University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Fred Telford - Charles Polk Messick

1913 - 1972

Manuscript Collection Number: 108
Accessioned: Gift of Charles Polk Messick, 1971.
Extent: 12 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, reports, manuscripts, and printed material.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1990 by Kim Sebold; revised in June 1993 by Paul Dziewisz.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note

The relationship between Fred Telford and Charles Polk Messick began in 1917. The pair, relatively new to public administration, met while working for separate firms on a project in Canada. For the next 50 years, Telford and Messick collaborated on numerous occasions to help advance the theory and practice of public personnel administration.

Fred Telford, born in 1881, received a philosophy degree from the University of Chicago in 1918 and a Master of Arts from George Washington University in psychology and political science in 1925. While in school, Telford was beginning a distinguished career in the personnel profession. In 1913 he began a position with the Illinois State Civil Service Commission and, four years later, joined the staff of Griffenhagen and Associates, Ltd., where he met Charles Polk Messick. The meeting eventually led to a full-time position for Telford as a senior staff member with the Bureau of Public Personnel Administration.

Beginning with the Bureau in 1922, Telford encountered many opportunities to further his knowledge of the personnel field. He performed research work, advised both public and private organizations on how to improve their personnel systems, and edited the monthly magazine Public Personnel Studies. His work was well received and he was promoted to Director of the Bureau in 1924. Through this position, Telford continued his work with Messick, and became associated with William Gorham Rice and F. A. Moss. These men proved to be valuable colleagues and friends for the duration of Telford's career. The Bureau of Public Personnel Administration closed in 1932, a casualty of the Depression.

In May 1935, Telford received a job with the Works Progress Administration as a member of the headquarters staff. While there, his particular interests led him to focus on those procedures for personnel projects which were used to provide employment for white collar workers. He also focused on writing manuals for use in personnel records, classification, salary plans, some phases of recruiting, the collection and analysis of leave of absence data, and service ratings.

In 1936, Telford left the Works Progress Administration and began working as a consultant for public and private organizations. Telford provided consultation for the United States and Canadian governments and for the Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and California state governments. In addition he worked for the following municipalities: Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Toledo, Portland, Los Angeles, Columbus, and Minneapolis. Telford's consulting involved position classification, salary levels, recruiting in all its phases, employee ratings, and most other personnel operations, including personnel legislation and personnel regulations. As a consultant, Telford met another important connection, William Brownrigg, the executive officer of the State of California State Personnel Board. The two corresponded regularly throughout the rest of their careers.

In 1949, Telford took a position as Senior Associate on the staff of Charles P. Messick and Associates. Messick and Associates participated in consulting and advisory work for national, state, and municipal governments as well as private organizations. These included the state of Massachusetts, the cities of Newark and Cincinnati, the Delaware Commission for the Feeble Minded, the Masonic Home of Burlington, the Chrysler Corporation, Delaware Power and Light Company, and New Castle County Water Company, among others. The firm also enjoyed a close working relationship with McDowell-Mitchell Associates, management consultants in the area of public relations. The two organizations used their affiliate status in order to provide a new, more extensive and integrated service through the utilization of their experienced and competent personnel.

Charles P. Messick was born in Sussex County Delaware on June 1, 1882. He received his master's degree in 1909 at Delaware College (University of Delaware). In 1910 he earned another master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. That same year he moved to New Jersey and began teaching.

Messick began work with the New Jersey State Civil Service Commission as a special examiner in 1910 and served as assistant chief examiner of the Commission from 1915-1917. From 1917-1949, Messick served as the Commission's chief examiner and supervised some 75,000 positions in New Jersey's state and local government services. This position enabled Messick to influence the creation of many civil service administrations in the United States and Canada. His work encouraged many state and local governments to set up some form of a civil service system. Messick believed that public personnel systems should be used for reasons other than curbing the control of politicians over public offices. He thought that the public service offices could be professionalized and thus better serve the public.

While serving as the New Jersey Commission's chief examiner, Messick also organized and presided over the Board of Trustees of the Bureau of Public Personnel Administration that served as the headquarters staff of the Civil Service Assembly of the United States and Canada. He also held almost every office in the Assembly, including the offices of vice president, president, and member and chairman of the executive council. In addition, he served on every important committee created by the Civil Service Assembly. It was after his retirement from the New Jersey State Civil Service Commission that Messick began Charles P. Messick and Associations.

