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Warren O. Goodwin papers

Identifier: 00157

Scope and Contents

This collection is divided into three main series: Personal, Business, and Publications.

The Personal series is arranged into subgroupings: Confidentially U.S.A., The Muckraker, Correspondence, Corruption, Court Cases, and Clippings. These are followed by folders dealing with diverse subjects. The Muckraker and Confidentially U.S.A. were Goodwin's attempt to publish his saga of corruption in the federal government. The clippings were to be included in his monographs. Goodwin's attempts at publishing failed.

The Business series of the collection is subdivided into Conditions, Correspondence, Organizations, Court Cases, Taxes, Employee Labor Records, and Problems. The latter, divided by the year of writing, consists of correspondence pertaining to Goodwin's woes.

Publications are largely divided into Michigan and U.S. government. Two monographs of potential interest are the "Lumberman's Directory" for 1893 and a 1964 report by Norman Higgins, of Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service, titled "Sawmill Study in the Southern Half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan."


  • Creation: 1893 - 1974

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Warren Otto Goodwin (1891-1980) was born in Steuben County, Indiana. Goodwin was a partner in his father's sawmill company until his father died tragically in an automobile accident in 1937. The accident resulted in Warren's rise to the position of owner of the sawmill. It also apparently raised his life-long interest in automobile safety.

The Warren O. Goodwin papers is not solely concerned with traffic safety. Rather, the collection is largely concerned with his allegations of corruption in state and national politics during the 1940s and 1950s. Goodwin's problems began with the general economic decline in lumbering during the 1930s and 1940s. He tried to sell his business in 1942, and failed, so he initiated a partnership with one of his employees, Robert Curlew. Problems with this arrangement led Goodwin to return from California.

During the early 1950s he began having trouble with the Workmen's Compensation Commission. This was due to an interpretation in the law which stated that firms regularly employing less than four employees did not have to register with the Commission provided individual insurance was carried on the employees.

Later in the 1950s, Goodwin began to have trouble with the I.R.S. It was during this time that many I.R.S. agents were dismissed for embezzlement. Goodwin was one of the victims and sought redress through his legislators in Washington, D.C. Failing in this, he contacted the F.B.I. He obtained no satisfaction from this organization, made allegations of corruption, and wrote to Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson.

Goodwin also had trouble collecting social security from the Social Security Administration. This caused him to include this organization in his continuing battle for "justice".


4.33 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Arranged into three series: 1. Personal 2. Business 3. Publications.

Custodial History

Gift of Warren O. Goodwin.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Warren O. Goodwin Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
W. Adams
May 1984
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US