Guide to the Ernest George Merritt Papers,
1887-1950

Collection Number: 14-22-46

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
Cornell University Library

Contact Information:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
2B Carl A. Kroch Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3530
Fax: (607) 255-9524
rareref@cornell.edu
http://rmc.library.cornell.edu
Compiled by:
A.B.L, T.A. Gobert
Date completed:
December 1966, October 1985
EAD encoding:
Peter Martinez, January 2003
Date modified:
Jude Corina, October 2012

© 2003 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Ernest George Merritt papers, 1887-1950.
Collection Number:
14-22-46
Creator:
Ernest George, Merritt 1865-1948.
Quantity:
2.8 cubic ft.
Forms of Material:
Scrapbook, photographs, pamphlets, lecture notes, administrative documents, letters.
Repository:
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Collection includes material pertaining to Merritt's years at Cornell, including a student scrapbook of photographs, programs, and pamphlets; loose photographs of colleagues, laboratory equipment, and Cornell views; Merritt's notes on lectures concerning electricity, magnetism, thermodynamics, and theoretical mechanics; four volumes of notes taken by teaching assistant Ernest Blaker (Ph.D. 1901) at Merritt's lectures, as well as undated notes on advances in experimental physics; calculations and notes; Physics Department annual reports, 1917-33; resolutions, reports, minutes, and statements of various committees of the Graduate Faculty concerning Graduate School requirements, and elections and organization of the faculty; and correspondence and other papers concerning the Board of Trustees and the deanship of the College of Arts and Sciences. Also, correspondence, charts, reports, and a scrapbook of photographs pertaining to Merritt's work at the New London Naval Academy, 1917-20, including correspondence from R. A. Millikan; correspondence regarding colleagues in Germany, 1901-49, and an autographed portrait of Max Planck; correspondence and printed material on the history of the American Physical Society and other organizations; and correspondence and reports concerning submarine detection, 1941-42.
Language:
Collection material in English


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Professor of physics.
Ernest Merritt graduated from Cornell University in 1886 as an electrical engineer, and joined the staff as an instructor in 1889. He became the first dean of the Cornell Graduate School in 1909, and resigned in 1914 in order to return to teaching. He was head of the department from 1919-1935. Merritt was also one of the founders and first editors of the Physical Review, first secretary and president of the American Physical Society, and was an active member of many other scientific groups.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Collection includes material pertaining to Merritt's years at Cornell, including a student scrapbook of photographs, programs, and pamphlets; loose photographs of colleagues, laboratory equipment, and Cornell views; Merritt's notes on lectures concerning electricity, magnetism, thermodynamics, and theoretical mechanics; four volumes of notes taken by teaching assistant Ernest Blaker (Ph.D. 1901) at Merritt's lectures, as well as undated notes on advances in experimental physics; calculations and notes; Physics Department annual reports, 1917-33; resolutions, reports, minutes, and statements of various committees of the Graduate Faculty concerning Graduate School requirements, and elections and organization of the faculty; and correspondence and other papers concerning the Board of Trustees and the deanship of the College of Arts and Sciences. Also, correspondence, charts, reports, and a scrapbook of photographs pertaining to Merritt's work at the New London Naval Academy, 1917-20, including correspondence from R. A. Millikan; correspondence regarding colleagues in Germany, 1901-49, and an autographed portrait of Max Planck; correspondence and printed material on the history of the American Physical Society and other organizations; and correspondence and reports concerning submarine detection, 1941-42.
Also included are a diary, 1887; publications by Merritt (some in collaboration with Cornell Professor Edward L. Nichols) concerning luminescence and other subjects in physics; a letterpress copybook, 1896-1904, including letters concerning the Town and Gown Club, physics publications, and other topics; snapshots of family, friends, and Ithaca, New York views; and biographical materials relating to Edward L. Nichols.
Also, a photograph of Herman von Helmholtz, with a letter to Merritt's son describing its history; and a photograph of H. A. Lorentz, with a letter from Lorentz to Merritt, 1926 and a letter (n.d.) from Merritt to his son-in-law Jürg Waser, describing the photograph.

SUBJECTS

Names:
Merritt, Ernest George, 1865-1948.
Blaker, Ernest.
Millikan, Robert Andrews, 1868-1953.
Nichols, Edward L.
Planck, Max,
American Physical Society.
Cornell University--Faculty.
Cornell University--Views.
Cornell University.Board of Trustees.
Cornell University.College of Arts and Sciences.
Cornell University.Graduate School.
Cornell University.Dept. of Physics.
New London Naval Academy.
Town and Gown Club.

Subjects:
Electricity.
Luminescence.
Magnetism.
Mechanics.
Physics--Study and teaching.
Submarine boats--Recognition.
Thermodynamics.
College teachers.

