Harlow Curtice

Harlow Herbert Curtice (August 15, 1893 – November 3, 1962) was an American auto industry executive who led General Motors (GM) from 1953 to 1958. As GM's chief, Curtice was selected as Man of the Year for 1955 by TIME magazine.

Curtice was born in Petrieville, Michigan. He joined General Motors at age 20, and rose through its AC Spark Plug division to head it by age 36, and made the division profitable during the Depression. Selected to head the Buick division of GM, he expanded its line and made it profitable in the 1930s.

In 1948, Curtice became executive vice president of GM, and succeeded to the presidency in 1953 when GM president Charles Wilson became Secretary of Defense. With Curtice as president, GM became immensely profitable, and became the first corporation to have $1 billion in profits in one year.

In 1958, Curtice retired just after his 65th birthday. The following year, he accidentally shot and killed a friend while duck hunting. He died in 1962 at age 69.

Harlow Curtice
Harlow Curtice

Early life

Curtice was born in Petrieville, Michigan, on August 15, 1893, the son of Marion Curtice and the former Mary Ellen Eckhart, and was raised in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, attending Eaton Rapids High School. During school vacations, he kept the books for his father, a commission merchant, and also worked in a woolen mill. He graduated from the Ferris Business College in 1914. After moving to Flint, Michigan later in 1914, Curtice began his meteoric rise at GM. He started as a bookkeeper for GM's AC Spark Plug Division. The 20-year-old, in his job interview by the company comptroller, told him that his ambition was to become comptroller himself within a year. He did so, becoming AC Spark Plug's comptroller at just 21.[1] Curtice went beyond the ledger, exploring the plant to find out what the figures meant in terms of men and equipment.[2]

After a brief period of service as an Army enlisted man, Curtice resumed his career at AC Spark Plug, becoming assistant general manager in 1923 and president in 1929. While other product lines struggled with or were destroyed by the Depression, Curtice's AC Spark Plug Division expanded and prospered.[1]


GM's Buick division was having great difficulties during the Depression (according to Curtice, production was at only 17% of 1926 levels). Curtice was put in charge, and quickly made a new organization for Buick, and marketed a new car.[1] He also created a small network of dealers that would be exclusively Buick dealers.[1] Curtice guided Buick through the war years and by the time he was elevated to a GM vice presidency, he had made Buick the fourth best-selling car line.[2]

Mr. Harlow H. Curtice, General Manager. Buick Motor Division
Curtice as the head of the Buick Division.

During World War II, Buick produced aircraft engines with such efficiency that the Army considered making Curtice a General, but he declined.[1] In 1946, GM President Charles Wilson offered him the position of executive vice president—to be Wilson's right-hand man—but Curtice declined, stating that he wished to see Buicks rolling again off the assembly line before he left the division. In 1948, Wilson offered the position again to Curtice; this time he accepted.[1]

Curtice had greater power as executive vice president than any prior holder of that position. He was in charge of all staff matters. In 1953, Wilson left after President Dwight Eisenhower appointed him Secretary of Defense. GM's board of directors appointed Curtice to take Wilson's place.[1]


Curtice kept GM's tradition of letting division heads be effectively autonomous. However, with GM's Allison Division (aircraft motors) lagging in 1953, he stepped in personally to help run the division and find money for a massive investment for a new line of engines that again made the division competitive with Pratt & Whitney. In 1955, Eastern Airlines' Eddie Rickenbacker placed a large order for the new engines.[2] In his first two years as president, Curtice traveled abroad twice, spending millions each time with on-the-spot decisions.[1]

The early months of Curtice's rule at GM saw fears of a recession. In February 1954, with the economy still lagging, Curtice announced that GM would spend $1 billion (approximately $12 billion today) in expanding its plants and facilities in anticipation of the boom to come. This set off a spree of capital spending by other corporations, which helped ensure the recovery of the economy.[1] Ford matched the billion with a billion of its own, while Chrysler announced plans to spend $500 million.[2] Meanwhile, Curtice, a poker player, upped the ante by announcing plans to spend a second billion.[2] Curtice saw that the economy would recover, and was prepared for it. In 1955, GM sold five million vehicles and became the first corporation to earn a billion dollars in a year.[1] Curtice was given Time magazine's "Man of the Year" recognition for 1955 because "in a job that required it, he has assumed the responsibility of leadership for American business. In his words 'General Motors must always lead.'"[2] During his presidency, he was only at his home in Flint, Michigan at the weekends; he remained at GM headquarters during the week.[1]

In 1956, he announced plans to devote another billion to capital investment, the largest such sum ever invested by a single firm in a single year.[1] At the peak of his earning ability, he made $800,000 per year (over $9 million today).[1]

He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1971.

