Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Victor Lenzen papers,
Date (inclusive): [ca. 1904-1975]
Collection Number: BANC MSS 76/206 c
Creator: Lenzen, Victor Fritz, 1890-1975
Number of containers: 5 cartons, 7 boxes and 1 oversize folder
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Letters written to Lenzen and copies of letters by him; Mss. of books, papers, articles, speeches, lectures and problem sets;
research notes on the figure of Dionysos on textiles and the lives and careers of Charles S. and Benjamin Peirce; physics
and philosophy notebooks, including those he kept while attending Josiah Royce lectures in 1913; reprints; materials re various
University of California clubs and committees; an article written and annotated by Albert Einstein; and personal materials.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not 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. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft
Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which
must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Victor Lenzen papers, BANC MSS 76/206 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Material Cataloged Separately
Victor Fritz Lenzen was born December 14, 1890 in San Josi, California to Theodore W. and Kate (Schnoor) Lenzen. He attended
Bay Area schools and graduated in 1909 from the California School of Mechanical Arts. He began his studies at tile University
of California in engineering, but, more interested in pure theory, he changed his major to philosophy. He graduated in 1913
and was awarded a scholarship for graduate study at Harvard University where he received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1916.
At Harvard, the lectures of Bertrand Russell and Josiah Royce and their emphasis on mathematical logic turned his interest
towards physics. After a year of study in Europe and a year as an assistant in philosophy at Harvard, he enrolled in graduate
studies in physics at the University of California in 1918. There he was appointed instructor in 1921 and professor of physics
His special interest in physics was mathematical logic, as demonstrated in his lectures for his graduate course in advanced
dynamics which he taught until his retirement in 1958.
Active in University affairs, he served on various academic senate committees and was for many years in charge of tile lower
division office of the Physics Department. While serving on the University of California Press editorial committee in 1946,
his investigation of a controversial paper on archeology led him to a study of the figure of Dionysos on textiles.
An inquiry in the 1960's about his meeting with Mrs. Charles S. Peirce in 1914, when as a graduate student he assisted in
picking up C. S. Peirce's papers, launched him on a study of Charles S., his wife Juliette, and Benjamin Peirce, which he
pursued until his death on July 18, 1975.
Scope and Content
Part of the Lenzen collection came to The Bancroft Library as a gift of Professor Lenzen to the University Archives, which
was transferred to the Manuscripts Division in 1966; the remainder came in 1976 as a gift of Mrs. Lenzen. It consists of five
boxes of correspondence and six cartons of related papers, with one oversize folder of notes. It includes letters addressed
to Lenzen; copies of letters written by him; manuscripts of books, papers, articles, speeches, lectures and problem sets;
research notes on the figure of Dionysos on textiles and the lives and careers of Charles S., Juliette and Benjamin Peirce;
physics and philosophy notebooks, including those he kept in 1913 while attending Josiah Royce's lectures; reprints; notes
and materials on various University of California clubs and committees; an article written and annotated by Albert Einstein;
and personal materials. Photographs have been removed to the Library's Pictorial Collection.
While the articles, papers, lectures and notebooks reflect the whole range of Lenzen's interests during his career, the correspondence
and notes relate primarily to his research connected with the life and career of Charles S. Peirce and the figure of Dionysos.
The collection is described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows.