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Oral History
Robert Oliver Oral History Interview with Loma Karklins

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Interview in five sessions, 1988-1990, with Robert W. Oliver, professor of economics emeritus, who arrived at Caltech in 1959 as an assistant professor. His principal interest was in economic development, and during his years at Caltech he also worked as a consultant to the World Bank. He was also active in the city government of Pasadena. This wide-ranging interview begins with his recollections of his education at USC and war service in the South Pacific. He describes the makeup and character of the Humanities Division (then under the chairmanship of Hallett Smith) at the time of his arrival and its evolution into the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences. His interest in Africa, and the establishment of his Technical Cooperation Seminar in the early 1960s. Recollections of Smith's retirement as chairman in "palace revolution;" roles of Lance Davis, Roger Noll, and Rodman Paul; eventual succession of Robert Huttenback. His opposition to Huttenback's appointment and criticism of Huttenback's division chairmanship. The battle over granting tenure to literature professor Jenijoy La Belle. Discusses his work on various faculty committees and his tenure as master of student houses, and comments on presidential styles of Lee DuBridge, Harold Brown, Marvin [Murph] Goldberger, and Thomas Everhart. Discusses the work of the World Bank, especially in the 1970s. Recalls his years on Pasadena's city board in the latter half of the 1960s, the struggles over variances and development projects, and his unsuccessful campaign for reelection to the board in 1973.

ID: 1990-00159
Oliver, Robert Warner (Economist)

Creation Aug. 9, 1988 through Aug. 16, 1990

MEDIUM: Sound recording; FORMAT: Sound cassette: analog; QUANTITY: 1 set (6 cassettes per set)

Topics: Humanities

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