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Interview with Horace Gilbert, 1978-02-10 - 1978-02-28, 1979


Scope and Contents

Interview in 1978 with Horace N. Gilbert, emeritus professor of economics. Gilbert joined Caltech's Humanities Division in 1929, having previously been an instructor at his alma mater, the Harvard Business School. He specialized in business economics and industrial policy, particularly the aircraft industry, and his familiarity with aircraft manufacture led him into defense-related work during and immediately after World War II. This interview contains his recollections of Harvard Business School in the 1920s, the early years of Caltech's Humanities Division under Clinton Judy and William Bennett Munro, the leadership of Robert A. Millikan, and Gilbert's trips to Western Europe and Russia in the 1930s. He discusses extensively his war-related work, including a 1940-42 leave of absence to teach in Harvard Business School's industrial mobilization program, the 1945 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, consulting for the Air Materiel Command, and his work on the postwar Allied High Commission in Germany with John J. McCloy. Upon his return to Caltech in 1951, Professor Gilbert joined the Vista Project, a Caltech study of tactical nuclear warfare for the Defense Department. He comments on the effects of the McCarthy era at Caltech as exemplified by the cases of Tsien, Pauling, and Oppenheimer, and the responses of President Lee A. Dubridge and Dean Earnest Watson. Recalls his work on Caltech's Committee for Foreign Students and his return visit to the U.S.S.R. in the late 1950s. Evaluates DuBridge's presidency as contrasted with the administration of Caltech by the Executive Council under R. A. Millikan.


  • 1978-02-10 - 1978-02-28
  • Publication: 1979


Conditions Governing Access

Most edited transcripts are available to researchers on the web at Audio recordings and additional transcripts are available in the reading room at the Caltech Archives. When additional restrictions apply to specific interviews, they are noted in the finding aid.


37 computer files : audio and transcript

1 books : 105 pages

5 audiocassettes (Compact Cassette)

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository

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