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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 737: Vt-199

Papers of Joanne Henderson Pratt, 1942-2010 (inclusive), 1970-2007 (bulk)


Correspondence, project notes, writings, survey data, and telecommuting projects of Joanne Henderson Pratt, consultant and futurist.


  • Creation: 1942-2010
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-2007

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. The collection is open to research, with the exception of the following: folders #18.1, 18.3, 91.5 are closed until January 1, 2020, and individual items throughout the collection are closed as specified to protect personal privacy. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Joanne Henderson Pratt is held by Joanne Henderson Pratt during her lifetime. Copyright in the papers created by Joanne Henderson Pratt will be transferred to President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library upon the death of Joanne Henderson Pratt. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


40.45 linear feet ((97 file boxes) plus 2 videotapes, electronic records)

This collection documents Joanne Henderson Pratt's professional life as a chemist, consultant, and telecommuting pioneer. The papers include writings, correspondence, project notes, proposals, conference papers, survey data, telecommuting manual, reports, and presentations. Project notes contain Pratt's handwritten notes from meetings, phone conversations, project statuses, and other miscellaneous notes to herself. Pratt worked with the data from many different surveys to produce her ground-breaking research into telecommuting. These surveys, as well as the resulting research, are found throughout the collection. There is a very small amount of personal material that can be found in Series I. Pratt often used recycled paper when printing out emails and other documents. Researchers will thus find material within folders that is out of context. Original folder headings were maintained; titles in brackets were created by the archivist.

Series I, Consultant in Chemistry,1942-1982, n.d. (#1.1-1.15), includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, and project notes of Joanne Pratt as a chemistry consultant. Pratt worked with many large corporations: American Chicle Company, Johnson and Johnson, and Dr. Pepper. In 1976 Pratt participated in the American Association for the Advancement of Science's six-week summer project "American Values and Models of Human Habitation," which was partially funded by a NEH grant, to study the patterns of habitation in America (#1.1). In 1978 Pratt collaborated with the Children's Television Workshop to design a science program, which would promote science and technology as well as stimulate science-related post-viewing activities, for public televison (#1.3). Pratt worked as a consultant with Dr. Pepper to reduce excessive foaming (#1.6); and Liquid Paper to adhere the corrective medium to paper (#1.8). Also included is a small amount of personal material: guest lists for parties (#1.12), report cards (#1.14), and a description of the collection written by Joanne Pratt (#1.5). The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, Allied Professionals Educational Consulting Services (APECS),1960-2007, n.d. (#1.16-9.4), includes correspondence, project notes, and financial records relating to APECS. In 1976 APECS, through the University of Texas at Arlington's School of Architecture and Design, received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to study the interactions and problems between people and their everyday environments (#4.2). The resulting data was published as Environmental Encounter: Experiences in the Built and Natural Environment; APECS created Reverchon Press to self-publish the study (#5.3-5.4). The book was widely adopted as a text for first year students in schools of architecture across the country. In 1981 APECS began an "off-premise employment" study for the Xerox Corporation, by interviewing both corporations that already used teleworkers and those that potentially could use teleworkers, in order to determine the extent of office automation in selected businesses. This study was separately published in 1982 as Home Teleworking: A Study of Its Pioneers (#7.2). The series is arranged alphabetically.

Series III, Joanne H. Pratt Associates,1976-2010, n.d. (#9.5-63.1), includes correspondence, reports, articles, surveys, and other material relating to Pratt's consulting firm. Joanne H. Pratt Associates, which specialized in telecommuting, focused on virtual offices and home-based businesses. The consulting firm was founded in 1982 by Pratt, and she was often the only employee. When working on a large telecommuting project, Pratt worked closely with other consultants. Pratt's firm developed telecommuting products for many kinds of clients, such as municipalities, state governments, private corporations, and other types of companies. Throughout the course of Pratt's research she discovered that the home-based business market did not consist of one type of worker. Survey data consistently proved that employees from a wide range of industries worked from home; including white-collar professionals, the self-employed, clerical workers, handicapped workers, and retired professionals starting a second career. The series is arranged in four subseries.

