1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY
1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY

Rufus Edward Miles, Jr. Papers


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Miles served fifteen years as a top level administrator at the Federal Security Agency and the Department of Health Education and Welfare.


Miles, Jr., Rufus Edward
Date Coverage:
8 cubic ft. (about 8 boxes)

Rufus Edward Miles Jr. was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 14, 1910 and grew up in that same state in Columbus "in the shadow of Ohio State University". His father was a New Englander who attended Amherst and Harvard and was one of the first individuals engaged in the new profession of "public administration". Rufus' mother, Mable Arnold Rufus, was a graduate of Radcliffe, a professional social worker and eventually president of the Columbus Chapter of the League of Women Voters. Both parents were Unitarians and descendants of ancestors who came over on the Mayflower in 1620 [Some of his biographical details are contained in Miles' manuscript "True Tales From Tin Lizzy Time and Other Sketches", unpublished manuscript, 1983 especially in his "prefatory note" p. 1-5. A sketch of the essential details of his career are contained in Who's Who in America, 43rd. ed., vol. II. Chicago: Marquis, 1984].

Rufus Miles attended Antioch College where in 1932 he won a nationwide essay contest on the subject of "How Can American Colleges Promote World Peace". His essay, later published in the American Scholar, was an outline of a college course concerning war with particular emphasis on the role of irrationality [His essay was reprinted in a book of essays for college use: "A Student Requests a Course on War" in Essays of Three Decades. New York: Harper, 1939]. His leanings toward pacifism was modified by the advent of Hitler's aggressions. He remained however a lifelong advocate for the disarmament of conventional and nuclear weapons [Miles, "An Innocent Half-Student in Pre-Hitler Germany" in "True Tales..." p. 24-25]. He also maintained a belief in government intervention as a benign force for bringing about social change [Perhaps best expressed in Miles' history of HEW, The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (New York: Praeger, 1974), 299-300].

Miles graduated from Antioch in 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression. He subsequently embarked on a lifetime career as a public administrator, bureaucrat and writer on public issues. His first position was that of budget officer for the Ohio Relief Production Units (1934-1935) which he describes as "a modest and unsuccessful experiment in state socialism" [Rufus E. Miles, "Index of Papers and Accompanying Explanatory Notes of Rufus E. Miles, Jr"., unpublished manuscript, 1988(?) p. 1]. His first federal position was that of Ohio Superintendent of Selection for the Civilian Conservation Corp. (1935-1936). This was followed by a distinguished career in Washington D.C. in a series of federal positions: Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corp for Selection (1936-1941), The Navy Department, Bureau of Ships, Finance Division (1942-1945), various posts at the Bureau of the Budget (1941-1942) and (1945-1950), Assistant Administrator of the Federal Security Agency (1950-1955). The remainder of Miles' career was spent at the Department of Health Education and Welfare where he regarded himself as the "male midwife" for that newly formed bureaucracy [as Rufus E. Miles describes himself in "Index of Papers..." p.]. There he held the positions of Director of Administration (1953-1955) and (1956-1961), Comptroller (1955), Administrative Assistant Secretary (1961-1964) Assistant Secretary for Administration (1964-1965). The title of "Assistant Secretary" was specifically designed for Miles as a top official who would be expected to continue from one administration to another. During this period he served under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson and under six Cabinet Secretaries: Hobby, Folsom, Flemming, Ribicoff, Celebrezze and Gardner.

Upon his retirement from public service he was appointed a lecturer in public affairs and Director of the Mid-Career Program at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (1966-1975) and then as a Senior Fellow at that same School (1975-1982).

