Mason Tree

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  • ID: I02781
  • Name: Edward Sagendorph Mason
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 22 FEB 1899 in Clinton, Clinton Co., IA
  • Death: 29 FEB 1992 in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Co., CA
  • Burial: MAR 1992 Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts
  • Occupation: BET 1923 AND 1985 Professor, Harvard University
  • Event: Public Service 1939 Department of Labor, Washington DC
  • Event: Education 2 JUN 1920 Harvard University, Masters
  • Event: Education 3 JUN 1923 B. Lit, Oxford University (Rhodes Schr)
  • Education: JAN 1919 University of Kansas
  • Event: Occupation 2 BET 1947 AND 1958 Dean Grad. School Public Admin, Harvard
  • Event: Public Service 2 BET 1941 AND 1944 Office of Strategic Services, Wash DC
  • Event: Public Service 3 1945 State Department, Washington, DC
  • Event: Public Service 4 1947 Econ. Advisor to Gen Marshall, Moskow Con
  • Event: Public Service 5 BET 1948 AND 1970 Presidential Commissions
  • Note:
    Edward and Marguerite resided at 9 Channing Street, Cambridge, MA from August 1936 until they moved into 1010 Memorial Drive, Cambridge in 1979. Less than two years after Marguerite's death in 1984, Edward moved to California, first alternating between Alamo and Santa Barbara in the homes of his two children, then in 1987 moving into Valle Verde, a retirement home in Santa Barbara, where he died in 1993, one week after his 93rd birthday.

    In about 1977 E.H.L. Mason and Margaret Masons visited Lincoln College at Oxford University in England. We were shown the book in which my father registered on October 13, 1920. The entries read as follows: Son of Edward Luther Mason, furniture manufacturer (deceased) (EHLM comment; It is interesting that he listed him that way, rather than superintendent of schools or life insurance salesman.) ESM's address: 818 Gilpin Place, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. (EHLM tried to find Gilpin Place, only to discover that it has disappeared. It used to exist within the Hull House complex until most of the buildings were torn down to make way for a University campus. From this we can assume that his mother Kate was living at Hull House in the summer of 1920, perhaps extending into the fall.

    For a complete history of Edward S. Mason, please refer to his Autobiography at

    Written October 31, 1976 by Edward S. Mason in a letter to his niece, Carol Manasse. This was in response to a request by Carol aimed at the fulfillment of her high school assignment:

    Dear Carol, We got your letter telling about your assignment on ancestor worship. I'll write a few lines, although this account is bound to be sketchy.

    I began teaching at Harvard in 1923 and continued teaching there until my retirement, at age 70, in 1969. I became a full professor of Economics in 1936, was Dean of the Graduate School of Public Administration fro 1947 to 1958 and became a University Professor in 1965.

    During that time I did a lot of outside work, mainly for the U.S. and other governments. My first government assignment in the 1930's was as director of the Department of Labor's studies for a congressional Committee on Monopolies. During the war, I was Chief Economist for the Office of Strategic Services and later Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. While in the OSS, I made two trips to England, one of these was marred by an airplane crash in Newfoundland in which 12 people were killed.

    In 1946 I was sent to Germany by the State Department to write a report on the US Policy on Germany. In 1947 I went to Moscow as economic advisor to General Marshall, the Secretary of State. This was to attend a meeting of the Foreign Ministers from the US, England, France and the Soviet Union. In 1961 I was asked by President Kennedy to go to Egypt to talk with President Nasser about Egypt's development planning. In the period after the war, I had a number of other government assignments including membership on four Presidential Commissions.

    During my early years at Harvard, my principal field of interest was industrial organization and government/business relations. Most of the books and articles were in this field. But, beginning in about 1953, my interests and my teaching turned to the question of economic development in less developed countries as did my teaching. Since then, all of my outside work has been in this area. This activity led to the founding of the Development Advisory Service in about 1962 and with which I am still connected. Advisory missions have been sent to a large number of countries, including Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Columbia, Argentina and others.

    My interests in development problems led to a long connection with the World Bank. My first assignment was as head of a Survey Mission to Uganda in 1962 and your grandmother and I spent 4 months in East Africa at that time. Since then I have had many Bank assignments both in Washington and abroad. My last was in November 1975 in Indonesia.

    In the course of my work abroad I became conscious of the need of government officials for further training in economics and administration. In 1956, I started a training program at the School of Public Administration for these people and since then, about 20 people a year have come to Harvard for this purpose. They were called Public Service Fellows, but since my retirement, they are called Mason Fellows.

    I have kept on working since retirement. In 1974 I published a large book on the World Bank and I am now directing a study on the modernization of Korea.

