Rare Book & Manuscript Library

David Hamburg papers, 1949-2003

Summary Information


David A. Hamburg Papers (1950 - 2004, 841 boxes) document life and work of David A. Hamburg, a scholar, public health expert and president of Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1982 to 1997, who helped improve the quality of life and education for young people and worked to prevent violent conflict among nations

At a Glance

Call No.: CC#0005
Bib ID 5419526 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Hamburg, David A., 1925-
Title David Hamburg papers, 1949-2003
Physical Description 353 linear feet (836 document boxes 5 flat boxes)
Language(s) English .
Access You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Boxes 612-615 contain patient records and are restricted until 2060.

Some unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized. Email rbml@columbia.edu for more information.



Arranged in 14 series.



The collection consists of correspondence, memoranda, documents, minutes, reports, manuscripts, notes, calendars, photographs, audio recordings, awards and other realia and printed materials. The correspondence and memoranda are of various scientists and educators, public figures, leaders of organized philanthropy, government officials, board members and staff of various national, foreign and international organizations It relates to clinical and field research, policy development, administrative responsibilities, teaching, writing and speaking, performed by Dr. David Hamburg throughout his long and distinguished career.

  • Series I: Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1965-2003

    This series contains the materials relating to dr. Hamburg's activities as a President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the title he assumed in 1982. His corporation files frequently contain earlier background material on various subjects, or fragments of his own earlier writings, which he edited and used as building blocks for subsequent projects. The files reflect five formal program areas, established by Carnegie Corporation : Avoiding Nuclear War (ANW); Education: Science, Technology and the Economy; Prevention of Damage to Children; Strengthening Human Resources in Developing Countries (HRDC); and Special Projects The materials in this series are closely related to the Carnegie Corporation of New York Records collection, held in the RBML. . For official records, such as Board of Trustees documents and grant information, please see the Carnegie Corporation of New York Records. In cases, when holdings, such as agenda books, or printed materials, duplicated between the two collections, the items, already held in the Carnegie Corporation of New York Records were weeded from the Hamburg papers.

  • Series II: United States Government, 1984-2001

    The series pertains to Hamburg's advisory work for various agencies from the executive branch of the U.S. Government. It contains correspondence with various government officials and the White House, minutes of meetings, research materials, recommendations and reports. The series initially contained a large number of printed official U.S. government documents, which are preserved and available elsewhere. These publications were discarded, unless they contained manuscript notes by Hamburg; only their title or front pages were retained in order to document the fact of their presence in the collection.

  • Series III: Correspondence, 1957-2003

    Alphabetical correspondence files under individual or institutional names were maintained in many offices throughout Dr. Hamburg's career. This is the record of Dr. Hamburg's external correspondence in his various capacities. During his subsequent projects, he often took some of the files out of their original sequences, as he needed them, and added them to new filing systems, associated with his ongoing work. Restoring original order proved impossible, and all these correspondence files have been sorted into a single alphabetical sequence for Individuals (III.1) and another one for Institutions (III.2). From the later period, we have chronological correspondence as well (Series III.3).

  • Series IV: Stanford University, 1944-2003

    Correspondence, writings and speeches, meeting minutes, research data, marked-up background material, academic conference presentations, and student projects dated from 1951-1999 relating to HAMBURG's work at Stanford as a faculty member (since 1961), his work on non-human primates (NHP) there, his work on the SU Board of Trustees and the SU-Institute for International Studies Board of Visitors, and the Human Biology Middle Grades Curriculum Project. Of note is the correspondence with Jane Goodall and other NHP researchers in Gombe, and materials on late 1960s higher education controversies at Stanford and elsewhere. Series organized into five subseries, material within subseries is organized chronologically. See also the Commonwealth Fund correspondence file in Series III.2 (supported much of Hamburg's research in early 1970s).

