Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Business Files of the Amazon Division, 1943-1945

4 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Series 1: Business Files of the Amazon Division (1943-1945), contains a mixture of correspondence, memoranda and reports. While it reflects an array of topics, the series lacks depth and completeness. For instance, there are many inferences to previous events and letters which are never fully annotated or followed up. However, this does not detract from the over-all interest and concerns of the main office in Manaos.

The branch agencies are located in individual folders except for Guajara Mirim. All the branches are mentioned in the general folder. A common thread found throughout all agencies was a lack of harmony between its members. Evidence of this strife is found in the correspondence in the form of questions dealing with the hierarchy of authority. A simple example is the explicit directions given about authorization for signatures on checks. Another case of internal disruption was the need for a policy to handle rumor control.

While problems arose between employees of the Amazon Division, difficulty was also encountered in dealing with the environment of the Amazon River basin. Due to the terrain, the Division had difficulties with the transportation of people, luggage and rubber products. Concerns included such areas as soil, disease, and weather conditions. In and of itself, production yielded numerous problems such as speed, damaged trees and a limited rubber yield. Managerial problems stemmed from a conflict between American and Brazilian working attitudes. The concept of work was approached by two different cultures and rarely did they mesh. There was even a hint of sabotage from the Indians of the Amazon River although there was a lack of concrete evidence to prove such acts.

Two major events which affected the day-to-day operations of the Rubber Development Corporation were the Bylandt incident and the Brazil Nut purchase. The Bylandt incident was sparked by the rumor mill. Bylandt reported a "grating on the side" job from a rumor he heard third hand and repeated it without going through the proper channels in order to properly report what he heard. The rumor made its way to Washington where Philip Williams heard about it. Williams' correspondence reflects his displeasure over the handling of the problem and the aftermath of Bylandt's actions.

A major amount of detailed correspondence is concentrated on the Brazil Nut Purchase. It was thought that the purchasing of the nuts from Brazil and the selling of them to eager American buyers would increase rubber production. The link between these two events is never fully explained. With a profit in mind, the nuts were bought for one million dollars. However, due to lack of transportation, the nuts never made it to the American buyers, rather they rotted in storage. Instead of a profit, the Division lost eight hundred thousand dollars. Ultimately, the failure of this project did nothing to increase rubber production.


The materials in this series are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Collection History


No information about appraisal is available for this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Michelle Axelrod in May 1992 and Laurie Alexander in August 1992. For preservation purposes, photographs were removed from their original order and housed together in a separate box at this time. Finding aid written by Michelle Axelrod in May 1992 and Laurie Alexander in August 1992.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Series 1: Business Files of the Amazon Division; Rubber Development Corporation, Amazon Division Records, MC117, Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-4