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John A. Conde was an American Motors executive whose interest in antique automobiles led him to build a major collection of literature.

The collection found its way to an automobile literature dealer, and in 2012, Don Hoke happened to visit this dealer shortly after the Conde Collection arrived. Don worked with the dealer to acquire all the steam car literature in the Conde Collection.

Conde was a meticulous collector. He marked each file folder as STEAM or ELECTRIC if the car were so powered. Conde marked each item with its date and source, if available. He even marked photocopies with the owner and date of photocopying. He printed everything in a most readable style.

In cataloguing the Conde Collection and integrating it into the Virtual Steam Car Museum Collections, museum staff was careful to mark each scan with the word CONDE, and kept Conde's file folders in tact.

John Conde passed away on August 8, 2008 at the age of 90. He was interred at the Pine Lake Cemetery, West Bloomfield, MI, having lived much of his life in Bloomfield Hills. The Desmond Funeral Home of Bloomfield Hills provided the following information.[1]

John was a noted automotive historian recognized for his broad interest in the in the development of the automobile industry.

He was the Curator of Transportation at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn and also devoted 32 years as the public relations director at American Motors creating one of the most complete corporate archives in the industry.

From 1951 to 1976 he compiled and edited nine different 'Family Albums', which recorded the graphic story with original factory photographs of the development of American Motors and its many predecessor companies.

John was a founding member and a director of the Society of Automotive Historians, a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of the National Automotive History Collection of the Detroit Public Library and an active member of many of the car hobby clubs in the United States.

His carefully researched articles on auto history have appeared in many automobile magazines, and he has given his popular color slide presentations on automobile subjects to numerous clubs and organizations across the country. His library of original automotive literature and photographs comprises one of the most extensive private collections in existence.

John's first book 'The Cars that Hudson Built' was the culmination of over 25 years of research and planning when he was involved in the negotiations that led to the merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and the Hudson Motor Car Company to form American Motors in 1959.

John was also a member of several car hobby clubs throughout the United States.

John Conde, Packard Meet, Perrysburg, OH, 1990s, Photo by Stuart R. Blonds John Conde, Packard Meet, Perrysburg, OH, 1990s, Photo by Stuart R. Blonds

Stuart R. Blond, a member of the Society of Automotive Historians, kindly provided these two images of John Conde selling Packard literature at a Packard meet in Perrysburg, Ohio sometime in the 1990s.

Toledo Steam Carriage, Life Magazine, December 19, 1901, John A. Conde Collection

John Conde meticulously wrote the date of this Toledo Steam Carriage advertisement that appeared in Life Magazine on the top of the page. Every Virtual Steam Car Museum inage is scanned with a Tiffen Color Control Patch as a 600 dpi .tif file. It is then saved as a 96 dpi .png file for uploading to the web site.

Sample of John A. Conde's file folders, Conde Collection

John Conde often typed notes on the fronts of his file folders. Note the title on the tab, TOLEDO (STEAM). It was Conde's (STEAM) notation that allowed the Museum to acquire all his steam car material and keep it intact.

[1]Desmond Funeral Home. Hemmings Motor News carried a short obituary based on the Desmond Funeral Home information.

Contact us if you have additional information about John Conde, or if you have questions.

Thank you for your financial support.

This web page took two to three hours to scan, research, design, and upload. Thank you for supporting the Virtual Steam Car Museum!