Curatorial 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:
12 cu. ft. (24 document boxes) (oversize materials)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

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.

Administration
Oversize
This collection contains oversize material.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Smithsonian Institution Archives

Notes
SI Records

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

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Merzbach, Uta C., 1933- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bedini, Silvio A. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tropp, Henry S. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Multhauf, Robert P. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Section of Mathematics and Antique Instruments Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Division of Physical Sciences Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Section of Mathematics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Nuclear Energy Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Computer History Project Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Federation of Information Processing Societies Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Department of Science and Technology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.). Department of History of Science Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Hall of Mathematics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum curators Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mathematics -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Physical sciences -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Floor plans Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrations Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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