Norval Hawkins: Ford Accountant and Salesman Extraordinaire

Yvette J. Lazdowski, Martin E. Persson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates the life and career of Norval Hawkins (1867–1936), a successful accountant at Ford Motor Company and acclaimed author of salesmanship books. He was, however a convicted felon in a Standard Oil embezzlement scheme. The early years of Ford enjoyed phenomenal growth, especially after introduction of the Model T in 1908. Oversight of accounting and sales remained under James Couzens, from the company’s inception in 1903, but less is known about the role of accountant and salesman Norval Hawkins, whose contributions included cost and branch accounting systems and a unique dealership structure. Beyond his accounting and sales skills, Hawkins created a popular house publication, the Ford Times, to influence salespeople, customers, and dealers. Ultimately, his style and success irritated founder Henry Ford, and Hawkins was abruptly ousted. Primary archival material from The Henry Ford was retrieved to provide information on Hawkins’ years at Ford from 1907 to 1919.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
JournalAccounting Historians Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Ford Motor Company
  • Norval Hawkins
  • The Henry Ford
  • accountant
  • biography
  • embezzlement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • History


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