Skip to main content

Luther Halsey Gulick III Papers

Identifier: GUL

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the activities of Luther H. Gulick, an expert in public administration, as a consultant, member, and director of various agencies in the national and local government, as well as in the private sector.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within Bulk, 1920-1980
  • Creation: 1906-1990


Language of Materials


Language of Materials

Material is predominantly in English with some in German, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, French, Arabic, and Russian.


Luther Halsey Gulick III was born in Osaka, Japan on January 17, 1892 into a prominent American missionary family. The second of four children, Gulick spent his early youth in Japan and Europe, moving to the United States in 1906 for schooling. Admitted to Oberlin College in 1910, he studied politics and government, receiving his bachelors in June of 1914. At Oberlin he met and later married his classmate Helen McKelvey Swift, daughter of a Congregational minister. Initially wanting to become a missionary, he continued his studies at Oberlin, receiving an MA in philosophy in 1915. Influenced by Charles Beard, a prominent political scientist and professor, Gulick decided to pursue a governmental rather than a missionary career. In 1915 he moved to New York City, enrolling in the study of public law at Columbia University. On the advice of Charles Beard, he entered the Training School of Public Service, endowed by Mrs. E.H. Harriman and managed by the New York Bureau of Municipal Research, where he studied until 1917, staying on as an employee on a part-time basis afterwards.

When the United States entered World War I, Gulick joined the General Staff of the U.S. Army Statistical Branch in 1918 as an assistant chief of the Organization and Information Section. In 1919 Charles Beard became the director of the Bureau of Municipal Research, inviting Luther Gulick to take up the vacant position of the director of Training School of Public Service, which Gulick accepted. He occupied that position for two years, receiving his PH.D from Columbia in 1920. When the Bureau of Municipal Research was reorganized into the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), Charles Beard resigned his position, leaving Gulick to become the first director of the new organization. Gulick remained director when NIPA was reorganized in 1931 into the Institute of Public Administration (IPA). As part of the reorganization, IPA entered into an affiliation agreement with Columbia University and Gulick was appointed the Eaton Professor of Municipal Science and Administration. As head of NIPA and later IPA, Gulick conducted survey and research projects in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, South Dakota, Delaware, and Maine, among other states, that dealt with municipal reorganization and reform. In the 1930s he helped found the American Society of Public Administration and the Public Administration Clearing House. An expert in the field of public administration, he was much sought out as a consultant for projects that included the Commission on Inquiry of Public Personnel, the Rockefeller Liquor Study Commission, and the New York Board of Regent's Inquiry. In 1936 he was asked by President Roosevelt to take part in the Presidential Committee on Administrative Management (PCAM), together with Louis Brownlow and Charles Merriam, which led to the creation of the executive office of the President. The background of this project resulted in the Gulick manuscript "Notes on the Theory of Organization," where he first introduced the concept of POSTCORB (Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting, Budgeting), functions with broader application to the field of administration.

During World War II Gulick was based in Washington DC, assisting the Federal Government in the war effort as a consultant. In that capacity he worked for the National Resources Planning Board, the War Department, War Production Board, and the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations, where he aided in the organization of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). In 1945 he was a part of the U.S. delegation sent to the Potsdam Conference and later accompanied the United States Reparation Mission to Europe and Asia.

Returning to New York, Gulick continued as head of IPA until 1950 when he was asked by New York City Mayor O'Dwyer to head the Mayor's Committee on Management Survey, a large-scale government improvement study. Upon its completion, he was appointed as the first City Administrator of New York by Mayor Wagner in 1954 where he served until 1956. Afterwards Gulick briefly returned as director of IPA, retiring from that position in 1961,when he was appointed chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Throughout the late 1950s into the 1970s, Gulick was involved in international and metropolitan projects, traveling to Iran to implement a national development plan; Egypt, to advise its government on drafting a new constitution for the United Arab Republic; and to India where he worked to implement new water supply policies for the metro region of Calcutta.

In the United States he continued to write, lecture, attend conferences and symposiums; serve on commissions and committees, and engage in fundraising. In 1969 his wife, Helen Gulick, passed away and he married Carol Moffet, a widow and long-time friend of the family, in 1970. In the 1980s Luther Gulick increasingly wound down his activities, traveling less but continuing to come to his office at IPA. In 1982 he retired from the board of the Institute of Public Administration. Luther Gulick died on January 10, 1993 in a retirement home near Greensboro, Vermont.


130.0 Linear feet


Luther Halsey Gulick III (1892-1993) was a prominent social scientist, director of the Institute of Public Administration; consultant to many national, state, and local public and private organizations; and adviser to President Roosevelt and Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. The collection documents Gulick's century-long activities and includes his writings and lectures, reports and notes from his projects, awards and personal and public correspondence.


The collection is arranged into six series: I. Personal; II. Articles and Speeches; III. General; IV Project/Working Papers, V. World War II; VI. Library. Three of the series have been further subdivided into subseries. The contents of each series are arranged alphabetically, except series six, which does not have an arrangement.


Collection donated as part of the Institute of Public Administration records to Baruch College in 2009.

Repository Information

Baruch College Archives, William and Anita Newman Library. 151 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010. (646) 312-1623.

Related Archival Materials

See Institute of Public Administration records at

Finding aid prepared by Aleksandr Gelfand, Ralph Blumenthal, and Jessica Wagner.
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Processing of this collection was funded by a generous grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Repository Details

Part of the Baruch College Archives, William and Anita Newman Library Repository

Digital Initiatives Librarian, Baruch College
1 Bernard Baruch Way
New York NY 10010 USA