Finding Aid to the Kenneth S. Pitzer Papers, 1915-2000, bulk 1930-1997

Finding Aid written by Juliet Demeter
Funding for processing this collection was provided by Jean M. Pitzer
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
© 2006
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Kenneth S. Pitzer Papers, 1915-2000, bulk 1930-1997

Collection Number: BANC MSS 99/170 c

The Bancroft Library



University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California Funding for processing this collection was provided by Jean M. Pitzer
Finding Aid Written By:
Juliet Demeter
Date Completed:
October 2006
© 2006 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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.

Container List

 

Series 1 Correspondence 1938-1997

Physical Description: Cartons 1-6

Arrangement

Cartons 1-5 are arranged alphabetically. Carton 6 is arranged chronologically as received.

Scope and Content Note

Consists of letters to and from Pitzer documenting his career in chemical research and academic activities. These letters also include requests for information, solicitations of advice, invitations to meetings and events, membership requests, and reports on the activities of various professional organizations to which Pitzer belonged.
Carton 1, Folder 1-42

Correspondence A-Ch 1950-1997

Carton 2, Folder 1-49

Correspondence Ch-Ho 1957-1997

Carton 3, Folder 1-53

Correspondence Hu-Na 1944-1997

Carton 4, Folder 1-43

Correspondence Na-S 1940-1997

Carton 5, Folder 1-57

Correspondence S-Z 1938-1997

Carton 6, Folder 1-32

Correspondence 1943-1960

 

Series 2 Writings 1935-1997

Physical Description: Cartons 7-12, oversize folder 1 B

Arrangement

Divided into three subseries: Books, Speeches, and Scientific Papers. Arranged chronologically.
 

2:1 Books 1948-1997

Physical Description: Cartons 7-9

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, drafts, corrections, and notes for books authored, co-authored, and edited by Pitzer.
Carton 7, Folder 1-3

Quantum Chemistry 1948-1967

Carton 7, Folder 4-57

Thermodynamics 1952-1994, undated

Carton 8, Folder 1-39

Thermodynamics 1980-1997, undated

Carton 8, Folder 40-57

Activity Coefficients in Electrolyte Solutions 1988-1993, undated

Carton 9, Folder 1-3

Molecular Structure and Statistical Thermodynamics: Selected Papers of Kenneth S. Pitzer 1992-1993

 

2:2 Speeches 1941-1997

Physical Description: Cartons 9-10

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Consists of drafts, articles, correspondence, and other materials relating to lectures and speeches given by Pitzer throughout his career on various topics including education, chemistry research, and the Atomic Energy Commission.
Carton 9, Folder 4-47

Speech files 1941-1967

Carton 10, Folder 1-27

Speech files 1968-1997

Oversize Drawer B, Folder 1

Posters announcing Pitzer's Taiwan lectures undated

 

2:3 Scientific Papers 1935-1982, undated

Physical Description: Cartons 10-12

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Contains drafts, correspondence, and notes for papers written by Pitzer on topics relating to his chemical research. Topics include the thermodynamic properties of molecules and research into the properties of electrolytes.
Carton 10, Folder 28-56

Scientific papers 1935-1958

Carton 11, Folder 1-50

Scientific papers 1958-1976

Carton 12, Folder 1-30

Scientific papers 1977-1982, undated

 

Series 3 Academic Files 1939-1997

Physical Description: Cartons 12-16

Arrangement

Arranged hierarchically.

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, course materials, and files relating to UC Berkeley committee work and the College of Chemistry. Consists of meeting materials and reports during Pitzer's tenure as trustee at the Claremont Colleges. Includes correspondence and Board of Trustees meeting minutes (Mills).
Carton 12, Folder 31-45

UC Berkeley College of Chemistry 1939-1997

Carton 12, Folder 46-67

UCB course materials 1937-1964

Carton 13, Folder 1-40

UCB course materials 1971-1983, undated

Carton 14, Folder 1-2

UCB course materials undated

Carton 14, Folder 3-31

UC Berkeley committees 1958-1997

Carton 14, Folder 32-43

Harvey Mudd College 1956-1991

Carton 15, Folder 1-6

Mills College 1958-1969

Carton 15, Folder 7

Visiting professorship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1961-1965

Carton 15, Folder 8-15

Claremont Colleges 1961-1996

Carton 15, Folder 16-19

Rice University 1963-1968

Carton 15, Folder 20-21

Stanford University 1968-1971

Carton 15, Folder 22-47

Pitzer College 1969-1997

Carton 16, Folder 1-12

Pitzer College 1976-1997

 

Series 4 United States Government 1943-1984

Physical Description: Cartons 16-20

Arrangement

Arranged hierarchically.

