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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 81.10

Benjamin M. Selekman papers


The Benjamin M. Selekman papers span from 1929 to 1965 and document Selekman's time as a faculty member at Harvard Business School and his work as an imparital arbitrator for labor disputes in various industries, particularly with the steel industry and the men's clothing industry in New England.


  • 1929-1965


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.


9 linear feet (8 cartons, 2 boxes)
The collection contains papers and records created and compiled by Benjamin Selekman from 1929 to 1965, including correspondence related to Selekman’s teaching and administrative functions at Harvard Business School, work and expertise in the field of labor relations, publications, and his service in organizations such as the American Jewish Committee and the Associated Jewish Philanthropies in Boston.

The collection also includes records related to his outside consulting work as an impartial arbitrator for various companies, corporations, and unions, particularly in the steel and men’s clothing industries in New England and research material referenced while preparing lecture material and writing within his field of labor relations.

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin Morris Selekman was born March 26, 1893 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh, earning a B.S. in 1915. He continued his education and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1917 and 1927, respectively. During this time, he married Sylvia Kopald in 1924, who he would collaborate with on some of his work and who was his co-author on Problems in Labor Relations. In 1929, he would serve as the executive director of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, a position he would hold until 1945.

Selekman first started working as a faculty member of Harvard Business School in 1935 as a lecturer on Urban Industrial Problems and then as an associate professor of Business Administration in 1942. In 1945, Selekman became the first Kirstein Professor of Labor Relations, a position he held until his death in 1962. His numerous writings include Labor Relations and Human Relations, 1947; The New Industrial Relations, 1948; Power and Morality in a Business Society, 1956; Problems in Labor Relations, 1957; and A Moral Philosophy for Management, 1959.

Selekman also served as an impartial arbitrator for labor disputes with various companies, corporations, associations, and unions, particularly with the men’s clothing industry in New England and the steel industry in New England, including disputes from the Bethlehem Steel Company, the United Steelworkers of America, the Republic Steel Corporation, Textile Workers Union of America, and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.


There are three series in this collection: Correspondence, arbitration records, and research and reference material.

Physical Location


Related Materials

Related materials can be found in the "Records of various labor union negotiation hearings collection, 1947-1952" and includes transcripts of labor negotiation hearings that Selekman arbitrated as well as a scrapbook of materials collected as a resource for studying labor relations.

Processing Information

Original intellectual order was kept in place. The reference material series includes a folder of material created in 1965 after Selekman's death.
Link to catalog
Baker Library
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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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