Skip to main content

Martin Tractor Company records

Call Number: RH MS 864


Martin Tractor Company (MT, MTC, or MTCO) was founded in Ottawa, Kansas in 1911. This collection of their records includes primarily photographs of Martin Tractor personnel, buildings, and Caterpillar tractors, as well as the working business records of William (Bill) W. Martin, one of the leaders of the company. There is also some personal materials from the Martin and Chubb families.


  • Creation: 1860-2007 (bulk 1950s-1990s)


Conditions Governing Access

All materials in this collection except those associated with call numbers RH Misc. 17 and RH Cassette Tape 52 are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) no less than three days in advance of a planned visit. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Martin Tractor Company

Martin Tractor Company (MT, MTC, or MTCO) was founded in Ottawa, Kansas in 1911 by brothers Fred P. and Charles H. Martin. They began selling equipemtn on behalf of Holt Manufacturing in 1920, which merged with Best Company in 1925 to form Capterpillar. The second oldest Caterpillar equipment dealer, the company grew to include several locations throughout Kansas over a century of business, moving its home office to Topeka in 1935.

The company continued to be family-run by Charles Martin, Jr., William Woodrow (Bill) Martin, and Donald D. McRae, son-in-law of Fred Martin. Harry Craig, Jr. eventually became chairman and chief executive officer; he joined the company in 1970 and was the son-in-law of Charles Martin, Jr. His son H.W. Craig held the role of president and chief operating officer.

In 2009 the company was sold to Foley Equipment Company, based in Wichita, KS.


18 Linear Feet (29 boxes + 5 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 864

Physical Location

RH MS 1194

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1194

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1194 (f)

Physical Location

RH MS Q212

Physical Location

RH MS Q331

Physical Location

RH MS R293

Physical Location

RH Cassette Tape 52

Physical Location

RH Misc. 17

Physical Location

Contact Spencer Library Public Services (Library Annex)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Martin Tractor, 2001, 2009; Janet Kent McKinney, 2019.

Guide to the Martin Tractor Collection
Martin Tractor Company records
Finding aid prepared by aw, 2006. Finding aid encoded by aw, 2006. Finding aid revised by rh, 2010; mwh, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in <language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Martin Tractor records, Kansas Collection, RH MS 864, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States