AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXIX , No. 2, Fall 2007

Collections of Niels Bohr Library & Archives Enriched by Numerous Donations

Although the Niels Bohr Library & Archives is a medium-sized institution and restricted to modern physics and allied fields, it receives a rich variety of historical source materials. Our staff, and interns in archival studies at the nearby University of Maryland, acquire experience in almost every type of item that is found at even the largest archives covering very broad subject areas. Again this year we received items that span a remarkable range both in their physical character and in the human activities that they record.


It is donations that make the collection at the Niels Bohr Library both unique and deep, the world’s best in its highly specialized areas. This year was no exception with its many generous donations along with some surprises. We were especially pleased to receive a 1st edition copy of Geographia Generalis published in 1650 from Thomas W. Sills.

Noted historian of physics Stephen Brush, who recently retired after many years of service at the University of Maryland and moved from his office, worked with the Library to make sure we had our pick of books from a lengthy list he offered us from his important personal collection. Bernard Khoury also donated books from his private library.

Our older friends will remember the Anchor Science Studies Series, an important publishing effort in the 1960s that provided well-written paperbacks for students, teachers and others interested in the sciences. John Layman organized a project to help the Library fill gaps in our collection. He was kind enough to evaluate what we had and actively recruit donations. This project not only helped us to make our collection of the series nearly complete for physics, astronomy and geophysics, but also replaced copies that were already in our collection but in disrepair.

J.D. Maynard donated several interesting old books from his own collection, including Electricity by W.L. Bragg, New Fragments by John Tyndall, The Outlines of Physics by E.L. Nichols, and A Text-Book of Physics: Sound by J.H. Poynting and J.J. Thomson; Karen M. Albert of the Talbot Research Library donated Sound: A Course of Eight Lectures Delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain by John Tyndall.

Nathalie and Dorothea Cvijanovich donated the books of their late father and husband George Cvijanovich, adding no less than 131 books to our collection. Ethan Alyea contributed 13 books to our collection, and from Gisela Goldstein on behalf of her late husband Herbert Goldstein (author of the textbook on mechanics familiar to countless physics students) we added 9 books to the library. The library received 16 books from Craig Walker on behalf of his father, the late Robert L. Walker. Finally, we are grateful for books donated by Gerald Holton, John Krige, Elroy O. LaCasce and Albert Parr, all have made other welcome contributions over the years.

Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

We now have about 11,000 images available online at That is just over a third of the collection, and we are digitizing a couple of hundred more photos every month. Many of the donations we received this year are now online, including images we are grateful to have received from Neil Baggett, Donald D. Clayton, Juliet Demeter (Bancroft Library), Charles Duke, Ken Ford, Shaun Hardy (Carnegie Institution of Washington), Gerald Holton (Harvard University), Andrew Lenard, Gerald Liddel, Peter Lesser (Brooklyn College), Jan Sengers (University of Maryland), Donat Wentzel (University of Maryland), Alan White, and Robert M. White (Carnegie Mellon University).

In a major donation, Celia Elliott gave over 1,500 images from the collection of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Physics Department. Nobel laureates John Mather (NASA) and George F. Smoot III (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab) donated photographs of themselves at our request, and so did new AIP Member Society Presidents Gilles Daigle, Joseph Eberly, Kenneth Heller, Harvey S. Leff, Mary Martel and A. Alan Pinkerton. We also thank those who donated photographs to us through the Physics Today obituary office.

Oral History Interviews

This year staff on the History of Physics in Industry completed the last of their interviews designed to get specific information about structures and documentation in modern industrial labs. After transcription and editing, the information in the interviews is being categorized with software adapted for social science investigations (see article). Meanwhile we continued to commission interviews covering more broadly the biographies of particularly distinguished industrial physicists. Sheldon Hochheiser interviewed Tom Anthony and completed his interview with William Brinkmann, while Babak Ashrafi interviewed Dan Nolan, Charles Duke and Esther Conwell.

Project staff Joe Anderson and Orville Butler interviewed Mark Baldwin, Dan Flatin, Jeff Holly, Jim King, Taylor W. Lawrence, Doug McKay, Don Power, Mark Russell, Linda Wagner and Colin Whelan at Raytheon in Tewskbury, MA. Butler interviewed Ed Eckert at Lucent Archives in Murray Hill, NJ and George Kupczak at AT&T Archives in Warren, NJ.

Anderson and Butler interviewed Ingmar Ackermann, Elizabeth Adkins, Lee Feldkamp, John Ginder, Leanna Kudla, Gint Puskorius, Gerhard Schmidt, Paul Stieg and Mike Tamor at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, MI.

Bill Westwood sent us a significant collection of AVS Video Interviews on 25 DVDs with an average of five interviews on each. So far we have transcribed 20 of them. Meanwhile, Paul H. Holloway sent four interviews conducted at the 2006 AVS International Symposium in San Francisco: Mark Hersam (Perer Mark Award), Siegfried Hofmann (Nerken Award), John Hemminger (Welch Award) and Len Brillson (Gaede-Langmuir Award).