Among Rufus Miles' publications are Now They are Men (Washington DC: National Home Library Foundation, 1940), a ghostwritten paperback about the Civilian Conservation Corps; [The author of record is James J. McEntee, the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corp.] The Department of Health Education and Welfare (Praeger, 1974), a history of that agency; A Cabinet Department of Education (American Council on Education, 1976). In the latter he took the lead in making the analytical arguments for a cabinet level Department separate from HEW, a position which became a reality, under Jimmy Carter, in 1979. In 1976 he authored Awakening From the American Dream: The Social and Political Consequences of Growth (Universe, 1976). In this work he argued that future high-level economic growth was not sustainable and envisioned a future less affluent but a caring society based on a new value of doing with less. This influential book, published during a period of general pessimism about the future economy [The economy was in recession between 1973 and 1975], was a runner-up for the National Book Award in 1977. It may well have been an influence on President Carter's controversial "malaise" speech at the mid-term of his administration. Throughout his lengthy and distinguished career, Miles also wrote newspaper and journal articles dealing with the subjects of population control, energy consumption, world peace and public administration. Many of the latter articles appeared in Public Administration Review.

Rufus E. Miles Jr. married Nelle Mary Petrouski in 1938. They had two children: Barbara Miles and Mary (Mrs. Joseph Patten). Mrs. Miles died in 1988. Rufus Miles died in Ithaca, New York on April 9, 1996 at age 85. He is survived by his children and his second wife, Elizabeth Klaer Miles.

Rufus E. Miles, Jr. papers contain published and unpublished essays and articles, personnel papers, proposed draft legislation, memoranda, public testimony, lectures, addresses and speeches, reports, opinion pieces in journals and newspapers, correspondence, photos and awards primarily related to his fifteen years as a top level administrator at the Federal Security Agency and the Department of Health Education and Welfare (1950-1965).

The same types of papers, also including course related materials, conferences, and award programs, are contained in his papers while serving as a faculty member at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (1965-1976) and then as a Senior Fellow at that same institution (1976-1982). This period holds papers related to his service on President Johnson's Task Force on Government Organization (1964-1967), President Nixon's Transition Task Force (1968) and Nixon's Advisory Council on Management (1970-1973). These years include significant materials related to President Jimmy Carter's welfare reform program and Miles' role in making the analytical argument for a new cabinet level Department of Education. This period also includes his writings and lectures on the issues of population and energy as related to social and environmental consequences as well as the broader issue of world peace cumulating in his book Awakening from the American Dream (1976) but continuing, through the early 1980s, after his retirement from Princeton in 1982.

Miles papers also encompass other materials related to his work on advisory councils and committees including the National Academy of Public Administration (1971-1988). In addition the papers hold items concerning Miles' deputy at HEW, James F. Kelly, documents by former Secretary of HEW Marion Folsom, correspondence with Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick and with Shirley Hufstedler, first Secretary of the Department of Education (1980). Personal notes from all the HEW Secretaries under whom he served are included as well as one from Under Secretary Nelson A. Rockefeller.

A small portion of the Miles collection includes materials related to his career before 1950: a program of "Self-Help Cooperatives" in Ohio (1935), The Ohio Relief Production Units (1934-1935), The Navy Department, Bureau of Ships, Finance Division (1942-1945), The Civilian Conservation Corp. in Ohio and Washington DC (1935-1941) and the Bureau of the Budget (1941-1942, 1945-1950).

The collection also holds a series of personal reminiscences written for his children and grandchildren which Miles entitled True Tales From Tin Lizzy Times and Other Essays (unpublished; 1983, 138 p.).

Collection is divieded into 6 series by topic.

All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Rufus E. Miles from July 1989 to September 1997.

Processed by: Preliminary Finding Aid Compiled by William F. Young, Jr. in 2015.

Collection record created by: Conversion and encoding by ArchProteus,

Published: 2016

EAD file created, 2014

Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.

We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Copyright Statement

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Rufus Edward Miles, Jr. Papers, 1934-1985. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).

