Collections Spotlight: Max M. Fisher Papers

Max M. Fisher and Gerald R. Ford

The Reuther Library is pleased to announce that the Max M. Fisher Papers are now open to researchers. This large collection documents Fisher's life and career as a successful Detroit industrialist and investor, influential Republican Party fundraiser and power broker, Jewish community leader, and major philanthropist. It includes correspondence, documents, speeches, interviews, photographs and other media, and documents from his biographer.

Fisher's business career began with the Aurora Gasoline Company, and included Marathon Oil and several other oil companies, as well as Manufacturer's National Bank, Comerica Inc., Michigan Bell Telephone Co., Owens-Illinois Inc., United Brands Company, Sotheby's Holdings, and the Irvine Company. Fisher served as the leader of most of the major Jewish community organizations in the United States. He chaired the Board of Directors of the Jewish Agency for Israel for many years and was a prime actor in Israel's economic development.

Fisher's expertise on Middle East affairs and Jewish issues made him a key advisor to the Republican Party and to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
His civic engagement with the Detroit area is legendary. Working closely with Henry Ford II and other city leaders, he was founding chair of the board of directors of Detroit Renaissance and a founding member and chair of New Detroit Inc., among other important organizations. His legacy includes the Max M. Fisher Music Center at Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall and the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. During his lifetime, Fisher received a wide range of awards and honors from local, state, national and international organizations, particularly for his extraordinary philanthropy.

In addition to the materials at the Reuther Library, information and photographs from Fisher’s life are available at the website of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.

Aimee Ergas is the Collections Archivist for Jewish Detroit at the Reuther Library.