  • Series V: Institute of Medicine (IOM), 1952-1997

    Materials dating from 1967 to 1982 relating to Hamburg's work as president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in Washington DC. Materials in the IOM series relate to Hamburg's time as IOM President, 1975-1980, and his later correspondence as IOM member, but not to his collaboration with IOM as the Carnegie Corporation President, such as CISAC (documented in the grant files of the Carnegie Corporation of New York records and in Carnegie Corporation of New York series of this collection). The series contains general background, working papers, memoranda relating to various public health and health policy issues of the late 1970s. Also contains materials relating to the history and organization of the Institute of Medicine. Series organized into two sub-series: general/chronological and background; sub-series are organized chronologically.

  • Series VI: Harvard University, 1975-2003

    From 1980 to 1983, Hamburg served as director of the university-wide Division of Health Policy Research and Education and John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. The series consists some earlier contacts with Harvard initial correspondence and appointment, miscellaneous policy proposals, co-written with Elena Nightingale, and.applying a cross-disciplinary approach to health policy issues. Also included is Hamburg's correspondence with MacArthur Foundation relating to his appointment as the John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy. The series also contains correspondence, proceedings and handouts from various events in Harvard, in which Hamburg participated, after he left Harvard employment.

  • Series VII: Board and Advisory Work, 1974-2002

    Series consists of meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, memoranda, and printed materials related to the policy decisions of various organizations, where David Hamburg was involved for short-time projects, in advisory capacity or as a trustee. His work for US government and for United Nations agencies is not part of this series; it was processed as separate Series II and Series IX respectively. For more information on Dr. Hamburg's acitivies related to these institutions, see their correspondence files in Series III.2; for Pocantico Institute of Technology see also the correspondence files for its sponsors, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Rockefeller Foundation. Additional activities related to NIMH are documented in the Stanford series.

  • Series VIII: Early Career, 1941-1966

    Materials dated from 1941-1961 relating to Hamburg's work as a clinical and research psychiatrist at Walter Read Medical Center, Michael Reese Hospital, and NIMH prior to Stanford appointment. Of particular interest is the body of notes, memos, and papers relating to the NIMH research, which sheds light not only on Hamburg's biography but also on the history of medicine, especially psychiatric research practices, in the mid-20th century US. Series includes also background materials on mid-century medical and social science, and notes on patients which will be sealed for 50 years. Series organized into four subseries: General/Chronological, background, NIMH r esearch, and patient files to be sealed; sub-series are organized chronologically, except the backround, which is thematically organized, and follows Hamburg's reference sub categories put in chronological order

  • Series IX: United Nations Agencies, 1971-2003

    The series contains meeting minutes, correspondence, research materials and subject files documenting Hamburg's work in international organizations on a variety of health, behavior, education and conflict resolution subjects. The agencies include UNESCO, several World Health Organization Committees (Advisory Committee on Medical Research, Pan American Committee on Health Research Policies, Research and Training in Tropical Diseases), and Office of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, including Refugee Education Trust project. For additional information see also Institutonal Correspondence (Sereis III.2) for these institutions, particularly ms. boxes 386-388.

  • Series X: Writings and Speeches, 1949-2003

    Series contains Dr. Hamburg's remarks, speeches, articles, and books, CVs, Lists of Publications and presentations, reprints, and related materials. Since Hamburg tended to consult and reuse his previous works on later occasions, many older writings are grouped together with newer works that are based on them, and, occasionally, with other background materials. Many articles are undated and/or fragmentary. Some of Hamburg's writings are found in Alpha Files when associated with a person or institution, or under specific project/subject area, or in the institution-based series of the years corresponding to this period.

  • Series XI: Biographical Files, 1949-2003

    This series contains various materials relating to dr. Hamburg's life and work, but not specifically pertaining to any given project or organization.

  • Series XII: Background Research Materials, 1950-2000

    Subject files of clippings and printed materials All subseries with "Background" in the title contain outside published materials (books, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, reports etc.); and 3rd party unpublished writings (conference papers; other writings not clearly directly done for CCNY) related to whatever series they are connected to. Most large series have their own "background" subseries, though in some "background" is included-- this will be noted in the contents description. Some "background" materials that are included in folders with other memos, notes, etc. will appear in the main series. Some material in "background" series include marginal reading notes or very brief coverletters.

