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P. Geoffrey Noyes Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Noyes, P. Geoffrey
Title: P. Geoffrey Noyes Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1774-2005
Bulk Dates: 1930-1970
Quantity: 12 linear ft
Abstract: Genealogical and personal information on the Noyes family, founders of the Oneida Community; historical material concerning the Oneida Community and its commercial offspring, Oneida Community Ltd, manufacturer of silverware and china (among other things); and Noyes' correspondence with family and business associates.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

P. Geoffrey Noyes was born June 16, 1941, at Oneida, New York. His great grandfather was John Humphrey Noyes, founder of the Oneida Community. His grandfather, Pierrepont Burt Noyes, and his father, Pierrepont Trowbridge (P.T. or Pete) Noyes, were chief executive officers of Oneida Community Ltd. and its successor companies. P. Geoffrey Noyes graduated from the Lawrenceville school in 1959 and Yale University in 1963. After military service, he worked for Oneida Silversmiths Ltd. until the mid 1980s.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The P. Geoffrey Noyes Papers span over one hundred years, with the bulk of the material from 1930-1970. The collection is divided into family material; material relating to the Oneida Community, a nineteenth-century utopian experiment founded by John Humphrey Noyes; and business-related papers and materials covering the transitional period when the Oneida Community became Oneida Community Ltd., commercial manufacturer of silverware and traps, through its post-World War II manufacturing as Oneida Ltd. Reflective of its time period, the collection includes corporate and personal responses to the Depression and World War II.

Family includes Noyes family genealogy and history as well as family correspondence. It also includes correspondence, notes and a libretto for an opera, "The Covenant," based on the communitarian philosophy of John Humphrey Noyes. Oneida Community encompasses historical material such as diaries of Humphrey Noyes and some personal reminiscences of Oneida Community members, information on Kenwood and the Mansion House, and some information on the Oneida Community’s views on plural marriage and relations between the sexes.

Oneida Community Ltd. includes company historical material, such as "A History of the Oneida Community Ltd." written by H.V. Noyes in 1930, early OCL constitutions and bylaws (which reflect their origins in the philosophy of the Oneida Community), and business procedures and instructions. There is significant correspondence of P. Geoffrey Noyes, his father Pierrepont Burt Noyes, his grandfather Pierrepont Trowbridge Noyes, and his uncle Miles E. Robertson. Because these individuals were family as well as business colleagues, the correspondence provides an unusually frank window into OCL corporate management relationships. Advertising includes catalogs, photographs and printed material as well as two market analysis reports which give insight into the relationship between marketing and social mores in the 1950s, particularly gender issues. There is information on sales agents, salaries, employee relations, and speeches given by Robertson and other company leaders (many of which demonstrate the persistence of the ideals of the Oneida Community). Financial and legal information includes an income tax statement from 1895, several account books belonging to Pierrepont Trowbridge Noyes, and trademark documentation. International operations covers OCL’s exploration of overseas business opportunities in Japan, Australia, Canada and the U.K. Stockholder communications includes, among other things, a near-complete run of the company’s annual reports, from 1895 to 2005. Artifacts and memorabilia include clippings, photographs, a miniature replica trap, and a sample case of stainless steel surgical instruments.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical. Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

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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

A near-complete run of the company’s annual reports and a few other printed items have been removed from the collection and cataloged as part of the Rare Books Collection, as have two issues of Community Jeweler, OCL's trade/marketing journal. Please search the Classic Catalog using keyword "P. Geoffrey Noyes" to find these items.

See also the Oneida Community Collection.

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Subject Headings


Baruch, Bernard M. (Bernard Mannes), 1870-1965.
Devlin, Sean.
Klee-Hartzell, Marlyn.
Newhouse, S. (Sewell) -- How to catch wolves with the Newhouse wolf trap.
Noyes, P. Geoffrey.
Noyes, Pierrepont Trowbridge.
Noyes, Pierrepont, b. 1870.

Corporate Bodies

Oneida Community.
Oneida, Ltd.


Family-owned business enterprises.
Animal traps -- History.
Collective settlements -- United States.
Intentional communities -- New York (State)
Sales promotion.
Silverwork -- New York (State) -- Oneida.

Genres and Forms

Business letters.
Corporation reports.
Genealogies (histories)
Manuscripts for publication.
Reviews (documents)
Sales catalogs.
Traps (trapping equipment)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

P. Geoffrey Noyes Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of P. Geoffrey Noyes, 2006.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: JMC/MRR
Date: 5 Apr 2006
Revision history: 12 Apr 2006 - converted to EAD; 23 Aug 2006 - updated to include oversize items (MRR); 11 Oct 2011 - catalogs re-integrated, box 16 (MRC); 26 Oct 2012 - extent revised (MBD)

