Norval Hawkins: Ford Accountant and Salesman Extraordinaire

Academic Article


  • This article investigates the life and career of Norval Hawkins (1867–1936), a successful accountant at Ford Motor Company and author of salesmanship books, but also a convicted embezzler at Standard Oil in 1894. With phenomenal growth at Ford after the1908 introduction of Model T in 1908, the administration of accounting and sales remained under the capable James Couzens. Hawkins was hired to assist Couzens in 1907, but little has been written on his multiple contributions including a cost accounting system, branch accounting, and a unique dealership system. Hawkins also created a popular house publication, the Ford Times , to influence salespeople, customers, and dealers. Ultimately, his style and success irritated company founder Henry Ford, and he was abruptly ousted. Using archival material from The Henry Ford, Hawkins’ years at Ford from 1907-1919 describe the talents of an accountant who overcame public scandal to achieve notable success in the automotive industry.
  • Authors

  • Lazdowski, Yvette
  • Persson, Martin E
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)