AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume 41, No. 1, Spring 2009

APS Helps Expand Our Institutional Histories Collection

George Zimmerman and Bob Arns of the APS Forum on the History of Physics are contacting physics departments and industrial research and development labs nationwide to encourage them to add their histories to the Niels Bohr Library & Archives’ Institutional Histories Collection. Thanks to their work, we’re expanding the collection, which now consists of 338 locally-published histories, ranging from typescripts to newsletter articles and pamphlets, plus an equal number of published books.

These resources tell an important story about the history of our field, but they are usually hard to find and are often lost over time. Departmental and laboratories’ histories are often “gray” literature: mimeographed or carbon copies of speeches, locally- published pamphlets, articles in alumni magazines, and today in PowerPoint, Word files, and other transient formats.

The Niels Bohr Library & Archives preserves and catalogs these materials online so that interested researchers can find them. To search for all of our institutional histories, users should check both in our Book catalog and in ICOS (, doing a “Subject” search under the name of the institution and limiting it to “Institutional Histories held at AIP.”

The hundreds of histories of institutions in our collection—most from the U.S., but some from abroad as well—offer revealing snapshots of the organizational development of science and changing educational philosophies and represent an invaluable resource for historians. We always welcome new additions to the collection.

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