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Dave Chapman Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: Dec 1966

Biographical History

Dave Chapman was born Jan. 30, 1909, in Gilman, Illinois. He graduated from the Armour Institute of Technology in 1932. That same year he worked on the design and planning of the Chicago Century of Progress. After this, he was employed in the product design division of Montgomery Ward and Company. From 1935 to 1955, he was senior partner in the industrial design firm of Dave Chapman Industrial Design. Since 1955 he has served as president of Design Research, Inc. as well as head of his own firm. Chapmen is past president of the Society of Industrial Designers and is a recipient of the Design Award Medal given by the Industrial Designers Institute. He is a fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters and lives with his wife and two daughters in Chicago, Illinois.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Dave Chapman Papers includes correspondence, published material, photographs, designs, renderings, and related items. The collection consists of two large accessions which have not been integrated, and several smaller additions.

1968 accession

The first of the two large accessions, the 1968 accession is divided into three series. Correspondence (1968 accession) is divided into General Correspondence Files and Chronological Log-Outgoing Correspondence. General Correspondence Files consists of incoming correspondence and is arranged chronologically, then alphabetically by subject. Chronological Log-Outgoing Correspondence consists of replies to incoming mail and is arranged chronologically.

Subject files (1968 accession) includes correspondence, blueprints, designs, plans, notes, drawings, clippings, photographs, reports, color charts, printed matter, published material, and related items. The material is filed alphabetically by subject.

Color Slides (1968 accession) consists of one box of color slides.

General files

General files, the second of the two large accessions, includes printed material correspondence, photographs, presentations, proposals, and other material. There are also a large number of slides. Companies represented include Allied Farm Equipment, Corning Glass, Elizabeth Arden, Ford, International Harvester, Maytag, Memorex, Montgomery Ward, RCA, Sears, the United States Air Force Academy, Westclox, and many others. Also in this series is work done for the International Cooperation Adminstration, for Costa Rica, Surinam, El Salvador, and Iran. This accession has not been processed and remains in original order; the related portion of the inventory below is a box listing only.

Other additions

Advertising work contains material added to the collection in 1969. Firms represented include Hamilton Beach, Interstate United, Laurentide Biere-Ale, Maytag and Co., Owens-Corning, and Simoniz. The advertising work consists of artists' ideas and models, sketches, negative copies of completed work, and proposals for advertising campaigns. About half of the material relates to Simoniz products and packaging lines. Packages 5 and 9 also contain related correspondence.

Design projects consists mainly of sketches and presentation panels but also includes photographs, proofs, pamphlets, brochures and other material for a variety of clients including Allied Farm Equipment, Cooper's, Corning Glass, Hankscraft, Hamilton Beach, Johnson Motors, Libby's, Owens-Corning, Panelfab, Simoniz, Speed-o-print, Wheland, and others. The cardboard cases in Package 5 contains samples of both packaging and actual shorts, socks, t-shirts, etc. for the Jockey label of Cooper's Inc.

Renderings consists of drawings for a variety of clients including Baxter Laboratories, Beltone Hearing Aid, Corning Glass, Hamilton Beach, Imperial Tobacco Company, Molson Breweries, Montgomery Ward, Parker Pen, Rutger's University, and others.

Arrangement of the Collection

See Scope and Contents above. Note that box and package numbers are not unique; when requesting material, please specify series title and box/package number to ensure retrieval of correct items.


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 the papers of a number of noted industrial designers. Please refer to the the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing. See also the Industrial Design Society Records.

Subject Headings


Chapman, Dave, 1909-1978 Archives.


Art and industry.
Design, Industrial, United States.
Industrial designers, United States.

Genres and Forms

Blueprints (reprographic copies)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Design drawings.
Drawings (visual works)
Slides (photographs)


Industrial designers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Dave Chapman Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Correspondence (1968 accession)

Subject files (1968 accession)

Color slides (1968 accession)

General files

Advertising work

Design Projects