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Alford, Leon Pratt (03 January 1877–02 January 1942), engineer and publicist, was born in Simsbury, Connecticut, the son of Emerson Alford, a farmer and manufacturer, and Sarah Merriam Pratt. Alford studied at Plainville (Conn.) High School and then the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1896 and, later, a master’s degree (1905). He took a position in 1896 as assistant shop foreman with the McKay Metallic Fastening Association and remained with the company through a series of mergers that eventually made it a part of the United Shoe Machinery Company. In 1900 he married Grace Agnes Hutchins. The couple had one child, a son. In 1902 he helped design United Shoe’s new plant in Beverly, Massachusetts, celebrated at the time as the world’s largest reinforced-concrete machine shop, and in 1906, after serving as production superintendent, he became head of the company’s mechanical engineering department....

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Barnard, Chester Irving (07 November 1886–07 June 1961), telephone executive, foundation president, and management theorist, was born in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Charles H. Barnard, a machinist, and Mary E. Putnam. His mother died when Chester was five. Apprenticed as a piano tuner, he worked his way through preparatory school at Mount Hermon Academy in Northfield, Massachusetts, and won a scholarship to Harvard, where he supplemented his income by tuning pianos and running a small dance band. He studied economics and languages but failed to receive a degree because he lacked a laboratory science course, which he felt he could not complete and yet “do all the work I had to do to eat.” In 1909 he was employed by American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (AT&T) in the statistical department, studying the rate-setting practices of European telephone companies. He married Grace Frances Noera in 1911. They had one child....

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Charles E. Bedaux. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107447).

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Bedaux, Charles Eugene (10 October 1886–18 February 1944), scientific manager, entrepreneur, and fascist collaborator, was born in Charenton-le-Pont, France, a suburb of Paris, the son of Charles Emile Bedaux, a railroad engineer, and Marie Eulalie, a dressmaker. Bedaux spent his first twenty years on the streets of Paris, doing odd jobs and usually avoiding school. He attended the Lycée Louis LeGrand in Paris but did not receive a regular degree. In 1906 he left Paris to seek his fortune across the Atlantic. In the United States Bedaux worked as a dishwasher, an insurance salesman, and a sandhog with the crews building the Hudson River tunnels. He also had a stint at the New Jersey Worsted Mills in Hoboken. He became a naturalized citizen in 1908....

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Morris Cooke [left to right] Morris Cooke and H. H. Bennett, 1936. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USF34-005269-E).

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Cooke, Morris Llewellyn (11 May 1872–05 March 1960), consulting management engineer, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, one of eight children born to William Harvey Cooke, a physician, and Elizabeth Richmond Marsden. Morris Cook attended Lehigh University, where he obtained a degree in mechanical engineering in 1895. At age twenty-eight Cooke married Eleanor Bushnell Davis, an heiress who shared his progressive political views. They had no children....

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Follett, Mary Parker (03 September 1868–18 December 1933), theorist of social organization and civic leader, was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, the daughter of Charles Allen Follett and Elizabeth Curtis Baxter. Follett’s father attempted a variety of jobs and her mother took in boarders before the family finally moved in with Follett’s wealthy maternal grandfather. In 1888 Follett enrolled at the Harvard Annex, the precursor of Radcliffe College, and graduated summa cum laude in 1898. During this ten-year period she also spent a year at Newnham College, Cambridge University, and worked for a few years as a schoolteacher at Mrs. Shaw’s School in Boston. Follett’s perceptiveness as an observer of social and political phenomena was evident even before her college graduation when Longmans, Green published her book ...

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Gantt, Henry Laurence (20 May 1861–23 November 1919), management consultant, was born near Prince Fredericktown, Maryland, the son of Virgil Gantt and Mary Jane Steuart, farmers. The Gantts had been influential tobacco planters along Maryland’s Patuxent River for generations. However, the Civil War and the shift to a free labor system created large and ultimately insuperable challenges for Gantt’s father. By the late 1860s the family was deeply indebted. Bankrupt by 1871, the Gantts abandoned the family plantation and moved to Baltimore, where Gantt’s mother ran a boardinghouse. Gantt always bore the imprint of these struggles and his family’s downward mobility....

