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Wallace Brett Donham '99, Dean of the Harvard Business School from 1919 to 1942, died last night at his home in Cambridge. He was 77.
Under his leadership, the Harvard Business School grew from a small, pioneering institute with no buildings of its own, into a major graduate school with more than 1000 students.
As Dean, Donham developed the "case method" of teaching business administration by the study of actual experiences from day-to-day business life. He was also a leader in the scientific study of human relations, and after World War II helped to introduce human relations courses in Harvard College.
Before becoming dean of the Business School, Donham had served as Vice-President of the Old Colony Trust Company from 1906 until 1919. He expressed his business philosophy in two books, "Business Adrift" in 1931 and "Business Looks at the Unforeseen" in 1932.
Donham served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Harvard-Yenching Institute from 1934 until his death.
When he resigned from the deanship in 1942, Donham still continued as George F. Baker Professor of Business Administration until 1948. During this six year period, he especially studied the human factor in economic relationships. His book, "Education for Responsible Living," in 1944 was a critique of college education and stressed the importance of courses in human relations.
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