Divisional Records,
1866, 1954-1997

Summary
Collection ID:
SIA.FA20-126
Dates:
1866, 1954-1997
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
4 cu. ft. (4 record storage boxes)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
This accession consists of records created and maintained by Uta C. Merzbach, Associate Curator and Curator, 1964-1988. Merzbach earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mathematics from the University of Texas, Austin in 1952 and 1954 respectively. She then completed her Ph.D. in Mathematics and the History of Science at Harvard University in 1965.
Merzbach was the Smithsonian's first curator of mathematical instruments and collected primarily objects made and used in the United States, but also collected objects from outside of the United States. The research and collections of the Division of Physical Sciences principally focused on the history of astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, classical physics, geology, astrophysics, and mathematics. The Division of Mathematics and its predecessors were concerned with the history of mathematical calculating instruments, both domestic and foreign, collecting such artifacts such as planimeters, slide rules, mechanical calculators, digital electronic computers, and astrolabes.
These records document Merzbach's collecting activities for the division; her interactions with researchers, museums, corporations, and the general public; her work on mathematics symposia held at the National Museum of American History (NMAH); and her research and publications. Of note are the materials related to Merzbach's work on the cooperative Computer History Project between the American Federation of Information Processing Societies and the Smithsonian Institution. The project started in 1967 and meant to collect and document the people and objects responsible for the development of the computer.
Some records date to when the division was previously known as the Section of Physical Sciences and Measurements, the Section of Mathematics and Antique Instruments, the Section of Mathematics, the Division of Mathematics, the Division of Physical Sciences and Mathematics, and the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences respectively; as well as from when the museum was known as the United States National Museum, the Museum of History and Technology, and the National Museum of History and Technology. Additionally, some records date to before and after Merzbach's time at the Smithsonian.
Materials include correspondence, memoranda, picture postcards, acquisition records, transcripts, reports, lecture and presentation records, symposia materials, timelines, publications and writings, bibliographies, images, an audiotape, ephemera, and clippings.

Administration
Author
Finding aid prepared by Smithsonian Institution Archives

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 20-126, National Museum of American History. Division of Physical Sciences, Divisional Records

More Information

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Merzbach, Uta C., 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Section of Mathematics and Antique Instruments Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Section of Mathematics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Mathematics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Division of Mathematics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Section of Physical Sciences and Measurements Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Physical Sciences and Mathematics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Physical and Biological Sciences Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of Texas at Austin Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harvard University Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Federation of Information Processing Societies Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women museum curators Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Science -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Acquisitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Public relations Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Computers -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mathematicians Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women mathematicians Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Historical museums Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mathematical instruments Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Congresses and conventions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mathematics -- History $y 19th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mathematics -- History $y 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Transcripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picture postcards Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Color transparencies Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Color photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiotapes Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu