AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXV , No. 2, Fall 2003


Recent Acquisitions of the Niels Bohr Library


This year the Niels Bohr Library was fortunate in receiving a large number of valuable book donations, significantly adding to the size and scope of the collection. It is the thoughtful consideration of our donors that has made the library outstanding in its field. One welcome gift was a collection of natural philosophy and physics textbooks from Thomas W. Sills. A large collection of books donated by Milton Katz, including A Treatise on Optics by David Brewster, significantly enhanced the library's coverage of optics. Elroy O. LaCasce and David Roberts have made several much-appreciated contributions to the collection from their libraries, as has Charlie Holbrow, who generously donated a large collection of textbooks one of the first, but surely not the last, additions in this medium, whose archival durability remains under study. Finally, the United States Naval Observatory Library (an outstanding repository for astronomical books of all eras) kindly allowed us to take a number of astronomy books that were duplicates or no longer needed there.

The Niels Bohr Library is also extremely grateful for donations of books from Marc H. Brodsky, William Bigler, Stephen G. Brush, and Gerald Holton as well as Bertram Schwarzschild, Edward Lee, and Patrick McCray.

As usual, we are also purchasing hundreds of new and used books thanks to help from the Friends of the Center for History of Physics, and especially the charitable endowment from the Brodsky Foundation.


We have received donations of photographs from Miriam Sarachik, Abner Shimony, Charles Holbrow, William Brinkman, Robert Dickinson, Herbert Ueda, David Rubincam, Chester C. Langway, Jr. and Syukuro Manabe. We continue to receive portraits as requested from the AIP Member Society Presidents for the Gallery and addition to the archives. Malcolm Tarlton donated a stamp of Niels Bohr, and James Warden sent us an artistic shot of Abdus Salaam at the Oriental Institute in Chicago. Photographs from the William F. Meggers Collection are being set aside as it is processed and will be catalogued into the photo collection when it is finished. We have also scanned over 300 photographs of illustrations in the brittle books that were chosen for the microfilming project, and added these scans to the photo collection.

Manuscript Materials

Our collections continue to grow with new and interesting additions sent by old friends and new supporters. A good example is a microfilm copy of the Laboratory records and notebooks of the prominent physicist C. T. R. Wilson for the years 1895-1940, received from the Royal Society (4 reels). Our attention was drawn to these fascinating notebooks by Earle Williams of MIT, and the microfilming was funded by AIP. A more unusual example of additions is the records of the Cleveland Physics Society from the years 1945-1968, the year the group disbanded and joined the Ohio Physical Society. These were given to us by David G. Proctor, who served as both Secretary and President of the group (0.25 lin. ft.). The History of AURA (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy) project records, consisting of eighty oral interviews in tape and transcript form, plus related documentation, were donated by Frank K. Edmondson. This collection dates from 1978 through 1991, and covers both Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (3.0 lin. ft.). We received the 2003 essays submitted to the Gravity Research Foundation for their annual prize from George Rideout (0.5 lin. ft.). Gerald Holton was the generous donor of some additions to our records on the Project on the History of Recent Physics dating from1962-1971 (0.5 lin. ft.).

The Conference on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics at Xavier University took place in 1962. In 2002 it was celebrated with the reproduction of the transcripts as PDF files on CD-ROM and titled Commemorating the 40th Anniversary: 1962-2002. We received two copies from John B. Hart and Joseph Brinkman. The Library is now regularly receiving and storing "archival" materials in CD-ROM format, although the archival durability of this medium remains under study, and it is likely that significant work will be needed eventually to ensure that such materials can be read indefinitely into the future.

In the past year we've received some new additions to various records of AIP member societies. These include records of the American Astronomical Society, Solar Physics Division for 1977-1996 donated by John H. Thomas (3.5 lin. ft.). W. Lawrence Croft thoughtfully sent us some letters from 1972-1976 as part of the records of the American Physical Society, Southeastern Section (19 pp.). Records of 2001 for the American Vacuum Society arrived from Yvonne Towse (1.0 lin. ft.). The Niels Bohr Library is also, of course, the repository for AIP's own records. From AIP's Office of the Executive Director, we retrieved files of the Physics Management Fellows from Margaret Wiley from the years 1995-2000 (4.0 lin. ft.).

