Preface
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PREFACE The roots of this book extend back to late 1980, when I wrote a brief history of the sprawling Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck, Michigan, before its demolition. This was my first venture into Dodge history and I quickly learned of the absence of any comprehensive history of John and Horace Dodge and the automobile company that bore their names. I discovered that Chrysler’s historical archives contained a great deal of material on Dodge Brothers before the Chrysler Corporation bought the firm in 1928. Once I finished a history of the Chrysler Corporation, I turned my attention back to Dodge Brothers. This has been a difficult research effort because many Dodge Brothers business records, especially the correspondence, have not survived. Some business and family records have found their way into more than a dozen archives, but other materials are in the hands of private collectors and are not easily accessible. Any serious work of history depends in large part on the cooperation and assistance of archivists and librarians. I owe a great debt to Barbara M. Fronczak, now retired, whose responsibilities as manager of the DaimlerChrysler Information ResourceCenterincludedtheDaimlerChryslerHistoricalCollection.BrandtRosenbusch , the current manager, graciously allowed me to return to the collection to focus on the Dodge story. The archives at Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, Michigan , were another source of much valuable information about both brothers and the Dodge Brothers firm, but mostly related to John F. Dodge. Lisa Baylis Ashby, former executive director at Meadow Brook Hall, and Maura Overland, a former curator of collections, encouraged me to examine the materials held there. I am grateful for the enthusiastic cooperation and encouragement of Sally Victor, former acting executive director of Meadow Brook Hall, and Brandy Hirschlieb, curator of collections, when I spent several months in the archives in 2003. I am also grateful for the help and guidance of many other archivists. Mark Patrick of the NationalAutomotive History Collection of the Detroit Public Library deserves special thanks. Tom Featherstone, photo archivist at theArchives of Labor and UrbanAffairs, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, helped steer me through his institution’s massive collection of photographs and scanned the images that appear in this book. The patient, professional staffs of the Burton xi 000 FM (i-xvi) 11/11/10 3:26 PM Page xi Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, and the Benson Ford Research Center, the Henry Ford, offered invaluable assistance. Patricia Zacharias, manager of the Catlin Library of the Detroit News, guided me through that newspaper’s indexing system. MyresearchtookmetoseveralcitieswheretheDodgesworkedandlivedbefore settling permanently in Detroit. Several reference librarians and museum professionalswereextremelyhelpful :MichelleKloseattheNiles(Michigan)Community Library; Carol Bainbridge at the Fort St. Joseph Museum in Niles; Barbara King at the St. Clair County Library, Port Huron, Michigan; and George Livingstone at the Willard Public Library, Battle Creek, Michigan. I would particularly like to thank my colleague and friend Alan Douglas for helping me navigate through the historical records of Windsor, Ontario. Several members of the Dodge Brothers Club were also extremely generous in sharing photographs and other materials with me. I am especially grateful to John W. Parsons, Jr., who graciously allowed me to examine his large collection of Dodge Brothers materials, and to John Bittence, who helped me better understand the various Dodge Brothers offerings of the period 1925–29. Other Dodge Brothers Club members who shared materials with me include Mel Bookout, Thomas “Jack” Carpenter, and John Velliky. Several Dodge Brothers Club members read earlier versions of this book and offered countless suggestions and advice. I am particularly grateful to John C. Bittence, John W. Parsons, Jr., and Harry M. Trebing. Ron Fox, owner of a rich collection of Dodge family materials, generously allowed me to examine his collection. I am deeply indebted to all of the individuals I have named above, and I hope I have not forgotten anyone. Naturally, any errors or omissions that may be found in this book are my responsibility alone. Preface xii 000 FM (i-xvi) 11/11/10 3:26 PM Page xii ...


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