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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch E80A.4

United States Army Air Forces Statistical School (Harvard University) records


Administrative records, instructional materials, exercises, exams, and data used for problem solving and analysis in the United States Army Air Forces Statistical School at Harvard Business School.


  • 1942-1967

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.


10.5 linear feet (10 cartons, 1 flat carton)

Approximately half of the collection consists of rosters (student records) (Series II) and half consists of general administrative materials and instructional materials for use in the classroom (Series I). Student records are maintained as proof of who attended AAFSS, but are restricted for 80 years from date of creation according to Harvard University policy. Unrestricted materials in Series I and III include exercises and assignments, exams, and fictional data used for purposes of problem solving and analysis. Of particular interest is a history of the AAFSS (Carton 3).

Historical Note:

Statistical control training was authorized early in World War II by Assistant Secretary of War for Air Robert A. Lovett, in consultation with General H.H. Arnold, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces. Charles B. Thornton was Chief of Statistical Control. Harvard Business School Dean Donald K. David set up the Army Air Forces Statistical School at HBS in May 1942 for specially selected officer candidates, who studied at HBS after completing eight weeks of general administrative training at Officers' Candidate School in Miami Beach, Florida. The original course of five weeks was extended to eight weeks in 1943. The purpose of the statistical training was to prepare statistical officers to gather information about personnel, aircraft, and equipment and to present facts and analyze them in ways that would suggest improvements for future missions and other operations. Instruction was provided primarily by members of the HBS faculty after indoctrination at Army Air Forces installations. The program came to be regarded as a good general training in administration in addition to being a grounding in statistical methods. The case method was employed for the teaching of reporting and analytical techniques, and field exercises were included in the curriculum. The course of study was developed in cooperation with the Statistical Control Division, Office of Management Control, Army Air Forces. Graduates of the program were assigned to all levels of command in the AAF.

The AAFSS operated for over two years, ceasing operations in October 1945. It produced 2,400 graduates, organized into groups, or "courses." There were forty "courses." The school's first civilian director was Edmund P. Learned, who was succeeded by Dan T. Smith. The AAF officer in charge of the school was Lt. Col. John Heflin. The model of statistical control taught at the AAFSS at HBS was adopted after the war by numerous companies, including Ford Motors.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  1. Series I. Administration and Teaching, 1942-1946
  2. Series II. Course Rosters (Student Files) [restricted], 1942-1946
  3. Series III. Dan T. Smith (Civilian Director of Training) Files, 1943-1967

Physical Location


Related Finding Aids:

United States Navy Industrial Accounting Course (Harvard University) records

United States Army Quartermaster Corps Reserve Officers Training Corps records

United States Navy Supply Corps School (Harvard University) records

United States Navy War Adjustment Course (Harvard University) records

United States Army Supply Officers Training School (Harvard University) records

United States Army Air Forces War Adjustment Course (Harvard University) records

Interested researchers should also refer to other collections pertaining to the wartime service schools at HBS, as well as to the Harvard Service News, a newspaper published by the Harvard Crimson during World War II, containing information about all aspects of military training at Harvard between 1943 and 1946. The Edmund Learned Papers at HBS Historical Collections include two notebooks of AAFSS program history (GA 47). (Learned was Civilian Director of Training at AAFSS, 1942-1943.) The Harvard University Archives also has material pertaining to the AAFSS at UAV 157.229 hd and UAV 157.277 hd. The National Archives II at College Park, Maryland, has additional records of the Army Service Forces in Record Group 160.

Processing Information

Processed: October 1995

By: Jeff Mifflin

Processing Note:

Administrative and teaching materials, as well as Dan T. Smith's Civilian Director's Files, were removed from their original acidic and soiled folders and rehoused, using acid-neutral folders, after substantial reorganization. The original organization reflected a numerical filing scheme in which documents of every description had a number apparently indicating the order in which they were created. This scheme was not very useful for research purposes, and disarrangement had also become a problem. The new arrangement scheme brings together documents serving similar functions. Records of Civilian Director of Training Dan T. Smith were removed from an unprocessed collection of Smith's personal papers (GA 81.17) and processed as Series III following removal of student ranking materials.

Course rosters (student files) in Series II remain in the condition in which they were received. No processing has been attempted on this component of the collection.

United States. Army Air Forces. United States Army Air Forces Statistical School (Harvard University) Records, 1942-1967: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Language of description

Repository Details

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

Baker Library Special Collections and Archives 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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