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Finding Aid to the Kenneth S. Pitzer Papers, 1915-2000, bulk 1930-1997
BANC MSS 99/170 c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Kenneth S. Pitzer papers
    Date (inclusive): 1915-2000,
    Date (bulk): , bulk 1930-1997
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 99/170 c
    Creators : Pitzer, Kenneth S. (Kenneth Sanborn), 1914-
    Extent: Number of containers: 42 cartons, 1 box, and 1 oversize folder. Linear feet: approx. 53
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: The Kenneth S. Pitzer Papers, 1915-2000, consist of correspondence, writings, reports, and research materials documenting Pitzer's career in the field of theoretical chemistry from the 1930s until his death in 1997. The bulk of the collection is made up of correspondence, research materials, and writings relating to his pioneering work in methods for calculation of thermodynamic properties of complex molecules. Also included are materials relating to Pitzer's work for the United States Government, his private sector research and consulting, and a small amount of biographical material.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Kenneth S. Pitzer Papers, BANC MSS 99/170 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Related Collections

    Chemist and administrator at UC Berkeley, Rice University, Stanford University, and the Atomic Energy Commission, 1935-1997 : oral history transcript / Kenneth Sanborn Pitzer; with introductions by Robert Curl and Marilyn Chapin Massey. BANC MSS 2000/54
    Robert A. Welch award [video recording]: former Rice University president interview, 1984-1995.

    Separated Material

    Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Pitzer, Kenneth S. (Kenneth Sanborn), 1914--Archives
    University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Chemistry
    U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
    Rice University
    Stanford University
    Pitzer College
    Chemistry, Physical and theoretical--Research
    Thermodynamics
    Chemistry, Physical and theoretical
    Faculty papers.
    History of science and technology collection

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Kenneth S. Pitzer Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Jean Pitzer, Russell Pitzer and John Pitzer on May 28, 1998. Additions were made on November 1, 2000.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Juliet Demeter in 2006.

    Biographical Information

    Kenneth S. Pitzer was born in Pomona, California on January 6, 1914, the son of noted philanthropists Russell K. and Flora Pitzer. He attended the California Institute of Technology, where he received a B.S. in chemistry in 1935 and completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 1937 under the direction of distinguished chemist Wendell M. Latimer.
    In 1935 Pitzer married Jean (Mosher) Pitzer. They had three children: Anne E. Pitzer, Russell M. Pitzer, and John S. Pitzer.
    After graduation, Pitzer was appointed to the faculty of the U.C. Berkeley College of Chemistry, where he spent the better part of his career serving first as Instructor from 1937-1939, Assistant Professor from 1939-1942, Associate Professor from 1942-1945 and finally as Professor from 1945-1961. He was also Dean of the College of Chemistry from 1951-1960.
    During World War II Pitzer took a leave of absence from teaching and went to work for the United States Government first as consultant for the National Defense Research Committee, Office of Scientific Research Development, where he researched meteorology for the U.S. Army. As Technical Director of the Maryland Research Laboratory from 1943-1945, Pitzer developed time delay devices which were used to disrupt rail systems in Germany. From 1949-1951, he again left Berkeley to serve as Director of Research for the Atomic Energy Commission. In addition, he served on the President's Science Advisory Committee from 1965-1968.
    In 1961, Pitzer became president of Rice University in Houston, Texas and left in 1968 to assume the presidency of Stanford University until 1970. In 1971 he returned to Berkeley where he served for 13 more years becoming Emeritus Professor in 1984. Pitzer also served as trustee for many colleges including Mills College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer College, founded by and named for his father. In the last decades of his life, he provided continuing support for Pitzer College endowing several scholarships and professorships.
    In addition to teaching, Pitzer authored several books including Thermodynamics and Quantum Chemistry, which he co-authored with Leo Brewer. Over the course of his career, he published over 350 articles in various scientific journals including the Journal of the American Chemical Society for which he also Pitzer served as Associate Editor from 1944-1945.
    For many years, Pitzer worked as a consultant in the private sector, serving on the board of directors for the American Petroleum Institute, Union Carbide Corporation, United States Rubber Company, the Rand Corporation, and Owens- Illinois.
    Among the numerous awards and fellowships he received during his career were a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Clark Kerr Award, the Priestly Medal of the Chemical Society, the Berkeley Citation, and the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry. In 1974 Pitzer was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Gerald R. Ford.
    Professor Pitzer retired from UC Berkeley in 1985, but continued his research in thermodynamics and quantum theory until his death. He died of heart failure on December 26, 1997.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Kenneth S. Pitzer Papers, 1915-2000, consist of correspondence, writings, reports, and research materials spanning Pitzer's career in the field of physical and theoretical chemistry from the 1930s until his death in 1997. The bulk of the collection is made up of correspondence, research materials, and writings relating to his pioneering work in methods for calculation of thermodynamic properties of complex molecules. Also included are materials relating to Pitzer's work for the United States Government, his private sector research and consulting, and a small amount of biographical material.
    The collection has been divided into eight series: Correspondence, Writings, Academic Files, United States Government, Private Sector Research and Consulting, Professional Affiliations, Research Files, and Biographical Materials. Pitzer's correspondence consists primarily of letters to and from colleagues in the field of chemistry and generally pertains to his research and academic appointments at UC Berkeley, Rice and Stanford. Writings include papers and lectures regarding his chemical research as well as his as well as materials relating to his books Quantum Mechanics (co-authored with Leo Brewer), Thermodynamics, and Activity Coefficients in Electrolyte Solutions.
    At Berkeley Pitzer was noted not only for his research and teaching, but also as an administrator in the College of Chemistry. Serving as dean from 1951-1960. Academic Files reflect all aspects of his career at Berkeley including the many committees and panels he contributed to. This series also includes a small amount of material from his appointments as President of Rice and later Stanford.
    United States Government reflects Pitzer's contributions during and just after World War II including his posts at the National Defense Research Committee, Office of Scientific Research Development, the Maryland Research Laboratory and finally as Director of Research for the Atomic Energy Commission from 1949-1951.
    Throughout his career, Pitzer was sought out as a consultant by private sector industries. These contributions are documented in the Private Sector Research and Consulting series and include files from Pitzer's tenure at American Petroleum Institute, Union Carbide Corporation, United States Rubber Company, the Rand Corporation. General Research Files include materials related to Pitzer's research both at U.C. Berkeley and in the private sector.
    There is only a small amount of biographical material in the collection, primarily bio-bibliography, oral histories conducted between 1975 and 1996, travel and sabbatical files and a few photographs.