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Finding Aid for the A. Conger Goodyear Papers, 1683-1964 (bulk 1885-1964)

Mss. C64-2

Buffalo History Museum. Research Library

1 Museum Court
Buffalo, NY 14216
Phone: 716-873-9644 ext. 306
Fax: 716-873-8754

Finding aid prepared by Buffalo History Museum staff.
Finding aid encoded in EAD by Kuniko Simon, April 2008.
Finding aid written in English .
Finding aid prepared using local best practices.

Funding for the initial encoding was provided through the Regional Bibliographic Databases Program administered by the Western New York Library Resources Council.

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Collection Overview

Title: A. Conger Goodyear Papers, 1683-1964 (bulk 1885-1964)
Creator: Goodyear, A. Conger (Anson Conger), 1877-1964
Extent: 14.5 linear feet (24 boxes, 6 volumes)
Language of Material: Collection material in English.
Repository: Buffalo History Museum. Research Library
Abstract: Collection of Anson Conger Goodyear, a buffalo local business man, major general, and patron of the fine arts and collector; includes family correspondence, diary and scrap books, his speeches and writings, business papers, and military related correspondence.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Mss. C64-2, A. Conger Goodyear Papers, 1683-1964 (bulk 1885-1964), Research Library, Buffalo History Museum.

Acquisition Information

Please see librarian for acquisition information.

Terms of Access

Access restricted until further notice, as per Melissa Brown, Museum Director, May 30, 2013.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Buffalo History Museum before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.

Processing Information

Collection reprocessed and retroconverted by Peter Nelson, 15 December 1992.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Biographical Note

A. Conger Goodyear

Anson Conger Goodyear, businessman, military officer, postwar European relief executive and humanitarian, author, founder of the Museum of Modern Art, and collector of modern paintings, rare books and historical manuscripts, was born in Buffalo to Charles W. Goodyear (1846-1911) and Ella Conger Goodyear (1853-1940). The Goodyear family in America is traced back to Stephen Goodyear, a founder of New Haven, Conn. and deputy governor of Connecticut from 1643 to 1658.


His father, Charles W. Goodyear, studied law in Buffalo, was admitted to the bar in 1871, and joined the law firm of Cleveland, Bissel and Sicard (later, Bissell, Sicard and Goodyear after Cleveland was elected mayor of Buffalo). He was a lifelong friend of Grover Cleveland, and the Goodyear family made many visits to the White House during Cleveland's two presidential terms. At the height of his success in the legal profession, Charles W. Goodyear quit to enter the lumber and railroading business with his brother Frank H. Goodyear. They made vast gains from their business operations', which had gotten their start in Pouter County, Pennsylvania Over the years their interests expanded to include the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad, Great Southern Lumber Company, Buffalo Susquehanna Coal and Coke Company, Powhattan Coal Company, and other concerns. Ella Conger Goodyear had an abiding interest and talent in music. She was graduated from the Buffalo Female Academy and later studied music in Brooklyn. She traveled extensively with the quartet of St. Paul's. After a serious illness, religion became an important part of her life: in 1907 she founded a bible class, which she continued until 1934, and in 1913 she published a book, The Journey of Jesus.

Early Life

A. Conger Goodyear was educated locally at the Misses Hoffman School on Virginia Street, the School of Practice (graduating in 1892), and the new Nichols School. In 1895 he enrolled at Yale, where he was a reporter for the Yale Daily News and a member of The Wolf's Head during his senior year.

After receiving his degree, Goodyear traveled abroad for a time before returning to the United States to begin work in the family's lumber and railroading business. On June 29, 1904 he was married to Mary Forman. With the death of his uncle Frank Goodyear in 1907, he became the first vice-president of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad as well as second vice-president of the Great Southern Lumber Company. In 1911 he succeeded his father as a director of the Albright Art Gallery (the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy).

World War I

As the United States inched closer to joining the Allies in World War I, Goodyear joined in the preparedness effort by attending one of the first military training camps held at Plattsburgh, N.Y. under General Leonard Wood "in the summer of 1915. For the next two years he participated in more military training exercises, marching as Grand Marshall in the Buffalo Preparedness Parade in the summer of 1916.and becoming involved in the efforts of Theodore Roosevelt and William J. Donovan to organize a Buffalo regiment. Just as the United States declared war, Goodyear was assigned to the 307th Field Artillery as a Captain. Soon, however, he was sent to the School of Fire at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he was retained as an instructor. From there he went on the Field Artillery Central officers Training School at Camp Zachary Taylor near Louisville, Kentucky, and then was assigned to the 81st Field Artillery Regiment. At last, Goodyear sailed to Europe, hoping to engage in battle -- but he landed at Brest on November 9, 1918, only two days before the Armistice was declared.

