Records,
1956-1988 and undated

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 332
Creators:
National Museum of American History, Division of Physical Sciences and Mathematics
Dates:
1956-1988 and undated
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
3.3 linear meters and oversize.
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Introduction
Introduction
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
These records include administrative files of the Division of Mathematics and its predecessors; Merzbach correspondence with computer industries, university professors, and pioneers or experts in the field of computing science; exhibition scripts, research material, and blueprints for the Hall of Mathematics; Computer History Project research files, correspondence, floor plans, and budgetary information; and photographs of exhibitions, artifacts, and Division staff.

Historical Note
Historical Note
In 1965, a Section of Mathematics and Antique Instruments was created in the Division of Physical Sciences under Uta C. Merzbach, associate curator. The Section was renamed the Section of Mathematics in 1968, and Merzbach reported to Silvio A. Bedini, assistant director for the Museum. In 1970 the Section of Mathematics became part of the Division of Electricity and Nuclear Energy. Merzbach became involved in the Computer History Project (CHP), which included Henry S. Tropp as principal investigator. CHP was a joint research effort between the Smithsonian Institution and the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) to gather information on the development of computer technology. The project closed in 1974.
From 1974 to 1977, the Section of Mathematics reported to the chairman of the Department of Science and Technology. In 1978 it became the Division of Mathematics in the Department of History of Science; and in 1987, it merged with the Division of Physical Sciences to form the Division of Physical Sciences and Mathematics.
The Division of Mathematics and its predecessors were concerned with the history of mathematical calculating instruments, both domestic and foreign, dating back to the eighteenth century. The Division prepared exhibitions for the Hall of Mathematics and collected artifacts such as planimeters, slide rules, mechanical calculators, digital electronic computers, and astrolabes. Curators and staff of the Division and its predecessors included Robert P. Multhauf, curator of Physical Sciences and Measurement, 1955-1957, curator of Physical Sciences, 1957-1964; Uta C. Merzbach, associate curator of Physical Sciences, 1964, associate curator of Mathematics and Antique Instruments, 1965-1968, associate curator of Mathematics, 1968-1970, Curator of Mathematics, 1970-1988; and Henry S. Tropp, principal investigator of the Computer History Project, 1971-1974.

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 332, National Museum of American History, Division of Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Records

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Bedini, Silvio A. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Merzbach, Uta C., 1933- Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Multhauf, Robert P. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tropp, Henry S. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Section of Physical Sciences and Measurement (USNM). Division of Physical Sciences (NMHT) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Federation of Information Processing Societies. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Computer History Project Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Section of Physical Sciences and Measurement (USNM). Division of Engineering (USNM) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Section of Mathematics and Antique Instruments (NMHT). Division of Mathematics (NMAH) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Section of Mathematics and Antique Instruments (NMHT). Section of Mathematics (NMHT) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Division of Mathematics. Department of History of Science (NMHT) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Division of Mathematics (NMHT). Department of the History of Science and Technology (NMAH) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hall of Mathematics (NMAH) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mathematics -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Physical sciences -- History. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Floor plans Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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