Scope and Content

The Kettering Family Papers contain a variety of materials documenting the Kettering's personal lives, their professional careers, and their philanthropy. As a leading industrial family in the city of Dayton, their contributions to the industrial, financial, and medical fields in Dayton were critical to its establishment as a leading industrial center in the Midwest in the early to mid twentieth century, and the collection contains many different awards, honorary degrees, and documentation of celebratory events all given in honor of the efforts of the Kettering family for these reasons. The Ketterings, especially Charles, made great efforts to increase interest in science and promote scientific inquiry in academics, with Charles himself hosting events and making radio broadcasts on various scientific topics. Because of their wide range of interests and activities, the Kettering Family Papers contain various mediums and materials including personal and professional correspondence, patent documentation, legal deeds and titles, business records, photographs, films, audio recordings, newspapers and other periodicals, books, awards, medals, artwork, and travel documents, along with others.

Due to the famous persons and well-known topics in this collection most of the series and subseries have been grouped first alphabetically then chronologically. Those items too large to fit in boxes have been moved to Drawers/Map Cases. The researcher should be aware of the shift from Box # to Drawer # when using the finding aid and requesting items.

Series I (Boxes 1-23) Mr. & Mrs. Charles F. Kettering covers professional documents relating to Mr. Kettering and his wife, Olive. Subseries IA: Personal and Biographical Materials contains items such as short biographies and resumes, and documents of a personal nature including birthday materials, passports, notebooks, etc. Subseries IB: Awards are separated into paperwork and actual three-dimensional medals and plaques in succeeding boxes. Some awards/medals have been removed to oversize boxes and drawer storage due to their size; these items are noted in the list accordingly. Subseries IC: Correspondence is in alphabetical order by recipient or, in some cases, sender. In Subseries ID: Publications/Presentations, the arrangement is alphabetical by author. Those publications which deal in no way with Kettering, but which were donated presumably are items he himself collected. In Subseries IE: Topics, the researcher finds materials relating to friends (Alfred E. Sloan and C.E. Wilson, e.g.) and any important or leisurely endeavors in which Mr. Kettering was engaged during his lifetime (yachting). Subseries IF: Legal and Financial Documents is organized alphabetically by institution. Here for instance a folder on the Smith Gas Research Company contains any document relating to that company, whether correspondence, financial or legal. Scant materials were grouped together under topics such as "Patents" and would encompass patent information for a number of inventions.

Series II: Eugene and Virginia Kettering (Boxes 24-45), contains the papers of the Charles F. Kettering's son Eugene (Gene) and daughter-in-law, Virginia (Jinny). The subseries here are organized in much the same way as Series I, however items are first arranged by the shared materials between Eugene and Virginia (vacations, children) then items belonging solely to Eugene, and finally materials dealing specifically with Virginia. Each of these sections is prefaced by the name of the person, to whom the materials belong, in bold print. The series does contain materials related to the children of Eugene and Virginia, but any materials regarding grandchildren and great-grandchildren are found in Series III.

Series III: Extended Family and Associates (Boxes 46-49) contains personal and professional documents pertaining to Eugene and Virginia Kettering's children's families and other relatives and associates of the Ketterings. Subseries IIIA: Charles F. Kettering II (Chuck) contains all materials related to the family of Charles F. Kettering II and his children. This is followed by Subseries IIIB, Jane Kettering-Lombard, and Subseries IIIC: Susan Kettering-Williamson. Subseries IIID: The Weiffenbach family contains materials relating to Virginia Kettering's parents and ancestors. Finally, Subseries IIIE: William Handler are materials relating to a Charles F. Kettering researcher who did extensive work on Charles F. Kettering throughout the 1990s.

In Series IV: Foundations (Boxes 50-54) Subseries IVA: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital; Subseries IVB: The Kettering Foundation; and Subseries IVC: Charles F. Kettering Inc., Subseries IVC. Though not an extensive collection of records for any of these organizations, these subseries do contain deeds, patents, correspondence, annual reports, and other documents the organizations generated.

Series V: Photographs (Boxes 55-81) are ordered first by Charles F. Kettering, Subseries VA; Eugene and Virginia Kettering Family, Subseries VB; and finally Oversized Photographs, Subseries VC. If a photograph was too large for a binder album it was placed in Subseries VC: Oversized Photos, Paintings, and Drawings in an oversized flat box. If too large for a flat box, it was placed in a drawer/map case. As throughout the rest of the collection a "document removed" form is used as a place holder if one of the items was moved to oversize storage. In most instances photographs are arranged alphabetically and then chronologically. This series contains all types of photo, from formal portraits to candid shots, black and white, color and even some daguerrotypes and tintypes. Many of the photographs correspond with events found elsewhere throughout the collection, for instance the researcher may find a group of photos which correspond to an award ceremony mentioned in an Awards subseries, or birthday photos corresponding to a particular birthday event mentioned in Personal and Biographical Materials.

Series VI: Scrapbooks and Photo Albums (Boxes 88-103A) again follows the established organizational procedure, with scrapbooks and albums for Charles F. Kettering arranged first, followed by Eugene and Virginia Kettering. The scrapbooks contain clippings, photos and other ephemera, dealing with events and periods of time, e.g. the life of Charles F. Kettering from 1930-1940, while the photo albums stem from casual and more formal events in the lives of the Ketterings.

Series VII: Oversized Materials (Boxes 104-107, Unboxed Materials and Drawers 96-98), contains all documents and items in the collection too large to fit in normal letter or legal-sized document boxes, or other average-sized archival boxes. These materials come from every aspect of the collection. So stored here are oversized photographs, awards, publications, etc. Arranged here also are ledger books from Charles F. Kettering and Eugene Kettering, which are too large and awkward for boxed storage. They are un-boxed and rest on the shelves next to the collection proper.

Series VIII: Audio-Visual Materials (Boxes 108-112) contains cassette tapes, reel-to-reel recordings, VHS tapes, 33 ½ Long-playing Records, and 16mm, 8mm and Super 8mm. These items deal mostly with Charles F. Kettering and Virginia Kettering and document speeches made by Kettering and others, and also filmed events, such as the grand re-opening of the Victoria Theatre. Also included here are numerous "home movies" of the Charles F. Kettering family.