Register of the J. Burke Knapp papers

Finding aid prepared by Beth Goder
Hoover Institution Library and Archives
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-6003

Title: J. Burke Knapp papers
Date (inclusive): 1888-1997
Collection Number: 92039
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 9 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 envelope (3.9 Linear Feet)
Abstract: Writings, correspondence, memoranda, reports, transcripts of interviews, and memorabilia, relating to activities of the World Bank in funding development programs in Latin American and other developing countries, and to miscellaneous aspects of foreign economic policy of the United States government.
Creator: Knapp, J. Burke (Joseph Burke), 1913-2009
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


Box 9 may not be used without permission of the Archivist. The remainder of the collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1992.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], J. Burke Knapp papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

Biographical Note

1913 Born in Portland, Oregon
1933 AB in Economics, Stanford University
1935 BA, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Oxford University
1939 MA, Oxford University
1936-1940 Assistant to Managing Director, Brown Harriman & Co., Ltd.
1940-1944 Assistant Chief, International Section, Federal Reserve Board
1944-1945 Adviser on German Economic Affairs, U.S. Department of State and U.S. Military Government in Germany
1945-1948 Special Assistant to the Chairman, Federal Reserve Board
1948-1949 Director, Office of Financial and Development Policy, U.S. Department of State
1949 Assistant Director, Economic Department, World Bank
1950 Economic Advisor, U.S. Delegation to NATO Treaty Council, London, England
1951-1952 U.S. Co-Chairman, Joint Brazilian-United States Economic Development Commission
1952-1955 Director, Department of Operations for the Western Hemisphere, World Bank
1956-1972 Vice President, Operations (Chairman of the Loan Committee), World Bank
1972-1978 Senior Vice President, Operations (Chairman of the Loan Committee), World Bank
1978-1981 Consultant to World Bank on policy matters
1982-1991 Senior International Advisor, Morgan Grenfell & Co.
2009 Death

Scope and Content of Collection

The J. Burke Knapp papers include writings, correspondence, memoranda, reports, transcripts of interviews, and memorabilia related to activities of the World Bank in funding development programs in Latin American and other developing countries, and to miscellaneous aspects of foreign economic policy of the United States government.
Knapp was an economist who was employed by the Federal Reserve, United States Department of State, and the World Bank. The Biographical File includes a memoir Knapp wrote in 1997 which contains a summary of his career, childhood, and family life. The memoir details his experiences as an economic advisor to Ambassador Robert Murphy in Germany at the end of World War II, as an unofficial attendee of the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 and attendee of the organizing conference of the World Bank and IMF in 1946, and as an employee of the World Bank. Many of these subjects are also discussed in the Interviews.
The World Bank File, which comprises the bulk of the collection, includes correspondence and memoranda documenting Knapp's work as vice president of the Department of Operations (a role also referred to as chairman of the Loan Committee) of the World Bank.
The collection includes Photographs of Knapp meeting world leaders Chiang Kai-shek, Kwame Nkrumah, and Jawaharlal Nehru, as well as attached letters from both Kai-shek and Nehru.
Many folders contain explanatory notes, labeled commentary, which Knapp wrote in the early 1990s to describe the contents of files and their relation to the historical period, or to provide an explanation of his work.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Economic assistance, American
Economic assistance
Economic development
Developing countries
Banks and banking, International
Economic assistance -- Latin America
World Bank


Biographical File 1997, undated

Scope and Contents

Contains a resume; a list of countries where Knapp traveled, organized by year; and a memoir detailing Knapp's family life and career. Arranged alphabetically by format.
box 1, folder 1

Memoir, "An Anecdotal Chronicle" 1997

box 1, folder 2

Resume undated

box 1, folder 3

Travel list undated


Interviews 1969-1995

Scope and Contents

Contains transcripts of inteviews of Knapp by various institutions, including the World Bank. Arranged chronologically.
box 1, folder 4

Oral History Research Office, Columbia University 1969

box 1, folder 5-7

Harry S. Truman Library, 1975

box 1, folder 8

World Bank Oral History Program 1981

box 1, folder 9

California Institute of Technology, 1986

box 1, folder 10

World Bank History Project 1991-1995


Speeches and Writings 1932-1992

Scope and Contents

Contains typescripts of economics speeches, Knapp's thesis, and an essay for his Rhodes Scholarship application. For Knapp's memoir, see the Biographical File. Arranged chrnologically.
box 2, folder 1

