Letter to the Editor

Journal of Management History (Archive)

ISSN: 1355-252X

Article publication date: 1 December 2000



Rabin, J. (2000), "Letter to the Editor", Journal of Management History (Archive), Vol. 6 No. 8. https://doi.org/10.1108/jmh_arc.2000.15806haf.002



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Letter to the Editor

Jack RabinEditorJournal of Management History


  1. 1.

    Invited Papers of Management History Division 1997

  2. 2.

    Discovery of the Cooke Manuscript in 1960

  3. 3.

    Old Midvale Photos - W.W.II

Dear Jack:

The 1998 theme of the Academy of Management at San Diego will be "What Matters Most". It appears to me that this might well be the theme of the Journal of Management History since what you have to have in management history is accuracy – that's what matters most as far as I am concerned. If the journal does not contain accurate, reliable history based on research, original, (contemporary) documents of the historic events in question, then it will never become a leading journal, and the goal of becoming a leading journal with reliable articles certainly should be your goal as editor.

Although Paula Carson, in the Historically Speaking newsletter of the History Division, Winter, 1997, p.15, said that "after evaluating Academy Feedback, 10 manuscripts of all those submitted to the Division were considered for the opportunity (to be published in the Journal of Management History)… We feel the manuscripts listed below will only serve to strengthen its reputation", I wonder if this is so?

While I never was given the opportunity to review the papers on the pig iron and the Hawthorne critics, I know the pig iron paper was very poor, based not on original documents, but a twisted use of my 1974 paper on Taylor and Taylor's own biased write-ups (where he gave no evidence) along with the use of the Gilbreth "replication" of the Taylor pig iron study and finally the failure to understand what a piece of pig iron is. I can imagine that Cobb's paper on the Hawthorne critics left out Mary B. Gilson's 1940 critique or her letters to Elton Mayo on the topic or Thomas Horth Whitehead's son's 1957 remark that the Hawthorne Studies did not discover anything not known by Job in the Bible!

I don't believe you should make a move on these papers unless you have Paula Carson see to it that you receive copies of the evaluations she calls "Feedback" – (actually only one paper analysis of the papers in question – no line-by-line analysis). Of course, you may be forced to publish these poorly reviewed papers anyway – but if you do, naturally I can use them in some future paper as examples of poor research that was published anyway. Remember, the program chair, Michael R. Later, included the names of the authors with the papers he sent out to review – so there was no real "blind" review.

Here is the background on the Cooke Manuscript of "Industrial Management".

In December, 1960, my wife and I visited J. Christian Barth, the son of Carl Barth, in his home of 50 years on Locust Street, Philadelphia. The purpose of the visit was to tape record Barth's recollections of scientific management, Taylor, Gilbreth, etc. During the tape recording, Barth mentioned that Cooke had prepared a manuscript of a book on the Taylor System in 1910, that his father had found it at "Boxly" and that Hathaway subsequently suggested it not be published. Upon asking where the book manuscript was, Barth said, "Up in his closet", and that, if I wanted it, I could have it as it had been discarded by his father and Hathaway. That is how I obtained the manuscript. The tape is now at Cornell with Barth's comments on the book still clearly understandable.

I don't know if this is actually an abandoned manuscript or not, but at least Cooke never attempted to look for it after Taylor's death, probably because of his growing association with Franklin D. Roosevelt and growing interest in the subject of "Giant Power", TVA, The Hoover Dam , etc. all the problems of bringing electricity to rural America, a subject Roosevelt was interested in especially in New York State. All these interests took Cooke away from the "industrial management" manuscript. When Cooke joined Roosevelt's administration as the Administrator of The Rural Electrification Office, he apparently forgot about the manuscript. He never mentioned it to me, and I saw him about every two weeks in 1958-1960, while working on my dissertation.

Cooke died on March 5, 1960, and his obituary was prominent in the New York Times of the next day. Mention there was of his niece who later inherited his estate of 18 million dollars – she would be the one who might have an interest in the publishing of "Industrial Management". Of course this was 37 years ago and she might be deceased as I don't know who might have an interest or be opposed or your plans, etc. The fact that you wish to give recognition to Cooke's work might be in your favor and you'd have no opposition.

Cooke did execute a contract with Harpers to use the principles of scientific management in his Industrial Management as Chapter 2, since it originally was the source of Taylor's principles of scientific management.

The FDR Archives & Library in Hyde Park, NY, might know present Cooke relatives as his papers are among FDR's papers!

Photographs of Midvale Company in World War II.

In 1990, after eight years of research, I located 3,000 negatives and photographs of the Midvale Company (where Taylor had worked for ten years) in a basement of the home of Howard Meyers ("Mr Midvale"). These do not show the company in Taylor's day as the Charles Harrah photo album photographs, but are noteworthy as photos of men at work in factories – photographs which Richard Strassberg at Cornell says are almost impossible to find. Photos inside Midvale were forbidden by the US Government due to Midvale's importance as a military manufacturer during World War II, but Midvale's photographer took thousands and I found them.

SincerelyChuck Wrege

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