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John M. Olin Collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: WUA-03-wua00173

This collection contains photos from the Western Cartridge Company, a book about Franklin W. Olin, John Olin’s father, and a guest book from Olin’s winter home.  The collection is ordered by material type with the photos first, followed by two bound volumes.


  • 1916-1954


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)


7 items

1 boxes

Biographical or Historical Information

John M. Olin (1892-1982) was a leading industrialist, entrepreneur, conservationist, philanthropist, scientist, and sportsman. Throughout his life, his work, compassion, and generosity touched thousands.

John Olin began his career in 1914, in East Alton, Illinois, with Western Cartridge Company, a family concern that evolved under his leadership into the Olin Corporation, a major manufacturer with interests in brass, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, paper, cellophane, munitions, sporting goods, and home building. He retired as chairman of the board in 1957, after having become an outstanding example of an entrepreneur and industrialist skilled in the ways of American business and certain of the importance of free enterprise.

A chemical engineering graduate of Cornell University, John Olin's career was one of research, study, and discovery. In his lifetime he earned 24 patents for his scientific inventions. He was also a leader in conservation and wildlife preservation, playing a major role in the study of bobwhite quail management, the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon, and a crippling hip disease in the Labrador dog.

As a philanthropist, John Olin set an example that challenges others. His lifetime of generous giving to educational institutions, to charitable and community institutions, and to prominent intellectual centers on public policy provided a stellar example of the best in the uniquely American tradition of philanthropy. In establishing the John M. Olin Foundation, he gave practical expression to his belief that the principles of individual liberty and limited government have given this nation the greatest prosperity, the highest standard of living, and the greatest individual freedom ever known.

He was an influential member of Washington University's Board of Trustees for 40 years, from December 1, 1942, until his death in 1982. He provided vision, he cajoled, he criticized, he encouraged; often he provided the resources for the University's expansion and improvement. Wise and frank counselor to six chancellors, he helped nurture a good university to greatness.

A product of America's heartland, John Olin believed that Washington University should play a major part in the development of the region and the nation. He was a major force in the evolution of Washington University into an international center for education and research.

Method of Acquisition

The material in the collection was donated to the University Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Pabarcus in December 2005.

John M. Olin Collection
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020 October 27: Resource record updated in ArchiveSpace by Sarah Schnuriger.

Collecting Area Details

Part of the University Archives Collecting Area

Sonya Rooney
Olin Library, 1 Brookings Drive
MSC 1061-141-B
St. Louis MO 63130 US
(314) 935-5495