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J. Harry DuBois Papers

A description of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: DuBois, J. Harry (John Harry), 1903-
Title: J. Harry DuBois Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1940-1993
Quantity: 4 linear ft.
Abstract: Collection consists of the personal and professional papers of J. Harry DuBois, covering his long career in the plastics industry. It includes scrapbooks and photograph albums of his family and world-wide travel for business, photographs and slides, and audio and film reels.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

J. Harry DuBois (1903-1986) was an American businessman and author in the field of plastics.

Born September 18, 1903 in Clarion, Iowa, he began at General Electric Co.'s molding division in 1927. In 1944, he moved to Shaw Insulator Co. until 1950 when he left to work at Plax Corporation where he stayed through 1951. DuBois was vice president of Mycalex Corporation of America from 1952 to 1958 and vice president of Tech Art Plastics from 1960 to 1965. He founded J. Harry DuBois Co. in 1958, serving as as plastics consultant. In 1965, DuBois became president of Molecular Dielectrics, Inc. and president of Mykroy Ceramics Corporation in 1972.

DuBois was also an author and lecturer. His first book, Plastics, published in 1942 and now in its fifth edition, continues to be the basic text and reference book for schools, colleges, and in-plant training programs. Other works include Plastics Mold Engineering and Plastics History U.S.A. He was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1973. DuBois died in March of 1986.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The J. Harry DuBois Papers consists of the personal and professional papers of J. Harry DuBois, covering his long career in the plastics industry, divided into papers, scrapbooks and photo albums, photographs, and audio and film material.

Papers contains personal and professional papers: a Society of Plastics Engineers International Award in Plastics; consolidated financial statement of Molecular Dielectrics from 1969; Mykroy Ceramics price book from 1974 and Mykroy informational kit; and papers related to the restoration of the Marshalltown, Iowa courthouse in 1977. It also includes cards from his rolodex and business cards he collected over the years.

Scrapbooks & photo albums, 1940s-1993, contains eight scrapbooks and photo albums documenting family world travel and DuBois’ career in plastics including his induction into the Plastics Hall of Fame. Locations include Dusseldorf, Scandinavia, India and the Orient. (Two scrapbooks were removed from their housing: Misc. 1958-1977 and Scandinavian Tour 1976.)

Photographs consists of prints and slides. Prints includes a copy print of the DuBoises with President Gerald Ford, Willerts, Islyn Thomas (2003.865), four prints removed from Molecular Dielectrics Financial Statement, Helen DuBois as child, DuBois accepting his Plastics Hall of Fame award, and photographs of his family. Slides include buildings/building materials, charts/diagrams, family/personal, machinery/manufacturing, molds/molding, objects, parts and people.

Audio and film formats include reel-to-reel audio, films, and audiocassettes. Topics include Bakelite, Plastics Pioneers, Mycalex, and the Lima, Peru manufacturing plant.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Material is divided into the series listed above, but otherwise is in no particular order.

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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.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous holdings in the areas of plastics and industrial design. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing. See in particular the Wayne I. Pribble Papers.

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Subject Headings


DuBois, J. Harry (John Harry), 1903-
Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006.

Corporate Bodies

Molecular Dielectrics, Inc.
Plastics Hall of Fame.


Bakelite -- History.
Industrialization -- India.
Plastics industry and trade.


Düsseldorf (Germany)
Marshalltown (Iowa)

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Negatives (photographs)
Slides (photographs)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

J. Harry DuBois Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Transfer from National Plastics Center and Museum, 11/06/2008. Originally, gift of DuBois family.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: DGI/MM
Date: 2006
Revision history: Feb 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC); Jun 2009 - photos redistributed (MRC); 11 Jun 2014 - inventory expanded, media processed (DF); 28 Nov 2022 - media descriptions updated (MRC, IRP)

