Physics Department Reading Files, 1925-2006
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Brief Description:

Physics Department Reading Files include outgoing correspondence of the department head concerning academic policy; admissions; affirmative action; appointments and promotion; budgets; building projects; colloquia and seminars; courses and curricula; department, school, and campus committees; professional societies and organizations; research grants; salaries; space allocation; and sabbaticals. Principal correspondents include department heads F. Wheeler Loomis (1929-57); Frederick Seitz (1957-63); Gerald Almy (1963-70); Ralph O. Simmons (1970-86); Ansel C. Anderson (1986-92); David K. Campbell (1992-2000); Jeremiah D. Sullivan (2000-2006); acting head P. Gerald Kruger (1941-46); interim head Miles V. Klein (1998-99); assistant department head Ernest A. Lyman (1970-74); associate department head James H. Smith (1972-74); and chairman of the departmental committee on assistants and fellows George A. Russell (1962-71).

The correspondence contained in this record series is generally outgoing from the department head. The P. Gerald Kruger reading file, however, contains incoming letters, including an important letter from J. Robert Oppenheimer. This series also includes personal papers of F. Wheeler Loomis, P. Gerald Kruger, Frederick Seitz, Gerald Almy, and Ralph O. Simmons as well as the files of George A. Russell, chairman of the departmental committee on assistants and fellows; Ernest A. Lyman, assistant department head; and James H. Smith, associate department head.

Held at:
University of Illinois Archives
19 Library
1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61820
Phone: (217) 333-0798
Fax: (217) 333-2868
Email: illiarch [at]
Record Series Number: 11/10/2
Created by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Physics, Almy, Gerald (1094-77), Kruger, P. Gerald (1902-1978), Loomis, F. W. (Francis Wheeler) (1889-1976), Simmons, Ralph O.
Volume: 39.0 cubic feet
Acquired: 11/10/2012.
More information is available at
Arrangement: Chronological.
Biographical Note for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Physics :

Courses in chemical physics and higher physics were listed in the 1868-69 catalogue.1 In 1870-71, the Board of Trustees listed Stillman W. Robinson as professor of Physics, and, in 1871-72, they listed Physics and Astronomy as a "department of study."2 Course catalogs for 1876-77 through 1890-91 refer to a "course in physics" as part of the curriculum of the four schools in the College of Engineering.3 In 1886, the Physics course was divided, offering a general course, and one for engineering.4 Until 1889-90, when Samuel W. Stratton assumed teaching responsibilities in Physics, the courses were usually taught by the heads of the departments of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.5 Upon Stratton's formal appointment as Assistant Professor of Physics, the scope of instruction in Physics was expanded and Physics emerged as separate department in 1890-91.6

Graduate work in Physics leading to the Master's and Ph.D. were offered through the Graduate College after its establishment in 1907. The first Ph.Ds. in Physics were awarded in 1910, and an undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor's of Science in Engineering was approved in 1917 and the first B.S. was awarded in 1923.7 The aims of the department are to offer "a curriculum in engineering physics to give . . . training in fundamental physics and mathematics." The department has "extensive facilities for instruction and investigation in physics."8 Physics is available as a field of concentration and as a major leading to the Bachelor's of Science degree within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.9

1. Catalogues and Circulars, 1868-69, pp. 26-27.

2. Board of Trustees Transactions, 4th Report, 1870-71, p. 45; 5th Report, p. 56.

3. Catalogues & Circulars, 1876-77 to 1890-91.

4. Board of Trustees Transactions, 13th Report, 1884-86, p. 159.

5. Board of Trustees Transactions, 15th Report, 1888-90, December 10, 1889, p. 114.

6. Board of Trustees Transactions, 15th Report, 1888-90, June 10, 1890, pp. 148-49, 160.

7. Board of Trustees Transactions, 24th Report, 1906-08, June 10, 1907, p. 133. Board of Trustees Transactions, 1916-18, June 25, 1917, pp. 392-93.

8. Undergraduate Study Catalog, 1969-70, p. 266.

9. Undergraduate Programs, 1987-90, p. 274, 287-88.

Subject Index
American Institute of Physics
Condensed Matter Physics
Elemental Particle Physics
Engineering, College of
High Energy Physics
History of Physics
Materials Research Laboratory
Nuclear Physics
Physics Building
Physics Department
Physics Education
Physics Research Laboratory
Languages of Materials
English [eng]