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Gilbreth, Frank (07 July 1868–14 June 1924), motion study and scientific management expert, was born Frank Bunker Gilbreth in Fairfield, Maine, the son of John Hiram Gilbreth, a hardware store owner, and Martha Bunker. He graduated from English High School, Boston, in 1885 and apprenticed himself to a local construction company, rising to general superintendent by 1895, when he started his own construction firm, first in Boston (until 1904) and then in New York (until 1911). Before meeting the father of scientific management, ...

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Kimball, George Elbert (12 July 1906–06 December 1967), physical chemist and operations research specialist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Arthur Gooch Kimball, a cutlery salesman, and Effie Gertrude Smallen, a former elementary school teacher. His family moved to New Britain, Connecticut, when he was three years old after his father was promoted and reassigned to corporate headquarters. He attended the local public schools and completed one year at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire before matriculating at Princeton University in 1924. Although technically a chemistry major, he also took a number of courses in physics and mathematics and received his B.S. in 1928, his A.M. in 1929, and his Ph.D. in quantum chemistry in 1932....

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Likert, Rensis (05 August 1903–03 September 1981), social scientist, was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the son of George Herbert Likert, an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad, and Cornelia Zonne, a former teacher. After spending several years as a civil engineering student, Likert received his bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Michigan in 1926. He then enrolled at Columbia University, from which he received a Ph.D. in psychology in 1932. In 1928 he married Charlotte Jane Gibson, with whom he had two children....

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Peter, Laurence Johnston (16 September 1919–12 January 1990), educator and writer, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the son of Victor Peter, an actor, and Vincenta Steves. Peter grew up amid poverty and described his childhood as “a primitive style of life,” in which survival dictated that everything be “functional” and that the family get the “maximum use of our limited resources.” His home was “just a shack,” and the family cut wood for fuel and grew most of their own food. “It was unthinkable to waste anything” (Boyer, p. A26)....

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Taylor, Frederick Winslow (20 March 1856–21 March 1915), engineer and industrial manager, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Franklin Taylor, a lawyer, and Emily Winslow. Taylor’s parents, members of Quaker merchant families, were independently wealthy and devoted to the arts and philanthropy; their children had private tutors and attended exclusive schools. The Taylors’ contact with other wealthy Philadelphians included ties to the family of Edward W. Clark, the city’s most important investment banker. Frederick was particularly close to Clark’s son, Clarence M. Clark, who became his tennis partner (Taylor and Clark won the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association doubles championship in 1881), brother-in-law, and business adviser. Taylor’s later career as a management theorist and publicist was possible because of a fortune he made from Clark-inspired investments in West Virginia coal mines and other enterprises in the 1890s and afterward....

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Towne, Henry Robinson (28 August 1844–15 October 1924), engineer, manufacturer, and a founder of scientific management, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Henry Towne and Maria R. Tevis. He attended local private schools and the University of Pennsylvania in 1860–1861, leaving because of the Civil War. (The university awarded him an honorary A.M. in 1888.)...

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van Kleeck, Mary (26 June 1883–08 June 1972), industrial sociologist, Christian radical, and champion of the planned society, was born Mary Abby Van Kleeck in Glenham, New York, the daughter of Eliza Mayer and Robert Boyd Van Kleeck, an Episcopal minister. (In the 1920s, van Kleeck would change the capitalization of her last name.) Little survives indicating the nature of van Kleeck’s first few years in Glenham, a mill town on a tributary of the Hudson River. After her father’s death in 1892, her mother moved the family to Flushing, New York. An accomplished student and debater at Flushing High School, she entered Smith College in September 1900 and graduated with an A.B. in 1904....

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William Whyte. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Whyte, William H. (01 October 1917–12 January 1999), author and editor, was born William Hollingsworth Whyte, Jr., in West Chester, Pennsylvania, one of two sons of William Hollingsworth Whyte, a railroad man, and Louise Toth Whyte. He went to St. Andrews School in Middletown, Delaware, where he edited the school paper, before he enrolled in the college at Princeton University, where he won a playwriting contest and majored in English, receiving an A.B. cum laude in 1939....