Emerson, Harrington, 1853-1931

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Brackett, George Augustus, 1836-1921. George A. Brackett papers, 1858-1920. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Emerson, Harrington, 1853-1931. Emerson, Harrington. Papers, 1873-1931. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Emerson, Harrington, 1853-1931. Harrington Emerson papers, 1848-1931. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Harrington Emerson papers, 1873-1931. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
referencedIn Emerson family papers, ca. 1840-1980 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Fair, E. H., Collector. Emerson's Course of Study. 1917. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Emerson family. Emerson family papers, ca. 1840-1976, bulk (1840s-1908). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Society of Mechanical Engineers. corporateBody
associatedWith Brackett, George Augustus, 1836-1921. person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Emerson Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Emerson family family
associatedWith Emerson family. family
associatedWith Emerson family. family
associatedWith Emerson Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Gantt, Henry Laurence, 1861-1919. person
associatedWith Gilbreth, Frank Bunker, 1868-1924. person
associatedWith Lincoln Land Company. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Efficiency Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Society of Industrial Engineers. corporateBody
associatedWith Taylor, Frederick Winslow, 1856-1915. person
associatedWith United States. Commission on Industrial Relations. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Interstate Commerce Commission. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Industrial management
Industrial efficiency--Study and teaching
Industrial engineering--Societies, etc
Industrial engineering
Management science
Labor unions--Management
Business consultants
Industrial efficiency


Birth 1853-08-02

Death 1931-09-02




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