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Inventory of the F. A. Harper papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Related Materials
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Common Subjects in Harper's Subject File

  • Title: F. A. Harper papers
    Date (inclusive): 1876-1985
    Date (bulk): 1930-1973
    Collection Number: 85025
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 98 manuscript boxes, 6 card file boxes, 1 oversize box (40.6 linear feet)
    Abstract: Correspondence, speeches and writings, memoranda, reports, clippings, and other printed matter relating to laissez-faire economic and political theory, and to economic conditions and governmental economic policy in the United States.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Harper, F. A. (Floyd Arthur), 1905-1973.


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items, computer media, and digital files. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos, films, or digital files 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 material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], F. A. Harper papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1985.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Related Materials

    Friedrich A. von Hayek papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Institute for Humane Studies miscellaneous records, Hoover Institution Archives
    Mont Pèlerin Society records, Hoover Institution Archives
    Foundation for Economic Education miscellaneous correspondence, Hoover Institution Archives
    James W. Clise papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries

    Biographical Note

    1905 February 7 Born, Middleville, Michigan
    1926 Graduated from Michigan State University
    1930 Married Marguerite Kaechele
    1930-1931 Research field agent, Federal Farm Board
    1932 Received Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Cornell University
    1932-1946 Taught at Cornell University as an instructor and professor of marketing
    1934 Business analyst, Farm Credit Association
    1937 Appointed acting head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Puerto Rico
    1943 Author, Inflation Is on Our Doorstep (co-authored with W.M. Curtiss)
    1945 Author, The World's Hunger (co-authored with F.A. Pearson)
    1946-1958 Assisted Leonard Read with founding Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and served on its staff
    1947 Attended first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society
    1948 Author, High Prices
    1949 Author, Liberty, A Path to Its Recovery
    1955 Traveled to Sweden to study socialism
    1957 Author, Why Wages Rise
    1958-1961 Senior research economist, William Volker Fund
    1961 Founded the Institute for Humane Studies
    1962-1963 Visiting professor of moral philosophy, Wabash College
    1962-1966 Various positions, Institute for Humane Studies
    1966-1973 President, Institute for Humane Studies
    1969 Author, The Crisis of the Free Market
    1973 April 21 Died
    1978-1979 Institute for Humane Studies publishes The Writings of F.A. Harper
    Harper, Marguerite K. "Reminiscence." The Writings of F. A. Harper, Volume 1. Menlo Park: Institute for Humane Studies, Inc., 1978. Accessed through Ludwig von Mises Institute: http://mises.org/
    Koch, Charles G. "Tribute." The Writings of F. A. Harper, Volume 1. Menlo Park: Institute for Humane Studies, Inc., 1978. Accessed through Ludwig von Mises Institute: http://mises.org/
    On Freedom and Free Enterprise. Ed. Mary Sennholz. New Jersy: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1956. Accessed through Ludwig von Mises Institute: http://mises.org/