Subseries A, Clients, 1977-2009, n.d. (#9.5-36.4), includes correspondence, reports, memoranda, proposals, project notes, and other documents relating to the clients of Joanne H. Pratt Associates. The Maryland Department of Transportation pilot project was part of a larger Washington Metropolitan Telework Demonstration Project (#20.5-21.1). The Oryx Energy Company implemented a telecommuting pilot project as part of their long range plan to minimize office space costs and to provide alternative work experiences for their employees (#24.7-25.1). The North Central Texas Council of Government (NCTCOG) hoped to implement a regional telecommuting program that would reduce vehicle air pollution by 20%, save energy, and provide a work option under the Americans with Disabilities Act (#31.5-31.6). In 1996 the North Texas Clean Air Coalition sponsored several contests for telecommuters and potential telecommuters; prizes included a business plan consultation with Pratt, GTE speaker phones, Palm Pilots, and a customized workstation (#33.5-33.6). The Southern California Telecommuting Partnership, a voluntary confederation of public, private, and non-profit entities, was founded in response to the January 1994 earthquake that rocked Southern California. The partnership was designed to aid the recovery of the region and to minimize work interruptions caused by the natural disaster (#12.1). Included in this subseries is research on home office computer systems and software that Pratt conducted for herself and clients (#19.3-19.5). Rejected proposals for telecommuting pilot projects include telecommuting feasibility studies for Diamond Bar City and Rancho Palos Verdes, California; Lucent Technologies; and the Commuter Connections Telework Demonstration Project for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (#26.3-26.6). Pratt collaborated with the COMSIS Corporation—a minority-owned private project management firm—to develop a state-wide telecommuting handbook for CALTRANS, the transportation planning agency for the state of California (#13.1-14.2). In 2001 Pratt developed telecommuting material, a business case and a best practices manual, for Sprint's telecommuting product ION (#28.1-28.2). In 2005 Pratt developed a survey for Bank of America, focusing on small businesses and the self employed, in order to better address their banking and financial needs (#11.4-11.5). The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Conferences, 1979-2010 (#36.5-47.2), includes presentations, notes, programs, and other materials related to conferences and meetings attended, as a participant and speaker, or organized by Pratt. In 2008 Pratt presented to the annual conference of the Society for Foodservice Management on the changing trends of telecommuting. In the 1980s telework focused on saving energy and air quality. Two decades later, Pratt argued, telecommuting focuses on working with teams across time zones and continents (#44.4). Conferences attended by Pratt while working for other firms and organizations can be found in Series II and IV. The subseries is arranged alphabetically, and chronologically thereafter.

Subseries C, Surveys, 1980-2008 (#47.3-56.6), includes data, correspondence, memoranda, and reports relating to surveys conducted by Pratt and others. Pratt used numerous surveys in her various reports and papers, often re-tooling survey data for different uses. One of Pratt's most widely known reports, "Counting the New Mobile Workforce," came from the 1995 National Personal Transportation Survey (#53.3-53.5). This survey, developed in 1969, asks participants a range of questions relating to their transportation choices including mass transit; walking, working from home, and single occupant vehicle (SOV) lanes. Other surveys used by Pratt are the Current Population survey (#48.4-49.4), which studies the American labor force; and the National Longitudinal survey (#51.5-53.1), which monitors panels of Americans over a large span of time, re-surveying approximately every two years. Surveys conducted by Pratt for Small Business Administration (SBA), Statistical Monitoring of the European Labour Market in the eEconomy (STILE), Telecommuting Advisory Council (TAC), International Telework Association and Council (ITAC), and the Transportation Research Board can be found in Series IV. The subseries is arranged alphabetically, and then chronologically.