Telford remained with Messick and Associates until the 1960s. While working for Messick, Telford began to revise his old classification and pay manuals and wrote new treatises on personnel management during the 1950s and 1960s. He relied on the expertise of Charles Messick and William Brownrigg to help edit his works. Included in his published works are The Telford Classification Manual, published posthumously, Personnel Principles and Practices, The Principles of Public Personnel Administration, and various magazine articles.

It was Charles Messick, in the 1920s, who urged Fred Telford to begin writing a treatise on personnel administration. Upon his death in the early 1970s, the work was still not complete. Messick, however, was able to piece together the work into a finished product before his own death in 1978 as a tribute to the life work of Fred Telford.

Scope and Content Note

The Fred Telford - Charles Polk Messick papers includes material generated during the careers of the two men and spans the dates 1913-1972. The 12 linear feet of material includes correspondence, reports, manuscripts, and printed material.

The materials of this collection are from the personal papers of Fred Telford. Telford was encouraged by Charles Messick in the late 1960s to donate the papers to the University and the acquisition was completed in 1971.

The collection surveys the history of public personnel administration through the personal writings and professional work of Telford and Messick. This collection provides valuable information about the evolution of public personnel administration. It features manuscripts on an assortment of personnel topics; correspondence with important figures in the field such as William Brownrigg, F.A. Moss, and William Gorham Rice; and recommendations on personnel problems in various areas of the country. Since both men began their careers during the founding of the civil service program, their thoughts chronicle the evolution of personnel administration. From the early writings of the 1920s, which attempted to define the field and the relationship of its actors, to the theoretical debates captured in Telford's exchange with William Brownrigg, to Telford's late publications on the science and art of personnel management, this collection provides a significant source for research on the history of public administration.

Specific topics discussed include classification systems and job definitions, pay scales, efficiency rating reports, and examinations for employment. Finally, the printed material adds insight into the other professional interests of Telford and Messick.

The collection is arranged into five series. Series I, Telford Correspondence, is highlighted by an ongoing dialog with William Brownrigg regarding Telford's public administration theories. The series also includes correspondence between Telford and various municipalities seeking both advice and his services.

The second series contains the product of Telford's many professional projects. Included are public administration proposals for many large cities and as well as several states.

Series III, Manuscripts, displays the formal writings of Telford, Messick, and others. The fourth series consists of material regarding job classification. It includes the various tests and evaluation methods used through the years in various regions with respect to many different jobs. Finally, series V is comprised of printed material collected by Telford throughout his lifetime.

Series List


I.   Telford Correspondence, 1913-1972

     1.   General
     2.   Letter exchange with William Brownrigg

II.  Personnel Administration Projects

     1.   State and local government
     2.   Federal bureaus and agencies

III. Manuscripts

     1.   Fred Telford
     2.   Charles P. Messick
     3.   Public Personnel Studies
     4.   Authored by others

IV.  Classification Materials

     1.   General
     2.   Performance evaluations
     3.   Exams, tests, and questionnaires
     4.   Personnel Administration

V.   Printed Material

     1.   Books, reports, and pamphlets
     2.   Periodicals       

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1         Series I.  Telford correspondence, 1913-1965
               This series contains letters, memoranda, and reports regarding the public
               administration work of Fred Telford and the many agencies with which he
               worked.  It contains two subseries, one in chronological order and the
               other an exchange of letters.

Series I.1. General, 1913-1965 This subseries traces the correspondence of Fred Telford through his many years of employment. The content of the correspondence is consistent with Telford's job transitions summarized in the biographical note. Among the noteworthy subjects are the Griffenhagen Agency, the Oakland Free Library, Charles P. Messick and Associates, the Bureau of Public Personnel Administration, and several requests for both Telford's services and his informal advice.

