May 15, 2021

Baruch College Launches First Digital Portal to Archives from the Institute of Public Administration

From Baruch College:

Baruch College has launched the first digital portal to historic materials on government reform from the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) at www.baruch.cuny.edu/library/ipa.

At a time of widespread disdain for government and public service, the new online archive, funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, offers fresh insights into model operations of local and national governance in America.

Founded in 1906 as the Bureau of Municipal Research, the IPA with its motto, “An Adventure in Democracy,” represented a revolt against systemic national and local municipal corruption at the dawn of the 20th century, a revolution fostered by titans like Andrew Carnegie, E.H. Harriman, and John D. Rockefeller Jr., and masterminded by a pioneer of public administration, Luther Halsey Gulick III.

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For several years, archivists from the College’s William and Anita Newman Library have been processing and digitizing thousands of pages of city records, files, memorabilia, historic photos, and other documents—most of which have never before been seen by the public.

This new digital library features 175 reports from 1920 to 1959, as the first phase of a longer-term effort to make large portions of the IPA collection accessible online to students and scholars. Highlights of the collection include:

· Rare studies of police practices in crime-troubled cities like Chicago, New Orleans, East St. Louis, Baltimore and New York, and the origins of Uniform Crime Reporting, by the nation’s preeminent expert in policing, Bruce Smith.

· Luther Gulick’s struggle to reorganize the executive branch for Franklin D. Roosevelt, creating the powerful modern Presidency instrumental in battling the Great Depression and World War II.

• Historic reports on New York City financial problems and commercial trends – including a 1941 study of the soon-to-vanish garment industry – charting the city’s path to world metropolis.

“We have begun by digitizing a series of reports produced by the IPA on a wide range of topics, such as snow removal, police reform, and local governance,” said Professor Jessica Wagner Webster, Digital Initiatives Librarian and Director of the Project at Baruch College. “Researchers can keyword search across the full text of all of these reports, allowing them to locate all the material produced on a specific topic or region. We are thrilled to be able to provide access to these materials, and look forward to continuing to digitize this rich collection.”

This project was made possible through philanthropic support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, whose century-long history of generous support for effective and accountable government enabled Baruch College to begin the preservation, organization, and digitization of the IPA Archive for the benefit of the public, scholars and researchers.

The history of the project is told in the Archives’ blog, An Adventure in Democracy.

According to Professor Wagner Webster, the next phase of the project will be the digitization and posting of reports from 1907-1919 as well as records of Luther Gulick’s role in World War II.

Learn More about the Collection, Read the Complete Announcement

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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