University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Silvain and Arma Wyler Collection 1901-1989

© 2007 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Wyler, Silvain and Arma. Collection




2.25 linear feet (2 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Silvain and Arma Wyler founded the Wyler Company in Chicago in 1931, first importing bouillon cubes from Europe, then pioneering the development of dehydrated food products. Among their major philanthropic achievements was the Silvain and Arma Wyler Children's Hospital, dedicated at University of Chicago in 1966. This collection contains many photographs of the Wylers, as well as smaller amounts of material documenting their personal interests, social activities and philanthropic work.

Information on Use


Open for research.

No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Wyler, Silvain and Arma. Collection [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Born in Switzerland in 1894, Silvain Wyler was educated in business administration and began his career in textile manufacturing. Through family connections, he met Arma during her visit from Chicago to Zurich. The two returned to Chicago and were married at the Drake Hotel.

Encouraged by Arma Wyler's parents, the couple sought entrepreneurial opportunities in the food processing industry. Silvain and Arma Wyler founded the Wyler Company in 1931, beginning by importing bouillon products from Europe. By the 1940s, the company had begun manufacturing its own products, and soon diversified into other areas of dehydrated food processing. The company merged with Borden in 1961, though the Wylers continued to be involved with the company.

The Wylers were active philanthropists, and among their major projects was the Silvain and Arma Wyler Children's Hospital at University of Chicago. After Silvain Wyler died suddenly in 1963, Arma Wyler carried on with planning for the hospital, which was dedicated in 1966.

Scope Note

This collection documents some of the personal interests, social activities, and philanthropic work of Silvain and Arma Wyler. It includes dozens of photographs of the Wylers, including formal portraits, travel photographs taken aboard cruise ships, and informal snapshots. There are also many unidentified photographs, likely of friends and family members. The Wylers philanthropic support of the Wyler Children's Hospital is represented in news clippings, press releases and ephemera; correspondence documenting the couple's longtime support of the Art Institute of Chicago is also included. A variety of personal material, including two pieces of writing by Arma Wyler and items from Silvain Wyler's memorial service, are also found.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


University of Chicago. Seventy-Fifth Anniversary. Records

Subject Headings


Box 1    Folder 1

Arma Wyler, family biographical writing, n.d.

Box 1    Folder 2

Arma Wyler, "Love Comes to an Actress," carbon of typescript, n.d.

Box 1    Folder 3

Arma Wyler, correspondence, 1944-1963

Box 1    Folder 4

Art Institute of Chicago, correspondence, 1953-1989

Box 1    Folder 5

Dedication of Wyler Children's Hospital, press releases and program, 1966

Box 1    Folder 6

Silvain and Arma Wyler, photographs, ca. 1930s-1960s

Box 1    Folder 7

R.M.S. Queen Mary, R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth, S.S. America, photographs, 1949-ca. 1950s

Box 1    Folder 8

Unidentified photographs, 1901-ca. 1960s

Box 1    Folder 9

Life insurance certificate, brochure and memorial card, 1960s

Box 2   Folder 1

Silvain Wyler, memorial service guest book and photographs of monument, 1963

Box 2   Folder 2

Hilde and Walter, wedding album, 1947

Box 2   Folder 3

Scrapbook fragments and newspapers, 1966-1975