Emerson, Harrington, 1853-1931

Alternative names
Birth 1853-08-02
Death 1931-09-02

Biographical notes:

Harrington Emerson was one of America's pioneers in industrial engineering and management and organizational theory. His major contributions were to install his management methods at many industrial firms and to promote the ideas of scientific management and efficiency to a mass audience.

From the description of Harrington Emerson papers, 1848-1931. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 47439120

  • 1853: Born Trenton, N. J. Son of Edwin and Mary Louise Emerson. Educated in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Greece.
  • 1870's: Married Florence Brooke, one son, Raffe
  • 1876: Headed Modern Language Department, Univ. of Nebraska
  • 1882: Left university to engage in banking and real estate with his brother, S.D.I. Emerson
  • 1885 - 91 : Did special economic and engineering research work for the Burlington Railroad
  • 1895: Married Mary Crawford Supple, 3 daughters, Louise, Isabel and Margaret
  • 1895 - 99 : Served as U.S. representative of a British syndicate Investing in America - investigated finances and operations of many industrial plants and mines, in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada
  • 1899 - 01 : Managed a glass manufacturing company
  • 1901 - 07 : Active as professional consulting management engineer
  • 1904 - 07 : Carried out the reorganization of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe RR; introduced a bonus plan, standard costs, accounting by tabulating machines, and planned maintenance for equipment and rolling stock
  • 1907 - 11 : Called one of the principal witnesses in the "Eastern rates case'
  • 1911: Named to Civilian Expert Board on Industrial Management of U.S. Navy Yards to investigate the functions and conditions of the yards
  • 1921: Appointed member of the Hoover Committee for the Elimination of Haste in Industry; assigned to cover the coal and railroad Industries
  • 1929: Attended the International Management Congress in Paris
  • 1931: Died on Sept. 2, aged 78, in New York City

From the guide to the Harrington Emerson papers, 1873-1931., (Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library)


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  • Industrial management
  • Railroads--Management
  • Industrial efficiency--Study and teaching
  • Industrial engineering--Societies, etc
  • Presidents--Election--1896
  • Industrial engineering
  • Management science
  • Labor unions--Management
  • Business consultants
  • Industrial efficiency


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