Spreading the Word: (The Word is Gulick)


Luther Gulick spent much of his career in Washington, reorganizing the executive branch for President Franklin Roosevelt in later years of the Depression, overseeing military production and refugee relief during World War II, and planning the postwar peace. So it was fitting for three members of our Baruch Library Archives team to travel to Washington on Monday, Oct. 17, to tell the story of…well, Luther Gulick in Washington, as well as Luther Gulick in Japan…and New York… and Germany….

Never ones to miss a chance to promote our historic Institute of Public Administration Collection and Luther Gulick Papers, we jumped at an invitation by Prof. Brian J. Cook of Virginia Tech to deliver a web and oral presentation at the Marvin Center of The George Washington University on the figure we call “The Man Who Loved Government.”

What better time, in fact, three weeks before a momentous national referendum on the role of government and who was fit or unfit to lead it?

And to our delight, who turned out for the occasion but four members of the Gulick clan?

Here’s the leaflet that went out:


Co-sponsoring the event at George Washington’s Cloyd Heck Marvin Center


were the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration and its director Kathryn Newcomer https://tspppa.gwu.edu/, and Administration & Society http://aas.sagepub.com/, the scholarly journal edited by Dr. Cook. https://profiles.spia.vt.edu/bcook/

Joining us there were Denny Gulick, Luther’s nephew (a son of Luther’s baby brother Sidney Jr.) and Denny’s wife, Frances, both math professors at the University of Maryland; and Lisa and Leslie Gulick, granddaughters of Luther — their father was Luther’s son Luther Jr.

Leslie is a retired physician, and Lisa is Assistant Commissioner of Planning, Research and Policy in the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

We made a point of bringing down one of the Gulick tee-shirts we had made up for last November’s annual conference, in Brooklyn, of NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration  — here’s Ralph displaying it:


and we presented it to Denny, the senior Gulick there:


(That’s Lisa, on the left; Leslie and Frances next to Denny.)

We looked for Denny’s father, Luther’s brother, in this photo of the missionary family from 1901.


That’s young Luther on the right. But it turned out that Sidney Jr. was not yet born — he came along a year later.

Ralph talked about Gulick’s achievements and the treasures of the collection (highlighted in earlier posts). Things like the signed letter from Albert Einstein, and the vintage posters and maps.

Einstein Letter



Jessica discussed the ongoing digitization process,


using high-tech equipment like our ATIZ book-scanner

atiz 3

and Steven described the processing and organization of the collection, and access procedures for scholars and researchers.



(He’s not in the Washington photos because he took the photos.) But we found one of him anyway.

use this

All we can say is, too bad the Acela wasn’t around in Luther’s day.


Psst! Wanna Buy a…Torpedo Boat?

Luther Gulick was instrumental in mobilizing industry to fight World War II, so it’s no surprise the IPA Collection includes a good sampling of vintage war posters from 1944. Collectors prize these originals.



But we were particularly struck by this one calling on patriotic Americans to “Back the Attack” by investing in War Bonds — Uncle Sam needed the loans to pay for the war.


The captions, interestingly, put a pricetag on the particular military equipment the money would buy. An Army jeep cost $1,165 in 1944 dollars — that would be the equivalent of about $15,942 today. A walkie-talkie? $200 — $2,737 today. A flamethrower? $950  — $13,000 today. All the way up to a medium tank, $57,570 ($787,835 today); a motor torpedo boat, $500,000 ($6.8 million today); and an LST, or landing ship tank, $2 million ($27.3 million today).

But those price conversions seriously misrepresent the skyrocketing costs of military equipment since. That’s largely a function of the increasing sophistication of modern weaponry. But it’s also attributable to what the D-Day hero and postwar President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned was the appetite of the military-industrial complex.

So an armored Humvee (a grown-up jeep) will today cost as much as $600,000. An Abrams M1 tank, $8.5 million (still perhaps a bargain compared to the top-of-the line French AMX-56 at $12.6 million.) A Seawolf class nuclear submarine will run you $3.5 billion (again, the French have a pricier version in their Triomphant class sub at more than $4 billion each). And the latest American aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, is coming in at more than $13 billion. With two sister carriers, the trio will set American taxpayers back at least $42 billion.


Well, war (and peace) is expensive. World War II (apart from the horrific loss of life) cost more than $4 trillion in today’s dollars, as we noted in a previous post. https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/ipaprocessing/2014/09/the-cost-of-war 

But not all war equipment is costlier today. Cell phones are cheaper than walkie-talkies. And you can buy yourself a flamethrower these days for under $1,800.


How quaint it all seems back then!