American Public Works Association (APWA) Records (0887kc)
The American Public Works Association is the primary organization for public works professionals at all levels of government who design, construct, and maintain public structures and facilities, providing services and support for functions of an organized society. Merging engineering skills with public administration, these professionals manage socially significant and capital-intensive operations in a public, and often political, environment.
APWA’s first direct predecessor organization, the American Society of Municipal Improvements (ASMI) was formed in 1894. This first professional organization of city engineers in North America was founded to promote “special engineering knowledge and efficient practice in the field of civic improvements.” Its committees on street paving, water supply, sewage and sanitation, street cleaning, garbage collection and disposal, traffic, and finance established standards for paving, sewer construction, and other important public works activities. Through annual conventions and presentations of technical papers, ASMI’s specifications, special reports, proceedings, and committee findings were the core reference source for public works engineers in the early 20th century.
In 1920, the International Association of Street Sanitation Officials (IASSO) was established “to advance both the knowledge and the practices related to the operation, maintenance, and management of public works facilities.” IASSO sponsored demonstration projects, in cooperation with the International City Managers Association (ICMA), to develop a standard for cost accounting and reporting to facilitate planning, programming, and budgeting of public works operations. The American Public Works Association was officially created in 1937 when the ASMI and the IASSO (which had changed their names to the American Society of Municipal Engineers and the International Association of Public Works Officials respectively) agreed to merge.
APWA was one of twenty-two professional associations headquartered at 1313 East 60th Street, on the campus of the University of Chicago. Though officially known as the Charles Merriam Center for Public Administration, the building was commonly called simply “1313”. APWA remained at that location until 1993 when it relocated to Kansas City, Missouri. As the leading organization for public works professionals, APWA changed with the profession to become an important resource for identifying new management techniques and technologies. Through its education programs, research projects, publications, and conferences (especially the annual International Public Works Congress and Exposition), APWA served the needs of the public works engineers and administrators, with membership growing to over 25,000.
The records of APWA reflect its role as a technical and educational resource for the public works professional community. It includes a wide range of material relating to the various functions and programs of the association, including membership, finance, administration, departments, chapters, Congresses, and events. ca. 1895-2006.
742 cubic feet + 2 two-foot boxes.
© State Historical Society of Missouri
Monday, February 07, 2011
State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center-Kansas City
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