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Ralph E. Flanders Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: HLA, PM, FS
Date: Feb 1964

Biographical History

Ralph E. Flanders was an American engineer, businessman, and legislator. He represented the people of Vermont in the United States Senate for twelve years.


1880 Born in Barnet, Vermont
1896 Graduated from high school Central Falls, Rhode Island
1897 Apprenticeship at Brown and Sharpe Manufacturing Company, Providence, Rhode Island
1900 Becomes journeyman machinist and then draftsman
1901-1902 Professional experience in mechanical engineering at Taft-Pierce Manufacturing Company, Woonsocket, Rhode Island and Flather Manufacturing Company
1903 Engineer, International Paper Box Company, Nashua, New Hampshire
1904 Engineer, General Electric Company, Lynn, Massachusetts
1905-1910 Associate editor of Machinery
1910 Sales Engineer, Fellows Gear Shaper Company, Springfield, Vermont
1911 Manager, Fay automatic lathe department of Jones & Lamson Machine Company, Springfield, Vermont
1912 Director, Jones and Lamson Machine Company
1920-1924 Member, National Screw Thread Commission
1924 President, National Machine Tool Builders Association
1932-1936 Director, Social Science Research Council
1933-1946 President, Jones and Lamson Machine Company
1933 Member, Business Advisory and Planning Council
1933 Member, Industrial Advisory Board, National Recovery Administration
1933-1946 President, Bryant Chucking Grinder Company
1934 President, American Society of Mechanical Engineers
1934 Awarded Warner Medal for understanding of economic problems
1938-1941 Director, Shawmut National Bank, Boston, Massachusetts
1938-1946 Director, National Life Insurance Company
1941 Member, Machine Tools Priority Committee, Office of Production Management
1941-1942 President, New England Council
1942-1943 Member, Economic Stabilization Board
1943-1944 Chairman, Machine Tools Committee, War Production Board
1944-1946 President, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Massachusetts
1944 Awarded Hoover Medal for Outstanding Public Service
1946 President, American Research and Development Corporation
1946-1958 Member, United States Senate
1958 Private citizen, Springfield, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

Flanders is also the author of several books, among them Gear Cutting Machinery (1909), Spur and Bevel Gearing (1914), Taming our Machines (1931), Platform for America (1936), Toward Full Employment (1938), The American Century (1950), Letter To A Generation (1956), and Senator From Vermont (1961).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Ralph E. Flanders Papers is divided into ten series which fall roughly into three categories: pre-Senatorial, Senatorial, and personal.

The first five series all date from Flanders' pre-Senatorial period. The first, General correspondence (1923-1942, Boxes 1-66), includes both individuals and organizations (American Standards Association, National Screw Thread Commission, Springfield Plumbing and Heating Company, for example) as well as some subject files (e.g. "Invitations") and various trade journals and other publications (e.g., The Architectural Record, Atlantic Monthly). Engineering resource files (Boxes 67-71) contains assorted reference material. Business correspondence (Boxes 72-83) also includes individuals, organizations, trade journals and publications. Records relating to Engineering resources and patent materials (Boxes 84-94) contain patent applications, standards, and more detailed information on particular parts such as turret lathes, hydraulics, pumps, etc. Finally, correspondence related to the State Planning Board of Vermont (Boxes 95-99) includes correspondence, minutes, reports, and other committee-generated material.

Two series are devoted to Flanders' terms in the United States Senate: Senatorial correspondence (Boxes 100-115), which includes correspondence with government bodies and organizations as well as with numerous other senators; and thirteen Voting record notebooks (Boxes 165-170) from the 80th through the 85th Congresses (1947-1958), many of which also contain clippings.

Writings comprises Articles and speeches relating to Flanders' career (Boxes 116-150), books by Flanders (Box 171), broadcasts (Boxes 151-156), and literary and other manuscripts (Boxes 159-164).

Miscellaneous material (Boxes 157, 158, 170, and 171) contains personal items of memorabilia, including scrapbooks, photographs and negatives, clippings and genealogical material.

The 164 boxes of correspondence total approximately 50,000 items. Notable correspondents include Paul Hoffman, Henry Cabot Lodge, Charles A. Beard, Styles Bridges, Norman Thomas, Joseph C. O'Mahoney, Gerard Swope, Myron C. Taylor, Wendell Willkie, Warren R. Austin, George D. Aiken, Samuel Crowther, Dorothy Thompson, Lincoln Filene, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, W. Averell Harriman, Harold L. Ickes, Charles F. Kettering, Charles E. Wilson, Harry Hopkins, Alvin Hansen, Eugene Meyer, Francis Perkins, William Graham Sumner, Dwight David Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Richard M. Nixon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Henry A. Wallace, Joseph Schumpeter, Winston S. Churchill, John Spargo, Thomas J. Watson, James F. Byrnes, Sidney Hillman, Edward R. Stettinius, Hugh S. Johnson, Richard E. Byrd, Thomas E. Dewey, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Norman Cousins, and others.

Arrangement of the Collection

General correspondence and Business correspondence are each arranged in roughly chronological order; each chronological segment is then arranged roughly alphabetically. As a result, material relating to a particular topic may be located in more than one place (e.g., Champlain Valley Council correspondence is in Box 23 and Box 50). The researcher is advised to review the entire finding aid to ensure locating all relevant material.

The Engineering resource file is arranged in chronological order. Engineering resources and patent information, State planning board files, and Senatorial correspondence are arranged in alphabetical order. Writings are arranged by type and then chronologically within each type.


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.

Subject Headings


Aiken, George D. (George David), 1892-1984.
Beard, Charles A. (Charles Austin), 1874-1948.
Byrnes, James F. (James Francis), 1882-1972.
Cousins, Norman.
Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971.
Eisenhower, Dwight D. (Dwight David), 1890-1969.
Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1879-1958.
Flanders, Ralph E. (Ralph Edward), 1880-1970.
Hansen, Alvin H. (Alvin Harvey), 1887-1975.
Harriman, W. Averell (William Averell), 1891-1986.
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964.
Hopkins, Harry L. (Harry Lloyd), 1890-1946.
Ickes, Harold L. (Harold LeClair), 1874-1952.
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973.
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963.
Kettering, Charles Franklin, 1876-1958.
McCarthy, Joseph, 1908-1957.
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994.
Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965.
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945.
Stettinius, Edward R., Jr. (Edward Reilly), 1900-1949.
Swope, Gerard, 1872-1957.
Taylor, Myron Charles, 1874-1959.
Thompson, Dorothy, 1893-1961.
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972.
Wallace, Henry A. (Henry Agard), 1888-1965.
Willkie, Wendell L. (Wendell Lewis), 1892-1944.

Corporate Bodies

Business Advisory and Planning Council for the Dept. of Commerce (U.S.)
National Machine Tool Builders' Association.
New England Council.
Social Science Research Council (U.S.)
United States. -- National Recovery Administration.
United States. -- War Production Board.


Businessmen -- Political activity.
Legislators -- United States.
Machine-tool industry -- United States.
Mechanical engineering.
Screw-threads, Standard.
Standards, Engineering.


United States -- Politics and government -- 1901-1953.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1953-1961.
Vermont -- Politics and government.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Genealogies (histories)
Negatives (photographs)
Scripts (documents)
Speeches (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Ralph E. Flanders Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ralph E. Flanders, 1963 and his Estate, 1974.

Table of Contents

General correspondence files

Engineering resource files

Business correspondence Ffles

Engineering resources and patent materials

State Planning Board Files

Senatorial Correspondence

Voting record notebooks


Miscellaneous material