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Box 1 Address book undated (2 folders)
Oversize 1 Business cards undated
Box 1 Financial and business 1970, 1972
Items include: Molecular Dielectrics, Inc. and Subsidiary Companies consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 1969, together with auditors’ report, 1970 (2 copies); Mykroy Ceramics Corporation bound information booklet, 1972.
Box 1 Mckroy ceramics price book 1974
Box 1 Personal and professional 1944-1984
Items include Postcard; Letter from James L. Thronere: presentation at ANTEC ’83; European travel log, Sept. 1956; Letter to G. R. Munger; Letter from Andrea DiNoto; Letter to James Edwards Book; Letter to Mort Gilbert; Communications re: Pavia Farny Corp.; Plax Corp. Pioneers Newsletter, 1983; Communications re: first all plastics airplane; Letter to Francis Fu; Letter from Industry Media Inc.; Newspaper and magazine clippings; Letter from National Museum of American History; Communications with Wayne Pribble; Toolmaker lunch trade publication; Certificates from Pittsfield University, University of Minnesota; Plastics Pioneers Association, The Society of Plastics Industry, United States Navy.
Box 1 Restoration of Marshalltown courthouse 1977 - contains communications, newspaper clippings, and draft manuscripts related to the restoration of the Marshalltown Courthouse in Marshalltown, Iowa
Box 1 SPE international award in plastics 1966-1967, 1977 - includes personal communications, press releases, trade publication clippings, reprints of Plastics World March 1966 article, nominating forms
Box 1 Wedding invitation 1973
Box 1 Negatives circa 1970s - assorted negatives including: Pioneers of Plastic, 1980; National Plastics Museum; Plax Corporation party; Mykroy (1972); Pioneers in Plastic (Sept 1974); Pioneers of Plastic (1973); Seminar at Hyatt in Cherry Hill; assorted objects; injection molds; Hull press; Chicago seminar Xmas 1978
Box 1 Prints 1944-1979 - assortment of photographs including: Mycalex party; accepting Hall of Fame Award; daguerreotype; comb; daguerreotype in case; daguerreotype cases; 19th century molding machine; plastics pioneer; family and friends; "Levy"; Schwrenfiest, Germany; fiber optic; tech art annex; conference; DuBois and Mario Petretti (1949); DuBois (1949); DuBois portrait; Molecular Dielectrics (1969); "Pig" of synthetamica; instrument used in making synthamica; Helen DuBois (1944); DuBois portrait (1944?); DuBois speaking; machinery parts or molds; gravestones (2 folders)
Box 2 Slides undated - miscellaneous photographs of family and friends
Oversize 2 Slides undated - miscellaneous slides of buildings/building materials; charts/diagrams; family/personal (Japan and Dusseldorf trips); machinery/manufacturing; molds/molding; objects; parts; people
Scrapbooks and photo albums
Oversize 3 Advisory committee for industrialization of India 1986 - Assorted notes and communications
Box 2 Dusseldorf, Germany 1986 - assortment of photographs and postcards
Box 2 Family, friends, work undated - assorted photographs
Oversize 3 Japan trip 1971 - assorted photographs and postcards, and a typed travel log. The trip included visits to: Nissei Plant; Tokyo Kasei Industries, Ltd.; Dai-I Chi Seiki Co., Ltd.; Philco Ford Plant; Kader Industrial Co., Ltd.; H. Cheong Leen & Co.; Dow Chemical
Oversize 4 Plastics Hall of Fame induction 1973 - assorted photographs, communications (e.g., nomination, notification, and congratulatory letters), speeches, newspaper clippings, invitations, and program related to DuBois' induction into The Plastics Hall of Fame in 1973. Also includes the October 1973 issue of Modern Plastics, which has biographies of all inductees. 1973 was the inaugural induction ceremony
Box 2 Scandinavian tour 1976 - assorted photographs and postcards, and a typed travel log
Box 2 Miscellaneous 1958-1977 - includes DuBois' resume, newspaper clippings and press releases relating to the preservation of tombstones and artifacts, and a telephone book
Oversize 5 Miscellaneous undated - collection, primarily of photographs, from DuBois' adult life; also includes his newspaper and other obituaries