Later life

Upon reaching age 65, Curtice retired on August 31, 1958. He remained a director of GM.[1] In 1959, he accidentally shot and killed retired GM vice president, Harry W. Anderson, while on a duck hunting trip to Canada.[1] Curtice resided in Flint throughout his career. He died at his home in Flint in 1962, aged 69, of an apparent heart attack. He was survived by his wife, three daughters, and a brother.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Harlow H. Curtice is dead at 69". The New York Times. 4 November 1962. Retrieved 2009-10-06. (fee for article)
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Person of the Year 1955: Harlow Curtice". Time. 2 January 1955. Retrieved 2009-10-06.

Further reading

  • Dunham, Terry; Gustin, Lawrence (2005). Buick: A Complete History. Automobile Quarterly Publications. ISBN 0-9711468-3-7.
  • Freeland, Robert F. (2000). The Struggle for Control of the Modern Corporation : Organizational Change at General Motors, 1924-1970. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63034-7.
  • Halberstam, David (1994). The Fifties. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-449-90933-6.
  • May, George S. (1989). Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography: The Automobile Industry, 1920-1980. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2083-3.

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
Charles Erwin Wilson
CEO General Motors
Succeeded by
Frederic G. Donner
Preceded by
Charles Erwin Wilson
President General Motors
Succeeded by
John F. Gordon
1955 in Michigan

Events from the year 1955 in Michigan

The Associated Press (AP) and United Press (UP) each selected Michigan's top news stories of 1955 as follows:

The modified guaranteed annual wage (GAW) agreements between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the major American automobile manufacturers. The historic agreements provided a modified GAW obligation on the part of the auto makers to pay workers supplementary payments on top of unemployment benefits for 26 weeks in the event of a layoff. (AP-1, UP-1)

The unsolved sex slayings of Barbara Gaca (age 7, body discovered near Pontiac, March 31), Jeannie Singleton (age 8, body found north of Kalamazoo, June 1), and Peter Gorham (age 12, body found north of Muskegon, August 14). (AP-3, UP-2)

The announcement at a press conference in Ann Arbor on April 12 that the Salk polio vaccine had been approved as safe and effective. (AP-2, UP-4)

Record production totals in the automobile industry. The industry produced a record 7,942,893 passengers cars in 1955, an increase of more than a million cars over 1954 production levels. Truck production was 1,247,799. The breakdown among manufacturers was 4,649,279 for General Motors (1,830,037 for Chevrolet), 2,614,599 for Ford Motor, and 1,457,453 million for Chrysler. In addition, the payroll of the Big Three auto makers (General Motors, Ford Motor, and Chrysler) exceeded five billion dollars paid to 982,183 salaried and hourly workers. (AP-6 [tie], UP-5)

The April 4 election in which Democrats for the first team dominated state offices. (AP-4, UP-10)

A 46-day newspaper strike that ran from December 1, 1955, until January 17, 1956, that halted publication of The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, and Detroit Times. (AP-11 [tie], UP-7 [tie])

The Michigan Legislature's adoption in November 1955 of a 65-mile per hour daytime speed limit. (UP-3)

The legislative deadlock over funding for hospital beds for child mental patients. The deadlock was broken on December 14 when the Michigan Legislature passed legislation providing for 1,450 additional beds to be available within four months and 2,500 more beds in a new hospital to be built in southeastern Michigan. (AP-5)

A squabble between Cadillac and Kalkaska over the site for a jet base in northern Michigan. (UP-6)

The 1955 Michigan State Spartans football team winning a bid to the Rose Bowl. (AP-6 [tie])

The Michigan Legislature's adoption of a highway program. (UP-7)

Record heat and water shortages in many Michigan communities during the summer. (AP-8)

Ford Motor Co.'s decision to list its stock for public sale. (AP-9)

Construction of the Mackinac Bridge. By October 1955, 600 skilled men were working on the bridge, which was half completed with the gigantic main towers and concrete cable anchorages in place. (UP-9)In polling conducted by the UP of newspaper sports editors and radio sports directors, Michigan's top sports stories were selected as follows:

After a losing season in 1954, the 1955 Michigan State Spartans football team bounced back with a 9-1 record and was ranked No. 2 in the final AP and UP polls.

Al Kaline at age 20 became the youngest batting champion in major league history with a .340 batting average.

The Detroit Lions collapse from first place in 1954 to last place in 1955.