Form and Genre Terms:
Charts.
Diaries.
Lecture notes.
Letterpress copybooks.
Photographs.
Scrapbooks.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Cite As:
Ernest George Merritt papers, #14-22-46. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

CONTAINER LIST

Description
Container
Notes 1890-1894-. Lecture Notes, New London Scrapbook, C.U. Scrapbook
Box 1
6 bound MSS vols. of :Merritt's lecture notes on "Magnetism, Dynamo-Electric Machinery and Alternating Currents, 1890-1891" (mimeographed handwritten notes, with "Edw. L. Nichols, from the author" on the inside front cover); 5 small volumes bound into one, respectively titled "Planck Warmetheorie," untitled, "Planck Warmetheorie," and "System der Physik I and II." These volumes were handwritten by Merritt in Berlin, 1894; "Lecture Notes" (typewritten, mimeographed); Typewritten mimeographed lecture notes titled "Theoretical Physics;" a scrapbook of photographs and related items pertaining to Merritt's stay at the New London Naval Experiment Station, Research Section, 1917-1920; and a Cornell University scrapbook containing photos, programs, newspapers, various pamphlets, etc.
Ernest Merritt, 1893-1945 and 1921-1941
Box 2
Copies of M's letters to President Day re the Sage Memorial Apse (1940-1941.) A letter from Day to M, Jan. 15, 1941.
Correspondence regarding the founding of the Bureau of Standards, Wash. D.C., 1933-1934, with George B. Pegram, W.F. Magie, Henry G. Gale, Lyman J. Briggs of Dept. of Commerce. Includes copies M s outgoing letters.
Letters, pamphlets, notes re history of American Physical Society from Briggs, Gage, Magie, others. Copy of article which M wrote for Physics Forum on "Early Days Physical Society" (Apr. 1934 vol. 5).
Letters (1903-1940) dealing with events at or business of Cornell.
Correspondence, bulletins, and other printed matter re the University Club, 1902-1933.
Deanship of College of Arts and Science papers, which practically give a history of the controversy between its faculty and the Board of Trustees, 1921. Include copies of letters from V.A. Moore, E. H. Woodruff, and letters from Roger H. Williams, Frank A. Hiscock, R.H. Treman. Also relevant reports.
Correspondence with H.A. Lorentz (1925-1928) and photos of Lorentz.
Copies of M's letters to Arts and Science Dean R.M. Ogden (Feb. 1925-May 1929) re Physics Dept. administration and a copy of a letter from M to Prof. Debye (June 8, 1925), inviting him to take a position at Cornell. Copies of M's correspondence and memoranda (Sept. 1928-June 1929) re experiments done using radio tower on Alumni Field.
Printed matter and copy M's letter to nominating Committee (Feb. 2, 1930) re Nobel Prize (1900-1930).
Correspondence and other items re Amer. Physical Society meeting at Ithaca (Feb.-June 1930).
Correspondence and printed matter (1924-1950) re Nat. Acad. of Sciences and Amer. Acad. Arts and Sciences.
19 pp. carbon typescript of plan for international peace, and related printed matter (n.d.).
Physics notes and calculations (from undergrad years? Folder was labelled "bachelor life"), written in German (n.d.).
Correspondence and other items re relief scientific colleagues in Germany (1901-1949), especially relating to Max Planck and his attendance at the Royal Society meeting in London, 1946. Letters from Planck family and one apparently from Planck himself (Aug. 4, 1947).
Misc. scientific printed matter, notes, corres. (1941-1949)
Misc. items including printed matter, certificate and diplomas of M, letters re Physical Society, Cornell U., and WWI, a letter from George Lincoln Burr (Nov. 13, 1913) re course of study at C.U; a letter from Sec. of the Navy Josephus Daniels re research lab for the navy (May 24, 1915), from Frank E. Gannett re news gathering in Europe and U.S. (Aug. 3, 1931), and other letters. Also notes on various topics. (1893-1948).
Correspondence and copies of correspondence (June-Sept. 1947), mostly with Gregory M. Ignatieu.
Correspondence and other items re foreign relief (1942-19488) from agencies collecting money and from peoole who received help from the Merritts.
Ernest Merritt 1895; New London 1917-1929
Box 3
Correspondence, reports, charts, photos, etc, connected with K's work at New London, 1917-1918, Includes many letters from R.A. Millikan, and letters from G.W. Pierce (Cambridge), George B. Pegram, Harris J. Ryan (Stanford, Elec. Engin.), and originals and copies of M's letters. Above deals mainly with problems of submarine detection.
