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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Business and Engineering Administration records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AC-0114

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection of the records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Business and Engineering Administration, Course 15. Materials in boxes 1 to 6 were created by Erwin H. Schell, who was the first Business Management faculty member hired, and the first head of department. Schell was hired in 1917 and taught and directed Course 15 until his retirement in 1951. Records in boxes 1 and 2 consist of 17 volumes of outlines, reading lists, examinations, lecture notes and transcripts of lectures, and other course materials compiled for classes in business management taught by Schell. Guest lecturers included representatives of Stone and Webster Corporation, the Merrimac Chemical Company, the General Electric Company, and other companies. Records in boxes 3-6, are in 28 bound volumes of lecture notes of Schell to executive groups outside of MIT, 1916 to 1925 as well as reports on the student Thorne Loomis European Industrial Tour trips, 1933-1939; and course notes and case studies written mainly by Schell, 1930-1959. Topics covered in the course notes and case studies are contracting management, business management, cost analysis, and administrative theory and practice.


  • Creation: 1916 - 1959


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical note

The Alfred P. Sloan School of Management began in 1914 as Course XV, Engineering Administration, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, within the Department of Economics and Statistics. The concept of providing business training in the academic environment was gaining popularity in the early 1910s and the idea of an engineering administration or a business engineering program at MIT was promoted by several faculty members including Professor Harold Pender of the Department of Electrical Engineering. Pender envisioned that the course would be taught in conjunction with engineering courses. In 1913 an ad hoc committee of the Alumni Council studied the matter and issued a report in favor of a program "specially designed to train men to be competent managers of businesses that have much to do with engineering problems."

As head of the Department of Engineering and Statistics, economist Davis R. Dewey was in charge of Course XV from its inception. Dewey taught the course with one assistant, initially, but demand for business courses was increasing and by 1916 three new faculty members, also economists, were hired. Erwin Haskell Schell, who was the first Business Management faculty member hired, is widely acknowledged as the first head of Course XV. Schell was hired in 1917 and taught and directed Course XV until his retirement in 1951.

In 1925 a program leading to a master's degree in management was established. In 1926 the undergraduate courses included marketing, finance, accounting, and the study of economic trends. That same year Schell introduced a new subject that focused on the organization and operation of a small business. In keeping with the MIT methodology of closely relating subjects to practical industrial problems, Schell encouraged successful businessmen to present lectures to the classes and arrange for students to consult with business executives to examine their administrative methods.

In 1930 Course XV became an independent department and was named the Department of Business and Engineering Administration. In 1931 an innovative program for executive development was initiated with the backing of several industrialists. It was a joint project of the Department of Business and Engineering Administration and the Department of Economics and Social Science. It offered one year of graduate study in the fundamentals of management and decision making. The program was aimed at young managers who were nominated by their employers, and was highly competitive. In 1938 the program received full funding by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and was formally named the Sloan Fellowship Program for Executive Development at MIT. The program was suspended during World War II and reopened in 1949.

In 1950 the Sloan Foundation made a gift of over five million dollars to establish a School of Industrial Management (SIM), including a newly refurbished building. The concept of the school was the idea of Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (class of 1895), who was interested in further developing the close association between science and industry. Sloan sought to correlate the complex problems of management in modern technical industry with science, engineering, and research. The school has traditionally been able to capitalize on this unique approach to attract both students and industry to its wide array of programs.

Edward Pennell Brooks (class of 1917) replaced Schell as head of Course XV in 1951. He became the first dean of the new SIM, he recruited staff and developed the program. The Sloan School opened its new building, E52, in May 1952. A grant from the Sloan Foundation in 1952 provided funds exclusively for research and exploration in the field of Industrial Management. For the first few years the school focused on developing its mission and attracting faculty members. The demand for short, ad hoc courses for upper level managers remained consistently high following World War II and the School continued to broaden its curriculum for management training. In June of 1953 a second one year program for executive development was initiated. Also in 1953 the faculty and administration began to experiment with shorter executive training courses and offered an intensive three week course titled Control Problems for the Executive. In March of 1956 Dean Brooks felt the school had sufficient staff and quarters (MIT's newly acquired Endicott House was to be used as housing) to offer a ten week pilot course. The course was a success and became the Program for Senior Executives. Two years later, the Greater Boston Executive Program was initiated.

In 1959 Howard Johnson became dean of the school.

History of the Sloan School of Management


6 Cubic Feet (6 record cartons)

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Processing Information note

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Preliminary Inventory to the Records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Business and Engineering Administration
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Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US