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Records, 1929-1982.

Author: Directors of Industrial Research (U.S.)
Edition/Format:   Archival material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The records of the Directors of Industrial Research are an important collection primarily for its documentation of the development of industrial research. These records provide ample opportunity for the study of a powerful elite of corporate researchers, and a close-up view of certain aspects of the relationship between science and big business in the twentieth century.
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Named Person: Charles L Reese; Robert Mearns Yerkes
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Directors of Industrial Research (U.S.)
OCLC Number: 122370814
Description: 3.3 linear ft.

Abstract:

The records of the Directors of Industrial Research are an important collection primarily for its documentation of the development of industrial research. These records provide ample opportunity for the study of a powerful elite of corporate researchers, and a close-up view of certain aspects of the relationship between science and big business in the twentieth century.

The minutes span the entire history of the organization and seem to be present for all of the meetings with the exception of a very few of the early ones. The minutes are standard in format, noting the names of members, attending guests, and guest speakers, the subject of the guest speaker's talk, the dates of the preceding and succeeding meetings, and membership changes. Occasionally a yearly report and membership roster from the Analytical Group is included.

The general correspondence covers the lifetime of the organization. In the earliest years of the D.I.R., all subject correspondence was included in the general correspondence, and secretaries frequently saved copies of both letters received and those sent in reply. The separation of correspondence into general and subject-related correspondence was a gradual process beginning in the early 1940s and completed in the mid- and late-1970s. As this separation occurred, both copies of letters were saved less frequently, and the "general correspondence" heading came to be a repository of odds and ends that fit nowhere else.

While subject headings were consistently used to divide correspondence from the early 1960s onward, the divisions do not seem to have been especially strict. Items belonging under one heading occasionally appear in another. Subject headings in use in 1982, the most recent year for which Hagley possesses the records, were: a) membership lists; b) meeting attendance lists; c) duties of the Chairman and Secretary; d) D.I.R. Analytical Group; e) questionnaires; f) annual outing ; and g) menus.

Clear identification by the Secretary of material relating to the Analytical Group is sporadic. Some of the material may be elsewhere, as the annual reports and membership rosters appear occasionally in the D.I.R. minutes, but most is probably lost. The Analytical Group never kept official records like the D.I.R. did. The years for which material relating to the Analytical Group is separated and identified as such are 1947-52, 1953-57, 1970-71, and 1978. This material includes some correspondence, some information on the Group's origins and history, and some membership lists and other information on membership.

The questionnaires were constructed by D.I.R. members, and distributed among them exclusively. They were to be employed by the members in evaluating the efficacy of, and comparing notes on, their respective facilities. The questionnaires were concerned with job classifications and qualifications, wages, budget allocations, and the use of patents, among other subjects. Some summaries of members' replies, broken down by company, as well as correspondence containing individual replies, are included. These questionnaires cover the years 1929-46. A complete run of these records is present in the collection. Annual reports, which were primarily budget summaries, exist for most years. Present for every year are bills and receipts for the expenses incurred for the monthly lunches and honorariums for guest speakers. A collection of bank statements, deposit slips, and cancelled checks for the years 1978-80 has also been preserved.

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