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Arch GA 4.13.1

Arthur, Henry Bradford, 1904-1993. Henry B. Arthur Papers, 1915-1989: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Arch GA 4.13.1
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Title: Henry B. Arthur papers
Date(s): 1915-1989
Quantity: 24 linear feet (49 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English and Spanish.
Abstract: The papers of Henry B. Arthur include correspondence, research, writings, administrative material, and early professional and outside consultant work before and during his tenure as a professor at Harvard Business School.

Processing Information:

Processed: February 2010
By: Benjamin Johnson

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open for research. Materials stored offsite; access requires advance notice. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edufor more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: Henry B. Arthur Papers. HBS Archives. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School.

Related Material:

For additional photographs relating to the United Fruit Company, see the United Fruit Company Photograph Collection, United Fruit Company lantern slides and the United Fruit Company photographs. For additional manuscript material relating to the United Fruit Company, see the Boston Fruit Company Records and the Records of companies acquired by the United Fruit Company.

Biographical Note:

Henry Bradford Arthur was born 1904 in Gloversville, New York. He majored in mathematics at Union College and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1922. He received both his MA (1931) and PhD (1933) in Economics from Harvard University. While working toward his graduate degrees, Arthur taught statistics and general economics at Harvard University (1930-1932). His first professional position was as an economist for the Commission of Government Statistics (1932). He soon joined the staff of the National Recovery Administration (1933) and later, the National Emergency Council (1934-1935), and ended his government service at this time with a position at the WPA (1935-1936). While living in Washington, DC in 1935, Arthur taught statistics at American University.
In 1936, Arthur received a job offer from Chicago packing industry giant Swift & Company, to assist their chief economist George Putnam. When Putnam died in 1939, Arthur was promoted to chief economist and remained with the company until he joined the Harvard Business School faculty in 1960. Throughout his years with Swift & Company, Arthur occasionally took a leave of absence to serve with the U.S. Government in an advisory capacity on food related committees. His growing reputation in the field of agriculture was reflected in his inclusion in the decision making process on wartime food rationing in the 1940s and the Marshall Plan for European food distribution in the 1950s. By the time he was asked to fill an endowed chair at HBS, Arthur had twenty-five years of business and government service behind him and had become an expert in agribusiness and business ethics. As professor, Arthur expanded his influence worldwide and frequently served as a U.S. representative for agricultural and food supply conferences. He became an emeriti in 1971 and continued his research and writing throughout much of the 1980s. He died May 16, 1993.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Scope and Content Note:

The Henry B. Arthur papers cover a period from the late 1910s to the late 1980s with the bulk of the material dating from the 1960s to the 1970s. The collection documents the career of Arthur as a professor at Harvard University and American University and early professional work as an economist for various government agencies. Also documented in the collection are his teaching notes, research trips to Latin America and Europe, articles and speeches, outside consulting work, HBS administrative material, and research activities after joining the HBS faculty as the first George M. Moffett Professor of Agriculture and Business in 1960. Records include extensive work on Latin American agriculture, specifically bananas including his "Banana Study" during the 1950s and 1960s, International agribusiness systems, and economic and statistical studies on commodities such as beef, pork, wheat, and cocoa.

Container List