Finding Aid to the Varian Associates Records, 1948-1998

Processed by Elia Van Lith; additions by Alison E. Bridger
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 2007
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Varian Associates Records, 1948-1998

Collection number: BANC MSS 73/65 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Collection Processed By:
Elia Van Lith; additions by Alison E. Bridger
Date Completed:
July 2003; additions January 2007
Finding Aid written by:
Elia Van Lith; edited by Alison E. Bridger
© 2007 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Varian Associates Records,
Date: 1948-1998
Collection Number: BANC MSS 73/65 c
Creator: Varian Associates
Extent: Number of containers: 5 cartons and 2 oversize folders Linear feet: 6.35
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Abstract: The Varian Associates Records, 1948-1998, document the history of this innovative and successful Silicon Valley pioneer from its inception in 1948 until just prior to its division into three separate companies in 1999. The bulk of the collection consists of minutes from the meetings of the board of directors. Also included are reports to the board, acquisition and joint venture studies, writings by Russell Varian related to the company, presentations by the board, files on subsidiary companies, company publications, and promotional and marketing materials.
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


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 appropriate curator or the Head of Public Services for forwarding. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Varian Associates Records, BANC MSS 73/65 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Related Collections

Varian Associates group portrait from the Varian Associates records, BANC PIC 1988.072-PIC
Eitel-McCullough records, BANC MSS 77/110 c

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
Audiovisual materials have been transferred to the Microforms Collection of The Bancroft Library.
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.
Varian, Russell Harrison, 1898-1959.
Varian Associates--Archives.
Radar transmitters.
Medical instruments and apparatus--Design and construction.
Linear accelerators.
Microwave tubes.
Medical instruments and apparatus industry--California--San Francisco Bay Area.
Vacuum-tubes. 0 Electronic industries--California--Palo Alto.
Electronic industries--California--San Francisco Bay Area.
Santa Clara Valley (Santa Clara County, Calif.).
Varian, Russell Harrison, 1898-1959.
History of science and technology collection.

Administrative Information


The Varian Associates Records were given to The Bancroft Library by Francis P. Farquhar on October 25, 1972. Additions were made between 1998 and 2006.

