AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXVIII, No. 1, Spring 1996


University of Oklahoma Libraries Preserve the Published History of Science

by Stephen C. Wagner

One of the world's outstanding resources for published materials in the history of science is found at the University of Oklahoma. The History of Science Collections at the University Libraries document the published history of the natural sciences from the inception of printing to the present. The Collections are especially strong in the early modern period (15th through 18th centuries), with a focus on the physical, mathematical, and natural history sciences.

The Collections began in 1949 with the initial donation of 129 rare books by Everette Lee DeGolyer, an oilman, geophysicist, amateur historian, and avid book collector. The condition of this gift was that the University of Oklahoma also develop a history of science program. In 1954, Duane H.D. Roller came to the University as Professor of History and Curator of the Collections. Over four decades Roller built up the holdings, which have now reached 84,000 volumes. In 1971 the current Department of the History of Science was created.

The Collections' purposes are to identify, collect, preserve, and make accessible the published record of the history of science for research and teaching. Materials are continuously added to all components of the library: rare books, scientific periodicals, recent scientific works (through gifts and transfer of items from the science libraries), history of science monographs and periodicals, reference works, and microfilm collections of manuscript materials.

Scholars are welcome to visit the Collections through the Internet via connection to the University's on-line catalog via telnet at, which includes 75-80% of the holdings, or by browsing the World Wide Web Page at A complete list of our holdings is available through a Short Title Catalogue, available as a computer printout, microfiche, or (soon) on the WWW Page. For information you can also contact the History of Science Librarian, Stephen Wagner, 521 Bizzell Memorial Library, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019-0528; phone 405-325-2741, Fax 405-325-7618,

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AIP History Center Center for History of Physics
Phone: 301-209-3165
American Institute of Physics 2003 American Institute of Physics, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3843. Email: Phone: 301-209-3100; Fax: 301-209-0843