Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Frank Baron Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1886-1994
Date (bulk): (bulk 1931-1982)
Collection Number: BANC MSS 2003/244 c
Baron, Frank, 1914-1994
Number of containers: 15 cartons, 2 oversize folders
Linear feet: 18.75
The Bancroft Library.
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Abstract: The Frank Baron Papers, 1886-1994, comprises records of Baron's accomplishments as student, professor, researcher, and structural
engineer. It consists of student notebooks, lecture materials, writings (published and unpublished), consulting reports, notes,
calculations, correspondence, materials documenting Baron's involvement on academic and professional committees, and research
files. Occasional blueprints, maps, slides, and photographs are also included.
Collection materials are in English.
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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], Frank Baron papers, BANC MSS 2003/244 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Title: T.Y. Lin Papers, 1932-1998
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 99/308 cz
Title: Charles Derleth Papers, 1893-1953
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 91/116 c
Title: Construction Photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge
Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1905.14251-14284--PIC
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Baron, Frank, 1914-1994--Archives.
University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Engineering--Faculty.
Saint Mary's Cathedral (San Francisco, Calif.)
Structural analysis (Engineering)
Bridges--Gibraltar, Strait of--Design and construction.
Bridges--Saudi Arabia--Design and construction.
Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, Calif.)
Dumbarton Bridge (Calif.)
History of science and technology collection.$CU-BANC.
The Frank Baron Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Peter I. Yanev on May 12, 2003.
Processed by Josh Schneider in 2005.
Francis (Frank) Martin Baron, born July 7, 1914 in Chicago, Illinois, served as professor of civil engineering at University
of California, Berkeley and held an international reputation as a an expert in the fields of bridge and roof-structure design,
and seismic and wind analysis. He was twice the recipient of the prized Leon S. Moisseiff Award issued annually by the American
Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and among his manifold professional affiliations, served as chairman of the US Council
of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.
Baron's research interests traced the current of cutting-edge theory in civil engineering design and construction. As an undergraduate
architecture and engineering student and masters-level graduate student in structural engineering at the University of Illinois,
Baron had the privilege of studying under two premier names in engineering design: H.M. Westergaard, known for his research
on the use of reinforced concrete for pavement and dams, and Hardy Cross, an undisputed authority on contemporary structural
frame analysis. He formed lasting bonds with both of these scholars, later reuniting with Westergaard at Harvard University
and Cross at Yale University.
Baron married Milena Yaneva in September 1938, and shortly thereafter received his Sc. D. in structures and mechanics at Harvard
University. The following year, Baron accepted a position on the civil engineering faculty at Yale University. While at Yale,
Baron further explored his dissertation interest in the shearing stresses of slabs, and also spearheaded the formulation of
a new departmental curriculum in transportation studies. After spending four years in New Haven, Baron accepted a full-professorship
at Northwestern University, where he stayed for seven years. Plasticity and the comparative behavior of riveted and bolted
steel joints served as his principal research interests.
In 1953, Baron accepted an invitation from the University of California at Berkeley to assume a dual position as Director
of the Structural Engineering Laboratory and Professor of Civil Engineering. Shortly after his arrival, Baron resigned his
position as head of the laboratory and devoted himself fully to his role as educator and researcher, increasing his course
load and adopting a more expansive research methodology. Theory of design and planning became his primary instruction matter.
Baron continued to teach at UC Berkeley for another thirty years, and was known by faculty and students alike as an unparalleled
educator whose enthusiasm for his research was matched only by his concern for the intellectual and professional growth of
Baron was perhaps best known in the Bay Area for his structural design work on the Dumbarton, Golden Gate, and Bay Bridges,
as well as for his role in designing the roof structure of St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco. Other projects in which
he served as consultant include the retrofitting of bridges across Saudi Arabia, the proposed bridge across the Strait of
Gibraltar, and the proposed Inter-Continental Peace Bridge (ICPB) which would have joined Alaska and Siberia.
Frank Baron died October 17, 1994. Always interested in the history and progression of engineering and its role in society,
one of his final activities was helping to ensure that the unacknowledged principal designer of the Golden Gate Bridge, Charles
Ellis, gain proper recognition. To the end, he was man of integrity, who recognized and took pride in the ability of one engineer
to change the world.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Frank Baron Papers, 1886-1994, comprises records of Baron's accomplishments as student, professor, researcher, and professional
structural engineer. It consists of student notebooks, lecture materials, writings (published and unpublished), consulting
reports, notes, calculations, correspondence, materials documenting Baron's involvement on academic and professional committees,
and research files. Occasional blueprints, maps, slides, and photographs are also included.
The most comprehensive areas of the collection include the lecture notes, which in the case of quite a few courses span a
number of decades, and the writings series, which in some instances includes not only drafts, but notes, correspondence, and
reviews, also covering a number of years. Also well-represented are Baron's research files, containing a thorough assemblage
of early articles on railroad bridge design and construction, and notes on a wide variety of topics including seismic analysis,
transportation, and city planning.
Correspondence in general has been integrated with the rest of the collection. Certain projects, especially the Golden Gate
Bridge retrofit and the proposed bridge across the Strait of Gibraltar, are particularly well documented, and include the
vast majority of correspondence. Files pertaining to the roof-construction of St. Mary's Cathedral, although lacking in correspondence,
are otherwise equally thorough.
Biographical and personal materials are minimal, consisting mainly of student notebooks, dissertation materials, certificates
of professional achievement, and correspondence documenting academic appointments and salary adjustments. Of particular interest
is a letter from Hardy Cross tentatively offering Baron a position on the faculty at Yale. Although Baron was extremely active
on a number of university and association committees, materials documenting his participation are quite limited.
Unique to the collection are materials documenting the intersection of Baron's academic and professional lives, including
a systematically meticulous set of correspondence between Baron, and various parties at University of California, Berkeley
(including past UC Berkeley Chancellor Clark Kerr). The correspondence documents Baron's appointment at UC Berkeley in 1953
as well as his resignation as director of the structural engineering laboratory, which enabled him to further his already
extensive career as professor of civil engineering. It also includes letters to and from colleagues and prospective employers.