About the McCormick-International Harvester Collection Collection | Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About the McCormick-International Harvester Collection

About the McCormick-International Harvester Collection Collection | Wisconsin Historical Society

The McCormick-International Harvester Collection contains documents, publications, photographs and films related to Cyrus Hall McCormick and the International Harvester Company. The collection includes more than 12 million pages or items dating from 1753 to 1985. These items document the history of  the agricultural equipment industry, the McCormick family and many other topics in fields as diverse as the history of advertising, technology, labor, business, rural life, philanthropy, architecture, Virginia and Chicago.

How the Wisconsin Historical Collections Are Organized


Over 30,000 original documents and publications about the history of Cyrus Hall McCormick and the International Harvester Company are available online.

Access online documents from the McCormick-International Harvester Collection.

Digitized documents include serial number lists, production reports for tractors, trucks and engines, "The Harvester World" magazine, advertising catalogs, White Farmall Demonstrator Tractor advertising and historical publications created by International Harvester employees. All items are searchable by keyword. Serial number lists, productions reports and lists of International Harvester machines are best accessed through browsing; see more on the McCormick-International Harvester Collection overview page.

The International Harvester Paint Committee and Product Identification Committee Decisions contain information on the original color schemes, decals, and naming of hundreds of agricultural implements and other products manufactured by the company between 1924 and 1964.


The McCormick-IHC Collection encompasses the personal papers of Cyrus H. McCormick, his wife Nettie Fowler McCormick (1835-1923) and their descendants, Cyrus H. McCormick, Jr., Harold F. McCormick, Stanley A. McCormick, Mary Virginia McCormick, Anita McCormick Blaine, and Fowler McCormick; records of the McCormick Estates; records of people and businesses in Virginia; and business records of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and the International Harvester Company.

The collections also include administrative correspondence, financial records, reports, interviews, notes and subject files of the McCormick Biographical Association, the Nettie Fowler McCormick Biographical Association and the Reaper Centennial Celebration.

The McCormick Family Papers contain correspondence, diaries, genealogies, financial and legal records, landscape and architectural plans, medical reports, photographs, scrapbooks, and subject files documenting their personal lives, business, philanthropic and political activities, estates, investments and travel.

Records of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company (1848-1902) include advertising literature, catalogs, correspondence, financial records, legal and patent records, minutes of stockholder and board of directors meetings, payroll records, exhibit catalogs and photographs.

Among other topics, these records trace the development of agricultural mechanization and the evolution of the modern business corporation.

International Harvester Company records (1881-1984) consist primarily of advertising literature; product catalogs; technical publications such as operators' manuals, instruction papers, parts catalogs and service manuals; agricultural bulletins; news releases, public relations files and company magazines; market research studies; financial and legal records of the company's Russian operations (1908-1919); and photographs, posters and films.

The collection also includes some payroll records, product catalogs and instruction papers of three of the companies that merged in 1902 with the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company to form IHC: the Deering Harvester Company, Milwaukee Harvester Company and Plano Harvester Company. IHC records extensively document the history, development and marketing of its tractors, stationary engines, farm implements and industrial equipment.

Collectors of tractors and antique farm equipment can find the visual materials and technical information required to restore and operate many of the products manufactured by International Harvester, however the collection does not include blueprints, daily serial number lists, customer records or "build card" information.

For more a more detailed description of the contents of the McCormick-International Harvester Collection, search under "McCormick Collection" in the Library Catalog, the Society's online catalog for both library and archival resources.

See Also

Checking Out Materials

Although unpublished materials in the Archives do not circulate, they can be viewed in Madison or sent to any of our 13 Area Research Centers around the state.

Rights and Permissions

Any online document may be printed or downloaded at no cost for nonprofit educational use by teachers and students, or for private use by individual researchers. Nothing may be reproduced in any format for commercial purposes without prior permission from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Purchasing Copies

Reproductions of most images in this collection are available for purchase. For more information about licensing commercial uses or purchasing reproductions, click "Buy a Copy" beneath most documents or contact us. Photocopies of documents in the physical collections are available for a fee.

How to Cite

Bibliographic data will appear below each online document. Copy and paste the bibliographic data into your preferred citation manager.

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, we suggest following this model:

McCormick-International Harvester Collection Citation
Wisconsin Historical Society. Title, Year, Source, Electronic Publisher, Electronic Publication Date. Viewed online at //www.wisconsinhistory.org/ on [insert today's date here]

Have Questions?

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