F1 1913 Oct 3 F2 1923 Aug-Sep F3 1925 Jan F4 Feb F5 Mar F6 Mar F7 1926 Jun F8 Jul-Oct F9 1928 Jan F10 Jun F11 Jul F12 1930 Civil Service Assembly of the US and Canada. "Report of Technical Committee on Rules for the Installation and Administration of Classification and Compensation Plans." F13 1932 Mar-Apr F14 Jul 8 Memorandum written by Telford suggesting improvements to the classification plan of the Department of Civil Service. F15 1932 Jul-Dec F16 1933 Jan-Jun Reports to the Committee on Finance-Printing F17 Report #2, 1934 Sep 11 F18 Report #3, 1934 Sep 15 F19 Report #6, 1934 Sep 17 F20 Summary Report, 1934 Sep 21 F21 Report #7, 1934 Sep 22 F22 1935 Oct-Nov F23 Dec F24 1936 Jan-Feb F25 May F26 Sep-Dec F27 1938 Apr-Jul F28 Aug-Oct F29 1939 Jan-Feb F30 Mar-May F31 Jun F32 Jul F33 Sep F34 Oct-Dec F35 1940 Jan-Feb F36 Mar-Apr F37 May F38 Jun F39 Jul F40 Sep F41 Oct-Nov F42 Dec F43 1941 Feb F44 Apr F45 1940 Dec - 1941 May F46 1941 Jun-Jul F47 1943 Jun F48 1944 Sep F49 Oct F50 Nov F51 1946 Feb-Oct F52 1950 Aug F53 1951 Aug-Nov F54 1952 Jan-Nov F55 1953 F56 1954 Oct F57 1955 F58 1956 Jan-Mar F59 Apr F60 May F61 Oct-Dec F62 1957 Mar-Dec F63 1958 Jan-Dec F64 1961 F65 1962 Jan F66 1963 2 F67 1964 F68 1965 F69 Undated Series I.2. Telford-Brownrigg Correspondence, 1954, 1961-1964 The subseries is a theoretical exchange between Fred Telford and William Brownrigg regarding the latter's notion of a "human enterprise process" in public administration. F70 Telford - Brownrigg correspondence 2 Series II. State and Local Projects, 1919-1963 This series contains the output from numerous projects with which Fred Telford was involved. Clients include state and local governments as well as federal agencies. The projects were undertaken during Telford's employment with several agencies including Griffenhagen and Associates, the Bureau of Public Personnel Administration, Works Progress Administration, and Messick and Associates. Series II.1. California State Finance Board F71 Reports, tests, and questionnaires F72 Reports, tests, and questionnaires, 1932-1940 City of Los Angeles F73 Civil Service Commission, 1950-1955 Los Angeles County F74 Los Angeles County Bureau of Efficiency, 1929 City of San Diego F75 Recommended pay scales for classes of positions in the classified service, 1932-1934 F76 An ordinance establishing a schedule of compensation for offices and employees, 1932-1933 F77 Installation of the adjusted schedule of compensation, 1933-1934 F78 News clippings, 1933 F79 San Diego Civil Service Commission, 1933 San Diego County F80 Amended Compensation Plan, 1941-1942 F81 Article 17 County Charter on Civil Service F82 Charter and Administrative Code, 1935 Jun Series II.2. Connecticut New Haven F83 Personnel Study F84 Classification of city positions and compensation schedules, 1938 Series II.3. Delaware F85 State Draft of a Personnel Act, 1952 F86 Delaware Commission for the Feeble Minded, 1954 Series II.4. Indiana F87 Indianapolis. Citizens Advisory Committee, 1944 Two reports and a speech apparently sent for Telford's review. Series II.5. Maryland F88 State Employment Commission, 1932 Mar 1 Series II.6. Massachusetts F89 Miscellaneous pamphlets, 1953-1954 F90 Miscellaneous reports, 1953-1954 Series II.7. Michigan F91 Civil Service Department, 1938-1941 F92 Civil Service Department, 1938 Aug F93 Qualifying examination for personnel classification administrators, 1938 Jun F94 State Personnel Director, 1938 Jul F95 City of Hamtramck, 1957 Series II.8. New Jersey Civil Service Commission F96 Compensation Plan, 1956 F97 Constitution of the State of New Jersey, 1960 F98 State Chamber of Commerce report, 1934 F99 Regulations-Civil Service Department, 1944 May 5 F100 Schematic lists, 1947 F101 1919-1920 F102 1935 F103 Survey report of cartage allowances for milk subdealers, 1953 City of Burlington F104 Report on the personnel program procedures and products of the Masonic Home and Charity Foundation of New Jersey, 1956 City of Newark F105 Newark Public Library, 1946 F106 Board of city commissions, 1950 3 F107 Classification and pay report, 1950 F108 Classification and pay plans F109 Police and fire academy, 1950 F110 Standardization and classification, 1950 F111 Complete specifications for the classes covering the Newark City Service, 1951 F112 Complete specifications for the classes covering the Newark City Service, 1951 Telford's copy. F113 The principal classification and pay procedures, 1950 City of Passaic F114 Prepared classification