The Acoustical Society of America sent us for processing and archiving interviews of Warren E. Blazier, Jr. by Richard J. Peppin, Edwin L. Carstensen by David T. Blackstock, Ira Dyer by William J. Cavanaugh, the late Isadore Rudnick by Steven Garrett, Manfred Schroeder by Gerhard M. Sessler, and Henning E. Von Gierke by Lawrence S. Finegold.

In addition, we received interviews of Murray Strasberg by David Feit, Edward A. Frieman interviewed by Kai-Henrik Barth, and George Preston by Patrick McCray.

Manuscript Collections

The Niels Bohr Library & Archives is especially dedicated to serving the AIP member societies, and received many additions to the archives since our September 2006 report. The American Physical Society completed an initiative to digitize the APS constitution and by-laws, membership lists (1902-1948), APS Council meeting minutes (1940-1976) and Executive Committee minutes (1967-1972), and combined Executive Committee and Council minutes (1973-2003). Thanks to modern technology, all of these files could fit onto a single data DVD, donated by Ken Cole of APS. Ron Ruth and Ernie Malamud, also of APS, donated the records of the APS Division of Physics of Beams (1.75 linear feet) containing meeting minutes and correspondence, as well as the files of the APS Committee on Applications of Physics (0.25 linear feet). The Society of Rheology sent its annual addition to our archives, with the program and abstracts of the Society of Rheology 78th Annual Meeting (1 folder). The AVS sent a shipment (3 linear feet) of CDs, photographs and audio records to add to its current holdings in the archives. Folden B. Stumpf (Physics, Ohio University), of the American Association of Physics Teachers Appalachian Section, updated that section’s records to include a brief history of the AAPT Appalachian Section and various membership lists.

We also received several additions to collections already in the archives: programs and abstracts from the 2007 Joint Magnetism and Magnetic Materials/INTERnational MAGnetics conference (1 folder); files of the 2007 Gravity Research Foundation Essay Contest (0.5 linear feet); taped proceedings, abstracts and agenda from the 18th Annual International Conference on Optical Fiber Sensors (5 CDs); and small additions to the Nancy Grace Roman papers (1 linear foot) and the Melba Phillips papers (1 linear foot).

Miscellaneous Physics Collections

We often receive general biographical data (vitae, lists of publications, photographs, clippings) from physicists, which are added to our extensive biographical files. This year we added an unusually large number of such useful and basic historical data, thanks to appeals by Virginia Trimble with the help of the APS Forum on History of Physics.

We also received and cataloged more lengthy unpublished memoirs and historical accounts, including: a history of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy by John T. Jefferies; booklets on the history of the Hopkins Observatory at Williams College, sent to us by Jay Pasachoff, Williams College Department of Astronomy; Charles P. Sonett sent us his manuscript, “A Walk in Space: Recollections by Charles Sonett”; Winifred Sillitto, widow of Dick Sillitto, sent us a manuscript titled “Dick Sillitto’s involvement with physics”; a short biography of Ludwig Biermann, written and donated by Helmut Abt; Lawrence Cranberg sent a copy of an autobiographical account written by Edward Pickels, inventor of the vacuum ultracentrifuge; Charles B. Duke sent us his autobiographical account from his days at Princeton in 1959 to his retirement in 2006; and Andrew Sessler donated a copy of his biographical memoir on Edward Teller, written with Stephen Libby.

Donations of single manuscripts and smaller collections are added to our growing Miscellaneous Physics collection, while tape or digital recordings become part of our Audiovisual collection. New additions to these collections include: 6 books of notes from lectures by Murray Gell- Mann, R.L. Walker, and W.A. Fowler, received as part of book donation by Ethan D. Alyea, Jr.; “Discovery and creativity in science,” recording of a presentation by Charles Townes, UC Berkeley (1 DVD); a recording titled “Physics colloquium: celebration in honor of the 100th birthday of Laszlo Tisza,” donated by Dan Kleppner; a film reel showing mode patterns generated by the 6328 Angstrom gas laser developed by Alan White and John Rigden (donated by Alan White); A talk by David Inglis on the Manhattan Project, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1972 (1 DVD); copies of correspondence (2 letters) between Jacqueline Eisenmann and André Malraux, discussing permission to translate Satyendranath Bose’s section of “Antimemoires”; journalist Mildred Howie’s student research files on cyclotrons from the 1930s; Early work on nuclear shell structure: beta decay and nucleon pairing interactions, a manuscript by Arjun N. Saxena; letters written by George Gamow on the subject of long-range navigational methods; A.H. Taub’s notes on quantum electrodynamics lectures by John von Neumann, 1933; manuscript by Julie A. Schuck, “Factors contributing to the under-representation of women in physics-based engineering fields”; and a history of laser conditions in semiconductors by Maurice Bernard (in French). Also of note is a collection of abstracts of papers from the first Gaseous Electronics Conference, held at the Brookhaven National Lab in 1948.

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