Subseries D, Writings and research, 1976-2010, n.d. (#56.7-63.1), includes printed material, correspondence, drafts, project notes, and other materials related to Pratt's written works and telecommuting research. In 1987 Pratt was asked to write a column on technology and telecommuting for Family & Home Office Computing. People wrote to the magazine asking questions regarding home computer systems, software packages, home office set-up advice, business plans, raising capital for home businesses. The magazine also received letters from readers addressing questions, mainly on home-based businesses, they had read the month before. The home-based businesses ranged from medical form filing, pottery, house moving, desktop publishing, import/export, computer drafting, mailing services, etc. (#57.2-57.5). Also included are telework kits and manuals used by Pratt for her research, some of which were produced by the Telework Collaborative: Oregon Office of Energy Telework Resources, Washington State University Cooperative Extension Energy Program, Arizona Department of Administration Travel Reduction Programs, and the California Department of Personnel Administration Telework Program (#62.9-62.11). The 10-15 minute videos, which introduce telecommuting to employees and managers, also gives a brief tutorial on how to start a telecommuting program. Other writings include articles that may not have been published and reports. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, Professional,1971-2010, n.d. (#63.2-97.5), includes correspondence, reports, proposals, surveys, and other material from other companies and governmental agencies with which Pratt was involved. Many of these groups overlap in topics including transportation, telecommunication, electronic commerce, and home-based work. The series is arranged in four subseries.

Subseries A, JALA Associates, 1983-1992, n.d. (#63.2-65.1), includes correspondence, reports, memoranda, and project notes related to Pratt's association with JALA Associates, an international telecommuting consulting company. Jack Nilles, who co-founded the company in 1982, coined the terms telecommuting and telework in 1973 during one of the first telecommuting pilot projects in the United States. Pratt worked as a sub-contractor for JALA Associates as part of the Telecommute / Telework Demonstration Pilot Project for the State of California. California implemented a telecommuting demonstration program, the first official pilot project by a U.S. state, which measured the benefits of state employees performing their computer-related tasks at home. The project hoped to use new technology in order to reduce energy use, air quality, and the cost of child-care by introducing two forms of telecommuting: satellite offices and teleworking from home. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries B, Small Business Administration, 1980-2008 (#65.2-75.7), includes reports, proposals, correspondence, memoranda, and project notes related to Pratt's work for the Small Business Administration. The SBA supports home-based businesses through their HBB program, offering help with business plans, assessment tools, and other resources. Pratt wrote several reports and studies for the Small Business Association, including "Myths and Realities of Working at Home: Characteristics to Home-based Business Owners and Telecommuters," which dealt with the concerns employers had regarding telecommuters — trustworthiness, productivity, the presence of children in the home, and employee work patterns. In 1986 Pratt organized a symposium, hosted by the SBA, in order to obtain commitments from private and public sector professionals to fund a home-based business survey (#66.8-67.1). Also included is an interview, conducted for the Family Business Review in 1993 by Nancy Bowman Upton, in which Pratt describes her background with home-based business and the SBA (#68.3). The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries C, Statistical Monitoring of the European Labour Market in the eEconomy (STILE), 1995-2004 (#75.8-81.4), includes reports, correspondence, memoranda, and relating to Pratt's work with the European research program. Partners included Cork Telework Centre, Ireland; Central Statistical Office, Ireland; Institute for Employment Studies, United Kingdom; CAMIRE Estadística y Análisis, S.L, Luxembourg; Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, Germany; Istituto di Ricerche Economiche e Sociali, Italy; Organisatie voor Strategisch Arbeidsmarktonderzoek, The Netherlands; Institute of Sociology-Hungarian Academy of Sciences (ISB), Hungary. "WP," used in folder headings, refers to "work package": WP1 dealt with co-ordination and assessment; WP2 dealt with coding on eWork; WP3 dealt with Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE) / International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) classifications on eworkers and ebusinesses; WP4 dealt with Information and Communication Technologies organizational panel surveys; WP5 was an ad hoc eWork module; WP6 dealt with mobility in the eEconomy; WP7 dealt with Information and Communication Technologies occupational profiles. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries D, Telecommuting Advisory Council (TAC) and International Telework Association and Council (ITAC), 1988-2004 (#81.5-88.7), includes reports, correspondence project notes, survey data, and conference material relating to Pratt's work with TAC and ITAC. In 1985 the Southern California Association of Governments formed a telework task force which evolved into the nation-wide Telecommuting Advisory Council (TAC), and later the International Telework Association and Council (ITAC). In 1995 ITAC began the Telework America Research Survey, sponsored by AT&T, to study the evolution of telecommuting in the United States. Pratt worked closely with ITAC and used their survey data to publish several reports, including "Does Broadband Make the Difference for Teleworking? A Comparison of Working Hi-speed and Dial-up" (#87.6-88.1), and "Teleworking Comes of Age with Broadband, 2002-2003" (#88.3-88.5). The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Subseries E, Other professional, 1971-2010 (#89.1-97.5), includes correspondence, reports, proposals, and other material related to various other groups, companies, and organizations that Pratt was involved with that are not reflected within the rest of the collection. In 1977 Pratt developed her own ornament company, called Jo-Folds, which created ornaments from photographs of stained glass windows and other architectural features (#90.4). In 1958 James Pratt co-founded the architecture firm Pratt, Box, and Henderson with John Harold "Hal" Box. Joanne Pratt's brother, Philip Henderson, joined the firm in 1960 (#90.6). Joanne Pratt worked with the company in many capacities, such as outfitting the office with new technology and other office equipment (#91.1). In 2004 Pratt became involved with Boston University's "Technologically Connected Home," a private/public partnership, which intended to enable soldiers and their families to help shape the home of the future. Pratt's group focused on the privacy issues surrounding personal information and the internet (#89.5-89.6). The Transportation Research Board is a private institution, under the umbrella of the National Research Council, which provides leadership in transportation research and policy issues. Pratt served on its Committee on Telecommunications and Travel Behavior. Also included is a "Women in Transportation: Changing America's History" time line from the Transportation Research Board (#93.4). The subseries is arranged alphabetically

