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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 16

Donald K. David papers


Consulting records, subject files, and correspondence of Donald K. David, Harvard Business School professor and Dean.


  • 1928-1960


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some materials may be stored offsite; access requires advance notice. This collection requires a secondary registration form. Please contact for more information on access procedures and reproduction services.

Conditions Governing Access

Restricted material has been identified in this collection. All folder titles of restricted material have been redacted.


13.5 linear feet (26 boxes)

The Donald K. David Papers, 1928-1960, document his work in private industry and as a professor and Dean of Harvard Business School. The bulk of the collection reflects David's extensive work outside the school as president and executive of various corporations such as Aluminum Limited Corporation, General Electric, Ford Motor Company, American Maize Products Company and Standard Brands. The Consulting series consists mostly of correspondence, company reports, meeting minutes and financial information. Also included in this series are materials related to David's work with various government committees such as the Committee for Economic Development and the Office of Civilian Requirements.

Although very few of David's teaching files and administrative files remain, the speeches and writings in this collection are mostly from David's time as Dean at the Harvard Business School. They are an excellent reflection of David's thoughts and work as an executive, administrator and scholar. The subject files and personal correspondence in this collection generally retain David's original order and contain mostly information regarding David's property at Cape Cod, Massachusetts and personal correspondence with his friends and family.

Biographical Note:

Donald K. David, a native of Moscow, Idaho, was born in 1896. A 1916 graduate of the University of Idaho, he enrolled in the Harvard Business School MBA program in 1917 and was hired by the Harvard Business School research staff upon graduation in 1919. He joined the School's teaching faculty soon thereafter as a marketing professor, helping to design the Retail Store Management course. David was promoted to Associate Professor of Marketing in 1926 and began participating in various administrative efforts within the school.

In 1927, at the insistence of his close friend and company founder, William Ziegler, David moved to New York City to assume the Vice Presidency of Royal Baking Powder Company. In 1932, Royal Baking Powder Company merged with Standard Foods and David was elected President of American Maize Company, a position he held until 1941. During this same year, he was appointed the William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, a position he had convinced Ziegler to fund in 1927. In 1941, David accepted the position of Assistant Dean under Dean Wallace Donham and he was appointed Dean upon Donham's retirement.

In addition to his duties at Harvard Business School, David worked as a consultant with many different companies, foundations and government committees. He served as an executive of Aluminum Limited, American Maize Products Company, the Federal Reserve Bank, Ford Motor Company, General Electric Company and Standard Brands. He was also on the boards of several foundations such as the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and the Whitewall Foundation. Donald K. David was also a member of the Advisory Council for the Office of Civilian Requirements, a committee within the War Production Board and member of the Committee for Economic Development, for which he coauthored the paper, "How Big Will Our Post-War Markets Be?"

David retired as Dean of Harvard Business School in 1955.

Physical Location


Related Material:

For material related to Donald K. David's consulting work with R.H. Macy and Company see the Papers relating to R.H. Macy and Company.

For records related to Donald K. David's tenure as Dean of the Harvard Business School see the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration Office of the Dean Records (Call number Arch AA 1).

Processing Information

Processed: November 2006

By: Dominique Tremblay

Baker Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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