Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

P. Geoffrey Noyes Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: JMC/MRR
Date: 5 Apr 2006

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.

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.

Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical. Correspondence is arranged chronologically.


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

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.

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)



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.

Table of Contents

Collection inventories and correspondence


Oneida Community

Oneida Community Ltd.