The hockey riot in Montreal on March 17, resulting in the forfeiture of a game to the Detroit Red Wings.

The collapse of the 1955 Michigan Wolverines football team, ranked No. 1 in the country in late October and then losing two of their last three games, including a 17-0 loss to Ohio State.

1962 in Michigan

Events from the year 1962 in Michigan.

The Associated Press selected the top news stories of 1962 in Michigan as follows:

George Romney's successful campaign to become Governor of Michigan (AP-1);

The end of the Michigan Constitutional Convention (AP-2);

The January 30 tragedy in which the Wallenda family, performing a high wire pyramid in front of 7,000 spectators at the Shrine Circus at Detroit's State Fair Coliseum, sustained two deaths and three other injuries when their human pyramid collapsed (AP-3);

Record profits and sales in the automobile business (AP-4);

Completion of the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge connecting the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (AP-5);

The defeat of proposed tax reform in the Michigan Legislature (AP-6);

An order by the Michigan Supreme Court directing reapportionment (AP-7)

The sinking of the freighter Montrose in the Detroit River after colliding with a barge (AP-8);

The dedication of Michigan's first atomic reactor at the Big Rock Point Nuclear Power Plant (AP-9); and

John F. Kennedy leading a Democratic onslaught of Cabinet members and party leaders in September (AP-10).The year's sports highlights in Michigan included the Detroit Lions compiling an 11–3 record with the Fearsome Foursome defensive front, the Michigan Wolverines baseball team's victory in the 1962 College World Series, the 1961–62 Michigan Tech Huskies men's ice hockey team winning the national championship, and Gordie Howe scoring his 500th goal for the Detroit Red Wings.

The year's highlights in Michigan music included a week of sold out performances by the Metropolitan Opera at the Detroit Masonic Temple and the development of Motown with hits such as Do You Love Me by The Contours, You've Really Got a Hold on Me by The Miracles, Playboy by The Marvelettes, and Two Lovers by Mary Wells.

Buick Roadmaster

The Buick Roadmaster is an automobile that was built by Buick from 1936 to 1958, and again from 1991 to 1996. Roadmasters produced between 1936 and 1958 were built on Buick's longest non-limousine wheelbase and shared their basic structure with entry-level Cadillac and, after 1940, senior Oldsmobiles. Between 1946 and 1957 the Roadmaster served as Buick's flagship.

When it was resurrected for the 1991 through 1996 model years, it became the marque's largest vehicle. The Roadmaster sedan, a C-body vehicle over its eight previous generations, shared the B-body for the first time in its history. It was a full 10 in (254 mm) longer with a 5 in (127 mm) greater wheelbase than the C-body Buick Park Avenue. It was also larger both in wheelbase (2 in (51 mm)) and overall length (6 in (152 mm)) than the K-body Cadillac DeVille.

Buick Super

The Buick Super is a full-sized automobile produced from the 1940 through the 1958 model years (excluding WW II). It was built on Buick's larger body shared with the Roadmaster and was replaced by the Riviera in 1964.

Super returned as a performance trim level on V8-powered LaCrosse and Lucerne sedans from 2008 until 2011.

Charles Erwin Wilson

Charles Erwin Wilson (July 18, 1890 – September 26, 1961) was an American engineer and businessman who served as United States Secretary of Defense from 1953 to 1957 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Known as "Engine Charlie", he was previously the president and chief executive officer of General Motors. In the wake of the Korean War, he cut the defense budget significantly.


Curtice is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Harlow Curtice (1893–1962), American auto industry executive

Jack Curtice (1907–1982), American football coach and college athletics administrator

John Curtice (born 1953), British political scientist

Frederic G. Donner

Frederic Garrett Donner (October 4, 1902 – February 28, 1987) was chairman and CEO of the General Motors Corporation from September 1, 1958, to October 31, 1967.He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in economics, worked briefly for a Chicago accounting firm, and then joined General Motors's New York staff as an accountant in 1926, and worked there for 32 years.He became Assistant Treasurer in 1934 and in 1941, at 38, he became one of the youngest GM executives ever to reach a vice-presidency. In 1956 he was named executive vice president for finance. He served as an officer of General Motors from 1941 until 1958, when he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.Donner presided over a major reorganization of GM’s Board of Directors to include more representation from outside the corporation. During his tenure GM achieved record sales and profits.

He was at the helm when GM expanded its product line with 12 new passenger cars, including the Nova, Chevelle, Firebird, Century, Riviera, Camaro, Pontiac LeMans, Cutlass, and Eldorado.

Donner was the author of The worldwide industrial enterprise; its challenge and promise.Donner was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1994.

Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi (; Arabic: جمال أحمد خاشقجي‎ jamāl ʾaḥmad ḵāšuqjī, Hejazi pronunciation: [d͡ʒaˈmaːl xaːˈʃoɡʒi]; 13 October 1958 – 2 October 2018) was a Saudi Arabian dissident, author, columnist for The Washington Post, and a general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel who was assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 by agents of the Saudi government. He also served as editor for the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al Watan, turning it into a platform for Saudi Arabian progressives.Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia in September 2017 and went into self-imposed exile. He said that the Saudi Arabian government had "banned him from Twitter", and he later wrote newspaper articles critical of the Saudi government. Khashoggi had been sharply critical of Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, and the country's king, Salman of Saudi Arabia. He also opposed the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.On 2 October 2018, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents related to his planned marriage, but was never seen leaving. Amid news reports claiming that he had been killed and dismembered inside, an inspection of the consulate, by Saudi Arabian and Turkish officials, took place on 15 October. Initially the Saudi Arabian government denied the death, but following shifting explanations for Khashoggi's death, Saudi Arabia's attorney general eventually stated that the murder was premeditated. By 16 November 2018, the CIA had concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's assassination.On 11 December 2018, Jamal Khashoggi was named Time Magazine's person of the year for his work in journalism along with other journalists who faced political persecution for their work. Time Magazine referred to Khashoggi as a "Guardian of the Truth".

John Foster Dulles

John Foster Dulles (; February 25, 1888 – May 24, 1959) was an American diplomat. A Republican, he served as United States Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world.

Born in Washington, D.C., Dulles joined the New York City law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell after graduating from George Washington University Law School. His grandfather, John W. Foster, and his uncle, Robert Lansing, both served as United States Secretary of State, while his brother, Allen Dulles, served as the Director of Central Intelligence from 1953 to 1961. John Foster Dulles served on the War Industries Board during World War I and he was a U.S. legal counsel at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. He became a member of the League of Free Nations Association, which supported American membership in the League of Nations. Dulles also helped design the Dawes Plan, which sought to stabilize Europe by reducing German war reparations.

Dulles served as the chief foreign policy adviser to Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican presidential nominee in 1944 and 1948. He also helped draft the preamble to the United Nations Charter and served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. In 1949, Dewey appointed Dulles to fill the Senate vacancy caused by the resignation of Sen. Robert F. Wagner. He served for four months but left office after being defeated in a special election by Herbert H. Lehman.

After Eisenhower won the 1952 presidential election, he chose Dulles as Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, Dulles concentrated on building and strengthening Cold War alliances, most prominently the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He was the architect of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, an anti-Communist defensive alliance between the United States and several nations in and near Southeast Asia. He also helped instigate the 1953 Iranian coup d'état and the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état. He favored a strategy of massive retaliation in response to Soviet aggression. He advocated support of the French in their war against the Viet Minh in Indochina but rejected the Geneva Accords that France and the communists agreed to, and instead supported South Vietnam after the Geneva Conference in 1954. Suffering from colon cancer, Dulles resigned from office in 1959 and died later that year.

John Sirica

John Joseph Sirica (March 19, 1904 – August 14, 1992) was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, where he became famous for his role in the trials stemming from the Watergate scandal. He rose to national prominence when he ordered President Richard Nixon to turn over his recordings of White House conversations. Sirica's involvement in the case began when he presided over the trial of the Watergate burglars. He did not believe the claim that they had acted alone, and through the use of provisional sentencing, strongly encouraged them to give information about higher-ups before final sentencing. One defendant, James W. McCord Jr., wrote a letter describing a broader scheme of involvement by people in the Nixon administration. For his role in uncovering the truth about Watergate, Sirica was named Time magazine's Man of the Year in January 1974.

List of covers of Time magazine (1950s)

This is a list of people appearing on the cover of Time magazine in the 1950s. Time was first published in 1923. As Time became established as one of the United States' leading newsmagazines, an appearance on the cover of Time became an indicator of a person's notability, fame or notoriety. Such features were accompanied by articles about the person.

For other decades, see Lists of people on the cover of Time magazine.

List of people from Michigan

This is a list of notable people from the U.S. state of Michigan. People from Michigan are sometimes referred to as Michiganders, Michiganians, or, more rarely, Michiganites. This list includes people who were born, have lived, or worked in Michigan.

Time Person of the Year

Person of the Year (called Man of the Year or Woman of the Year until 1999) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine Time that features and profiles a person, a group, an idea, or an object that "for better or for worse... has done the most to influence the events of the year".