  • Series XIII: Audiovisual Materials, 1974-2000

    This small series, described on folder and item level, consists of photographs, slide and transparencies, audio, video, and digital materials from David Hamburg collection. Audio and video materials primarily represent conference presentations and addresses, many of them were digitized for preservation and access purposes, including reel-to-reel audio tapes of a Hamburg-Goodall presentation during the Burg Wartenstein Conference #62 "The Behavior of Great Apes" organized by David Hamburg and Jane Goodall in August of 1974.

  • Series XIV: Realia, 1970-2001

    Medals, plaques and framed award certificates given to David Hamburg by various organizations over the course of his career.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Boxes 612-615 contain patient records and are restricted until 2060.

Some unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized. Email rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of the Carnegie Collection, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); David Hamburg papers; Box and Folder; Carnegie Collections, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material at Columbia

Carnegie Corporation of New York Records


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Ownership and Custodial History

Gift of David A. Hamburg and Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2005.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2005.2006.M059: Source of acquisition--David A. Hamburg and Carnegie Corp. Date of acquisition--9/29/2005.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed Jane Gorjevsky, Alyssa Meyers, Gania Barlow, Elizabeth Bonnette, Oliver Batham, Timothy Donahue, Brianna Gibson and Kevin Johnson 2009-2012.

Revision Description

2012-11-09 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sound recordings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carnegie Council on Children Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carter, Jimmy, 1924- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Child development Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clinton, Bill, 1946- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clinton, Hillary Rodham Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Education -- Africa, Sub-Saharan Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Education -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Goodall, Jane, 1934- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gorbachev, Mikhail Sergeevich, 1931- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gregorian, Vartan Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hamburg, David A., 1925- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Harvard University. Division of Health Policy Research and Education Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Institute of Medicine (U.S.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International relations -- Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Occupation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Science -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social sciences -- Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
South Africa Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Stanford University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United Nations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
United States -- Social policy Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Born in 1925 in Evansville, Indiana, David Alan Hamburg attended Indiana University and its medical school, receiving his M.D. in 1947. In the 1950s, Hamburg, a psychiatrist, distinguished himself as a pioneering investigator of stress and anxiety beginning at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C. (1952-53) and then at the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training at the Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago (1953-56). Hamburg continued his research at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, CA. As chair of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, Hamburg established a new department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, distinguished by its breadth of research on behavioral biology, especially in relation to mental illness. While chief of the adult psychiatry branch at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, 1958-61), he created one of the nation's first clinical research centers to combine psychological and biological factors in studying depression.

In 1975, while serving as Reed-Hodgson Professor of Human Biology at Stanford (1972-76), Hamburg was confronted with a crisis that would re-direct his focus from psychiatric research to contemporary social problems. Four of Hamburg's students, studying primate behavior under the direction of Jane Goodall at a remote research station in Gombe, Tanzania, were abducted by armed rebels from Zaire (now Congo) and held for ransom and other demands. Hamburg immediately flew to Gombe and spent 10 weeks negotiating their release.

His vivid exposure to violence, disease and poverty during this time prompted him to devote his energies to using science to help meet social needs. In 1975 he became president of the Institute of Medicine, the health policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences, where he developed major initiatives on health and behavior, health promotion and disease prevention, and the health needs of the underserved as well as developing nations. From 1980 to 1983, Hamburg served as director of the university-wide Division of Health Policy Research and Education and John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA., applying his signature cross-disciplinary approach to health policy issues.

After David Hamburg became president of Carnegie Corporation of New York in December 1982, the Corporation sought to mobilize the best scientific and scholarly talent and thinking to address contemporary issues from early childhood to international relations, using a comprehensive inter-disciplinary approach.

