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Guide to the Bureau of Public Administration archives, 1921-1962
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • History
  • Scope and content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Bureau of Public Administration Archives,
    Date (inclusive): 1921-1962
    Collection Number: CU-46
    Creator: University of California (1868-1952). Bureau of Public Administration
    Extent: 12 boxes
    Repository: The Bancroft Library. University Archives.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Box 1-8: Chiefly correspondence between the Bureau of Public Administration and local, state and federal organizations; private organizations; civic, statewide and regional committees and councils; legislators and other individuals with regard to matters of public administration and policy.

    Box 9-10: The files express the Bureau's relationship with the Administration of the University of California, Berkeley.

    Box 11-12: Personal papers of Samuel S. May, including correspondence and teaching material; his students' notebooks and research papers; and miscellaneous Bureau-directed research.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Bureau of Public Administration archives, CU-46, University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


    Founded by Samuel C. May, Professor of Political Science, in 1921 as an adjunct to the Political Science Dept., it became independent in the 1930s. In 1962 it became the Institute of Governmental Studies.

    Scope and content

    CU-46 consists of the office files from the Bureau of Public Administration accumulated during the years of Samuel C. May's direction, 1921-1955, and includes some files from the late 1950s when Milton Chernin was the Bureau's director. In 1962 the name of the Bureau was changed to the Institute of Governmental Studies.
    The Bureau was founded by Samuel C. May, Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley, as a center for research and training in the areas of public administration and public policy. The Bureau functioned as an adjunct of the Political Science department and became an independent unit in the 1930s. The Bureau functioned as a library and clearinghouse for publications, as a sponsor for original research, and as a center for training undergraduates and graduate students in public administration. In the 1920s the Bureau functioned primarily as a library, notable for its collection of fugitive publications. In the 1930s the Bureau expanded its role as a service organization by providing original studies and research papers to legislators and state officials. (This series of publications, the “Legislative Problem Series,” is housed separately from the collection in the IGS library.) During the 1930s and 1940s the Bureau expanded its role in state politics by providing “legislative service” which included stationing Bureau members in Sacramento. In the 1950s the Bureau emphasized its role as a research organization rather then its role as a service organization. The change of the name to Institute of Governmental Studies reflected the change in the organization's goals. From its inception, the Bureau concerned itself with public policy and administrative matters on the local (city, county), statewide, regional (western) and federal levels.
    Samuel C. May was the force behind the Bureau's inception and growth during its first thirty years. CU-46 documents May's leadership of the Bureau, not only in the files containing his personal papers, but thoughout the collection as a whole. The collection traces May's memberships in professional, civic, statewide and national committees, councils and organizations (as well as functionary in such organizations on behalf of the Bureau), and his career as administrator and professor.