The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Procter, John Robert

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903705The Encyclopedia Americana — Procter, John Robert

PROCTER, John Robert, American civil service reformer: b. Mason County, Ky., 16 March 1844; d. Washington, D. C., 12 Dec. 1903. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, but left there to join the Confederate army in 1863 and served until the end of the war. In 1873 he became assistant in the Kentucky geological survey, and in 1880 State geologist. In this office he was brought into contact with the spoils system, to which his opposition was so uncompromising that he finally lost his position in 1893. In the same year, however, he was appointed president of the Civil Service Commission, a post which he held till his death. His criticism of the spoils system was based not only on its evil moral and social effects, but also on its absurdity as a method of conducting business and this view he constantly presented most effectively. His work as president of the commission was the means of increasing the effectiveness of the civil service, and of gaining for it recognition in political life. He served as a member of the Jury of Awards at the Chicago World's Fair and was a frequent contributor to magazines and journals on geologic, economic and political subjects.