Conditions Governing Access
2.5 linear feet (2 cartons, 1 box)
Biographical / Historical
On leaving Harvard in 1909, Barnard began his rapid rise at American Telephone and Telegraph where he stayed throughout his professional career. He began as a translator of German scientific works, and he was made a commercial engineer in 1915. In 1922, he became vice-president of Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, and in 1923 he was promoted to general manager. By 1926, Barnard was vice-president in charge of operations. In 1928, he was appointed president of the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company and remained in that position until his retirement from the company in 1948.
Barnard’s civic activities were as impressive as his private sector accomplishments. He organized and directed the New Jersey unemployment relief agency from 1931-1933 and was chairman of the State Relief Council in 1935. He was president of the USO from 1942-1945 and also served as director of the National War Fund and as a member of the joint Army-Navy Committee on Welfare and Recreation. Barnard was a special assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury in 1941 and a member of the Third Naval District Manpower Survey Committee. He received the U.S. Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1944 and the Presidential Medal in 1946.
After Barnard’s retirement from New Jersey Bell in 1948, he became chairman of the board of that company and president of the Rockefeller Foundation. As a trustee and a member of this foundation’s executive and finance committees since 1940, Barnard was the obvious choice as the head of this largest of all public trusts. Chester Barnard’s close personal friendship with Lawrence J. Henderson brought him to the Harvard Business School where he participated in Henderson’s course on concrete sociology. In addition, Barnard served on several visiting committees at Harvard. As the author of The Functions of the Executive (1938) and Organization and Management: Selected Papers (1948), Barnard influenced a generation of business leaders. Chester Barnard was greatly in demand as speaker, writer and lecturer and served on many corporate boards due to his unique position as practitioner, intellectual, and gifted writer.
In 1911, Mr. Barnard married the former Grace F. Neora of Saugus, Massachusetts; they had one daughter. He died on June 7, 1961.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Barnard, Chester I., 1886-1961. Chester I. Barnard Papers, 1925-1960: A Finding Aid.
- Baker Library
- Description rules
- EAD ID
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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