GM Heritage Center Permanent Reference Collection
Our collection holds more than 250,000 unique historical documents and resides on more than 15,000 linear feet of shelf space. It consists primarily, but not exclusively, of product catalogs, sales brochures, press material, build records, engineering information, service information, and still photography that relates to General Motors’ products and services. The collections of the former Cadillac Museum and Oldsmobile History Center formed its foundation in 2004. Today each of General Motors’ major North American brands is well represented.
Our collection, while very robust with regards to most of our automotive brands, is not exhaustive. The amount of detailed information varies from brand to brand. In addition to the automotive brands, the GMHC also maintains historical literature related to our non-automotive ventures such as Frigidaire, Electro-Motive General Motors Acceptance Corporation and more.
The majority of the historical materials maintained by the GMHC reside within our General Collection which is organized by brand. Materials in the General Collection are organized chronologically within each brand or business unit. The GMHC also houses a fair number of records related to General Motors’ corporate public relations and promotional activities including: annual and quarterly reports; press releases dating back to 1921; thousands of speeches and presentations including many from our most important executives such as Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., Charles F. Kettering and William S. Knudsen; and copies of GM-published periodicals such as GM Folks, GM World, and General Motors Engineering Journal.
The GMHC has also acquired a number of special collections from both within the company and from external contributors. These include but are not limited to:
- R&D Library Historical Literature Collection – This collection is comprised of historical product literature covering the majority of GM’s brands including the non-automotive, component, and short-lived ones. It was originally collected and organized by the GM Research Library and dates back to the early 1900s and include literature on many brands and activities that predate the founding of GM.
- GM Business Library Collection – This collection is comprised of historical pamphlets, documents and news clippings compiled, collected and organized by the former GM Business Library. Its contents date to the founding of GM and includes documents published by both GM and non-GM entities. Executive Speech File – This collection contains copies of speeches and presentations, both major and minor, given by GM executives to various audiences. All major GM executives are included. Contents date to the 1910s.
- Executive Biography File – This collection contains historical biographical information on most of the company’s major executives.
- Corporate Press Release Collection – This collection is comprised of news releases and public statements issued by GM Corporate Public Relations. The collection dates back to the early 1920s.
- Annual Reports and Stockholder Information Collection – This collection is comprised of historical annual reports, quarterly reports, proxy statements, and stockholder communications dating back to the founding of the GM.
- General Motors World Collection – This collection consists of the complete run of GM World magazine, the official newsletter of GM Overseas Operations. The newsletter dates from 1922 and is the most comprehensive record of GM’s pre-1970 global activities.
- Zora Arkus-Duntov Collection – This collection is comprised of correspondence, engineering records, technical documents, news clippings, and photographs acquired from the estate of former Chevrolet Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. Major topics include the development and evolution of the Corvette, development and evolution of the Chevrolet small and big-block V8 engines, and Chevrolet’s performance and racing activities during the period 1953-1975. The collection also contains many documents about Arkus-Duntov’s pre and post-GM engineering activities.
- Charles Chayne Collection – This collection is comprised primarily of sales literature, events programs, newsletters and speeches originally collected by former Buick chief engineer and General Motors vice president Charles Chayne that detail his many automotive-related interests.
- Maurice Olley Collection – This collection is comprised of papers and speeches given by former Cadillac, Vauxhall and Chevrolet engineer Maurice Olley who is notable for his contributions in the area of automotive suspension and handling.
- Russell Crist/Thomas Van deGrift Collection – This collection is comprised of historical literature relating to the truck and coach activities of GMC, its predecessors and subsidiaries. It is particularly strong in the period 1900-1955.
Finding aids are not currently available for researchers however access to the content can be arranged by contacting the archivist. Access to some content from the GMHC collections is available via our website, www.gmheritagecenter.com. This content includes historical promotional brochures covering topics such as milestones, facilities and innovations as well as vintage vehicle information kits for certain Chevrolet, Cadillac and Oldsmobile models. Content is added to our website on a regular basis.
To obtain information from the GMHC that is not accessible on our website, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. On-site access to the collection is by appointment only.