Audio & film
Reel to reel audio
Box 3 [J. Henry DuBois] undated (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_013)
Handwritten note on back: "Of Daddy. Please copy for me. Helen JH's [John Harry DuBois] reel."
Box 3 PBS Talk: H. [J. Harry] Dubois 8 February 1968 (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_007)
Contains: John Harry PBS talk; Dick Taylor intro[duction] [from] Statler Hilton Hotel [on] February 8, 1968. Handwritten note on back reads: "Please copy daddy's voice for me on cassette. Thanks Helen [DuBois]"
Box 3 Plastics Pioneers 1952 (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_009)
Contains: S. Landis; S. Brown; A. Brown; F. Shaw; Allan Cole - 1926; Walter Rahm; Dr. J. [John Joseph] Grebe; Sept[ember] 1926 Plastics first edition Carl Menz [?] first editor. On back of box is written: "Of JHD, [John Henry DuBois] Please copy for me. Thanx, Helen [DuBois]"
Box 3 Plastics Pioneers, [Parts] 1-4 Reel 1 undated (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_010)
Handwritten note reads: "to VCC format; Please copy for me if JH [John Harry DuBois] is on here. Helen Thanx." There are additional illegible notes on box and reel.
Box 3 Plastics World: Welding, Reel 2 (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_014)
Handwritten sheets inside box contain: H. M. Makeever; Makalot [Plastics] Corp. Interlake Chemical; National Steel; The Bead Man Story; March 6, 1948 Dust Explosion; "First Lady of Plastics"; Charles A. Norris ("Chick"), Bakelite American Co. Sales Manager; George Scribner, Boonton Molding Co., Performs for Phenolic, Welding molds by Loyd Baldwin; G. Victor Sammet, Northern Industrial Chemical Co. (reading a report from B. E. Schlesinger); "Red gum" resin made with formaldehyde, fossil based resin from Tassmania. Roxite insulating compounds; Beetleware - melamine urea formaldehyde. Label reads: "to new 2"; additional illegible notes on reel and box.
Box 3 Plastic World: D. J. O'Conor, Bill Cruse, Lou Francisco, Tape 1 of 2 undated (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_008)
Contains: [Plastic] Pioneers [Part] 5; FORMICA. Box label notes: "Reel 5; Cahners Pub. Co.; Tape 1 of 2."
Box 3 Plastics World: Plastics Pioneers JHD [John Harry DuBois], Copy undated (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_011)
Side A: Garson Meyers (Kodak), Fred C. Meacham (NIC [National Industries Company]), Herb Spencer (Durez), Hans Wanders (NIC [National Industries Company]). Side B: M.M. Makeever, C.A. Norris Jr., G.V. Sammet, B.E. Schlesinger. Label reads: "New Reel 2; Cahners Pub. Co." Handwritten note on back reads: "please copy for me thanx Helen Veerkamp[?]; 153 Paterson Ave. Paterson NJ 956-7905; Zip 07502."
Box 3 Plastics World: Spencer [E.] Palmer undated (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_006)
Contains: [John Harry] DuBois; Tenn[essee] Eastman Co. Handwritten note on back reads: "Please copy daddy's voice for me on cassette. Thanx Helen"; box reads: "to New Reel 4."
Box 3 Red Browner [?] November 1975 (1/4 inch audio tape) (ID#: dubois_012)
Contains: Gordon Brown only. Crossed out on label: "Plastics World Reel 6; Cahners Pub. Co.; P.E. Brannon; G. Brown; G. Brown; S. Brown." Handwritten note reads: "to new 3 back of reel 5; Nov. 75"
Reel M-52 GE 20 [illegible] undated (8mm film; running time 12:11) (ID#: dubois_005)
The film contains scenes of the assembly line in a plastic factory.
Reel Mycalex, 39 1954-1955 (8mm film; running time 18:41) (ID#: dubois_004)
The film contains scenes of a summer outdoor event with Mr. Dubois playing baseball; plastics professionals examining plastic samples; Mycalex product samples; production line.
Audio cassettes
Box 3 Church Services (Audio cassette; running time 120:00) (ID#: dubois_003)
Box 3 Liberty Machine: Lima Peru Plant (Audio cassette; running time 60:00) (ID#: dubois_002)
Box 3 World Research Presents: "Not Yours to Give" (Audio cassette) (ID#: dubois_001)

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