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Howard A. Darrin Papers

A description of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 19 Mar 2010

Biographical History

Howard A. "Dutch" Darrin (1897-1982) was an American industrial designer. Known as a designer of luxury automobiles,he was a consultant to many high-end automobile makers including Renault (France), Daimler-Benz (Germany), Rolls Royce (England), and, in the U.S., Stutz, Packard, Studebaker, Graham-Paige, and Kaiser-Frazer. In the 1920s he partnered with Thomas L. Hibbard as Hibbard & Darrin, based in Paris; their projects included the 1931 Rolls Royce Phantom. After Hibbard left the firm in the 1930s Darrin partnered with French financier M. Ferndandez as Fernandez & Darrin. In the 1940s Darrin relocated to Los Angeles, California where he established his own design shop, Darrin of Paris. His extensive collaboration with Packard resulted in the Packard Darrin (1940) and the Packard Clipper (1942), while his work with Kaiser-Frazer gave rise to the 1951 Kaiser Manhattan, which won the Grand Prix d'Honneur at the Councours d'Elegance in Cannes, and the Kaiser-Darrin sports car. Many major Hollywood personalities owned Darrin or Darrin-designed automobiles.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Howard A. Darrin Papers consist of correspondence, memorabilia and writings by Darrin.

Correspondence includes letters to and from Automatic Switch Company, Graham-Paige Motor Company, Kaiser Industries, Renault and Stutz Motor Car Company. The Kaiser Industries correspondence includes letters from company presidents Henry J. Kaiser and Edgar Kaiser; much of it concerns an article published in Motor Trends magazine which misattributed some work that Darrin did for the company.

Memorabilia includes clippings, photographs, Darrin's reminiscences recorded on tape (with transcripts), and the contents of several small scrapbooks. Photographs, all black and white, are of various Darrin automobiles in luxury settings, as well as a 1929 photograph of King Alphonso XIII of Spain with his Duesenberg, and of Darring with Walter Pidgeon. There are also photographs of sketches, clay models, advertisements and other items relating to Darrin automobiles. The scrapbooks, which have been transferred to folders, contain clippings, photographs, reproductions of correspondence, drawings, and other items. Items have been kept in the order they were in the original scrapbook, although there was no discernible order or organization to them.

Writings contains the Summer 1968 issue of Automobile Quarterly with a lengthy article by Darrin entitled, "Disaster is my business," and the Winter 1968 issue of The Classic Car with an article by Darrin about his collaboration with M. Fernandez, a Paris banker and financier.

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 extensive holdings in industrial design in both our manuscript and rare books holdings. For a complete list of manuscript collections in this area, please see the SCRC Subject Index . For published material, please see the Classic Catalog .

Subject Headings


Darrin, Howard A.

Corporate Bodies

Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft -- Correspondence.
Kaiser-Frazer Corp. -- Correspondence.
Ré́gie nationale des usines Renault -- Correspondence.
Stutz Motor Car Co. -- Correspondence.


Automobile industry and trade.
Automobiles -- Design and construction.
Industrial design -- United States.
Industrial designers -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Phonograph records.


Industrial designers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Howard A. Darrin Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Howard A. Darrin, 1969-1970.

Posters, gift of Tina Cunningham, 2015.

Table of Contents