Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Register of the Edwin Francis Gay Papers
No online items No online items       Request items ↗
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (115.06 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Edwin Francis Gay papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1917-1927
    Collection number: XX085
    Creator: Gay, Edwin Francis, 1867-1946
    Collection Size: 6 manuscript boxes, 1 roll of charts (2.5 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Correspondence, diary, reports, memoranda, and writings, relating to American economic mobilization and government control of the economy during World War I, and to activities of the Central Bureau of Planning and Statistics, War Industries Board, War Trade Board, Shipping Board, and Commercial Economy Board, and to the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Edwin Francis Gay Papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information



    Increments may have been received since this finding aid was prepared. Please check Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at http://library.stanford.edu/webcat  to find the full extent of the collection.

    Biographical Note

    1867 Oct. 27 Born, Detroit, Michigan
    1902-1903 Instructor, Economics, Harvard University
    1903-1906 Assistant Professor, Economics, Harvard University
    1906-1919 Professor, Economics, Harvard University
    1908-1919 Dean, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University
    1917 Apr.-1918 May Member, Commercial Economy Board, Council of National Defense
    1917 Dec.-1918 Feb? Special expert, U.S. Shipping Board
    1918 Feb.-1919 Mar. Director, Division of Planning and Statistics, U.S. Shipping Board
    1918 Feb.-1919 June Member, War Trade Board
    1918 May-1918 Dec. Member, Conservation Division, War Industries Board
    1918 June-1919 Jan. Chairman, Division of Planning and Statistics, War Industries Board
    1918 June-1919 June Director, Central Bureau of Planning and Statistics
    1920-1923 President, New York Evening Post
    1924-1936 Professor, Economic History, Harvard University
    1936-1941 Member, Research Staff, Huntington Library
    1941-1946 Chairman, Huntington Library
    1946 Feb. 8 Died

    Scope and Content Note

    The Edwin Francis Gay papers relate to U.S. government economic mobilization and government control of the economy during World War I. They document Gay's work for agencies that collected and analyzed economic and statistical data to organize the war effort. In particular, the papers provide statistical data about imports and exports, shipping, and trade routes during World War I. They also provide information about the relationship between the U.S. and the Allies, and activities of the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Conference.
    Gay's diary runs from Dec. 27, 1917, to July 9, 1919, and covers much of his federal service. Diary entries list Gay's meetings, significant actions taken, things to be done, and milestones achieved. Brief notations concerning subject matter are sometimes included, and occasionally there is a more extensive narrative. A lengthy entry about the Chairman of the Shipping Control Committee is attached to the entry for Feb. 12, 1918.
    The series Notes for War Controls Book consists of preliminary material collected by Gorton James from 1925 to 1927 for a proposed volume on war controls by Gay, which apparently was not completed. What may be drafts of chapters are available for two subjects, labor and organization for the war. Included are typewritten memoranda of conversations with U.S. wartime figures such as Bernard M. Baruch, Robert S. Brookings, Herbert Hoover, Vance C. McCormick, and Generals George W. Goethals, C. B. Wheeler, and C. C. Williams. Some typewritten speeches and manuscripts written by interviewees are included.
    The War File series documents Gay's war work, in which Gay was associated with a confusing array of wartime agencies. The American Commission to Negotiate Peace (Nov. 1918 - Dec. 1919) was organized to negotiate formal treaties ending World War I. Gay corresponded with his staff members assigned to the Commission, and with delegate John Foster Dulles.
    The Allied Maritime Transport Council (Mar. 1918 - Apr. 7, 1919) was an inter-allied body that studied and recommended a concerted shipping policy. The American Section of the Council included staff from the Division of Planning and Statistics of the U.S. Shipping Board, which obtained necessary statistical data. Gay corresponded with his statistical staff in London.
    The Central Bureau of Planning and Statistics (June 1918 - July 1919) prepared surveys of U.S. government war activities for the President, operated a statistical clearinghouse, and provided economic data to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. It functioned as an independent agency under the President but reported through the War Industries Board until Dec. 31, 1918, after which it was administered through the War Trade Board. Gay was Chairman of the Central Bureau.
    The Commercial Economy Board (Mar. 24, 1917 - May 9, 1918), part of the Council of National Defense, studied commercial business and identified economies to meet war needs, such as standardizing shoe styles. It was superseded by the Conservation Division of the War Industries Board. Dr. A. W. Shaw was Chairman of the Commercial Economy Board and Gay was a member.
    The Conservation Division (May 9, 1918 - Dec. 31, 1918), part of the War Industries Board, continued the activities of the Commercial Economy Board. Dr. A. W. Shaw was Chairman of the Conservation Division and Gay was a member.
    The Division of Planning and Statistics, part of the U.S. Shipping Board (USSB), was established on Feb. 11, 1918, to record ship movements and study imports and exports to identify essential trade routes. The Division's data formed the basis for recommendations to the Shipping Control Committee for the allocation of ships, and to the War Trade Board for restricting imports. Edward N. Hurley succeeded William Denman as Chairman of the USSB; Gay was Director of the Division of Planning and Statistics of the USSB.
    The Shipping Control Committee, part of the USSB, allocated vessels to cargoes and routes and controlled the discharge of U.S. tonnage. The USSB Division of Planning and Statistics assigned a representative to the Committee, which was headquartered in New York. Gay corresponded with his representative and noted problems with Committee Chairman P. A. S. Franklin.
    The War Industries Board (WIB; July 28, 1917 - Dec. 31, 1918) analyzed industrial requirements and capacities of the U.S. and the Allies, set priorities in commodity production and delivery, and arranged price-fixing agreements for raw materials. Bernard M. Baruch was Chairman of the WIB. Gay served as a member of the Conservation Division of the WIB and as Chairman of the Division of Planning and Statistics of the WIB. (The Chairman of the Division of Planning and Statistics of the WIB and the Director of the Division of Planning and Statistics of the USSB were separate positions in different agencies.)
    The War Trade Board (Oct. 12, 1917 - June 30, 1919) controlled imports and exports, and conserved commodities and shipping facilities for U.S. and Allied use. Vance C. McCormick was the Chairman of the War Trade Board and Gay was a member of the Board representing the USSB.
    In the War File series, papers relating to peace negotiations and international cooperation are in the file American Commission to Negotiate Peace - General Records. Weekly reports and staff conference summaries of the Division and Planning and Statistics (USSB) for July-August 1918 are attached to letters in the file Division of Planning and Statistics - Correspondence. The Division of Planning and Statistics (USSB) file Special Report to Edwin Francis Gay on P. A. S. Franklin, 1918, contains documentation of differences with the Shipping Control Committee Chairman about tonnage allocation between trade and military purposes and data sharing with the Allied Maritime Transport Council.
    The series Printed Matter includes speeches by Bernard M. Baruch at the Army War College and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Printed reports of federal agency offices headed by Gay are in the War File series.
    The bulk of Gay's papers are housed at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.


    United States. Council of National Defense. Commercial Economy Board.
    United States. Shipping Board.
    Paris Peace Conference (1919-1920)
    United States. War Industries Board.
    United States. War Trade Board.
    World War, 1914-1918.
    World War, 1914-1918--Economic aspects.
    World War, 1914-1918--Peace.
    World War, 1914-1918--United States.
    United States--Politics and government.
    United States--Foreign relations.
    United States. Central Bureau of Planning and Statistics.