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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 19.1

American Research and Development papers


This collection consists of personal papers and annual reports for American Research and Development as well as other venture capital companies including Canadian Enterprise Development Corporation, European Enterprise Development Company and North Atlantic Capital Corporation.


  • 1946-1991

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.


1.68 linear feet (4 boxes)

This collection documents Georges F. Doriot's involvement with the venture capital company he helped found, American Research and Development (ARD). ARD was one of the first high risk venture capital companies in the United States. The documents in this collection demonstrate Doriot's influence within ARD and his unwavering commitment to research and development as the cornerstone of successful investments.

This collection contains annual reports from various venture capital companies that Doriot was involved with, such as ARD (1946, 1970-1990), Canadian Enterprise Development Corporation (1982), European Enterprise Development Company (1971-1975) and North Atlantic Capital Corporation (circa 1989). Also included in this collection is a binder kept by Doriot that contains various letters, memos, speeches and articles about ARD. Additional materials include information on the French Library in Boston , a book of poems and an address by Doriot and programs from Doriot's memorial service in 1987.


A U.S Army Brigadier General, financier and Harvard Business School Professor of Manufacturing, Georges F. Doriot was born in Paris in 1899. He graduated from the University of Paris in 1920 and enrolled in Harvard Business School in 1921 after searching unsuccessfully for a similar Business program in Europe.

After graduation, Doriot became a professor of Manufacturing at Harvard Business School, a position he held from 1926-1966 with the exception of a short break during which he served in the U.S. Military during World War II. He served as Brigadier General from 1941-1947 before he was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff in 1946, a position he held until 1959.

In addition to Doriot's military service and teaching responsibilities, in 1946, he was appointed president of American Research and Development (ARD), one of the first publicly owned, high-risk venture capital companies.

The Company's founders determined that the company should not begin functioning until they sold 120,000 shares of common stock of which half needed to be bought by institutions rather than individuals. This reflected the founders' belief that research and development by smaller firms was vital to ensuring financial success of ARD. They openly warned their stockholders that they did not expect to show profits for several years and that ARD's mission was to "supply capital during the period of launching and insecure growth."

American Research and Development, led by Doriot, had very personal relationships with the companies they invested in. Doriot often referred to them as his "children," even telling a reporter, "When bankers or brokers tell me I should sell an ailing company, I ask them, "Would you sell a child running a temperature of 104?'" One of these "children" was Digital Equipment Corporation, a company that was valued at over $125 million ten years after ARD invested $70,000. In 1972, the same year as Doriot's retirement, ARD merged with Textron Inc., a move that Doriot grew to regret, saying that "Large corporations kill innovation." In 1985, Textron sold ARD back to its managers, allowing the company to continue to pursue its original mission-- nurturing small, innovative businesses.

Doriot's success with ARD allowed him to establish the European Institute of Business Administration at Fontainebleau which is considered the European equivalent of Harvard Business School. He lived in Beacon Hill for many years with his wife, Edna, who passed away in 1978. The Doriots were active supporters of the French Library in Boston. They had no children. Doriot died in 1987.

Physical Location



Gift of Charles J. Coulter, May 2006

Processing Information

Processed: July 2006

By: Dominique Tremblay

Doriot, Georges F. (Georges Frederic), 1899-1987. American Research and Development Papers, 1946-1991: A Finding Aid
Baker Library, Harvard Business School
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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