About the McCormick-IHC Collection | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

FAQs About the McCormick-IHC Collection

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the McCormick-International Harvester Collection.

What farm implements, tractors, construction equipment, and trucks are in the collection?

The McCormick-IHC Collection includes operators' manuals, parts manuals, service manuals, photographs, advertising literature and original color information for many machines produced by the International Harvester Company between 1902 and 1985. Please consult the following items on this list for more information.

How can I find operators, parts and service manuals?

The collection includes a nearly complete set of operators' manuals for farm machinery, industrial machinery and trucks produced by International Harvester between 1902 and 1952. The selection of parts catalogs and service manuals is much less complete. To find out whether we have a manual, or to order a photocopy, please include the model name or number and approximate date of manufacture with a written request to the McCormick-IHC Archivist. There is a fee for photocopies. If you do not know the model number and year of manufacture, see Serial Numbers, below on this page.

How can I find information on original colors?

The collection includes three main sources of information on the original colors of machinery produced by the International Harvester Company:

  • For machines produced between 1924 and 1957, consult the International Harvester Paint Committee decisions.
  • For machines produced before 1924, we may have a color catalog or advertising image. If you would like to know whether we have a color image for a particular machine, please include the model name or number and approximate date of manufacture with a written request to the McCormick-IHC Archivist. If you do not know the model number and year of manufacture, see Serial Numbers section below.
  • We have reproduced a paint chart showing several International Harvester colors in use as of 1940.

How can I find serial numbers?

The collection includes monthly serial number lists for most tractors and some engines produced by the International Harvester Company. The collection includes annual serial number lists for most trucks produced by the company. The Archives does not have any information on the exact build dates, shipping destinations, or original equipment for specific tractors or engines. The Archives does have this information for most International trucks built between 1957 and 1983. The Archives cannot date farm implements by serial number. For a fee, staff will attempt to identify a farm implement produced by International Harvester using a photograph and part numbers. If interested, please send as many part numbers as you can find, a photograph (if possible) and any other information you have on the machine in a written request to the McCormick-IHC Archivist.

Do you have blueprints and engineering drawings?

The Archives has select engineering drawings for IH tractors built between 1907 and 1939. The Archives does not have engineering or dimensional drawings for trucks, farm machines, refrigerators or later tractors.

Does the collection contain photographs?

The collection includes more than 350,000 black-and-white prints, slides, negatives, color transparencies and other images of farm machinery, tractors, trucks, construction equipment and refrigerators produced by International Harvester between 1902 and 1985. Most of the images are black and white. The collection does include color transparencies of some tractors, implements, trucks and construction equipment produced after 1940, with a significant gap for machines produced between 1954 and 1966. Over 10,000 images from the collection have been scanned and are available through the Visual Materials in Our Collections. You may also search for "International Harvester" and "photographs" in the Archives Online Catalog for more information.

How can I find advertising literature?

The collection includes advertising literature for farm machinery, tractors, trucks, construction equipment, refrigerators and other items produced by International Harvester between 1902 and 1985. The advertising is most complete for machines produced between 1913 and 1957. Search for "International Harvester" and "advertising" in the Archives Online Catalog for more information. Photocopies of advertising literature are available for a fee.

What information is there for McCormick Reaper Centennial Coins?

In 1931 the International Harvester Company produced a series of medals, or coins commemorating the 100th anniversary of the invention of the reaper by Cyrus Hall McCormick. The McCormick Harvesting Machine Company was one of the partners in a merger that formed International Harvester in 1902. The coins have a picture of Cyrus Hall McCormick on one side and a picture of the reaper on the other. The dates on the coin refer to the birth and death of Cyrus McCormick (1809-1884) and the 100th anniversary of the invention of the mechanical reaper (1831-1931).

The "reaper centennial" was a major promotional event for the International Harvester Company. The company hosted a formal centennial ceremony at Walnut Grove Farm, Virginia, in July 1931, and held commemorative luncheons and banquets in 50 U.S. cities. The company also produced exhibits, films, publications and models of the 1831 reaper. In addition, the McCormick family created 100 university scholarships in agriculture.

International Harvester contracted with the Medallic Art Company of New York to produce the commemorative coins. The company produced the coins in batches of 250,000. International Harvester eventually distributed more than a million coins in a few different sizes. The silver-dollar-size coins are the most common. International Harvester also distributed coins in larger sizes and these are more difficult to find. The company distributed the coins as souvenirs through its worldwide network of dealerships. Local dealerships distributed them in several ways. For example, coins may have been thrown from floats in local parades or given to customers who visited show rooms.