Train of Tomorrow

The Train of Tomorrow was an American demonstrator train built as a collaboration between General Motors (GM) and Pullman-Standard between 1945 and 1947. It was the first new train to consist entirely of dome cars, which were the brainchild of GM vice president and Electro-Motive Division (EMD) general manager Cyrus Osborn, who conceived the idea while riding in either an F-unit or a caboose in the Rocky Mountains in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. After GM built a 45-foot (14 m) scale model of the train for $101,772 and displayed it to 350 officials from 55 different Class I railroads in 1945, the Train of Tomorrow was built by Pullman-Standard between October 1946 and May 1947.

The train consisted of four cars: a chair car (Star Dust), a dining car (Sky View), a sleeping car (Dream Cloud), and a lounge-observation car (Moon Glow), all featuring "Astra-Domes". It was pulled by a largely stock EMD E7A. Its dining car, Sky View, was the first dome diner to be built and the first diner of any kind with an all-electric kitchen. The train was constructed with low-alloy, high-tensile steel and Thermopane glass for its domes and windows. Although GM never publicly stated the total price of the Train of Tomorrow, contemporary sources estimated it at between $1 million and $1.5 million.

After being christened at a dedication ceremony in Chicago on May 28, 1947, the Train of Tomorrow embarked on a barnstorming tour of the United States and Canada that lasted for 28 months, covered 65,000 miles (105,000 km), and visited 181 cities and towns. During its tour, the train was ridden or toured by over 5.7 million people, and was seen by an estimated 20 million people. After its tour was completed on October 30, 1949, the train was sold to the Union Pacific for $500,000, and its four cars were put into service between Portland and Seattle on June 18, 1950. The cars were retired from service between 1961 and 1965, and all but one were eventually scrapped. Moon Glow sat in a scrap yard for almost two decades before being discovered by the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS), who purchased and transported it to the Ogden Union Station Museum, where it is undergoing restoration.

Yasser Arafat

Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (; Arabic: محمد ياسر عبد الرحمن عبد الرؤوف عرفات القدوة الحسيني‎‎; 4 / 24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat (Arabic: ياسر عرفات‎ , Yāsir `Arafāt) or by his kunya Abu Ammar (Arabic: أبو عمار‎ , 'Abū `Ammār), was a Palestinian political leader. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from 1969 to 2004 and President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from 1994 to 2004. Ideologically an Arab nationalist, he was a founding member of the Fatah political party, which he led from 1959 until 2004.

Arafat was born to Palestinian parents in Cairo, Egypt, where he spent most of his youth and studied at the University of King Fuad I. While a student, he embraced Arab nationalist and anti-Zionist ideas. Opposed to the 1948 creation of the State of Israel, he fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Returning to Cairo, he served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students from 1952 to 1956. In the latter part of the 1950s he co-founded Fatah, a paramilitary organisation seeking the disestablishment of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state. Fatah operated within several Arab countries, from where it launched attacks on Israeli targets. In the latter part of the 1960s Arafat's profile grew; in 1967 he joined the PLO and in 1969 was elected chair of the Palestinian National Council (PNC). Fatah's growing presence in Jordan resulted in military clashes with King Hussein's Jordanian government and in the early 1970s it relocated to Lebanon. There, Fatah assisted the Lebanese National Movement during the Lebanese Civil War and continued its attacks on Israel, resulting in it becoming a major target of Israel's 1978 and 1982 invasions.

From 1983 to 1993, Arafat based himself in Tunisia, and began to shift his approach from open conflict with the Israelis to negotiation. In 1988, he acknowledged Israel's right to exist and sought a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In 1994 he returned to Palestine, settling in Gaza City and promoting self-governance for the Palestinian territories. He engaged in a series of negotiations with the Israeli government to end the conflict between it and the PLO. These included the Madrid Conference of 1991, the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2000 Camp David Summit. In 1994 Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, for the negotiations at Oslo. At the time, Fatah's support among the Palestinians declined with the growth of Hamas and other militant rivals. In late 2004, after effectively being confined within his Ramallah compound for over two years by the Israeli army, Arafat fell into a coma and died. While the cause of Arafat's death has remained the subject of speculation, investigations by Russian and French teams determined no foul play was involved.Arafat remains a controversial figure. The majority of the Palestinian people view him as a heroic freedom fighter and martyr who symbolized the national aspirations of his people. Conversely, most Israelis came to regard him as an unrepentant terrorist, while Palestinian rivals, including Islamists and several PLO leftists, often denounced him for being corrupt or too submissive in his concessions to the Israeli government.


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