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Description archivistique
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 This series contains the files of the publications - whether final or draft, articles or books, published or unpublished - that Office staff or contractors developed.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.

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.

Chronological files

This chronological series contains both incoming and outgoing correspondence transmitted through email, postal mail, or fax. Some handwritten notes between the three co-authors are included. There is no general chronological file between August 1, 1991, and June 30, 1994. Some of the correspondence includes commentary on the history of the Bank, particularly in the chronological file of John Lewis, but the majority of the messages are routine, such as requests for oral interviews and requests for data and documents from Bank offices. Other correspondence consists of comments on drafts, either on draft chapters of the history or on other writings by the authors. Two small files contain a single incoming letter from Sidney Dell (1990) and Peter Wright (1992), each enclosing multiple documents for the authors to use.

Interviews

At the first meeting of the project's advisory committee in January, 1990 the authors were advised to undertake a series of interviews. The authors agreed and embarked on an extensive interview program, ultimately talking with 149 persons. The interviews were conducted during the entire life of the project and included discussions with current and former Bank staff and executive directors, persons from related institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank, and prominent external observers of the Bank. Some of the interviews were noted in footnotes in the published volumes of The World Bank: Its First Half Century. Series contains dupicate reference copies of almost all of the original interview tapes.

A series of interviews were conducted during a research trip the authors made to India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines in November, 1991. These interviews were primarily with national leaders and focus particularly on the 1980s.

Some of the persons interviewed by the authors were also interviewed by the Bank's own oral history program; some also were interviewed by Robert Oliver for his biography of Bank president George D. Woods. The series also contains some of the transcripts from these older interviews.

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