Contents of Collection

The highlights of Miles' life up to about 1945 are contained in a typewritten manuscript of 138 pages. This item, meant for his children and grandchildren, is divided into eleven chapters and titled True Tales From Tin Lizzy Times and Other Sketches. Biographical information can be found on Boyd Fisher (chap. VI), the force behind the Ohio Relief Production Units (1934-1935) and the Rural Electrification Administration; Sally Rand (chap. IX), the exotic dancer; Franklin Roosevelt's Aunt Bessie (chap. X) and John Pratt Whitman (chap.XI), mystic, teacher, social worker, actor, journalist and author who is Miles' "most unforgettable character". This series also includes a five page statement, written in 1986, concerning his undergraduate experience at Antioch College as well as materials related to his first published article in 1932.


11Miles, R. E. "True Tales From Tin Lizzy Times and Other Essays", unpublished manuscript 1983

138 pages

138 pages


12Miles, R. E. "Antioch College Years" 1928-1932, 1986

1 folder

1 folder

This series is divided into five subseries all arranged chronologically.The first subseries contains mainly materials related to his work as auditor to the Ohio Relief Production Units (1934-1935).The second subseries consists of appointment papers, correspondence, memoranda, publications and other items related to Miles' responsibility for the selection of boys for the Civilian Conservation Corp camps (1936-1941).The third subseries is concerned with his military service as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, Bureau of Ships, Finance Division (1942-1945). Here he was responsible for budgeting for the U.S. Fleet.The fourth subseries contains papers relevant to his work with the U.S. Bureau of the Budget (1941-1942, 1945-1950). Most notable is Miles' work in formulating the "G.I. Bill of Rights". Also contained here is his unpublished essay concerning the Bureau of the Budget in the 1940s.The final subseries holds some sparse and miscellaneous items having to do with his years as Assistant Administrator of the Federal Security Agency (1950-1953). Included is an unpublished essay regarding his years at that Agency and documentation related to an inquiry as to Miles' loyalty to the Government of the United States; an inquiry which exonerated him. Photographs for this period are also in this subseries.


13Miles, R. E. Introduction to his papers 1987

1 folder

1 folder


14Miles, R. E. "Self Help Cooperatives in Ohio", "Ohio Relief Production Units: An Experiment in Production for Use" 1935

1 folder

1 folder



15Appointment papers and other personnel itemsUndated


16Memos on improving the CCCUndated


16Miles, R.E.The CCC: A Young Man's Opportunity 1937

[a pamphlet]. "Selecting 1,800,000 Young Men for the CCC", Monthly Labor Review, April, 1938 [ghostwritten by Miles].


16"The CCC and the Employment Service"Employment Service News 1939 May

[ghostwritten by Miles].


16"The CCC Celebrates"Employment Service News 1938 May

[ghostwritten by Miles].


16"U.S. Department of Labor. Standard of Eligibility for Junior Enrollees of the Civilian". Conservation Corp. Washington D.C.: G.P.O. 1938

[ghostwritten by Miles].


16Now They Are Men. Washington, D.C.: National Home Library Foundation 1940

[ghostwritten by Miles].

Quantity:  1 folder


17Appointment, personnel, promotion papers and citations, one signed by James Forrestal, Secretary of the NavyUndated


17Memos regarding suggestions for improving the morale of civilian employees and greater economy in the procurement processUndated


17A one page statement by Miles [undated] regarding his experience during the warUndated
Quantity:  2 folders


18Twelve page essay by Miles on his years at the BureauUndated


18Appointment and other personnel papersUndated


19Eight page memo on "Recommended Basis for a Long-Range National Policy for Youth"1947


19Materials related to Miles' work on the "Serviceman's Readjustment Act" of 1944 i.e. the "GI Bill of Rights"Undated
Quantity:  1 folder


110Eight page retrospective essay by MilesUndated


110Personnel and appointment papersUndated




110Items related to an inquiry by the Agency's concerning Miles loyalty to the U.S. GovernmentUndated
Quantity:  13 folders
The major items in this series are an unpublished essay by Miles on his years at HEW, published articles and other materials that resulted from his receiving the Rockefeller Public Service Award (1956), other published articles, speeches, materials concerning Miles' deputy James F. Kelly, items related to the polio vaccination campaign in the 1950s and a official trip to India in 1961, copies of correspondence and memoranda, photographs. This series also contains Miles' proposal for a reorganization of HEW (1965) as well as personal notes, and other letters, signed by Secretaries Hobby, Folsom, Fleming, Richardson and Under Secretary Nelson A. Rockefeller.
Arranged largely chronologically.