Essay for Rhodes Scholarship application 1932, 1992

box 2, folder 2

"The Policy of Switzerland in the Construction of the Collective Peace System," thesis 1936, 1992

box 2, folder 3

"The Balance of Payments Approach in the European Recovery Program," 1947, 1992

box 2, folder 4

Speech summary, Swedish National Commitee of the International Chamber of Commerce 1978

box 2, folder 5

Speech, Atlantic Institute, Paris meeting 1979

box 2, folder 6

Speech, Development Banks in the 1980's Conference, Zurich 1979


Career File 1945-1992

Scope and Contents

Includes memoranda, reports, and commentary related to Knapp's work at the State Department, his time as chairman for the Joint Brazilian-United States Economic Development Commission, and his consulting work. Arranged alphabetically by project or employer.
box 2, folder 7-8

Inter-American Development Bank 1986, 1992


Joint Brazil-United States Economic Development Commission

box 2, folder 9

Commentary on reports 1992

box 2, folder 10

Memoranda 1951-1953


Report, "The Development of Brazil," 1953

box 2, folder 11

Report, "The Development of Brazil," 1953

box 3, folder 3-4

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 1981-1983, 1992

box 2, folder 12

Reports of consultants, "Brazilian Technical Studies," circa 1954


State Department

box 3, folder 1

Technical Committee on Berlin Currency Problems, report and commentary 1949, 1991

box 3, folder 2

U.S. military government in Germany, memoranda and commentary 1945, 1991


World Bank File 1962-1992

Scope and Contents

Contains memoranda, correspondence, reports, clippings, and commentary documenting Knapp's work for the World Bank. Arranged alphabetically by format.

Chronological file

Scope and Contents

Consists mainly of correspondence and memoranda
box 3, folder 5-7


box 3, folder 8-9


box 3, folder 10-11


box 3, folder 12


box 4, folder 1

1967 (cont'd.)

box 4, folder 2-4


box 4, folder 5-7


box 4, folder 8


box 5, folder 1

1970 (cont'd.)

box 5, folder 2-3


box 5, folder 4-5


box 5, folder 6-7


box 5, folder 8


box 6, folder 1

1974 (cont'd.)

box 6, folder 2-3


box 6, folder 4-5


box 6, folder 6-8


box 6, folder 9


box 7, folder 1

1978 (cont'd.)

box 7, folder 2


box 7, folder 3


box 7, folder 4




box 8, folder 1

General 1962-1980

box 8, folder 2-3

McNamara, Robert 1972-1976


Subject file

box 8, folder 4-6

Propsed Energy Fund 1992


Printed Matter 1888-1974

Scope and Contents

Includes a pamphlet with information about Stanford University published in 1888, shortly after the university was founded. Arranged in chronological order.
box 8, folder 7

"Souvenir of the Leland Stanford Jr. University," pamphlet 1888

box 8, folder 8

Liberté I: Négritude et Humanisme, monograph, 1964

Scope and Contents

box 10, folder 1

Pour une economie populaire et révolutionnaire, monograph 1974


Photographs 1949-1963

Scope and Contents

Includes prints of Knapp meeting world leaders, as well as attached letters from Chiang Kai-shek and Jawaharlal Nehru.
box 10, folder 2

Kai-shek, Chiang 1963

Scope and Contents

2 prints depicting Knapp with Chiang Kai-shek, Soong Mei-ling, Gordon Street, C. K. Yen, Michael Lejune, A. C. Chen, and Martin Wong. Includes letter from Chiang Kai-shek
box 10, folder 3

Nehru, Jawaharlal 1958

Scope and Contents

Includes letter from Nehru
box 10, folder 4

Nkrumah, Kwame 1960

box 10, folder 5

Portraits of Knapp undated

envelope mA

Four-Power Conference on Germany 1949

Scope and Contents

1 print depicting the members of the U.S. delegation to the Four-Power Conference on Germany in Paris, France

Oversize Materials undated

Scope and Contents

Contains porcelain freedom bell given to Knapp in 1963 by Willy Brandt, Mayor of Berlin, for service to Berlin during the Berlin Blockade
box 9

Bell undated


Box 9 may not be used without permission of the Archivist.