Subfonds - Records of the World Bank History Project

Brookings World Bank History Project Team Files - Research File - International Development Assoc... Brookings World Bank History Project Team files - Interviews - Camdessus, Michael Brookings World Bank History Project Team files - Audio interview - Camdessus, Michel

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Records of the World Bank History Project


  • 1951 - 1997 (predominant 1989 - 1997) (Creation)

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Extent and medium

15.88 linear feet of textual records; 412 audio tapes; 8 audio CDs

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Name of creator

Biographical history

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. The history was to be a comprehensive analytical history, describing the evolution of the policies, operations and administration of the World Bank and its affiliates. The book would cover the Bank's history from the beginning of its operation but would focus on the years after 1970.

Brookings engaged John Lewis of the United States and Richard Webb of Peru to prepare the work and hired Devesh Kapur of India as research associate. Kapur's work became so central to the project that he became a third co-author. An international advisory committee was formed to advise the authors, and the Bank established an Internal Review Group to review the drafts and provide the Bank's views to the authors. The Bank also provided an office for the authors and a liaison officer for the project, and the authors were given unrestricted access to Bank operational files dated prior to June 30, 1991.

The first volume was written by the three co-authors and covered the overarching history of the Bank. The second volume is a series of essays on the World Bank's relations with member countries or with specific issues or organizations; the essays were written by guest authors from outside the Bank, except one written by the three principal co-authors. Although the plan was to publish in 1994, The World Bank: Its First Half Century, was not published until 1997.

Archival history

The agreement between the Bank and the Brookings Institution stipulated that the Bank would receive copies of the research materials, including interviews, digests of Bank documents, and files produced during the preparation of the history. Accordingly, following the publication of the work the project turned over to the Bank its office files, tapes of oral interviews, and word processing diskettes. The Archives copied the diskettes containing the transcripts of the oral interviews; the diskettes themselves, both those with the transcripts and those containing administrative documents and drafts, were destroyed.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This sub-fonds contains records related to the research, writing, and review of the book, The World Bank: Its First Half Century.

Research records include: audio interviews of former bank employees, persons from related institutions, and prominent external observers of the Bank; transcripts of interviews; subject files; and correspondence with Bank alumni, present and former Executive Directors, and present and former members of the Development Committee.

Records relating to the writing of the book include drafts of Volume I written by members of the Brookings Institution project and drafts of Volume II written by external authors. A small amount of background and related reports accompany the latter. Audio recordings from a conference in which many of the authors of Volume II presented their drafts is also included. Records related to the review and verification of the book are also contained in this sub-fonds. This includes correspondence between project staff, Volume II authors, and external reviewers as well as annotated copies of chapter drafts.

Records related to the verification of facts, sources, and citations are included as are records related to the project's three advisory committees.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on Access to Information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.

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Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • Records of the Office of the Historian -- World Bank History Project liaison records (WB IBRD/IDA HIST-04).

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Rules and/or conventions used

Internal World Bank Group Archives rules based on ISAD(G).

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Dates of creation revision deletion

17 March 2008




Accession area