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Leo-Arthur Kelmenson Chrysler Advertising Materials Archive

Identifier: SC MS 0220

Scope and Contents

The collection includes correspondence, advertising plans, customer surveys, business plans, newspaper and magazine articles, television and print advertisements, and videotapes related to Leo-Arthur Kelmenson, Lee Iacocca, and their involvement with the Chrysler Company. The video collection comes in three formats: 48 VHS, 4 Betamax, and 32 Umatic. Some are professionally produced while others are home recordings. The recordings are all related to the Chrysler Corporation and Lee Iacocca. As of April 2013, the video collection is being digitized for public use.


  • 1979 - 1995


Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact Special Collections 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Leo-Arthur Kelmenson was born in New York City on January 3, 1927 and died on August 30, 2011 in Remsenburg, NY. Kelmenson, a World War II veteran and Columbia University alumnus, began a career in television production in the 1960s. When Lee Iacocca became president of Chrysler Corp. in 1978, Kelmenson decided Kenyon & Eckhardt, the advertising agency of which he was chief executive, would give up an $80 million-a-year contract with Ford Motor Co. to follow Iacocca to Chrysler. Kelmenson is credited with persuading Iacocca to appear in Chrysler advertisements and commercials, which helped save the company from bankruptcy. His advertising career lasted for over 30 years.


2 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



Leo-Arthur Kelmenson is most known for his work as chief executive of Kenyon & Eckhardt Advertising Agency, which became the Chrysler Corporation’s sole advertising agency in 1979. Kelmenson was instrumental in shaping the image of Chrysler and that of its president and CEO, Lee Iacocca. After Kelmenson’s death in 2011, an archive related to his time at Chrysler was donated to Lehigh University. The collection includes advertising materials such as Iacocca image surveys, marketing plans, and product plans. It also includes newspaper articles and speech transcripts relating to important events in Chrysler company history. Additionally, the collection includes videotapes of Chrysler commercials and interviews.


Printed materials are organized in 4 folders according to topics (ex: “Project 2000” information) and by chronology ranging from 1979-1995.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Mrs. Leo-Arthur Kelmenson, October 2011

Related Materials

Lee Iacocca International Internship (Lehigh Collection Vertical File) SC LVF I11 - Iacocca, Lido A. (Lee), (Lehigh Collection Vertical File) SC MS 0213 - Lee a. Iacocca Speeches

Separated Materials

SC MS 0220 1.02: annotated copy of March 1, 1979 press conference statements by LAI, housed with LAI speech collection

Leo-Arthur Kelmenson Chrysler Advertising Materials Archive
Danielle Lehr, MA candidate, Lehigh University Department of History
April 18, 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)