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Finding Aid to the Perry Byerly papers, circa 1936-1975
BANC MSS 85/69 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: Perry Byerly papers
    Date (inclusive): circa 1936-1975
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 85/69 c
    Creators : Byerly, Perry, 1897-1978
    Extent: Number of containers: 7 cartons, 1 oversize folder (Linear feet: 8.75)
    Repository: 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/
    Abstract: Papers of Perry Byerly, a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of California, Berkeley and a central figure in the development of the field of seismology in the United States.
    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


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Perry Byerly papers, BANC MSS 85/69 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Byerly, Perry, 1897-1978--Archives
    University of California, Berkeley.--Dept. of Geology and Geophysics.
    U.S. Atomic Energy Commission
    Seismology--Charts, diagrams, etc.
    Nuclear power plants--Planning
    Nuclear weapons--Nevada--Testing
    Project Gnome
    Faculty papers

    Administrative Information


    No additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Lara Michels in 2012.

    Biographical Information

    Perry Byerly, a professor in the department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of California, Berkeley, played a seminal role in the development of the field of seismology in the United States. Born in Clarinda, Iowa in 1897, Byerly moved to California with his family in 1905. He obtained his A.B. (1921), M.A. (1922) and Ph.D. (1924) in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1925, Byerly took charge of of UC Berkeley's seismographic stations, which had been built at Berkeley and Mount Hamilton in 1887. Byerly remained on the faculty until 1965. His first paper, published in 1924, investigated the dispersion of seismic wave trains from distant eathquakes. Two years later, he published a seminal paper on the travel times of P waves from the Montana earthquake of June 28, 1925. Byerly also devoted professional attention to seismological instruments. He grew the number of seismological stations at UC Berkeley from the original two to sixteen.
    Byerly was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and held two Guggenheim fellowships, one of which took him to Cambridge University, where he established a lifelong friendship with Sir Harold Jeffreys, renowned mathemetician, geophysicist and astronomer. Byerly was Secretary of the Seismological Society of American from 1931 until 1956. He was a Condon lecturer in Oregon in 1952. A significant amount of his work as a seismologist involved consultations on geophysics and seismology for particular government and private sector projects. For the Atomic Energy Commission Byerly studied seismic safety relating to underground nuclear testing in Nevada and the Aleutians. He also consulted on the siting of nuclear reactors and other structures.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Mostly files from Perry Byerly's consulting work on private and public sector projects relating to the siting of dams, nuclear power plants, and buildings. Among these consulting files are also materials on Byerly's work with the Atomic Energy Commission and the United States Air Force during the 1950s and 1960s on the seismic effects of nuclear testing. Also included is correspondence from 1965 through 1974, assorted publications and reprints, and some miscellaneous notes and papers.