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R. Ford Bentley Papers

Identifier: Wing-Modern-MS-Bentley

Scope and Content of the Collection

Personal, family, and professional papers, particularly rich in Miehle promotional materials from the period of 1919 to 1968. This includes photographs and genealogical materials on the Ford family, ancestors of R. Ford Bentley's maternal grandparents; correspondence and clippings concerning his education at Asheville School and Brown University; legal documents, promotional materials, and administrative files relating to the Miehle Printing Press and Manufacturing Company, Miehle-Goss-Dexter, and Rockwell International; materials concerning Bentley's own companies, Graphic Engineering Services, Inc., Bentley and Company, and Ladd, Southworth and Bentley; and promotional materials of Miehle competitors in the printing press industry.


  • Creation: approximately 1830-1990
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1930 - 1970



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The R. Ford Bentley Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The R. Ford Bentley Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of R. Ford Bentley

Chicago advertising and marketing executive, son of Miehle Printing Press & Manufacturing Company CEO Arthur Bentley.

Robert Ford Bentley was born in Chicago in 1909 to Arthur and Cherry Ford Bentley. He attended the Asheville School in North Carolina, and then Brown University where he studied philosophy and was active in the college's dramatic society. Bentley faced a personal crisis when his father sent him to Europe between his sophomore and junior years at Brown. Arthur Bentley intended for R. Ford to learn French and gain business experience, but Ford had other ideas. He wished to pursue a career in the humanities, in writing or teaching. While he was allowed to return to Brown and finish his degrees in English and Economics, he eventually landed in the family business. After working for two years in Washington, D.C. at the National Recovery Administration and the U. S. Treasury, he joined the Miehle Printing Press & Manufacturing Company where his father held executive positions from. R. Ford Bentley ran several of his own businesses, including Bentley and Company, and R. Bentley and Associates, which did research and advertising for firms in the graphic arts industry. Over the years, Bentley was associated off and on with Miehle and remained a major stockholder of the company and its successors Miehle-Goss-Dexter and Rockwell International.

Bentley married Marjorie Drawbaugh in 1936 and had one daughter, Judy. They divorced in the early 1950s. He subsequently married Elizabeth Dyas in 1955 and they remained together until his death in 1994.


2.3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)


Personal, family, and professional papers including photographs and genealogical materials relating to Robert Ford Bentley, Chicago marketing and advertising executive with the Miehle Printing Press and Manufacturing Co. Also includes promotional materials and correspondence pertaining to many of the printing related companies that Ford worked for.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Career
Boxes 1-3
Series 2: Personal
Boxes 4-5
Series 3: Photographs
Box 6

Collection Stack Location

4a 30 5


Gift, Elizabeth Dyas Bentley, 1995.

Processed by

Lisa Janssen, 2010.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the R. Ford Bentley Papers, approximately 1830-1990, bulk 1930-1970
Lisa Janssen
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States