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, reports, meeting notes and research materials for Pitzer's work for the United States Government.
Carton 16, Folder 13

National Defense Research Committee 1943

Carton 16, Folder 14-40

United States Atomic Energy Commission 1944-1965

Carton 17, Folder 1-43

United States Atomic Energy Commission 1956-1967

Carton 18, Folder 1-40

United States Atomic Energy Commission 1961-1970

Carton 18, Folder 41-42

United States Naval Ordinance Test Station Advisory Board 1955-1958

Carton 18, Folder 43-57

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 1959-1978

Carton 19, Folder 1-28

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 1979-1984

Carton 19, Folder 29-31

Defense Science Board, United States Department of Defense 1961

Carton 19, Folder 32-45

The President's Science Advisory Committee 1963-1969

Carton 20, Folder 1-7

The President's Science Advisory Committee 1968-1970

Carton 20, Folder 8-9

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Astronautics 1964

 

Series 5 Private Sector Research and Consulting 1943-1971

Physical Description: Carton 20

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Contains primarily correspondence and meeting minutes from Pitzer's tenure at several private companies.
Carton 20, Folder 10-25

American Petroleum Institute 1943-1957

Carton 20, Folder 26

United States Rubber Company 1945-1948

Carton 20, Folder 27

Union Carbide Corporation 1961-1963

Carton 20, Folder 28-33

Owens-Illinois 1967-1986

Carton 20, Folder 34-35

The Rand Corporation 1962-1971

 

Series 6 Professional Affiliations 1943-1997

Physical Description: Cartons 21-25

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content Note

Contains correspondence, meeting files, notes, and research materials for the many professional organizations, societies, and committees of which Pitzer was a member. In addition to papers relating to the scientific and chemistry organizations Pitzer served on are files from numerous educational and cultural panels.
Carton 21, Folder 1-43

Advisory Council on College Chemistry-Chemical Education Material Study 1943-1997

Carton 22, Folder 1-47

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry-National Academy of Sciences 1949-1997

Carton 23, Folder 1-38

National Academy of Sciences 1972-1976

Carton 24, Folder 1-42

National Academy of Sciences-National Bureau of Standards 1952-1997

Carton 25, Folder 1-15

Organization of American States-World Affairs Council 1955-1970

 

Series 7 Research Files 1915-1999

Physical Description: Cartons 25-41

Arrangement

Divided into 3 subseries: General Research Files, Subject Files and Reprints. General research arranged as received. Subject Files and Reprints are arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content Note

Pitzer's pioneer work in molecular spectroscopy made it possible for chemists to predict the thermodynamic properties of complex molecules. His research also included the relativist effects in chemical bonding and the theory of fluids and electrolyte solutions.
 

7:1 General Research Files 1915-1999

Physical Description: Cartons 25-32

Arrangement

Arranged as received.

Scope and Content Note

General Research Files document Pitzer's work in the study of the thermodynamic properties of molecules. Included are correspondence, graphs, annotated reprints, and many notes by Pitzer.
Carton 25, Folder 16-35

General Research Files 1964-1996

Carton 26, Folder 1-23

General Research Files 1935-1997

Carton 27, Folder 1-44

General Research Files 1949-1997

Carton 28, Folder 1-37

General Research Files 1927-1995

Carton 29, Folder 1-57

General Research Files 1974-1994

Carton 30, Folder 1-39

General Research Files 1955-1997

Carton 31, Folder 1-36

General Research Files 1936-1997

Carton 32, Folder 1-21

General Research Files 1966-1997

 

7:2 Subject Files 1927-1996

Physical Description: Cartons 32-33

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content Note

In addition to files on topics in chemistry research, this subseries includes biographies and other materials regarding many well known U.C. Berkeley chemists, including Gilbert Lewis with whom Pitzer worked closely in the College of Chemistry.
Carton 32, Folder 22-39

Subject Files A-L 1938-1996

Carton 33, Folder 1-22

Subject Files L-V 1927-1982

 

7:3 Reprints 1915-1999

Physical Description: Cartons 33-41

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by author's name or subject of research.

Scope and Content Note

Includes reprints, some annotated, and correspondence with Pitzer's colleagues in chemistry research and other fields. Some of this material relates to Pitzer's tenure as Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. An incomplete run of Pitzer's reprints are also included in this subseries.
Carton 33, Folder 23-42

A-Br 1926-1997

Carton 34, Folder 1-45

Bu-Fip 1952-1997

Carton 35, Folder 1-40

Fis-Hi 1931-1997

Carton 36, Folder 1-43

Ho-Ma 1934-1997

Carton 37, Folder 1-34

Mc-Ol 1933-1997

Carton 38, Folder 1-28

Or-Pl 1915-1999

Carton 39, Folder 1-36

Pr-Sc 1930-1997

Carton 40, Folder 1-39

Se-Vo 1946-1997

Carton 41, Folder 1-29

Wa-Ye 1965-1997

 

Series 8 Biographical Materials 1930-2000

Physical Description: Cartons 41-42, box 1, oversize folder 1 B

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Contains a small amount of personal correspondence, appointment books, awards, Pitzer's student notebooks, and several folders documenting his trip to the Soviet Union in 1959 as part of a group of American scientists invited to view atomic energy installations in Russia. Also included are a small number of photographs, biographies of Pitzer, and several oral histories.
Carton 41, Folder 30-39

Biographical materials 1930-1994

Carton 42, Folder 1-43

Biographical materials 1949-2000

Box 1, 1-28

Appointment books 1947-1971, undated

Oversize Drawer B, Folder 1

Awards and honorary degrees 1958-1963