A Guide to the W. Graham Claytor Papers, 1912-1964 Claytor, W. Graham Papers Ms1981-095

A Guide to the W. Graham Claytor Papers, 1912-1964

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1981-095


Special Collections, Virginia Tech

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2013 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
W. Graham Claytor Papers, 1912-1964
Physical Characteristics
3.0 cu. ft. 6 boxes
Claytor, W. Graham
Business and personal papers of W. Graham Claytor, a 1906 graduate of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Tech) and an executive overseeing the operations of a number of American Gas and Electric Company subsidiaries during the 20th century. Includes correspondence, reports, and printed materials relating to personal financial matters, business operations, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and ham radio.

Contents List

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the W. Graham Claytor Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: W. Graham Clayton Papers, Ms1981-095, Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The W. Graham Claytor Papers were donated to Special Collections in 1981.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the W. Graham Clayton Papers commenced in February, 2013 and was completed in March, 2013.

Biographical Note

William Graham Claytor, son of Graham and Marion Bell Claytor, was born in Bedford, Virginia on December 20, 1886. More familiarly known by his middle name, Graham Claytor matriculated at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (later Virginia Tech) as an electrical engineering student in 1902. Following his father's death, Claytor left school in his junior year to work as a student engineer in General Electric's Lynn, Massachusetts testing plant. In 1907, Claytor accepted a position with the Roanoke Railway and Electric Company as a salesman; in 1908, he was appointed an electrical engineer. That same year, Claytor married Gertrude Harris Boatwright, a Virginia poet. The couple would have three sons.

Through successive promotions, Claytor had become general superintendent of Roanoke Railway and Electric and the Lynchburg Traction and Light Company by 1914. His career on temporary hold while serving as a captain in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps from 1918 to 1919, Claytor afterward resumed his previous position and in 1923, was named chief engineer for American Electric Power Company of Philadelphia. In 1926, Claytor became the company's general manager. The following year, the company was purchased by American Gas and Electric Company of New York. Claytor was transferred to New York City and appointed vice president and director of a number of the company's subsidiaries, including Appalachian Electric Power Company, Kentucky and West Virginia Power Company, West Virginia Power Company, Radford Limestone Corporation, and Franklin Real Estate Company. As vice president of Appalachian Power, Claytor directed construction of the Appalachian Power Company's dam on the New River in Pulaski County, Virginia. Completed in 1939, the dam created Claytor Lake, named in his honor. Claytor retired in 1954, but returned to serve as executive vice president of American Electric Power from 1960. After retiring from American Electric again in 1962, he continued to serve as president of Richardson-Wayland Electric Corporation (Roanoke, Virginia).

Claytor remained an ardent supporter of his alma mater and in the 1950s served on the board of directors of both the VPI Alumni Association and the VPI Educational Foundation. Chief among Claytor's other interests was ham radio, a hobby he pursued for more than 25 years. Following his 1962 retirement, Claytor resided in the cottage he had built on Claytor Lake. Graham Claytor died in Roanoke February 28, 1971, and was buried in Evergreen Burial Park, Roanoke, Virginia.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the business and personal papers of Graham Claytor, a 1906 graduate of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (later Virginia Polytechnic Institute) and an executive overseeing the operations of a number of American Gas and Electric Company subsidiaries during the 20th century. Included are such materials as correspondence, printed materials, financial statements, reports, and photographs.

A large portion of the collection consists of materials relating to routine personal financial matters, including stock holdings, insurance, bank accounts, and philanthropy. The collection also includes correspondence with politicians, business associates, company employees, and personal friends, with discussions of business and personal matters often overlapping within a single letter. Also regarding Claytor's affiliation with American Gas and Electric are files specifically relating to company operations, speeches made by Claytor, and promotional printed materials.

The single most predominant subject in the collection is Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The materials document Claytor's contacts with other alumni and his membership in the Virginia Tech Alumni Association - New York Chapter. The focus of the files, however, is on Claytor's service on the boards of directors of the VPI Alumni Fund and the VPI Educational Foundation (later, Virginia Tech Foundation). Of particular interest, perhaps, are materials relating to the establishment of the foundation and fundraising efforts for Virginia Tech's War Memorial Chapel and Memorial Court.

The collection also contains several files relating to Claytor's interest in ham radio. Included are correspondence with other ham radio operators, printed materials from dealers and manufacturers, and technical specifications.


The collection essentially retains Claytor's original, alphabetical filing system, though a few items have been moved for the sake of consistency, and a few files previously labeled "miscellaneous" and housed at the end have been interfiled with the remainder of the collection. The arrangement retains a quirk in that some materials are filed by subject matter, while others are filed by correspondent name, apparently depending on which Claytor thought was the more significant at the time. Correspondence relating to a single subject may therefore be spread among the file entries for a number of individuals.

Index Terms

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

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Contents List

Box-folder 1-1
Box-folder 1-2
[2 folders]
Box-folder 1-3
Box-folder 1-4
Box-folder 1-5
Box-folder 1-6
Box-folder 1-7
Box-folder 1-8
Claytor A-L
Box-folder 1-9
Claytor M-Z
Box-folder 1-10
Box-folder 2-1
Box-folder 2-2
Box-folder 2-3
Box-folder 2-4
Box-folder 2-5
Box-folder 2-6
Box-folder 2-7
Box-folder 2-8
[2 folders]
Box-folder 2-9
[2 folders]
Box-folder 2-10
Box-folder 3-1
Box-folder 3-2
Box-folder 3-3
Box-folder 3-4
Box-folder 3-5
Box-folder 3-6
Box-folder 3-7
Box-folder 3-8
Box-folder 3-9
Box-folder 3-10
Box-folder 3-11-4-1
[4 folders]
Box-folder 4-2
Box-folder 4-3
Box-folder 4-4
Box-folder 4-5
Box-folder 4-6
Box-folder 4-7
Box-folder 4-8
[2 folders]
Box-folder 5-1
[2 folders]
Box-folder 5-2
Box-folder 5-3
[2 folders]
Box-folder 5-4
Box-folder 5-5
Box-folder 5-6
Va-Virginia O
Box-folder 5-7
Virginia Polytechnic Institute - alumni, 1936-1963, n.d.
[5 folders]
Box-folder 6-1
Virginia Polytechnic Institute Educational Foundation, 1948-1954, n.d.
[4 folders]
Box-folder 6-2
Virginia Polytechnic Institute - general, 1938-1959, n.d.
[2 folders]
Box-folder 6-3
Virginia Q-Vz
Box-folder 6-4
Box-folder 6-5
Box-folder 6-6
Box-folder 6-7