111Sixteen page overview by Miles on his years at the DepartmentUndated


112Materials on the polio vaccination program in the 1950sUndated


113Miles statement before the Senate Appropriations Committee on HEW salaries and expenses1953


114Papers related to Miles receiving a Rockefeller Public Service Award (1956) and subsequent publications by him Undated

"The Orientation of Presidential Appointees", Public Administration Review, Winter 1958; "The Orientation of Presidential Appointees: A Continuing Challenge", Public Administration Review, Spring 1958.


115Other publications during this periodUndated


116Miles memo to the Secretary of HEW : "A Theory of Foreign Aid and its Logistics" (1959) and related itemsUndated


117Items related to Miles' trip to India in 1961 including photosUndated


118Materials connected to the issue of a Social Security " earnings test"1960


119Miles' proposal regarding the reorganization of HEW1965


120Miscellaneous documentsUndated


121Miles' appointment, personnel papers and awards Undated

Including documents connected to his winning the National Civil Service League Career Service Award in 1960. Included here are personal notes signed by the Secretaries of HEW and numerous photos.


122Papers associated with his retirement from HEW in 1965 with photosUndated


123Miscellaneous materials regarding HEW after his retirementUndated
Quantity:  10 folders
This series includes a copy of the "Report of the President's Task Force on Government Reorganization" (Nov.1964) which recommended a cabinet level Department of Education; documents by former Secretary of HEW, Marion Folsom, opposing a separate Department; materials dealing with Miles' association with the American Council on Education and lobbying efforts on Jimmy Carter regarding this issue; Miles' testimony before Congress; correspondence with Shirley Hufstedler, the first Secretary of the Department of Education; Miles' articles, speeches etc. on this subject. Copies of and materials related to his studies The Department of Health Education and Welfare (1974) and A Cabinet Department of Education (1976) are contained here.


21Miscellaneous papersca. 1970


22Miles' essay on President Nixon's plans for Departmental Reorganization and two copies of Papers Related to the President's Departmental Reorganization Program, Washington, DC: GPO1972


23Papers related to Miles' book on the history of HEW1974


24Multiple copies of hisA Cabinet Department of Education, Washington, DC: American Council on Education1976


25Materials related to the publication of A Cabinet Level Department of EducationUndated


26-8Miles' Senate testimony regarding the Department of Education Act of 1977, Oct. 12, 13, 1977 1977-1979

3 folders

3 folders

Miscellaneous documents connected with the proposed new Department.


29Journal articles by Rufus E. Miles concerning the proposed DepartmentUndated
Quantity:  22 folders
This series largely contains Miles' scholarly and teaching efforts in the area of management and public policy. It encompasses both published and unpublished materials. The former includes articles in Public Administration Review and the Journal of Higher Education. A subseries is made up of his continued part-time role in government service: his participation in a self-study of the Bureau of the Budget's organization (1967), testimony before Senator Abraham's Ribicoff's Committee on Government Organization (1968) and membership on President Nixon's transition team (1968).


210Materials related to Miles' role on the Advisory Council of the Woodrow Wilson School1960-1962


211Miles' appointment papers and other personnel documents related to the SchoolUndated


212Miles' report evaluating the Woodrow Wilson SchoolUndated


213Papers related to conferences on the Public Service (Dec.1965) and Mid-Career Education (Feb.1966)Undated


214Miles' critique of a "Super Department of HEW for the Heineman Task Force"1996 November 29


215Miles' unpublished paper: "Some Observations on the President's Problems of Managing the Executive Branch".1967 April 7


216Final copy of the Heineman Task Force Report, i.e. A Final Report of the President's Task Force on Government Organization1967 June 15


