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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 88

Andrew R. Towl papers


The papers of Harvard Business School professor Andrew R. Towl include correspondence, teaching materials, research and writing, and administrative records.


  • 1921-1974


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 for more information.


20.5 linear feet (44 boxes)

This collection is organized into five series that document Andrew Towl’s work at Harvard Business School from 1944-1975. Most of the records in this collection relate to the collection and development of cases at HBS. Towl’s correspondence files include communication with individuals, companies, and other universities regarding case teaching, writing, and collecting. Some of the companies and schools present in this collection include the American Brake Shoe Company, Boston University School of Nursing, the Jewel Tea Company, and Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Towl’s research and writing records are also represented. These materials document several research projects, including two large and closely related projects: the Directors Study and the Executive Compensation Study. Records in this series include notes, project reports, drafts, and interviews. Some of the companies involved in these projects include the Standard Oil Company, United Fruit Company, General Foods Corporation, and the Lincoln Electric Company.

Towl’s administrative roles at HBS, including those involving case development, distribution, and research are also documented. The administrative and Executive Education records series include records of committees, memos, and budget information. Also present is a series of “Audograph” electronic soundwriter disks (audiographs) that contain recorded discussions of cases.

Biographical Note:

Andrew Renwick Towl was born in Nebraska to Mr. and Mrs. Roy N. Towl on December 8, 1910. He attended Muskingam College in Ohio and received his BA in Economics in 1932. In 1933, he received his MA, also in Economics, from Columbia University. From 1933-1934 Towl taught economics at the Municipal University of Omaha. Towl enrolled in graduate school at Harvard Business School and received his MBA in 1936. After completing his MBA, Towl accepted a position with the Provident Trust Company of Philadelphia. He stayed with this bank for eight years, working mainly with investment analysis and operations management. In 1944, Towl returned to HBS as a member of the faculty, and for 31 years was closely involved with the development and teaching of case studies. The positions he held during his tenure at HBS include: Research Fellow, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Assistant Director of Research, Director of Case Development, and Director of the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House. Towl supervised the collection of thousands of case studies and their distribution both within HBS and to business schools around the world. During his time at HBS, Towl had five temporary leaves of absence to conduct seminars, workshops, and case development programs in 37 countries throughout the world. In addition, Towl published numerous papers, articles, and books, including To Study Administration by Cases, published in 1969. Towl was considered a leading authority on the case method teaching and research. He retired from HBS in 1975.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1934-1974
  2. ___Subseries A. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1934-1956
  3. ___Subseries B. Correspondence and Subject Files: Adminstrative Records [Restricted], 1955-1974
  4. ___Subseries C. Correspondence and Subject Files: Student and Personal Records [Restricted], 1935-1957
  5. Series II. HBS Teaching Records: Executive Education Programs, 1948-1970
  6. ___Subseries A. HBS Executive Education Programs, 1948-1954
  7. ___Subseries B. HBS Executive Education Programs: Administrative Records [Restricted], 1955-1970
  8. Series III. HBS Research and Writing Records, 1937-1970
  9. ___Subseries A. HBS Research and Writing, 1937-1958
  10. ___Subseries B. HBS Research and Writing: Administrative Records, 1962-1963
  11. ___Subseries C. HBS Research and Writing: Student and Personal Records [Restricted], 1948-1970
  12. Series IV. HBS Administrative Records, 1921-1973
  13. ___Subseries A. HBS Administrative Records, 1921-1955
  14. ___Subseries B. HBS Administrative Records [Restricted], 1946-1973
  15. ___Subseries C. HBS Administrative Records: Student Records [Restricted], 1932-1970
  16. Series V. Audiovisual Records [Restricted], 1950-1957

Physical Location


Processing Information

Processed: March 2004

By: Lisa Moorhead; revised Laura Williams, May 2009; Ben Johnson July 2010.

Towl, Andrew Renwick, 1910-. Andrew R. Towl Papers, 1921-1974: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Description rules
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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