Bureaucracy : Streamlining

Streamlining

Streamlining is one of the central—if ironic—functions of bureaucracy and its material forms. Bureaucracy is dedicated to developing standardized processes and procedures, which are intended to apply generally across multiple cases. In other words, bureaucracy exists to streamline systems by making them capable of applying to different cases. Yet, it is the case that bureaucratic systems evolve in ways that not only fails to streamline processes and procedures but come to obstruct them. One common response is to such obstructions is the development of new bureaucratic structures that will streamline older systems--and on and on and on.

The Presidential Papers collection contains various papers, documents, and ephemera from the presidents of UNT since the school’s founding at Texas Normal College and Training Institute in 1890. This box holds papers and ephemera from UNT’s fifth president, William H. Bruce, who served as president of the institution from 1906 to 1923. 

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“This convenient Budget Portfolio will serve you in two ways: (1) as a compact, handy container for your War Bonds, and (2) as a systematic method for budgeting each bond for a specific after-war use.” So begins the description of the War Bond Portfolio, a statement that highlights the portfolio’s streamlining functions. This War Bond Portfolio is from 1942; it was available during World War II and was issued by Norge Household Appliances.

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This exhibit contains two components: a miniature pamphlet, titled War Ration Book Four, and a miniature book, titled Consumer Rationing in World War Two. Both pamphlet and book are 2 inches by 2.5 inches, and they are collected in a cardboard sleeve with a miniature WWII-era announcement affixed to the cover.  The announcement was purportedly issued by the United State Office of Price Administration, urging people to “Never buy rationed goods without ration stamps” and “Never pay more than the legal price.” The collected set was published in 1979 by Robert E. Massmann, a well-known publisher of miniature books.

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These certificates are fuel oil ration certificates issued in 1943 as part of the WWII rationing program administered by the United States Office of Price Administration. They were issued to Abbie F. Stevens of Waltham, Massachusetts in 1942 and were used between November 1942 and April 1943. Each certificate had coupons attached to each side, which Stevens would have exchanged for oil and gasoline. There is also a log on each certificate that documents the dates and amounts of deliveries received by Stevens. 

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