The Mary Parker Follett Network

Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. - MPF

Seeking good home(s) for Follett background materials

Hello Network Members,

Since 1989, when I first "met" Mary Parker Follett, I've been conducting informal research on both her life and ideas. Part of my drive was to learn more about her as there was little in print at that time.

By 1995 Pauline Graham's wonderful book, Mary Parker Follett: Prophet of Management (A celebration of writings from the 1920s) was published by the Harvard Business School.

In 2003, Joan Tonn's "tome," Mary P. Follett: Creating Democracy, Transforming Management, was issued by Yale University Press, giving us the first biography of Follett, shedding light, as Follett might say, on her life while embedding her thinking and contributions in a rich intellectual history.

These two books, along with others where authors who appreciated Follett wrote about her contributions, have made a good foundation for further study.

I am now in the process of downsizing my possessions, and I'd like to see some of the information I've gathered about Follett and her friends and colleagues go to a good home or several good homes. As a consequence of my own research, I have an extensive "collection" of Follett-related materials.

I anyone wants to talk about possibilities, I'd love to hear from you.

Albie Davis (Thomaston, Maine, USA)

Views: 308

Comment by Tadit Anderson on August 23, 2009 at 9:31am
Hello y'all, I am interested in the archival project as well, particularly if it involves access via the w3. I recommend the University of Toronto Library system because they have a process where they post antique and out of print books for reading. They already have MPF's Creative Experience posted. My intersection goes far enough back that I don't remember how it happened. I was fascinated at one point by Albion Small who lived in the same general era. I have spent a lot of time dealing with cooperatives, which one would suppose would be friendly to Follett's approach. Tadit
Comment by Albie M. Davis on August 23, 2009 at 11:39am
Thanks, Tadit,

for the tip on the University of Toronto Library system. I'll check it out. If you happen to have a web address, please send it my way. First, my apologies. I may have put an earlier email from you or about your comment in my SPAM folder. I guess I have to be more careful. Thanks for the followup email. I did find out that Joan Tonn who wrote the only full biography of Follett, gave some of her materials to the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe, which is a nice home, since Follett attended Radcliffe. Perhaps they are ready to take more. However, they are limited in space and staff, so a place like U of T in Canada, which is set up to scan old books (or whatever technology they use) would be a big asset--get old books, etc. out to the public.

Betsy Geist, who is on our l list, found Anna Boynton Thompson's PhD these about Fichte on some site where Google is making books out of copyright available. Looks like some mixed media approach is in order for those wanting to give away or share their Follett materials. I'm going to google the University of Toronto and see what I find. As to cooperatives, I lived in the student cooperative at UC Berkeley, was a member of the Berkeley Coop, help start a medical coop in Sacramento, joined a babysitting coop in Washington, DC. My most recent "cooperative venture"? Joining an artists' cooperative in Maine. Too much like herding cats for me! The Rochdale principle unheard of! I looked up Albion Small. He's from Maine! Thanks for that piece of information.

Comment by Clifford L. Norman on November 15, 2009 at 7:00pm
Hello Albie, we have a web site that is focused on the Science of Improvement. I would love to add a place for Mary Parker Follett. You can locate the site at

You can read about the Southwest Quality Network. It is a group that has been focused on the Deming Philosophy for the last 20 Years. Mary Parker Follett was a focus at our session in 2008.


Comment by Albie M. Davis on November 16, 2009 at 9:49am
Hello Clifford.

I gave your site a quick look. I like the guiding premise: Southwest Quality Network - Everybody learns...everybody teaches. What a nice spirit!

My first thought is one which I've wanted to pose to members of this network. DO FOLKS HAVE MATERIALS (PhD thesis, papers, research materials, photos, etc.) THAT ARE DIGITALIZED OR THAT THEY WOULD SCAN IN ORDER TO SHARE ON THE MPF NETWORK?

I wonder if Matthew Shapiro, who took the initiative to start the network a few months back knows if we could have a separate category for such materials, "Resources" or whatever. And, everyone would have to take responsibility for copyright issues, etc. I'm going to copy my reply here and email it directly to Matt, just in case he's not following this thread.

Feel free to email me directly:

Thanks, Albie

Some of my own Follett materials which I would like to share are already scanned or scannable, and I'd be glad, over time, to let you know their nature and content. Most are more physical--books, papers, etc. and I've been thinking they might go to some physical location open to the public such as the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, MA (where Follett graduated.)


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