" in the automotive industry, such as a cowl ventilator and a patented interior sun visor. In 1932, he was instrumental in designing and developing a small portable radio cabinet -- reputedly the first plastics cabinet of its kind. "

Genealogy was his principal hobby and he successfully traced his ancestry back to Charlemagne. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and other automotive, genealogical and hereditary societies, as well as benevolent clubs such as the Boys Club of Detroit, Elks Club, etc. He wasand his wife Polly had no children. [Adapted from Conley's obituary in the Kalamazoo Gazette, 14 Oct 1981]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Fred Conley Collection consists of biographical material, memorabilia, and miscellanea.

Biographical material consists of two biographical sketches, one published and one a typescript.

Memorabilia contains awards and certificates, many of which are related to the Conley family genealogy (e.g., Sons of the American Revolution). There are also a few photographs of Conley.

Miscellaneous material includes a small plastic artifact manufactured by Makalot Corp. and assorted printed material.

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by type of material.


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

Special Collections Research Center has a number of collections relating to plastics and plastics history; please see the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Conley, Fred (Fay Oliver)
Guest, Edgar A. (Edgar Albert), 1881-1959.

Corporate Bodies

Plastics Hall of Fame.
Society of Plastics Engineers.

Associated Titles

Plastics news.


Plastics -- Research.
Plastics industry and trade -- History.
Plastics industry and trade -- Technological innovations.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Fred Conley Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Gerald Young, 2013.

Table of Contents

Biographical material