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Finding Aid for the Edward C. Barrett Collection on Early Caltech History 1891-1950
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Edward C. Barrett Collection on Early Caltech History,
    Date (inclusive): 1891-1950
    Collection number: 10036-MS
    Creator: Barrett, Edward C. 1880-1952
    Extent: 1 linear foot
    Repository: California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives
    Pasadena, California 91125
    Abstract: Edward Cecil "Ned" Barrett was for many years the only business officer of the California Institute of Technology and of its forerunner institution, Throop University/Polytechnic Institute. The collection contains historical and administrative documents relating to the early years of Caltech and Throop, as well as correspondence of Caltech's founders and early leaders, including A. A. Noyes, James A. B. Scherer, Arthur Fleming, George Ellery Hale, and Robert A. Millikan.
    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.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Edward C. Barrett Collection on Early Caltech History, 10036-MS, Caltech Archives, California Institute of Technology.

    Acquisition Information

    The Edward C. Barrett collection was preserved in the Caltech president's office until 1967, when the material was transferred to the Millikan Library. In 1968 the papers were turned over to the newly created Institute Archives.


    Edward Cecil "Ned" Barrett was born March 20, 1880, in Springfield, Massachusetts. As a boy, he moved with his family to Iowa, where he attended the University of Iowa, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1906. In 1911 he began his long tenure at Caltech--then still Throop Polytechnic--as business agent and secretary to the Board of Trustees. He became assistant treasurer to the Board in 1912 and was appointed lecturer in business law in 1914. He was secretary of the Executive Council during the whole period of that body's existence under the leadership of Robert A. Millikan, from 1921 to 1945. In 1934 Barrett was named comptroller of the Institute.
    Barrett died in Pasadena on February 23, 1952.

    Scope and Content

    The Barrett collection was revisited in 2007, at which time it was decided not to disturb the original arrangement of the papers, which dates back to circa 1970. Despite Barrett's long tenure at Caltech--41 years--the collection is small. There are three short series. The first contains an assortment of files pertaining to the business matters of the Institute, as well as some notes by Barrett himself about the history of Caltech, which he planned to write. The second series consists of correspondence pertaining to the founders and early leaders of Caltech, namely George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, Robert A. Millikan, Arthur Fleming, Henry M. Robinson, James A. B. Scherer, and a number of early trustees, donors, and faculty members. There is overlap between the two series, in that correspondence is interfiled among administrative papers in the first series. The third series represents a small miscellany pertaining to the history, governance, and early finances of Caltech.
    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Historical and Administrative Papers
    • Series 2. Correspondence
    • Series 3. Miscellaneous Papers

    Related Material

    Related collections in the Caltech Archives with important material on the early history of Caltech are: the James A. B. Scherer Papers, the George Ellery Hale Papers, and the Robert A. Millikan Papers.

    Indexing Terms

    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--History