The Man Who Loved Government: Digitizing the Papers of Luther Halsey Gulick III, a Pioneer of Public Administration and Scientific Management

Material Description

The papers to be digitized, drawn from five archival series, document the extraordinary career of a social scientist who revolutionized government worldwide. A military statistician for President Woodrow Wilson and protégé of historian Charles Beard at the groundbreaking New York Bureau of Municipal Research (BMR) and its Training School for Public Service, along with classmate Robert Moses, Gulick became the leading theoretician of public administration through the New Deal, World War II, and postwar modernization, as revealed by personal correspondence and manuscripts. With early backers like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller Jr., and Mrs. E.H. Harriman, the BMR innovated ways of making government more honest, accountable, professional, and effective, introducing audits and budgets through civic exhibits that enlightened an eager citizenry. Gulick, an immigrant son of missionaries in Imperial Meiji Japan, was soon running the Bureau and, for much of the 20th century, its successor, the hugely influential Institute of Public Administration which innovated scientific management and investigated government operations worldwide, from the Shah's Iran to Nasser's Egypt, struggling Calcutta, and embattled Vietnam. At home, Gulick was drafted by FDR to help centralize the dysfunctional executive branch, as well as mobilize war production, refugee relief, and peacetime redeployment. Some of the most important records concern Gulick's missions to vanquished Germany and Japan, accompanying President Truman to the Potsdam conference with Churchill and Stalin, and cataloguing the evidence against Nazi leaders at Nuremberg. After the war, he led the modernization of New York City's government, serving as the first City Administrator and becoming celebrated for separating the functions of management from policy. When the IPA closed in 2003, Baruch was deeded its papers, including 217 boxes of Gulick's once-secret wartime reports, speech drafts, diaries, expense accounts, itineraries -- even laundry lists. We have selected a comprehensive portion for digitization.


The Baruch College Newman Library Archives seeks to spend 24 months digitizing much of the long-overlooked papers of Luther Halsey Gulick III (1892-1993), called the leading reformer of the 20th Century. From the groundbreaking Bureau of Municipal Research and Institute of Public Administration, Gulick put his managerial genius at the service of good government, overthrowing political bosses, reorganizing Franklin Roosevelt's White House, mobilizing production for WWII, securing the peace, and modernizing the nation's municipalities. The hundreds of boxes of his manuscripts, speeches, reports, photographs, maps, charts, and ephemera constitute the unique archive of a visionary who believed in the power of government to do good and pioneered the science and art of implementing policy -- a vital message today. It significantly complements collections at Presidential libraries and other leading repositories, and will make historically critical material easily accessible for the first time to our School of Public Affairs and scholars.


Digitizing Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded


Year Added



Research Foundation of CUNY on behalf of Baruch College


  • Ms. Jessica Wagner (Baruch College, City University of NY)

Date Range

1892 - 1892

Geographic Scope

For much of the 20th century, Gulick's Bureau of Municipal Research and Institute of Public Administration investigated government operations in New York and hundreds of other municipalities in virtually every state in the nation, and many countries around the globe, including trouble spots like Egypt, Syria, Iran, Taiwan and Vietnam.


  • 130 Manuscripts