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Records of the Office of the Historian
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Publications

The terms of reference for the Office of the Historian included the responsibility to develop and maintain an authoritative record of events . . and maintain a running narrative of them, prepare background papers and ad hoc histories, and select and prepare records for publication. This series contains the files of the publications - whether final or draft, articles or books, published or unpublished - that Office staff or contractors developed. Some files contain only the final publication, while others include background documents and occasional correspondence.

Correspondence/manuscripts by former staff

When the Historian's office was established, a number of former Bank staff contributed documents or reminiscences to the office. This series includes the incoming correspondence and the enclosed papers, reports and manuscripts, some written by the sender and others written by colleagues of the sender. The items cover various topics, including: early Bank operations (William Katzenstein's Budgeting in the World Bank, 1947-1956); language training; and the Young Professionals program.

Items within this series may also be found among the records of the Bank, but these copies were regarded by their authors or possessors as so significant that the Historian's office needed to be made aware of them.

World Bank History Project liaison records

In 1989 the World Bank commissioned the Brookings Institution to prepare a history of the Bank as part of the commemoration of the Bank's fiftieth anniversary. Originally planned for publication in 1994, the two volume work, The World Bank: Its First Half Century, was published in 1997. When the Office of the Historian was established at the beginning of 1993, the task of liaison between the Bank and Brookings and the authors fell to the Historian. This series documents the evolving relationship between the Bank and the Brookings Institution's World Bank History Project, both before and after the establishment of the Historian's Office.

The first subseries, the chronological General Files, shows the genesis of the idea for a history (including copies of documents on the Bank's history dating back to December 1967), the funding of the project, and the administration of the relationship between the Bank and the Brookings Institution. Files contain a transcript of the meeting of the project advisory committee in 1993.

An Internal Review Group was established by the Bank in 1993 to read and comment on each chapter produced by the project. The Office of the Historian served as secretary for the group, both sending out chapters for review and transmitting the group members' comments to the project. The second subseries is the correspondence of the historian with the group and with the project.

The Office of the Historian conducted its own oral history program at the same time as the World Bank History Project wasinterviewing people for the fiftieth anniversary volumes. Each program provided some copies of interviews to the other, and the third sub-series contains a file about the interviews, including lists of persons interviewed by the project, and duplicate copies of rough transcripts of some project interviews, including those with World Bank Group presidents A.W. Clausen, Barber B. Conable, and Lewis T. Preston.

The fourth subseries is the draft of the history, arranged by volume and thereunder by chapter. Nocopy exists for chapter 8 of volume II. The copies are not annotated.

Chronological files

This chronological series primarily contains outgoing letters and memoranda. Many of the items relate to the oral history program: making appointments for interviews; sending proposed questions; and sending transcripts to the person interviewed. Other memoranda send Bank reviewers draft chapters from the World Bank history project and send comments to the project from the reviewers; some memoranda also send the work of the Historian's Office out for comment. Letters and memoranda to the Brookings Institution and to senior Bank staff track the progress of the history project.

Administrative files

This series reflects a variety of the activities undertaken by the Office of the Historian. The activities file contains lists of oral histories conducted by the project and lists of records the historian had when the office closed. The Paris file reports on records that are in the Bank's Paris office, while the CPP file reports on the master set of Country Program Papers, Country Strategy Papers, and Country Assistance Strategy Papers. A file that relates to the Presidents' papers includes: notes on the contents and a few copies of documents from the Eugene Meyer papers at the Library of Congress; notes, descriptions, and a list of George Woods' papers at Columbia University Library; and series descriptions of McNamara's records in the Bank.

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