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Institute of Public Administration Collection

Identifier: IPA

Scope and Contents

The IPA records contain materials generated as part of the almost century long activity of the Bureau of Municipal, Administration, National Institute of Public Administration, and the Institute of Public Administration; as well as the records generated by professionals employed by IPA in their capacity as public administration experts.


  • Creation: 1906-2003


Language of Materials


Language of Materials

Material is predominantly in English with some in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, French, Polish, German, Uzbek, Dutch, Kazakh, Turkmen, Czech.

Historical Note

The Institute of Public Administration was founded in 1905-1906 as the Bureau of City Betterment by William H. Allen, Henry Breure and Frederick A. Cleveland (the "ABCs"). Originally a division of the Citizens Union, a political organization dedicated to good government under the leadership of Robert Fulton Cutting, the Bureau of City Betterment received full autonomy and was incorporated as the Bureau of Municipal Research in May of 1907. Organized as a corporation under the laws of the State of New York, the Bureau was governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees comprising ten members and a secretary. The board acted as a policy-determining body, the executive work being delegated to a director who managed all of the Bureau's operations. Henry Breure became the first director of the newly incorporated Bureau whose focus was on good government and a reform of the existing system of municipal administration of New York City.

Led by a group of experts who specialized in education, personnel, budgets and other administrative fields, the Bureau embarked on a series of studies centered on New York City. Information was assembled using questionnaires, interviews, observation, and freely available reference resources. After the data was collected and analyzed, the Bureau documented its findings in comprehensive reports, manuals, or handbooks that were meant to assist rather than critique the organization in question. Important undertakings were highlighted in Bureau's bulletins and periodicals, including "Municipal Research" and "Efficient Citizenship," or in special exhibits held for the general public.

The Bureau's first report,"How Manhattan is Governed," a study of various public aspects of Manhattan, led to the eventual dismissal of the Manhattan borough president, John F. Ahern, for incompetency. In 1908 the Bureau successfully formulated the first known program budget for the Department of Health of Staten Island (then called Richmond), which was adopted by the Board of Estimate as a model for use in all city agencies in 1909. The success of the Bureau led other municipalities and civic groups to establish their own Bureaus based on the New York model. However, lacking experience, they increasingly turned to the original Bureau for assistance and expertise. Members of the New York Bureau were frequently lent out on projects and many quickly obtained high positions in other cities. In 1911 William Allen, one of the founders of the Bureau, decided to create a school program to satisfy the nationwide need for trained men in government service. Mary Harriman, widow of the railroad tycoon Edward Harrimann contributed $40,000 for the creation of the Training School of Public Service. Initially students spent between one and two years at the school; eventually a more rigid two year program was formulated under its director Charles Beard, a prominent public scientist, where the students split their time between theory received in class or lecture setting and the practical portion where they worked alongside a member of the Bureau, on assignments and projects. The Training School became a recruiting ground for future long term employees of the Bureau, including Arthur Buck, Carl E. McCombs, and Luther Gulick, who replaced Charles Beard as director of the Training School when Beard became the director of the Bureau.

In 1921 the Bureau and the Training School of Public Service were reorganized into the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) to emphasize the expansion from a local to a national mission of government reform. Luther Gulick became the first director of the new organization. Undertaking an endowment drive, NIPA was able to raise $1.5 million, which allowed the organization to perform studies throughout the United States dealing with public health, taxation, finance, public accounting, municipal engineering, and general administration. In 1924 the Training School of Public Service was relocated to Syracuse with all its students, becoming the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. The school continued its association with NIPA until 1930 when NIPA's workload became too heavy to spare staff.

In 1931 the National Institute of Public Administration was reorganized one last time into the Institute of Public Administration (IPA), to emphasize an expansion from a national to an international mission scope. Incorporated under an educational charter, IPA was given the power of granting graduate degrees in public administration, although it rarely exercised that right. As part of the reorganization, IPA entered into an affiliation agreement with Columbia University, allowing Columbia to name 4 trustees to sit on the board of IPA. This affiliation ended in 1941.

After World War II inflation depleted the purchasing power of the IPA endowment to such an extent that it was no longer possible to follow the old pattern of a professional staff that worked on extra-mural problems at cost and in the interim did research and writing. This led to greater reliance on consulting and grant work that involved more temporary personnel. IPA also attempted to restart its education program, targeting returning GIs, but only five students were matriculated and it was soon discontinued. One of the students, John Keith, later came back to IPA as an employee.

The focus of IPA in the 1950s increasingly concentrated on growing metropolitan areas and the urban problems of transportation, pollution, and water supply. Luther Gulick left IPA in 1954 and was replaced by Bruce Smith, an expert on police administration, until Gulick's return in 1956.

Gulick retired as head of IPA in 1961 and was replaced by Lyle C. Fitch, former City Administrator of New York, under whose leadership IPA completed its transformation into a consulting firm with an emphasis on international work. As part of this effort, IPA opened a satellite office in Washington DC to provide training and technical assistance for public sector operations in developing counties in Latin America, Africa and Asia. IPA international projects included urban studies, technical assistance instruction, and other research projects supported by the Ford Foundation, USAID, World Bank, and by various host countries. As well as their international activities, IPA continued to take part in domestically based projects.

In 1981 Lyle Fitch retired and was succeeded by Annmarie Walsh, an expert on urban management, who continued to manage a greatly reduced portfolio of international and domestic projects at IPA. Financial pressures led to the closure of the Washington office and a further decrease in personnel. In 1994 David Mammen, an expert on Asia, was elected as president of IPA. In 1998 IPA entered into a 5-year affiliation agreement with NYU where one-third of the board appointments were made by the University. In 2003 when the affiliation agreement was not renewed, IPA decided to terminate its activities, dissolving in 2004.


490.0 Linear feet


The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) was a private, non-profit, educational and consulting organization whose aims were the creation of an efficient, honest and professional government. Founded in 1905-1906 as the Bureau of City Betterment, the organization was incorporated in 1907 as the Bureau of Municipal Research. In 1911 it organized the Training School of Public Service to train individuals for work in government service. In 1921 it was reorganized as the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) and in 1931 as the Institute of Public Administration (IPA). The organization was dissolved in 2004. The collection documents the activities of IPA during its almost century-long existence and includes reports, drafts and publications of surveys and studies; meetings of the board of trustees, promotional brochures, newsletters, and bulletins; and the records of various individuals who worked for IPA.


The collection is arranged into six series: I. Administrative, II. Survey and Project Files, III. Printed Materials and Reports, IV. Management and Staff Files, V. Artifacts, Media and Photographs, VI. Library.


Collection donated 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 Luther Halsey Gulick III papers

Finding aid prepared by Aleksandr Gelfand, Steven Calco, Sandra Roff, Jessica Wagner, Daniel Williams, Anwarul Alam, Hirra Zafar, Ronghui Lin, and Nina Davila.
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