A collection of Biographical materials on John Aloysius O'Keefe from the years 1938-2003 came to us from David Rubincam (0.25 lin. ft.). Mark Montroll sent us a set of notes for a lecture by Richard Feynman. The notes on Feynman's "A New Approach to Quantum Electrodynamics" came from a summer symposium at the University of Michigan, where they were taken down by Morton Fuchs and R. J. Riddell, Jr. in 1949 (57 pp.). We also received Biographical materials and writings of George P. Woollard from 1973-2003, which were donated by Valerie M. Godley (1 folder).

Manuscript Biographies and Institutional Histories

Our Manuscript Biographies Collection continues to acquire unusual and unique materials. From Friedrich Buch we received a transcript of an address given by Hans Reiche to the Albert Einstein Society in Bern, Switzerland, titled "My Recollection of Einstein" (1990; 10 pp.). Al Wattenberg donated a transcript of a colloquium on the Centennial of the birth of Enrico Fermi (2002; 20 pp.). We received a copy of a Jurusan Fisika catalog, an Indonesian physics department course listing (in Indonesian) from Richard L. Hanau (1999; 34 pp.). The History of the Society of Rheology from 1924-1944, compiled by Eugene C. Bingham of Lafayette College was donated by John C. Miller (1944; 10 pp.).

Other Audio-Visual Materials

Our Audio-Visual collection has received a few interesting additions in the last year. These include a videotaped oral history interview: Hans Bethe and David Mermin Discuss the Early History of Solid State Physics, with a cassette of the audio track, February 25, 2003, donated by Glen Palmer of Cornell University. Ron Meininger of NIST sent us two videocassettes. Stone Cold Science: Bose-Einstein condensation and the weird world of physics a billionth of a degree from absolute zero is a lecture at NIST by Nobel laureate Eric Cornell in 2002. The second tape is of William D. Phillips, who gave a colloquium at NIST on January 24, 1998 entitled Almost Absolute Zero: the story of laser cooling and trapping of atoms. We received a videocassette copy of a television production entitled Radioactive: The Story of Marie Curie (2003) from Judy Ruzylo of Episode 18 Productions.

Finding Aids

We no longer receive as many printed or typescript finding aids as in the past, for archives are increasingly making them available online. Our International Catalog of Sources (ICOS) provides links to the online finding aids of many collections in physics and allied fields; it can be reached from our Web site at

We did receive some additions to our collection of printed and typescript finding aids, a collection that is especially useful to people who visit the Niels Bohr Library at an early stage in planning their research. The Special Collections of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at the Johns Hopkins University has sent us the finding aids for three collections: the Papers of William G. Fastie, 1916-2000 (1937-1997); the George Stock Benton Collection (1950-1989); and the Papers of Leon Madansky, 1923-2000 (1941-1997). And Center staff completed the finding aid for our own Multi-Institutional Collaboration projects I, II, and III. The finding aid is currently available in paper format, and will be made available electronically next year.

For the following, we did not receive printed copies, but rather references (URLs) to their locations online. You can find the URLs as links in the version of this article on our Web site, at, as well as in the ICOS.

Six new finding aids from State University of New York at Albany Archives are available electronically. They are the papers of Vincent J. Schaefer, Alfred H. Woodcock, Eugene McLaren, Roger Cheng, and Raymond Falconer as well as the State University of New York at Albany records, 1967-1971. Churchill College has completed the finding aid for the Francis Thomas Bacon papers. Princeton University has made two finding aids available from their Science Department: the records of the Department of Physics and of the Astrophysical Sciences Department. The William A. Higinbotham papers finding aid is available online from the Charles Babbage Institute, Center for the History of Computing at the University of Minnesota Libraries. The University of London has made available the finding aid for the Doris L. Reynolds papers. The finding aid for the papers of Sir Bernard Lovell is made available by the Imperial War Museum in London. There is a finding aid for the papers of Sir Arthur Vick, housed at University of Warwick, England. An inventory for the records collection of the British Society of Rheology (an ongoing collection beginning in 1940) is now available. The papers of Abdus Salam, located in Trieste, Italy, have an online finding aid.

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