Archivist’s Pick: Drucker and His Contribution to Freedom

Here’s this month’s piece from the Drucker Institute’s archivist, Bridget Lawlor. By drawing lessons from the vast treasure trove of papers and other objects that are collected in Peter Drucker’s archives, Bridget is giving new life to decades-old material.

In 2002, three years before his death, Peter Drucker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

President George W. Bush recognized Drucker “for his management expertise and impressive consulting work that has helped nonprofit and faith-based institutions, businesses and universities worldwide.” He was honored alongside Nelson MandelaPlacido DomingoHank Aaron and other influential figures.

Although Drucker is most often associated with the management of corporations, Bush highlighted an extremely important point: Drucker’s work transcends all types of organizations because he believed that society can flourish and remain free only when all of our institutions—public, private and nonprofit—function effectively and responsibly.

In a 2009 keynote address at the Drucker Centennial, renowned management writer Jim Collins lauded the breadth of Drucker’s impact. “Peter Drucker contributed more to the triumph of freedom and free society over totalitarianism, than anyone in the 20th century,” Collins said, “including, perhaps, Winston Churchill.”

Photo by Anne Fishbein
Photo by Anne Fishbein