Also 1 folder, apparently lecture notes (handwritten) for K's Theoretical Physics course, Fall 1895
Ernest Merritt, Pictures
Box 4
Photographs of scientists, Cornell scenes, M's family, and concerning his work. Includes photo of Planck inscribed to Merritts, 1904. Several photos removed to APC.
Colleagues - Carte de visit
Box 4 Folder 1
Colleagues - Carte de visit
Box 4 Folder 2
Cornell views
Box 4 Folder 3
Cornell views
Box 4 Folder 4
Cornell views
Box 4 Folder 5
Cornell views
Box 4 Folder 6
Snapshots of family and friends
Box 4 Folder 7
Merritt family houses
Box 4 Folder 8
House destroyed by fire
Box 4 Folder 9
Landscapes
Box 4 Folder 10
Postcards
Box 4 Folder 11
Colleagues
Box 4 Folder 12
Colleagues - cabinet cards
Box 4 Folder 13
Colleagues
Box 4 Folder 14
X-ray photography
Box 4 Folder 15
Laboratory equipment
Box 4 Folder 16
Colleagues
Box 4 Folder 17
Max Planck - autographed portrait
Box 4 Folder 18
Negatives - Nichols House, 5 South Ave., Ithaca
Box 4 Folder 19
Negatives - miscellaneous
Box 4 Folder 20
Negatives - miscellaneous
Box 4 Folder 21
Negatives - miscellaneous
Box 4 Folder 22
Negatives - various portraits of Experimental Station people
Box 4 Folder 23
Glass lantern slide
Box 4 Folder 24-29
Herman von Helmholtz
Box 4 Folder 30
H. A. Lorentz
Box 4 Folder 31
Ernest Merritt, 1893-1950, and Undated
Box 5
Physics Dept. Annual Reports 1917-1933 and n.d. Also notes.
Letters on M's 80th birthday (Dec. 1944-June 1945 and n.d) from Pres. Day (April 16, 1955), many others.
Copies of M's letters re sub detection written after Pearl Harbor (dated Jan. 1941-Feb. 1942, but judging from contents, "Jan 1941" would appear to be "Jan 1942.") A reply from R.P. Briscoe, Commander, U.S.N. (Feb. 2, 1942).
"Report on the Practicability of Magnetic and Electric Methods for the Detection of Submarines" 52 carbon typescript pp., 1917, author unknown) and related correspondence from Vannevar Bush and others (1917-1942).
Biog. material re Prof. Edward L. Wichols, including photos (1393-1942). Dean Merritt graduate faculty records, 1909-1911 (1 folder)
Ernest Merritt, Works Published, 1900-1940
Box 6
Books and pamphlets
An Address by Vice-president Ernest Merritt, American Association for the Advancement of Science. 1900. 2 copies.
Box 6
A VISUAL METHOD OF OBSERVING THE INFLUENCES OF ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS ON RADIO RECEPTION. Ernest Merritt and William E. Bostwick. 2 copies.
Box 6
BULLETIN OF THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL - Selected Topics in the Field of Luminescence. Ernest Merritt, Edward Nichols, and C.E. Child. 2 copies.
Box 6
CHANGES OBSERVED IN THE DIRECTION OF RADIO SIGNALS AT THE TIME OF THE ECLIPSE OF JANUARY 24, 1925. Ernest Merritt, C.C. Bidewell, and H. J- Reich. 2 copies.
Box 6
FORM OF THE ABSORPTION BONDS ON SOLUTIONS OF THE ORGANIC DYES, AND A RELATION BETWEEN ABSORPTION AND FLUORESCENCE, THE. Ernest Merritt, 1924 1 copy.
Box 6
HOW SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES ARE MADE. Ernest Merritt. 2 Copies.
Box 6
LUMINESCENCE. Merritt and Nichols. 1904-1940. 1 copy.
Box 6
LUMINESCENCE. Ernest Merritt. 1915. 1copy.
Box 6
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES - Polarized Fluorescence in Liquids. Ernest Merritt and Donald Roger Morey. 1929. 2 copies.
Box 6
NOTE ON THE FLUORESCENCE OF FROZEN SOLUTIONS OF THE URANYL SANDS. Nichols and Merritt. 1914. 1 copy.
Box 6
OPTICS OF RADIO-TRANSSMISSION, THE. Ernest Merritt. 1931. 2 copies.
Box 6
ON CONTACT RECTIFICATION BY METALLIC GERMANIUM. Ernest Merritt. 1925. 2 copies
Box 6
POLARIZED FLUORESCENCE OF SOLUTIONS OF RHODAMINE - B AND URANINE. Ernest Merritt and Donald R. Morey. 1930.
Box 6
RADIO TALKS ON SCIENCE. --Carving the Scientific Possum. Ernest Merritt. 1925. 2 copies
Box 6
SCIENTIFIC PAPERS 1889-1904. Ernest Merritt.
Box 6
STUDIES IN LUMINESCENCE XI. Nichols and Merritt. 1910. 1 copy.
Box 6
STUDIES IN LUMINESCENCE XII. Nichols, Merritt. 1910, 2 copies.
Box 6
STUDIES IN LUMINESCENCE - Nichols and Merritt. 1911. 2 copies.
Box 6
STUDIES IN LUMINESCENCE - Nichols and Merritt. 1912. 2 copies.
Box 6
VISUAL STUDIES OF RADIO FADING. Ernest Merritt, True McLean, W. F. Bostwick. 1931. 2 copies.
Box 6
Miscellaneous
Merritt's lecture notes, [ca. 1898-1900], 4 vols.
Box 7
Diary, 1887, 1 vol
Box 7
Letterpress copybook, 1896-1904, 1 vol.
Box 7