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].


Joanne Henderson Pratt was born on August 20, 1927, to Algo Henderson (1897-1988) and Anne Cristy Henderson (1897-1962) in Springfield, Ohio. Algo Henderson was President of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio (1936-1948). Pratt attended Oberlin College (B.A., 1948) and Radcliffe College (A.M., 1950), majoring in chemistry. Her first job, after graduating from Radcliffe, was conducting research at the Yamins Laboratory in Beth Israel Hospital. In 1953 Pratt became a physical chemist at Arthur D. Little, the global management consulting firm, in Boston, Massachusetts. She married architect James Pratt in 1955, and they subsequently moved to Dallas, Texas. The Pratts had three daughters: Sabrina (b.1959), Alexandra (b.1961), and Ilya (b.1962). In 1956 Joanne Pratt began working for the Western Company as a bench chemist in their research laboratory. There she developed a method of using polyurethane pre-polymer to prevent water from entering oil wells.

After she was laid off from the Western Company in 1960, Pratt established a chemical consulting business, specializing in research and problem solving for industrial clients. Her focus was plastics, surface chemistry, and the use of chemicals in the oil industry to assist with oil production. Working as a consultant opened the door for Pratt to develop her ideas in telecommuting. In 1971 Pratt, along with James Pratt, Sarah Barnett Moore, and William T. Moore, founded the Allied Professionals Educational Consulting Services (APECS), a not-for-profit interdisciplinary research and consulting group, which specialized in custom-designed workshops. Clients included community colleges, art museums, schools of architecture, and environmental groups. In 1983 APECS proposed, during a two-year planning and implementation project, to identify the factors essential for successful "off-premise employment" by means of on-site visits and staff interviews at companies that had begun telework, such as Xerox.