Goodyear stayed in Europe as an inspector of American railroad troops. In 1919 President Hoover appointed him as president of the Coal Commission of the Supreme Economic Council for territories that included the former empire of Austria, Hungary and Poland. In August of the same year he was assigned to Upper Silesia as a Commissioner of Investigation and a Chairman of the Coal Committee.


In the 1920's Goodyear returned to business. As vice president of the Great Southern Lumber Company he became concerned about the depletion of forest lands, and the company began to explore methods of reforestation. Goodyear's company was one of the first to experiment in these methods on a large scale. When the Bogalusa, Ala. mill shut down, it was feared that the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad would go bankrupt; therefore A.C. Goodyear bought stock in the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad and a merger took place. Goodyear also served as a director of numerous other corporations, including the Gaylord Container Corporation and Paramount Pictures.

Art Collecting

During the 1920's Goodyear became increasingly more interested in the world of art, and in collecting in particular. He made several trips to Europe to visit galleries and artists and to acquire paintings and sculpture. In 1928 he moved to New York City, where he established the Museum of Modern Art, which he directed as President during its crucial early years until 1939, when it moved into its famous modern home on West 53rd Street. Around 1939 his reputation as the foremost patron of the modern style was enhanced further when he commissioned Edward A. Stone to build him a house on a hilltop at Old Westbury, Long Island, which was the epitome of modern design (and, for a while, the object of contempt among his wealthy traditional neighbors).

World War II

When World War II broke out, Goodyear once again answered the call to arms. In 1940 he received a commission as Colonel in the New York National Guard and was assigned to organize and command the 17th Regiment. In 1943 he was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1944 and 1945 he served as a representative of the American Red Cross in the Pacific Theater (an experience which Goodyear describes in his memoir One Wide Expanse). After that assignment Goodyear was promoted to Major General in command of the New York Guard's 1st Division. In January of 1947, Secretary of War Patterson requested his services to tour occupied Germany and evaluate the morale of American troops there. Goodyear's military activities continued even past his formal retirement when he served on the board of trustees of Norwich University, a military academy in Northfield, Vermont, throughout the 1950's.

Goodyear's first marriage ended in divorce. Children from that marriage were sons George F. and Stephen G. Goodyear, and a daughter, Mrs. Theodore Kenefick. In 1950 Goodyear was married to Zaidee Bliss.

Many of A. Conger Goodyear's writings were privately printed for distribution to friends and family members. Most of them can be found either in this collection or in the BECHS library; they include the following titles: The Museum of Modern Art, the First Ten Years (1943); John George Milburn Jr.: A Memoir (1938); [Goodyear] Family History, By a Descendant (194-?); One Wide Expanse (1946); The Loq of the Yakima (1903?); and Sidelights (1960). The Spring 1961 issue of Niagara Frontier also features a sketch of his mother.

A. Conger Goodyear died on April 23, 1964.

Notes prepared by Peter Nelson.

Scope and Content Note

Papers documenting family and personal history, military service in both World Wars, and Goodyear's business and cultural interests as vice- president of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad, vice-president of the Great Southern Lumber Company, a director, 1911, of the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, and a founder and president, 1929-1939, of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Includes annual reports of various railroad companies and other businesses; correspondence, unpublished articles, memoirs, speeches, diaries, scrapbooks and photo albums, and materials concerning Mr. and Mrs. Grover Cleveland, including articles, notes and letters. Correspondents include William J. Donovan, Ham Andrews, James W. Wadsworth and Herbert Hoover.

