Scope and Contents
The American businessman John T. Diebold, founder of the Diebold Group, Inc. and author of the management classic Automation, was the owner of an extensive scrapbook collection. Comprising 89 volumes and covering the period before Diebold’s birth (approximately 1880 to 1926) to 1999, Diebold’s carefully constructed scrapbooks document his life and the major events of his business career and personal life.
The scrapbooks contain an assortment of photographs (taken by Diebold himself with his often-referenced “Minox” as well as by professional photographers); newspaper articles relevant to Diebold’s work; conference papers and meeting notes; dinner invitations, seating arrangements and menus; holiday greeting cards; expressions of thanks and sympathy; playbills; postcards; drawings from Diebold’s children; tea and wine labels; and honorary degrees and other awards. Diebold divided his collection into several major themes, the most prominent being “Growth of Group” (1962-1967), “John Diebold Incorporated” (1967-1971), “Time of Transition” (1971-1975), “A New Phase” (1975-1987), “New Directions” (1992-1995) and “The Diebold Institute” (1996-1999).
The scrapbooks are bound in leather and cloth; most are in slipcovers.
Volume 45, on the topic of on "One East End Avenue" and consisting of photographs of Diebold's New York City apartment, documenting refurbishments undertaken in the 1960s-1970s, has not been transferred to the Friends Historical Library and remains with the Diebold family.
1880 - 1999
Majority of material found within 1937 - 1999
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
For 20 years from receipt (2004-2024), prospective researchers must make application to Swarthmore College. Diebold family members will be granted access, but other researchers may be restricted.
After 2024, this collection is available for access without restriction.
Copyright and Rights Information
The donor has assigned all literary property rights to Swarthmore College. Inquire with the Friends Historical Library Curator for permission to publish.
Biographical / Historical
Born June 8, 1926 in Weehawken, New Jersey, John T. Diebold was an American businessman best-known for his pioneering 1952 work Automation. He was the founder of the Diebold Group, Inc. (originally John Diebold & Associates), which advised private companies and several governments on adapting to changes in technology, and was considered the “father of automation.”
After graduating from Weehawken High School, Diebold attended Swarthmore College. Prompted by the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into World War II, Diebold took a leave of absence from Swarthmore from 1944 to 1946 and earned a BS in engineering from the Merchant Marines. Upon returning to Swarthmore, Diebold graduated with a BA in economics with high honors. In 1951, he graduated from Harvard Business School with distinction.
Using connections gained over the course of business school, Diebold researched and wrote Automation during the year following his graduation from Harvard Business School. It was published in 1952 by Van Nostrand. Automation accurately predicted the increasing prominence of technology in business and labor concerns and is still referenced today as a “management classic.” Following the success of Automation, Diebold founded John Diebold & Associates in 1954 to provide consulting services to private companies struggling to integrate new technologies into their business models. Within five years of its founding, Diebold & Associates had expanded across the United States and into Europe. The firm was soon renamed the Diebold Group, Inc.
Diebold continued to manage the Diebold Group, Inc. until its sale in 1991 to Daimler-Benz. During his nearly forty years as Chief Executive Director, he founded several subsidiary companies meant to encourage technological advancement. Among these were the Diebold Research Program, the Diebold Technology Venture Fund, Inc., and Diebold Computer Leasing, Inc. Diebold also served on numerous committees and advisory councils during his tenure as CED, including the President’s Committee of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Peace Corps Advisory Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Council on Germany, the Atlantic Conference and the National Committee on US-China Relations.
John T. Diebold died in 2005.
40 Linear Feet (89 volumes)