During Hamburg's tenure as president, the Corporation placed a priority on the education and healthy development of children and adolescents and the preparation of youth for a scientific, technological and knowledge-driven world. Three major study groups were formed to cover the educational and developmental needs of children and youth from birth to age 15: the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1986), the Carnegie Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children (1991), and the Carnegie Task Force on Learning in the Primary Grades (1994). Jointly with the Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Corporation also financed the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, whose report, What Matters Most (1996), provided a framework and agenda for teacher education reform across the country. Characteristically these study groups drew on the knowledge generated by the previous Carnegie grant programs and from relevant fields and inspired follow up grantmaking to implement the recommendations. At that time David Hamburg also chaired the Forum on Adolescence, a joint effort of the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council to assess adolescent health and development.

In 1984, the Corporation established the Carnegie Commission on Education and the Economy. Through its major publication, A Nation Prepared (1986), the foundation reaffirmed the role of the teacher as the "best hope" for ensuring educational excellence in elementary and secondary education. An outgrowth of that report was the establishment, a year later, of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to consider ways of attracting able candidates to the teaching profession and recognizing and retaining them. At the Corporation's initiative, the American Association for the Advancement of Science issued two groundbreaking reports, Science for All Americans (1989) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy (1993), which recommended a common core of learning in science, mathematics, and technology for all citizens and helped set national standards of achievement in these domains.

Hamburg introduced an entirely new focus for the Corporation --- the danger to world peace posed by the superpower confrontation and weapons of mass destruction. The foundation underwrote scientific study of the feasibility of the proposed federal Strategic Defense Initiative and joined the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in supporting the analytic work of a new generation of arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Corporation grants helped promote the concept of cooperative security among erstwhile adversaries and projects to build democratic institutions in the former Soviet Union and central Europe. An important undertaking was the Prevention of Proliferation Task Force, coordinated under a grant to the Brookings Institution, which inspired the Nunn–Lugar Amendment to the Soviet Threat Reduction Act of 1991 aimed at dismantling Soviet nuclear weapons and reducing proliferation risks. Beginning in the mid-1990s, the Corporation addressed the problems of interethnic and regional conflict and supported projects seeking to diminish the risks of a wider war stemming from civil strife. Two Carnegie commissions, one on Reducing the Nuclear Danger (1990), the other on Preventing Deadly Conflict (1994), together addressed the full range of dangers associated with human conflict and the use of weapons of mass destruction. The Corporation's thrust in Commonwealth Africa, meanwhile, shifted to women's health and leadership development and the application of science and technology, including new information systems, in fostering research and expertise within indigenous scientific institutions and universities.

Under Hamburg, dissemination achieved even greater primacy in the arsenal of strategic philanthropy. Emphasis was on consolidation and diffusion of the best available knowledge from social science and education research and the use of such research in improving social policy and practice. Major partners in these endeavors were leading institutions that had the capability to influence public thought and action. Hamburg made increasing use of the Corporation's powers to convene leaders and experts across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries to forge policy consensus and promote collaboration.

In the international security field, Hamburg served on many policy advisory boards, including the Executive Panel for the Chief of Naval Operations, the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control, and the U.S.-Soviet Joint Study Group on Crisis Prevention. He was a member of the Defense Policy Board of the Department of Defense and co-chair, with Cyrus Vance, of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. In 2006, Hamburg was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to chair the UN Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention.

In science policy, he chaired several national groups, including committees and advisory boards of the Institute of Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Science Foundation. From 1976 to 1988, he served on the Advisory Committee on Medical Research of the World Health Organization. He was president and board chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 1984 to 1986. The Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government (1988-1993), recommended ways that government at all levels could make more effective use of science and technology in their operations and policies. In 1994, Hamburg was appointed to the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, and in 1996, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

From his background in public health, he brought a preventive orientation to serious problems. Across all of these programs, the common thread, said Hamburg, is the "prevention of rotten outcomes." Hamburg believed that "from child and adolescent development to international relations, the underlying logic is the same: Prevention begins with anticipation, even with long-range foresight, in which research can identify risk factors and point to steps that can be taken to counteract or avoid an undesirable outcome, and pivotal institutions can cooperate in shaping behavior away from risk factors and dangerous directions."

Hamburg served on the boards of Rockefeller University, the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and the American Museum of Natural History, New York City; and the Johann Jacobs Foundation, Zurich. He was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as author of numerous books and scholarly articles.