    This is pretty sketchy, but I hope that it will give you enough. I wish you well. Send us a copy of your paper when you write it.

    Love, Grandpa.

    From Social Security Death Records: Social Security number was 013-26-4392

    Biography, excerpts from several sources: Edward Sagendorph Mason (1899 - 1992):
    Mason was born in Clinton, Iowa, raised in Corunna, Michigan, finished high school in Lawrence Kansas and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Kansas in 1919. He did his graduate work in economics at Harvard, receiving an AM and a Ph D from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He was a Rhodes Scholar and earned a Bachelor of Literature degree from Oxford in 1923.
    During World War II, he served as chief economist for the Office of Strategic Services and deputy to the Assistant Secretary of State. He was an economic planner for the formation of the United Nations and the design of the Marshall Plan. In 1946, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom for his work in collecting and analyzing social, political, and economic intelligence on European countries during the war. He was chief economic adviser for the United States at the Moscow Conference in 1947, President of the American Economics Association in 1962 and Acting Dean of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences during the period of student unrest in 1969. During his early academic work, he pioneered he field of Industrial Organization. The last half of his career was primarily devoted to economic development and he greatly expanded Harvard's teaching and research in this field. Over the years, he sat on many Government panels and Presidential commissions, especially those concerning economic development. He had a long association with the World Bank and co-authored "The History of the World Bank Since Bretton Woods."

    He led an 18-month advisory mission to Pakistan in 1954-55, after which he was instrumental in formulating an economic development plan for the country. In the years that followed, there were similar activities in many other countries and Harvard became a leading center for research in development. Early on, Mason determined that mid-level government and NGO personnel from these less-developed countries could benefit from a year of study at Harvard. This led, in the fall of 1957, to the establishment of a fellowship program at Harvard in international development, now known at the Edward S. Mason Program in Public Policy and Management in Developing Countries. He considered this program to be his greatest legacy.

    Mason began his Harvard teaching career in 1923, while working toward his doctorate. By 1936, he was a full professor, and in 1947 he became dean of the Graduate School of Public Administration. He remained dean for 11 years. He taught at Harvard for 46 years and was a University Professor on his retirement in 1969. He died in 1992 at the age of 93.

    American Philosophical Society, Article by:
    RAYMOND VERNON, Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs, Emeritus, Harvard University
    JOHN T. Dunlop, Lamont University Professor, Emeritus, Harvard University

    EDWARD SAGENDORPH MASON (22 February 1899 29 February 1992)

    Edward S. Mason was born 22 February 1899 in Clinton, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1919 and began his graduate work that fall in the Harvard Department of Economics, with which he would be associated throughout his career. After a year and an A.M. degree, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. He returned to Harvard to complete his Ph.D. degree in economics in early 1925 with a dissertation on "Dumping A Study of Certain International Trade Practices," written under the supervision of F. W. Taussig.

    The first course Edward Mason taught in the 1920s to Harvard undergraduates was Programs of Social Reconstruction which was renamed History of Socialism and later transformed to Economics of Socialism in the early 1930s. These interests and a continuing disposition toward social history are reflected in his first book, The Paris Commune (1930). He wrote in the preface, "My chief concern throughout has been to assign to the revolution its place in the history of the socialist movement."

    Edward Mason received his tenure appointment in 1932, the same year he published Street Railways of Massachusetts (volume 37 in the Harvard Economics Series). The research exhibited his growing interests in business and government relations and the factors shaping the performance of business enterprises. By the mid 1930s he was teaching undergraduate courses on The Corporation and its Regulation and on Industrial Organization and Control. He was also associated with senior colleagues in graduate courses in this new field and in public utilities.

    He focused attention on market structures, corporate organization and current issues of price policy and corporate governance, as well as on regulation and anti trust policies. Professor Joe Bain would write in the preface to his Industrial Organization, ". . . a primary obligation must be recognized to Professor E. S. Mason of Harvard, who in large part created and developed the modem Industrial Organization field and who introduced me to it in the 1930s." And so it was with a stream of
    advanced students in economics and law. They created the dominant paradigm of the industry study, exploring the relationship between industry structure, the conduct of enterprises, and the resulting economic performance. Edward Masonís own views on business and public policy are briefly stated in the introductory chapter (pp. 1 24) to his edited volume, The Corporation in Modern Society (1961).

    In this phase of his career, Edward Mason served as chairman of the Conference on Price Research established in 1938 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and he closely supervised the volume Cost Behavior and Price Policy (1943). He also worked with the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the preparation of its volumes for the Temporary National Economic Committee.