In 1980 Pratt founded Joanne H. Pratt Associates, a virtual company that conducted research and helped public and private organizations implement telework. Major projects of the company included the first classification, or survey, of teleworkers using micro-computers at home. Categories included clerical workers, managers, professionals, and the self-employed. Joanne Henderson Pratt Associate's clients included AT&T, Fuji Film, Apple Computer, Yankee Group, Xerox Corporation, American Executive Centers, Bank of America, Southwestern Bell, Boston University, and several municipalities around the country. The firm focused on the myriad aspects of telecommuting: transportation implications, family issues, land use, and corporate work patterns. Pratt completed a comprehensive study for the Small Business Administration in 1993 on the numbers and characteristics of home-based workers. As a member of another consulting group JALA Associates, Pratt designed a telework project for the State of California, which evaluated state employees using micro-computers at home to perform work normally done in the office.

In 1989 Pratt co-founded with Susan Mize the Register of Selected Inherited Metabolic Disorders, which was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Child Research and Human Development, and intended as an information resource and retrieval system for researchers of rare diseases. The partnership ended in July of 1990. In 2001 Pratt became the only American member of the Statistical Monitoring of the European Labour Market in the e-Economy (STILE) project, funded by the European Commission's Information Society Technologies, which was charged with providing innovative methodology and content on telework and information-age employment in the European Union and the United Kingdom.

In the 2000's Pratt turned her attention to the fast growing problem of privacy on the internet. Pratt, along with Sue Conger, published several articles including "Without Permission: Privacy on the Line" and "Personal Information Privacy: New Millennium, New Issues." In 2004 Pratt became involved with Boston University's "Technologically Connected Home," a private/public partnership, which intended to enable soldiers and their families to help shape the home of the future.


The collection is arranged in four series:

  1. Series I. Consultant in Chemistry, 1942-1982, n.d. (#1.1-1.15)
  2. Series II. Allied Professionals Educational Consulting Services (APECS), 1960-2007, n.d. (#1.16-9.4)
  3. Series III. Joanne H. Pratt Associates, 1976-2010, n.d. (#9.5-63.1, Vt-199.1-Vt.199.2)
  4. ___Subseries A. Clients, 1977-2009, n.d. (#9.5-36.4)
  5. ___Subseries B. Conferences, 1979-2010 (#36.5-47.2)
  6. ___Subseries C. Surveys, 1980-2008 (#47.3-56.6)
  7. ___Subseries D. Writings and research, 1976-2010, n.d. (#56.7-63.1, Vt-199.1-Vt.199.2)
  8. Series IV. Professional, 1971-2010, n.d. (#63.2-97.5)
  9. ___Subseries A. JALA Associates, 1983-1992, n.d. (#63.2-65.1)
  10. ___Subseries B. Small Business Administration, 1980-2008 (#65.2-75.7)
  11. ___Subseries C. Statistical Monitoring of the European Labour Market in the eEconomy (STILE), 1995-2004 (#75.8-81.4)
  12. ___Subseries D. Telecommuting Advisory Council (TAC) and International Telework Association and Council (ITAC), 1988-2004 (#81.5-88.7)
  13. ___Subseries E. Other professional, 1971-2010 (#89.1-97.5)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2010-M199, 2010-M222, 2012-M172

The papers of Joanne Henderson Pratt were given to the Schlesinger Library by Joanne Henderson Pratt in 2010 and 2012.


Donors: Joanne Pratt

Accession numbers: 2010-M199, 2010-M222, 2012-M172

Processed by: Cat Lea Holbrook

The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger Library Books and Printed Materials Division:

  1. Handbook of Human-computer Interaction, 1988

Processing Information

Processed: April 2013

By: Cat Lea Holbrook, with assistance of Emily Underwood.

Pratt, Joanne Henderson. Papers of Joanne Henderson Pratt, 1942-2010 (inclusive), 1970-2007 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Radcliffe College Class of 1956, the Jane Rainie Opel Fund, and the Zetlin Sisters Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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