Scope and Content
Title: R. R. Martel Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1922-1935
Collection number: 10215-MS
Creator: Martel, R. R. (Romeo Raoul) 1890-1965
3 linear feet
California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives
Pasadena, California 91125
Abstract: The correspondence, manuscripts, reports, photos, and published papers of Romeo Raoul Martel (1890-1965) form the collection
known as the R. R. Martel Papers in the Archives of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Martel was professor
of civil engineering at Caltech from 1918 until his retirement in 1960. Prof. Martel was a pioneer in the earthquake-resistant
design of structures and in earthquake engineering research. He also served as a consulting engineer for the cities of Pasadena,
Glendale, Burbank, Riverside and Los Angeles.
Physical location: Archives, California Institute of Technology.
Language of Material:
Languages represented in the collection:
The collection is open for research. Researchers must apply in writing for access.
Copyright may not have been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish
or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Caltech Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and, unless explicitly stated otherwise,
is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], R. R. Martel Papers, 10215-MS, Caltech Archives, California Institute of Technology.
The small collection of R. R. Martel Papers were donated to the Caltech Archives by Professor George W. Housner in April 2002.
Romeo Raoul Martel was born in Iberville, Quebec in 1890, and moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, with his family a year later.
He graduated from Brown University in 1912 and taught civil engineering at Rhode Island State College for a year, and at the
Mechanics Institute in Rochester, New York, for another year.
During 1915-1918, he was engaged in civil engineering work in industry. He worked as an assistant engineer for the Sayles
Finishing Plants in Rhode Island and at the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in Amarillo, Texas. In 1918, he was invited
to join the faculty of Caltech, where he became a full professor of civil engineering in 1930.
R. R. Martel served as a consultant on the construction of Pasadena's San Rafael Bridge in 1921 and later consulted on the
designs of the Linda Vista and Colorado Street bridges. He also served as a consulting engineer for the cities of Pasadena,
Glendale, Burbank, Riverside and Los Angeles. He consulted on the design of flood control structures and reservoirs for the
US Army Corps of Engineers in Los Angeles, and served on the Advisory Committee of Engineering of the US Coast and Geodetic
Survey between 1947-1952.
Professor Martel was one of the first engineers interested in the field of earthquake resistant structures. He was one of
the founders, along with Dr. George W. Housner, of the independent non-profit Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, which
was established in 1952 to promote research on safe and economical earthquake resistant structures.
R. R. Martel was a member of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineers, the Seismological Society of
America, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Concrete Institute, the Société des Ingénieurs Civils de France,
and a past president of the Structural Engineering Association of Southern California.
R. R. Martel passed away on February 28, 1965.
Scope and Content
The small collection of R. R. Martel Papers comprise four boxes of correspondence, research notes, reports and photographs.
They cover the time period of 1922 through 1935.
About a third of R. R. Martel's collection deals with the Long Beach Earthquake, which occurred on March 10, 1933. A variety
of material regarding that earthquake, from related correspondence to reports, can be found in Series 2.
In 1926, Martel was a delegate of the Southern California Council on Earthquake Protection to the 3rd Pan-Pacific Science
Congress in Tokyo, and again in 1929, to the World Engineering Congress there. Material regarding these conferences and others
can be found in Series 3.
Martel was consultant on the design and construction of many buildings and structures, both public and private. Rare and unique
photos of earthquake damage to a variety of those structures in the U.S.A. and Japan can be found in Series 4.
Rare journals and reprints from the late 1920s to the early 1930s, as well as Martel's remarks on earthquakes can be found
in Series 5.
The collection is organized into the following series:
- Series 1. Correspondence
- Series 2. Long Beach Earthquake (March 10, 1933)
- Series 3. Talks and Conferences
- Series 4. Maps and Photos
- Series 5. Publications
Researchers should also examine the Papers of Robert A. Millikan, Don L. Anderson, and John P. Buwalda, as well as the oral
histories of George W. Housner and Donald Hudson, which are deposited in the Caltech Archives.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
California Institute of Technology
Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
Earthquake resistant design