    With the advent of World War II Edward Mason became chief economist in the Office of Strategic Services, commencing a decade or more of active involvement in wartime and postwar advising and participation in international economic policy making. In 1945 he was appointed deputy to the assistant secretary of state for economic affairs and in 1947 a member of the President's Committee on the Marshall Plan. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom for his distinguished service.

    His Controlling World Trade (1947) was one of the early scholarly works on cartels and commodity agreements that was in part developed in his graduate seminar on Industrial Organization and Commodity Controls, in the immediate post war period. He also served in 1951-52 as a member of the President's Committee on Materials Policy (Paley Committee).

    For the years 1947-58, while continuing his seminar on Business Organization and Control, Edward Mason served as dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Public Administration, now the John R Kennedy School of Government. (He also served as acting dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for a few months in 1969.) His views on training for the public service are reflected in his preface (1953) to Public Policy, a yearbook of the school: "In the realm of public policy there are no economic problems, no political problems, no legal problems; there are merely problems.... It is the beginning of wisdom for the student as well as the practitioner of public administration that departments and disciplines leave off where action begins." He was to make the recommendation that the school provide for some appointments of its own rather than drawing its faculty entirely from other schools and departments at Harvard. This step was vital to the emergence of the present School of Government.

    In 1956 the Regional Plan Association requested Dean Mason and the school to undertake a three year study of the New York Metropolitan Region (twenty two counties). The undertaking as a whole was placed under the direction of Raymond Vernon. It was Edward Masonís vision and perspicacity in this instance, as with so many of his projects, to foresee, at a time few knew or cared about urban problems, that the economic, political, and social forces shaping metropolitan regions were creating a tinder box that was to ignite a decade later.

    In 1961 Edward Mason served as president of the American Economic Association. In the same period (1959-61) he chaired the Research and Policy Committee of the Committee on Economic Development. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    In 1954 Edward Mason had directed an eight person team that drew up a development plan for Pakistan, and in 1958 he did a similar exercise for Iran. These ventures, drawing on his previous interests, governmental roles, and sense of potentials, were to begin a new direction in his career that was largely to occupy him until retirement in 1969 and on into the 1980s. It was the Pakistan project that led to the establishment of the Development Advisory Service (now the Harvard Institute for International Development), which assists developing country governments to enhance their capacity for economic analysis and planning. Many of the best economists in the development field worked on these projects and have brought the experience gained to the classrooms of various universities. Edward Mason taught the first development course at Harvard with associates from these projects.

    These development projects also led to the creation of a mid career master's degree program allowing government officials from developing countries to spend a period at the Harvard School of Government. This Mason Fellows Program provides a continuing institutional reminder of his contributions to economic development analysis and planning. But Edward Mason remained active in HIID long after his retirement from teaching. In co authorship with Robert E. Asher, he published a major work, The World Bank Since Bretton Woods (1973). Economic and Social Modernization in Korea (1980) is a ten volume authoritative analysis of that country's development undertaken by a binational team of experts under his direction and editorship.

    Edward Mason had married Marguerite Sisson La Monte on 4 April 1930. Their children were Jane Carroll, Edward H. L., and Robert, a stepson. Masonís last five years were spent in California, where he was close to his family and where he died on 29 February 1992 at the age of ninety three.

    Edward Mason was a solid person of widely respected judgments. But he also had an intuitive and gambling spirit that was perceptive in the anticipation of problems, in an eagerness to explore new ideas and reshape old institutions, and in the discernment of promise in the selection of colleagues for his enterprises. In an era that saw economics focus on aggregate analysis or ever more abstract micro economics and econometric procedures, Edward Mason steadfastly persisted in the quest of understanding business organizations in their relations to public policies, as well as the processes of institution building and interaction in economic development.

    Edward S. Mason was elected in 1954 to the American Philosophical Society

    World War I Draft Registration Card: Edward Sagendorph Mason, Douglas County, Birth Date 22 Feb 1899, Roll #1643513. Age 19, living at 1116 La (Louisiana?) St. Lawrence, KS. Student at Kansas University. Listed as nearest relative is Kate S. Mason at same address. Date of Registration was Sep 12, 1918. Physical characteristics: Tall, stout build with gray eyes and light hair.

    Father: Edward Luther Mason b: 12 DEC 1869 in Owosso, Shiawassee Co.,MI
    Mother: Kate Sagendorph b: 6 APR 1870 in Charlotte, Eaton Co., MI

    Marriage 1 Marguerite Sisson b: 8 OCT 1899 in Minneapolis, Hennepin Co., MN
    • Married: 4 APR 1930 in First Unitarian Chuch, Cambridge, MA
    1. Has Children Living Mason
    2. Has Children Living Mason
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