Container List

Box-folder Contents
1.1 A.G. Conger: N.Y. State Legislative manual, 1863
1.2 Survey maps of Central New York by Stephen Thorn (ancestor of George Goodyear's great grandmother), undated
1.3 Miscellaneous correspondence of C.W. Goodyear and A.C. Goodyear, 1860-1940

Includes letters of Frances F. Cleveland Folsom

1.4 Charles Goodyear - diary, 1865
1.5 E.P. Goodyear (mother of Charles W. Goodyear) - diaries, 1885 , 1888, 1890, 1892, 1897
2.1 Report of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad Company, 1895
2.2 Letters to/from/regarding Anson Conger Goodyear at Yale College, 1896-1899; The Horoscope, May 1898
2.3 Funeral service for William McKinley, Buffalo: program, 15 September 1901
2.4 Elisha Walker, Concerning Iron Making, With Special Reference to the Buffalo and Susquehanna Iron Company, 1903
2.5 Commemorative booklet on the visit of the King and Queen of the Belgians to Buffalo, 6 October 1919
2.6 Railway and Locomotive Historical Society: Bulletin 49, May 1939; Buffalo and Susquehanna Railway and Allied Interests 1904
2.7 Frank H. Goodyear - memorial scrapbook, 1907
2.8 Charles W. Goodyear - memorial scrapbook, 1911
2.9 Ellen Conger Goodyear: The Journey of Jesus, 1928
Book; inscribed 1935
2.10 Correspondence concerning publication of Goodyear family history, 1939-1961
2.11 Ellen Conger Goodyear: ALS from Mrs. H.C. Albro, undated
Box-folder Contents
2.12 Miscellaneous writings and speeches of Anson Conger Goodyear, circa 1918-1945
3.1-3.3 Life (autobiography, with photographs)
3.4 Travel
3.5 Log of the Yakima, January 10th to March 1st, 1903 undated
3.6 Borrowed Time, 1947-1952
3.7 Silver Tip Ranch, 1922-1947, 1946-1952
Published booklet with correspondence
4.1 Sidelights, [1960]
4.2 Correspondence and photos related to Sidelights, 1960
4.3 Miscellaneous writings, undated
4.4 Unpublished articles, papers and speeches, circa 1924-1944
4.5-4.6 Far East travel diary, 1948
Box Contents
5 Veterans of the Vulcania, March-April 1951
Bound Volume

Travel diary

Box-folder Contents
5.1 Mediterranean travel diary, 1953
5.2-5.3 Italian travel diary, 1953
5.4 Common Place Book, undated
5.5 Common Place Book (2), undated
Box Contents
6 John George Milburn, Jr.: A Memoir, 1938
Bound volume, privately printed

Includes correspondence regarding J.G. Milburn & Memoir, 1935-1938

III.    Correspondence, 1912-1962

Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Box-folder Contents
6.1 Index to Arts and Letters (fragment); letters related to National Theater project, 1936-1943
6.2 Andrews, W.G. (Ham): correspondence, 1930-1949
6.3 A
6.4 B
7.1 C
7.2 D
7.3 E
7.4 F
7.5 G
7.6 H
7.7 I
7.8 J
7.9 K, L
8.1 M
8.2 N
8.3 P, Q
8.4 R
8.5 S
8.6 T
8.7 U, V
8.8 W
8.9 X, Y, Z
Box-folder Contents
9.1 First Training Regiment, Plattsburgh, New York., 1915

Includes roster and views

9.2 First Training Regiment, Plattsburgh, New York

Includes correspondence with Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and William Donovan regarding organizing cavalry regiment in World War I, 1916-1917

9.3 Records and official documents related to Anson Conger Goodyear's military career, 1917-1920
9.4 Military commissions, certificates and discharges, 1915-1919, 1952
Box Contents
9 History of the 307th Field Artillery, 1917-1919
Bound Volume, privately printed, undated
9 War Records of the Knickerbocker Club, 1914-1918 ()
Bound Volume

Privately printed for the Knickerbocker Club, New York, 1922

Box-folder Contents
10.1-10.2 Letters of Anson Conger Goodyear to M[ary] F[orman] G[oodyear], 1919
10.3 Correspondence with James W. Wadsworth Jr. and others concerning presidential nomination of General Leonard Wood, 1919-1920, 1928
Box Contents
10 Ernst Hesterberg, Alle Mache den A.- und S.- Raeten: KamDf um Schlesien. Breslau: Wilh. Gottl. Korn, 1932
Bound Volume
Box-folder Contents
10.4 Translation and correspondence concerning Ernst Hesterberg's World War I memoirs, 1934-1935
10.5 Herbert Hoover letters, 1919-1921

Includes transcripts, originals, and correspondence related to publication of Anson Conger Goodyear's Tramping for Hoover, 1959

