Edward Ackerman: Sustainability Pioneer

Portrait of Edward Ackerman, Ackerman Papers

Edward Augustus Ackerman (1911-1973), was a geographer and water resources authority. He earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1939 and was a professor at Harvard from 1940 to 1948. Ackerman served as a technical advisor on natural resources to U.S. occupational forces in Japan from 1946 to 1948 and then was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1948 to 1955. From 1952 to 1954, he served as assistant general manager of the Tennessee Valley Authority and became director of the water resources program of Resources for the Future from 1954 to 1958. Ackerman then became director of the Carnegie Institution from 1958 to 1973. He also served as a trustee of the Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies from 1964 to 1969. Ackerman served on several committees and panels pertaining to land use, population growth, long range planning, and environment and conservation issues.

The Edward Ackerman Papers contain material relating to his career in the sustainable management of natural resources, including his work on committees, task forces, and consulting. Much of this material consists of reports and correspondence regarding resource development planning throughout the United States, Japan, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. The collection also contains Ackerman’s publications, speeches, and professional conference papers; correspondence; material from conferences and professional organizations, particularly the Association of American Geographers; reports and supporting material; and miscellaneous office files containing photos, correspondence, and research.  The Ackerman Papers document the nascency of modern environmentalism.

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