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Arch GA 12

Callan, John G., 1875-1940. John G. Callan Papers, 1873-1940: 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 12
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Title: John G. Callan papers
Date(s): 1873-1940
Quantity: 5 linear feet (12 boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Research, writing, teaching, correspondence, and outside consultant work of Harvard Business School professor John G. Callan.

Processing Information:

Processed: August 1994
By: Carole Foster

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.edu for more information.

Access Restrictions:

Access may be restricted. Details at the repository. An appointment is necessary to consult collection.

Use Restrictions:

Photocopying restrictions may apply. Consult reference staff for details.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: John G. Callan Papers. HBS Archives. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School.

Biographical Note:

John Gurney Callan was born in Northfield, Connecticut, in 1875. He attended public schools in Waltham, Salem and Lynn, Massachusetts and graduated from MIT in 1896 as an electrical engineer. He began his professional career working for the Edison Illuminating Company (1896-1897), and he then joined General Electric in Lynn, Massachusetts (1897) where he was in charge of the Lynn steam turbines. In 1909, he went to Arthur D. Little as a mechanical and electrical engineer. While there, he helped organize the Research Department of General Motors.
Easing his way into the academic world, Callan began by lecturing on steam turbines at Columbia and Stevens Institute of Technology during his years at Arthur D. Little. In 1915, Callan was appointed Professor of Steam and Gas Engineering at the University of Wisconsin. During 1917-1919, he headed a three-man committee that studied diesel engines in England and Scotland for the Shipping Board. Professor Callan became the first faculty member appointed to the Harvard Business School by Dean Wallace Brett Donham (1919), and Callan's position as lecturer in Industrial Management was changed to Professor of Industrial Management in 1920.
While at Harvard Business School, Callan consulted for paper and pulp manufacturers, patent attorneys and other industries. He continued to seek patents for a variety of inventions including erasable bond paper. During 1933-1934, Professor Callan was the Chairman of the Cotton Textile Standards Industrial Board which investigated National Recovery Act (NRA) code violations in this industry.
Callan married the former Martha Townes Litchfield from Lynn, and they had three daughters and two sons. Professor Callan died December 31, 1940.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Scope and Content Note:

The papers of John G. Callan cover both his academic career at HBS, as well as outside consulting work done during his HBS tenure. The bulk of these materials date from the 1920s and 1930s.
The papers of Professor Callan contain correspondence, schematics, blueprints, patent records, postcards, reports, contracts, advertisements, notebooks, memoranda, photographs, sketches, brochures, book reviews, teaching material, expense reports, vouchers, graphs and leases. These records document the organization and development of Industrial Management courses at HBS during the early twentieth century, the seventy-plus patents held by Callan, and Callan's early training as an electrical engineer.
The collection also documents the influences of Callan's experience in industry prior to his 1919 academic appointment and a variety of contemporary economic and social trends on the various directions taken at HBS in factory and industrial management training. These trends can be observed in the emphasis placed on topics such as labor problems, case research, factory programs and the Taylor method, and the types of speakers and field trips offered.
Of particular note in this collection are the files relating to Professor Callan's patent on erasable bond typing paper and the subsequent uses of this paper during the 1930s. Also of interest are the materials relating to his consulting work – especially those relating to his technical expertise.
For information on NRA code violations in the textile industry, consult the records on his chairmanship of the Cotton Textile State Industrial Relations Board (Series V - NRA Material).

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