10.6 Clippings, rosters and other materials related to military career, 1918-1956

Includes Paris edition of New York Herald, 12 November 1918

10.7 17th Regiment, New York National Guard: book commemorating dinner in honor of Colonel Anson Conger Goodyear, 18 June 1941
11.1 Correspondence and photos related to travels as Red Cross liaison officer in Pacific theater, 1944-1945
11.2 71st Regiment, NY National Guard: souvenir news bulletin, 18 May 1946
11.3 Report to the Secretary of War (trip to Germany to study morale of U.S. occupying troops), 28 April 1947
Box Contents
11 One Wide Expanse
Bound Volume

Includes correspondence, clippings, maps, etc., 1944-1946

Box Contents
12 New Orleans Great Northern Railroad Company: Annual Reports, 1906-1924
Bound Volume
12 Great Southern Lumber Company: Annual Reports, 1907-1923
Bound Volume
Box-folder Contents
12.1 Great Southern Lumber Company: Annual Reports, 1924-1929
12.2 Great Southern Lumber Company: Annual Reports, 1930-1938
Box Contents
13 Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad Company: Annual Reports, 1928-1939
Bound Volume
13 Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad Company, 1940-1946
Bound Volume

Includes Annual Reports

13 Paramount Pictures Inc., 1936-1946
Bound Volume

Includes Annual Reports,

13 Gulf Pacific Lines and Redwood Lines, Inc., 1 October 1930
Bound Volume

Includes Appraisal Report

14 Bogalusa Paper Company, Inc. and Robert Gaylord, Inc., 27 May 1937
[Bound Volume]

Includes report

14 Gaylord Container Corporation, 1937-1946; includes Annual Reports
Bound Volume
14 Gaylord Container Corporation, 1942 includes Annual reports regarding sale of 6,000,000 Fifteen-Year 3 ½% Sinking Fund Debenture Bonds,
Bound Volume
14 Eighth Annual Report of Swayne & Hoyt, Ltd. and Gulf Pacific Main Line, Ltd. (for the fiscal year ended ) 31 December 1938
Bound Volume
Box-folder Contents
14.1 Reports, publications and other materials related to Anson Conger Goodyear business interests, 1922-1954
Box-folder Contents
15.1-15.3 Souvenirs of dinner in honor of Anson Conger Goodyear in "appreciation for all that [he] has done for American art in this city during the past ten years," New York City, 13 June 1939
15.4 Correspondence concerning opening of Museum of Modern Art, 1939
Box Contents
15 Museum of Modern Art - The First Ten Years 1943
Boxed Volume

Part 1: A.C. Goodyear, The Museum of Modern Art The First Ten Years (book, privately printed, 1943)
Part 2: Correspondence, 1943

Box-folder Contents
16.1 Art publications with articles by Anson Conger Goodyear, 1930-1944
16.2 Art publications with articles by Anson Conger Goodyear, 1949-1958 and undated
16.3 Catalogs of artworks collected by Anson Conger Goodyear, 1923-1954 undated
16.4 Auction catalog: Highly Important Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Drawings, Sotheby & Co., 25 November 1959
16.5 Catalog: Gifts to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery From A. Conger Goodyear, 1962-1963 1962-1963
16.6 Miscellaneous booklets and catalogs, 1925-1964
16.7 University of Buffalo, Niagara Frontier Convocation: souvenir booklet, 1951
Box Contents
16 Adolph Zukor, The Public Is Never Wrong: The Autobiography of Adolph Zukor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1953) 1953
Boxed Volume
17 Inventory: Gifts to the Museum of Modern Art
Bound Volume
17 Inventory: Gifts to the Albright Art Gallery
Bound Volume
17 Inventory: Works of Art Formerly Owned
Bound Volume
17 Inventory: Works Owned by Anson Conger Goodyear, February 1961
Bound Volume
Box-folder Contents
18.1 Yale Alumni Weekly, 9 April and 7 May 1926

Include articles about manuscript collection of Anson Conger Goodyear

18.2 Clippings and memorandum concerning sale of Anson Conger Goodyear autograph collection, 1927
Box Contents
18 Auction catalog: American and English Autograph Collection of A.C. Goodyear, Anderson Galleries, Feb 1-2, 1927
Bound Volume
Box-folder Contents
18.3 Yale University Library Gazette, January 1949

Includes article about donation of Yale letters from collection of Anson Conger Goodyear

