Edmund E. Day was the first director of the Division of the Social Sciences and an officer of the General Education Board (GEB).
Day was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1883. He studied at Dartmouth College, from which he received both his B.S. and M.A. He completed work for his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University and taught there from 1910 to 1923, serving for a period of time as chairman of the Department of Economics. Day’s academic work was primarily in statistical analysis and the use of business statistics. His publications included text books on statistics and economic principles as well as a scholarly study, The Growth of Manufactures, 1899-1923.
His years at Harvard were interrupted by World War I. During the war he worked as a statistician for the War Industries Board and the United States Shipping Board.
Day moved to the University of Michigan in 1923, where he established the School of Business Administration and served as its first dean.
When the research programs of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial were folded into the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) in 1928, Day was named the first director of the Division of the Social Sciences, a position he held until 1937. His tenure at the Foundation saw increased support for groups such as the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Social Science Research Council and investments in developing the field of public administration. Between 1930 and 1937 he was also an officer of the GEB.
He left the Foundation in 1937 when he was named president of Cornell University, a position he held until 1949. When ill health compelled his resignation as Cornell's president, he was named chancellor. Edmund E. Day died in 1951.