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Inside Maass-White

Maass-White Reference Room

The Arthur Maass - Gilbert F White Reference Room is dedicated to the contributions made by Arthur Maass and Gilbert F. White to the profession of water management. No other scholars in the twentieth century had more influence on the Corps of Engineers.

Their ideas have not been overcome by time; if anything, the world is still catching up to the concepts they articulated fifty years ago. The Corps of Engineers proudly preserves their personal research libraries in this room for the use of scholars. Their gift to us of these works is a testament to colleagues past who incorporated their ideas into practical water management policies and methods.

Professor White argued in his 1942 dissertation, Human Adjustment to Flood, that non-structural flood damage reduction measures should be used if their costs and impacts compared favorably to structural measures. He is considered the father of floodplain management.

Professor Maass published Muddy Waters in 1951, an exposé of the relationship among the Corps, Congress and special interests. He led the Harvard Water Program from 1955 to 1965. In 1962, he and others from the Program published Design of Water Resources Systems; New Techniques for Relating Economic Objectives, Engineering Analysis, and Governmental Planning. This book promoted the use of simulation modeling and multi-objective analysis and furnished many of the ideas that were later incorporated into Principles and Guidelines.

What is the Reference Room?

Arthur Maass and Gilbert F. White have agreed to leave their personal research libraries with IWR. These books and papers are housed at IWR in the Casey Building, in Alexandria, Virginia. The arrangement was negotiated by Dr. Marty Reuss, in the Corps Office of History. The Office of History has most of the personal papers of Gilbert White and Arthur Maass as well as a fairly substantial collection of books of historical interest donated by the two scholars. The IWR Maass-White Reference Room contains all the material from Maass and White related to water resources planning in the United States and elsewhere around the world. The reference room celebrated its opening in April 2001.

Online Resources

There are over 2,200 papers and books in the Arthur Maass collection. A listing of titles in the Maass Collection is available in pdf (299 KB) format or you can search the collection online.

There are over 3,000 papers and books in the Gilbert White collection. A listing of titles in the White Collection is available in pdf (573 KB) format or you can search the collection online.

The Maass-White Book Series is a collection of publications dedicated to the profession of water management. Some titles are available online.

The Visiting Scholar Report Series is a collection of IWR Reports published by Visiting Scholars, including Maass-White Visiting Scholars.

Arranging Onsite Research

To arrange onsite research, scholars are asked to notify IWR in advance. Researchers may use all the materials in these collections onsite. In order to assure that these collections stay intact and orderly, no borrowing of material is allowed - all research must be done in the room.

The Corps of Engineers Office of History