217Documents concerning Miles' work on the U.S. Bureau of the Budget's Self Study1967


218Materials related to Miles' article: "Search for Identity of Graduate Schools of Public Affairs".Public Administration Review XXVII1967 November


219Miles' testimony before the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee on Government Organization1967 January 23


220Miles' lecture on "Population and Public Policy"1967 March 31


221Memoranda, etc. regarding 31 students arrested at Princeton during a demonstration1967-1968


222Lectures, Syllabi, etc. for course on "Philosophies and Techniques of Public Management"1966-1970


223Papers connected to President Nixon's Task Force on Organization of the Executive Branch (1968) and related Ash council Report (1969)Undated


224Materials regarding Miles' lecture at the U.S. civil Service Executive Seminar Center: The Role of the Agency Head"1968 April 23


225Unpublished papers by Miles on management1969


226Papers connected to Miles' unpublished essay: "Is Leadership Teachable?"1969 April


227Note on and copies of Miles' article: "The Pathology of Institutional Breakdown".Journal of Higher Education XL1969 May


228Documents from a conference paper: "Policy Options in Coping with Problems of Poverty"1969 June 18


229Materials regarding Miles course on "Poverty and Public Policy"1969


230Papers related to Miles' "Non-Subservient Public Servant" and editorial inPublic Administration Review1970 November-1970 December


231Documents dealing with Miles seminar on "Issues of Government Organization"1972 January
Quantity:  26 folders
This series encompasses lectures, published articles, materials related to conference participation on various public policy issues. In particular it contains items related to the Presidency of Jimmy Carter namely Carter's Welfare and Civil Service Reform Programs. It also holds a copy of Miles' testimony before Congress regarding Social Security Organization (Jan.1984) and materials related to the Rockefeller Public Service Awards Program.


Personnel papers, photos, miscellaneous items for this period1975-1982


Rockefeller Public Service Awards Program 1974-1982

7 folders

7 folders

Including Miles' leading role in reforming the nature of that program (1975).


Papers pertaining to lectures given at private colleges (Carleton, Guildford, Hamilton, Hiram, Middlebury) sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation1974-1978


Documents related to a Policy task Force on Youth Employment and two conferences on that same subject1976


Notes regarding and copies of Miles' "Considerations for a President Bent on Reorganization"Public Administration Review, Vol. 37(2)1977 March-1977 April


Materials related to Miles' opinion on and other views of President Carter's Welfare Reform Program1977-1978


Documents related to Miles view of President Carter's Civil Service Reform program including correspondence with Alan K. Campbell, Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, and a letter from Jimmy Carter urging support1977-1978


Correspondence regarding and copies of Miles' "The Origin and Meaning of Miles' Law"Public Administration Review, 381978 September-1978 October


Correspondence pertaining to and copies of Miles' "Six Other Maxims of Management"Organizational Dynamics1979 Summer


Materials regarding Miles' and others opinions on management including a proposal to the National Academy of Public administration titled "A Typology of Management" 1979

2 folders

2 folders


Papers related to actuarial forecasting and an "earnings test" for Social security 1975-1979

Including his statement before HEW's Advisory Council on social Security (1979).


Documents pertaining to and copy of Miles' "The Abominable Myth of 48% Waste" appearing untitled in thePublic Administration Times1981 April 15


Copy of Miles' paper "Rethinking some Premises of the Senior Executive Service" read at a Brookings Institute Seminar: "Dialogue on the Public Service"1981 May 6


Papers related to the Woodrow Wilson's School's Public Management Task Force and Mid-Career Task force1980-1981


Miscellaneous correspondence with Richard Nathan1979-1982


Miscellaneous correspondence etc. 1977-1982

Including Miles letter of resignation (1982).


Related matter after retirement Undated

2 folders

2 folders

Testimony before Congressional Panel on Social Security Organization (January 13, 1984) and related materials to this testimony and the history of Social Security in general. *excluding most materials concerning his work in creating a cabinet level Department of Education (see Series 4).