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Collection inventories and correspondence
Box 1 Inventories, P.Geoffrey Noyes Jun 1992 - annotated inventories created by the donor; outdated and no longer reflective of actual contents or arrangement of collection (2 folders)
Box 1 Correspondence - correspondence concerning the collection
Biographical material
Box 1 Genealogies (2 folders)
Correspondence-subject files
Box 1 Family, misc. 1900-1941
Box 1 Baruch, Bernard M. 1931-1954
Box 1 Devlin, Sean - "The Covenant" (opera), notes and libretto (2 folders)
Oversize 3 Indenture 1744
Box 2 Noyes, Pierrepont Burt (8 folders)
See also Oneida Community Ltd.: Correspondence-subject files: Noyes, Pierrepont Burt
Correspondence, one unidentified typescript, and reviews and letters relating to his books:
  • Gentlemen, You Are Mad
  • A Goodly Heritage
  • My Father’s House
  • The Pallid Giant
  • Recollections of Oneida Community
Box 2 [Pierrepont Burt] Noyes Memorial Fund
Box 2, 3 Noyes, P. Geoffrey 1955-1963 1963-1967, 1999, 2000 (3 folders)
See also Oneida Community Ltd.: Correspondence-subject files: Noyes, P. Geoffrey
Box 3 Noyes, Pierrepont Trowbridge (P.T.) 1941-1946 (2 folders)
See also Oneida Community Ltd.: Correspondence-subject files: Noyes, Pierrepont Trowbridge (P.T.)
Box 3 Smith, Stella Worden 1958-1963
Box 3 Photographs
Oneida Community
Correspondence-subject files
Box 3 General (4 folders)
Box 3 Foster, Lawrence - articles on Oneida Community
Box 3 Herrick, James Barton
Box 3 Kenwood material (3 folders)
Box 4 Kinsley, Edith - article on Kenwood
Box 4 Kirschner, Joseph - articles on Oneida Community
Box 4 Klee-Hartzell, Marlyn
Box 4 Mansion House (2 folders)
Box 4 National Endowment for the Humanities
Box 4 Nelson, Truman
Box 4 Noyes, Humphrey - includes his diaries, 1885-1886 (3 folders)
Box 4 Olin, Spencer C. - articles on Oneida Community
Box 4 Plural marriage
Box 4 "Records of Buildings"
Box 5 "Two Sides of Heaven"
Box 5 Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington, DC)
Box 5 Miscellaneous
Oneida Community Ltd.
Historical material
Box 5 "A History of the Oneida Community Ltd." (H.V. Noyes) 1930 (2 folders)
Box 5 Constitutions and bylaws
Box 5, 6 Instruction and policy manuals (4 folders)
Box 6 Scrapbook
Box 6 Miscellaneous - photocopy of handwritten paragraphs about trap business funding silverware expansion, signed by "Steve"; photocopy of book chapter on Sewell Newhouse; mention of "Frank W-S" as steel consultant; other items
Correspondence-subject files
Box 6 Austin, C.F.
Box 6 Board of Directors
Box 6 Hesper Silver Co.
Box 6 "Magi Cup"
Box 6 Noyes, G. W.
Box 6 Noyes, H. H.
Box 6 Noyes, Pierrepont Burt
See also Family: Correspondence-subject files: Noyes, Pierrepont Burt
Box 7 Noyes, P. Geoffrey
See also Family: Correspondence-subject files: Noyes, P. Geoffrey
Box 7 Noyes, Pierrepont Trowbridge (P.T.) (2 folders)
See also Family: Correspondence-subject files: Noyes, Pierrepont Trowbridge (P.T.)
Box 7 Oneida Tower and Plaza
Box 7 Project cards
Box 7 Robertson, Miles E. (2 folders)
Box 8 [William A.] Rogers
See also Oneida Community Ltd.: Business files: Financial and legal: Sales -- William A. Rogers
Box 8 Sales Executive Club of Central New York
Box 8 World War II production
Box 8 Yahoo bulletin board postings
Box 8 Miscellaneous
Business files
Box 8 Photographs
Box 8 Printed material
Box 8 Radio
Box 8 Stainless patterns
Box 16 Chains 1911-1912 - No. 34-A, No. 35-C, No. 36-A
Box 16 Hardware 1901, 1904, 1908-1909 - No. 24a, No. 27a, No. 31a, No. 32a; includes traps and chains
Box 16 Silverware, Wm. A. Rogers 1908 - No. 46
Box 16 Silverware, other companies 1847 - Rogers Bros. and Community Silver; numerous assorted small catalogs and price lists
Box 16 Traps, Oneida 1908, 1911-1912, undated - No. 30A, No. 41, No. 42, No. 43, No. 44, No. 44-B; also several copies of "How to catch wolves with the Newhouse wolf trap" by Sewell Newhouse
Box 16 Traps, other companies 1908, undated - Animal Trap Co.; Blake, Lamb and Co.; The Hawkins Company
Box 9 Benefits and stock purchase plans
Box 9 Employee relations
Box 9 "Labor Policy of Oneida Ltd." (Esther Lowenthal) 1927
Box 9 OCL Athletic Association
Box 9 Sales agents
Box 9 Talks to employees
Financial and legal
Box 9 Account book, P.T. Noyes 1908-1909?
Oversize 3 Income tax 1895
Box 9 Profit and Loss, P.T. Noyes 1904-1921
Box 9 Salaries
Box 9 Sales book, P.T. Noyes 1880-1911
Box 10 Sales book, P.T. Noyes 1881-1916
Box 10 Sales – Traps
Box 10 Sales – William A. Rogers 1928-1932
See also Oneida Community Ltd.: Correspondence-subject files: [William A.] Rogers
Box 10 Stock offerings
Box 10 Trademarks (2 folders)
Box 10 Miscellaneous
International operations
Box 10 International operations pre-1972
Box 11 International operations 1972-1973
Box 11 Japan, Australia 1919
Box 11 United Kingdom 1983, 1984
Box 11 Miscellaneous
Market analysis
Box 11 Melamine dinnerware study 1959 (2 folders)
Box 11 Silverplated flatware 1914, 1937
Stockholder communications
Box 12 1895-1938
Box 12 1940-1948
Box 12 1950-1969
Box 13 1970-2005
Box 14 25th Anniversary Silversmith’s Race pins (2)
Box 14 Sample case of surgical instruments
Box 14 Trap
Box 14 Trap, miniature replica
Box 14 Turbine blade
Oversize 1 Banquet menu/program 2 Jan 1917
Box 15 Clippings
Box 15 New York Stock Exchange
Box 15 Photographs
Oversize 2 Photographs (oversize)
Oversize 1 Stock option poster 1927

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