Box Contents
18 Norwich University War Whoop (yearbook), 1953
Bound Volume
Box-folder Contents
18.4 Budget report, 1963-1964
18.5 Chronology (concerning E.N. Harmon and Norwich), 1950-1959
18.6 E.N. Harmon correspondence, 1950-1951
18.7 E.N. Harmon correspondence, 1952-1953
19.1 E.N. Harmon correspondence, 1954
19.2 E.N. Harmon correspondence, 1955-1956
19.3 E.N. Harmon correspondence, 1957
19.4 E.N. Harmon correspondence, 1959-1960
19.5 E.N. Harmon correspondence, 1961
19.6 E.N. Harmon correspondence, 1962-1963
Box-folder Contents
20.1 Norwich University - honorary LL.D, 1952
20.2 University of Buffalo - Chancellor's Medal, 1955
Box Contents
20 Adelphi College - Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, 1958
Bound volume
20 Crown Zellerbach Corporation - Resolution appointing ANSON CONGER GOODYEAR Director Emeritus, [1962?]
Bound volume
Box-folder Contents
20.3 Other degrees and honors, 1952-1961
Box-folder Contents
20.4 Correspondence and clippings concerning donation of papers to Buffalo History Museum, 1963-1964

Includes obituary, 24 April 1964

20.5 George F. Goodyear, “ The Red Heap ”(description of a 1952 trip to the western U.S.)
20.6 Miscellaneous financial records, 1953-1961
20.7 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1897-1944
20.8 Clipping of Nichols School football team photo, 1893
20.9 Printing plate of Nichols School football team photo, 1893
Box-folder Contents
20.10 Published articles about Cleveland, 1909-1940, undated
20.11 Notes, undated
20.12 Index of newspaper references to Cleveland, 1881-1887
20.13 Photos, 1891-1892

Includes photos of Allen house, Black Rock

20.14 Inaugural ball and reception commemorative placard, 4 March 1883
XII.    Albums and Scrapbooks, 1883-1963

Unless specified in parentheses, the contents of individual albums and scrapbooks are diverse, generally reflecting the entire range of Goodyear's activities during the span of dates indicated for each volume.

Box Volume Contents
20 1 Goodyear family records, 1684-1910
20 2 Goodyear family records (mostly concerning Anson Conger Goodyear), 1852-1930
20 3 Charles W. Goodyear letters, 1884-1909

Most from President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland; also includes invitations and souvenirs

21 4 Photo album (Plattsburgh, 1915; Europe, 1917-1918)
21 5 Photo album (France, coal mission, Upper Silesia), 1918
21 6 Scrapbook, 1918-1939

"all prepared under the direction of my mother"

21 7 Scrapbook, 1920-1943
21 8 Scrapbook, 1920-1951
21 9 Scrapbook, 1935-1954
21 10 Scrapbook (military - 17th Reg. NYG), 1940-1948
21 11 Scrapbook (Museum of Modern Art; early photos of house at 30 Wheatley Rd., Old Westbury; New York Guard letters), 1939-1946
22 12 Photo album (trip to Pacific as Red Cross liaison), 1944-1945
22 13 Photo album (trip to Pacific as Red Cross liaison), 1944-1945
23 14 Scrapbook, 1944-1950
23 15 Photo album (Germany), 1947
23 16 Scrapbook, 1950-1955
24 17 Scrapbook, 1955-1960
24 18 Scrapbook, 1957-1963
24 19 Scrapbook, 1961

Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Library's online catalog.


Andrews, W.G. (Walter Gresham), 1889-1949
Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad Company
Buffalo History Museum
Cleveland, Frances Folsom, 1864-1947
Donovan, William J. (William Joseph), 1883-1959
Gaylord Container Corporation
Goodyear, Ella, 1853-1940
Great Southern Lumber Company
Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad Company
Harmon, Ernest Nason, 1894-1979
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964
New Orleans Great Northern Railroad Company
Norwich University
Roosevelt, Theodore, 1887-1944
Wadsworth, James Wolcott, 1877-1952

Subject Terms

Albright Art Gallery (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Art--Collectors and collecting--New York (State)
Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908
Conger, A.G. (Anson Griffith), 1812-1880
Cornell, Katharine, 1893-1974
Goodyear family
Goodyear, Charles W. (Charles Waterhouse), 1846-1911
Goodyear, Frank H. (Frank Henry), 1849-1907
Milburn, George (John George), 1880-1932
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
New York (State). National Guard. Regiment, 17th
New York (State). National Guard. Regiment, 71st
Wood, Leonard, 1860-1927
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1939-1945

Genre Terms