The McCormick-IHC Collection includes press clippings, films, photographs, advertising literature, company correspondence, display materials, commemorative coins and models documenting the 1931 centennial celebration. We can provide photocopies of some of this material for a fee. We cannot estimate the monetary value of the coins.

Do you have information on International Harvester refrigerators?

International Harvester began making household refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners in 1947. In 1955 the company sold the household refrigeration line to Whirlpool. We get many letters from people who still have working International Harvester refrigerators and freezers. The McCormick-IHC Collection includes operators' manuals, photographs and advertising literature for these appliances. Unfortunately, we cannot estimate their monetary value.

What is the history of the McCormick family?

The collection includes information on the genealogy of the McCormick family through about 1931. This information is mostly limited to the direct descendants Robert McCormick II, Cyrus Hall McCormick's father. The following is an abbreviated family tree, beginning with Robert McCormick II:

  • Robert McCormick II m. Mary Ann Hall, 1808
    • Robert Hall d. at age 16
    • Susan Jane d. at age 12
    • William Sanderson m. Mary Ann Grigsby, 1848
    • Mary Caroline m. James Shields, 1847
    • Leander James m. Henrietta Hamilton, 1845
    • John Prestly d. at age 28
    • Amanda Joanna m. Hugh Adams, 1845
    • Cyrus Hall(1) m. Nancy Maria (Nettie) Fowler, 1858
      • Cyrus H., Jr.(2) M. Harriet B. Hammond, 1889
        • Cyrus Hall m. Dorothy Linn, 1915
        • ------ m. Florence Davey, 1931
        • Elizabeth d. at age 12
        • Gordon(3)
      • ----- m. Alice Marie Hoit, 1927
      • Mary Virginia
      • Robert d. at age 14 months
      • Anita m. Emmons Blaine, 1889
        • Emmons, Jr. m. Eleanor Gooding, 1917
          • Anne (Nancy) m. Gilbert Harrison, 1951
      • Alice d. at age 8 months
      • Harold Fowler m. Edith Rockefeller, 1895
        • John Rockefeller d. at age 3
        • Harold Fowler(4) m. Anna Stillman, 1931
        • Muriel m. Elisha Dyer Hubbard, 1931
        • Editha d. at age 8 months
        • Mathilda m. Max Oser, 1923
          • Anita
          • Peter Max
      • ------ m. Ganna Walska, 1922
      • ------ m. Adah Wilson, 1938
      • Stanley Robert m. Katherine Dexter, 1904


    1. Commonly signed his name as C.H. McCormick.
    2. Originally named Cyrus Rice, in his youth changed to Cyrus Hall, and for many years thereafter signed his name as Cyrus H. McCormick, Jr.
    3. Never married.
    4. Familiarly known as Fowler.

What information is there for employees of the McCormick and International Harvester companies?

The collection includes some payroll records for the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company before 1902. The collection also includes business correspondence between the McCormick company's Chicago office and its representatives in the field from the 1850s to 1902. These records are on microfilm and may be requested through interlibrary loan. The Archives does not have personnel records for the International Harvester Company. If an employee was on the board of directors, an executive officer, or was prominent in some other way, the Archives may have some information in company magazines, or a biographical sketch. Staff will conduct a limited search for information on these employees for a fee. The direct corporate successor of the International Harvester Company is the International Truck and Engine Corporation.

How can I visit the Archives in person?

The Archives is open to the public, however there are no permanent displays or exhibits related to the McCormick-International Harvester Collection. In other words, this is not a McCormick or International Harvester "museum." The McCormick-International Harvester Collection is one of many thousands of collections housed in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives . The documents, photographs and other items in the collection are available for viewing in the Archives Research Room.

This is how it works. A researcher comes to the Archives Research Room on the fourth floor of the Wisconsin Historical Society headquarters building, fills out a registration form and presents a valid form of picture ID. The researcher then searches the online catalog (ArCat) and views printed inventories for the collections. The researcher uses the inventories to figure out which boxes he or she needs to see. The researcher then fills out a request slip and a staff person retrieves the box or boxes from storage (this usually takes around 15 minutes). The researcher may use photocopy machines in the Research Room to copy most items. There are some items, however, that are too large or too fragile to copy safely. Additional visiting information is available on this website.

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Have Questions?

Contact the McCormick Reference Line by phone at 608-264-6410 or by email below:


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