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers document the career of Floyd Arthur Harper, nicknamed "Baldy," an American educator and economist who founded the Institute for Humane Studies and was a charter member of the Mont Pèlerin Society. In addition to being a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Harper was a life fellow of the International Institute of Arts & Letters in Switzerland. In a memorial to Harper, Murray Rothbard wrote, "Ever since he came to the Foundation for Economic Education in 1946 as its chief economist and theoretician, Baldy Harper, in a very real sense, has been the libertarian movement. For all these years, this gentle and lovable man, this wise and Socratic teacher, has been the heart and soul and nerve center of the libertarian cause." The collection contains correspondence, speeches and writings, reports, clippings, sound recordings, and printed matter relating to laissez-faire economic and political theory, economic conditions, and governmental economic policy in the United States.
    Harper grew up on a farm in Michigan, an experience that influenced his interest in agricultural economics. In 1932, he received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Cornell University and began his teaching career at that institution, eventually becoming a professor of marketing in the Department of Agriculture. Course materials, lectures, research and other materials from Harper's time at Cornell can be found in Boxes 91 through 94 and Box 104. From 1962 to 1963, Harper was a visiting professor of moral philosophy at Wabash College. Some of his Wabash College seminar material can be found in Box 10 and Box 52.
    In addition to being an educator, Harper was a prolific author. Many of his works discuss liberty, especially in relation to free market economics. Harper's speeches and writings, which can be found in Boxes 1 to 11, Boxes 79 to 90, and elsewhere as listed, contain drafts, lectures, correspondence, notes, outlines, conference materials, clippings, and printed matter. Some of the files contain materials labeled as unpublished. Speeches from meetings of the Mont Pèlerin Society can be found in these files. For Harper's Free Enterprise Institute lectures, see Box 95. For a bibliography of Harper's works, see Box 4 and Box 49. In 1955, Harper traveled to Sweden to study socialism and its effects on the Swedish people. With Frank B. Keith, Harper compiled a Swedish-English glossary of social science terms. This glossary, materials concerning his study, and the subject file on Sweden can be found in Boxes 53, 79, and 99 through 102.
    In 1961, Harper founded the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS), an organization dedicated to research in the humane scholarly disciplines, with a council of advisors that included Friedrich A. von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Murray N. Rothbard and a board of directors that included Charles G. Koch. Much of the correspondence found in the collection is from the time period when Harper worked for the William Volker Fund and the Institute of Humane Studies. The majority of the correspondence, left in the order it was received, is arranged in two alphabetical lists by name of correspondent, organization, or project. Many of the letters received after 1973 are address updates for the IHS mailing list (Boxes 60-78).
    Harper created the Harper System for Libraries and Files, which he used to organize his own subject files. In his subject files, individual clippings and other subject materials are numbered based on date of acquisition, with items acquired most recently taking the next available number. Although most of Harper's files follow this rule, it appears the files do contain interfiles, so that some later materials can be found with earlier materials of the same subject. In these cases and other situations where multiple documents have been grouped together by subject, several documents have the same number attached to them. A card file accompanies these items, listing subjects, authors, and other access points, then the name of the document and number assigned by Harper. The card file for Harper's subject files can be found in Boxes 54 through 56. For more information about this system, see "Harper System for Libraries and Files" (Box 13 and Box 81).
    Harper's subject files contain clippings, printed matter, excerpts, correspondence, notes, quotations, and writings by Harper and others. Subject materials for the White House Conference on Aging can be found at number 3146. Papers delivered at the 9th meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society are filed under 3425 to 3428, while a lecture by Karl Popper can be found under number 3753. Most of the earlier materials in the subject files, such as materials from the 1800s, are photocopies or transcriptions, not original documents. There are a few instances of photocopies of works published in the 1700s. For common subjects found in the subject file, see the list below.
    The majority of the collection remains in the order it was received, except for moving sound recordings in Box 105 and sorting of various folders for use.

    Common Subjects in Harper's Subject File

    To access the content, look up the subject term in the card file (Boxes 54-56, 102), note the numbers on the cards, and consult the files for those numbers (Boxes 13-49).
    Academic freedom
    Agricultural relief
    Bastiat, Frédéric
    Business cycle (and fluctuations)
    Capital formation
    Civil rights
    Clark, Colin
    Closed shop
    Colleges and universities
    Creative thinking
    Education, Federal aid for
    Federal Reserve
    Foreign aid
    FEE (Foundation for Economic Education)
    Friedman, Milton
    Government costs
    Government debt
    Government, proper role of
    Harper, F. A. publications (includes biographical material)
    Hayek, F. A.
    Health insurance, public
    Human rights
    Income distribution
    Income tax
    Interest rates
    Keynes, John Maynard
    King, Willford I.
    Labor unions
    Marx, Karl (and Marxism)
    Military training
    Mises, Ludwig von
    Mont Pèlerin Society
    National income
    Natural law
    Negroes and Negro problems (see also Don Warden file in Box 51)
    Parks, Mercer H.
    Price control
    Property rights
    Read, Leonard E.
    Rothbard, Murray
    Single tax
    Social science
    Social security
    Sorokin, Pitirim A.
    Taxes and taxation
    United Nations
    Volker Fund
    Wage rates
    World government

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Free enterprise.
    United States--Economic conditions.
    Institute for Humane Studies.