and pay plans, 1950 City of Trenton F115 Report on the New Jersey State Civil Service Commission by Theodore H. Smith, president, 1947 Series II.9. New York City of Binghamton F116 Chamber of Commerce Reports of Bureau of Public Personnel, 1932 F117 Proposed pay plan, 1932 F118 Draft of personnel rules, 1933 F119 Service rating regulation suggested for the Binghamton City Hospital West Chester County F120 Miscellaneous reports, 1932-1940 F121 Miscellaneous reports, 1933-1941 3 Series II. State and Local (cont'd) Series II.10. Ohio F122 State Employment Service City of Cincinnati F123 Department of personnel wage data, 1931 F124 Public personnel administration, 1936 F125 Miscellaneous reports and questionnaires, 1938-1955 F126 Bureau of Government Research - position descriptions, 1939 F127 Suggested pay plan for nonprofessional positions, 1947 F128 Study of present salary schedule of the professional employees and analysis of operations, 1950 F129 Department of Personnel wage and salary schedule, 1952 F130 Personnel classification and pay plan, vol. I - II, 1956 F131 Personnel classification and pay plan, vol. III, 1956 4 F132 Wage and salary schedules, 1956 F133 Waste collection, 1956 F134 Memorandum of suggested changes in civil service laws F135 Miscellaneous government pamphlets, 1953-1956 F136 Job classifications Series II.11. Pennsylvania City of Philadelphia F137 Suggested personnel program contained in the new charter for the city, 1951 Series II.12. Wisconsin Bureau of Personnel F138 Bureau of Personnel F139 Examination for Personnel Director, 1939 City of Milwaukee F140 Milwaukee government service, 1936 F141 Offices and positions F142 Various state examinations F143 Civil Service Commission exams F144 Civil Service Commission exams (more) Series II.13. Special Commission on the Structure of State Governments F145 Pay report, 1954 F146 Reports, 1953 F147 Pay data, January 1, 1954 F148 Pay data, January 1, 1954 (copy of F 147) F149 Pay data, March 15, 1954 Series II.14. Bureau of Public Personnel Administration, 1923-1929 F150 Annual report of the director, 1923 Jun 30 F151 Statements requested by G.A. Bowers, 1925 Mar 2 F152 Aptitude tests for elementary and high school teachers, 1929 F153 "The Present Status of Service Rating Systems," 1933 Series II.15. Department of Labor F154 Outline, suggested course for personnel trainees, 1939 F155 "Position classification and pay plans-their development, installation, and administration in the public service," 1939 F156 Directions for the use of fanfold personnel form (1939 Apr 6), Executive Orders (1938 Jun 24), Stenographers Handbook (1942 Mar), and Occupational Analysis Publications (1945 Nov) F157 Survey of the motion picture industry, 1941 F158 Exemptions survey of the motion pictures industry, 1941 F159 Specifications for immigrations positions F160 Synopsis of activities - border port or station, 1939 F161 Regulations covering the adoption and administration of classification, pay, and efficiency rating plans for field positions in the immigration and naturalization process, 1940 Apr 17 F162 Specifications for certain classes of positions in the field service of the Immigration and Nationalization Service, 1940 Jun 13 4 Series II. State and Local (cont'd) Series II.16. Works Progress Administration, 1935-1937 F163 Labor assignment organization and procedure, 1935 Sep 6, Oct 18, and Nov 6 F164 Labor employment procedure, Bulletin 7A, 1936 Jan 31 WPA Project Manual F165 Classifications of positions, 1936 Jun F166 Classifications of positions, 1936 Jun F167 Classifications of positions, 1936 Jun F168 pp. 70-105, 1936 F169 pp. 106-140, 1936 Jun

F170 pp. 141-185, 1936 Jun 5 F171 Manual for leaders of foremanship conferences, 1936 F172 Installation of comprehensive personnel service records, August 28, 1937 Series II.17. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics F173 Manual of class specifications, 1948 Oct 15 F174 NACA administrative supplement to federal personnel manual, 1952 Jan 25 F175 Proposals and reports, 1958 Oct-1963 Nov Series II.18. Veterans Administration F176 Various class specifications, 1946-1947 Series II.19. United States miscellaneous government reports, (1951) F177 Report from the Council of Personnel Administration; Charles P. Messick and Assoc. report: "Essential steps involved in establishing a sound civilian personnel system for the national government of the U.S."

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