Corporate History

Varian Associates was formed in San Carlos, California in 1948 by Edward L. Ginzton, William W. Hansen, Richard M. Leonard, Leonard I. Shiff, H. Myrl Stearns, Dorothy Varian, Russell H. Varian, Sigurd F. Varian, and Paul B. Hunter, with $22,000 of capital and six full-time employees. In founding Varian Associates, the directors wanted to create a science-based company, managed by scientists, where the decisions would be made by the scientists and engineers who carried out the work. The founding members had worked together for years, first on the klystron at Stanford University and later at the Sperry Gyroscope Company laboratory in Garden City, NY. during WWII. They chose the name "Varian" as Russell Varian was well known in the scientific community as the inventor of the klystron, a specialized vacuum tube, in 1937. The klystron, with its extremely focused electron beam, was a key element in the development of airborne radar.
Even though the articles of incorporation stated that the directors wanted to "conduct research in the fields of physical science of every kind and nature," it would be several years before Varian branched out from its original role as a microwave tube plant. One of the company's first departures from tubes came about when they obtained patent rights for NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), capitalizing on William Hansen's pioneering work in the subject at Stanford. Eventually, this venture into NMR became one of Varian's most profitable ventures, leading to the development of its successful spectrometer and medical instruments divisions.
In 1953 Varian moved from its original leased facility in San Carlos to a new building on Stanford land, becoming the first corporation in what was to become the Stanford Industrial Park. Soon after the move, Varian began expanding, opening a plant in Canada, launching S-F-D Laboratories in New Jersey, and making its first acquisition, Bomac Laboratories in Massachusetts. Acquisitions continued through the 1960s and 1970s, first under the leadership of Ed Ginzton, then Norman Parker. These acquisitions, together with continued innovative research, helped to further broaden and diversify Varian's product line.
Varian's profitable klystron contracts with the military were severely cut back in 1964, causing the company to finish out the fiscal year with its largest net losses up until that date. By 1966, however, Varian had restructured its finances and fully recovered, ending the year with record profits. Financial problems sprang up again in 1971, forcing Varian to put an end to acquisitions and begin selling some of its costlier operations, including Varian Data Machines, Syva, and its CT scanning business. The sale of these subsidiaries enabled the company to focus its resources on the core product lines of vacuum technologies, medical equipment, and spectrometers.
In the 1980s Varian had a succession of four presidents. Then in 1990, J. Tracy O'Rourke came on board as chairman and CEO, the first Varian outsider to hold those posts, and quickly started the company on its long-awaited turnaround, reducing the corporate staff by more than 20% and creating 3 divisions based upon marketing similarities instead of technological similarities. Within five years, earnings rose and profits were at an all-time high. With this reorganization came a shift in priorities, from number of patents obtained and papers published, to marketing and customer service.
Varian Associates formally divided into three companies in 1999, turning each of its divisions into a separate public enterprise. The three resulting corporations were Varian Medical Systems, Varian, Inc., and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Varian Associates Records, 1948-1998, document the corporate history of this innovative and successful Silicon Valley pioneer from its inception in 1948 until just prior to its division into three separate companies in 1999. The bulk of the collection consists of minutes from the meetings of the board of directors. Also included are reports to the board, acquisition and joint venture studies, writings by Russell Varian related to the company, presentations by the board, files on subsidiary companies, company publications, and promotional and marketing materials.
The board of director's minutes date primarily from Varian's first 23 years (1948-1971). They also include minutes from meetings of shareholders and committees as well as monthly progress reports from subdivisions, strategic planning documents, and some budget reports. Photographs of the board of directors have been removed from these files and transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
Management materials also include legal papers, acquisition and joint venture studies, reports to the board, presentations by the board, as well as materials relating to Russell Varian, stockholders, and employees. Reports to the board include budget reports, financial performance reports, a corporate long-range plan, a management compensation plan, marketing outlooks, and a study of prospective expansion sites in the Bay Area. The joint venture studies document Varian's rapid growth and expansion in the 1960s. Of note among them are studies of Decision Control, Inc., the Syntex/Varian joint venture Syva, and Wilkins Instrument and Research, Inc. The presentations primarily address Varian's restructuring efforts of the 1980s and 1990s. Russell Varian's writings consist mainly of editorials he wrote for Varian Associates Magazine and other publications near the end of his life. Prospecti, semi-annual and quarterly reports covering the years 1955-1990 constitute the documents related to stockholders. Minutes of the meetings of stockholders have been integrated into the minutes of the board of directors. Material related to Varian employees includes guidebooks dealing with corporate identity and employee behavior, as well as group insurance and stock purchasing and numerous employee newsletters.
Information on Varian's subsidiary companies consists primarily of catalogs, promotional material and information booklets. Most of the significant companies formed by acquisitions and mergers are included here, notable among them are Bomac Laboratories, Semicon Associates, Varian Aerograph, Eitel-McCullough and Cary Instruments. Some material relating to research and development is included in the collection, namely research reports and pamphlets on NMR-EPR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance) and rare earth cobalt magnets.
The collection does not include Russell and Sigurd Varian's personal papers or their laboratory materials.

Container List

Cartons 1-4, Oversize folder 1



Divided into 3 sub-series: Board of Directors, Stockholders and Employees.

Scope and Content Note

Board of Directors is divided into 6 sub-series: Minutes, Reports, Acquisition and Joint Venture Studies, Legal Papers, Russell Varian, and Presentations. Minutes include correspondence, strategic planning documents, and minutes from meetings of the board of directors. Minutes of meetings of shareholders and committees have been integrated into the board of director's minutes. Reports consist of financial statements and reports, a corporate long-range plan, a site selection study for possible expansion, and product activity studies. The Acquisition and Joint Venture Studies document Varian's rapid expansion between 1959 and 1970 when over a dozen firms were acquired by Varian. Legal Papers pertain to White & Co. vs. Varian Associates, a court case regarding contract dispute over the building of a vacuum tube production facility in Palo Alto and materials relating to Varian's position on Public Law 87-653, which regulated government contractors. Materials pertaining to Russell Varian consist mainly of articles and editorials. Presentations are primarily made up of presentations by the board of directors to the New York Society of Security Analysts and to Varian's investors. Stockholders includes company prospecti and semi-annual and quarterly reports. Employees includes employee guidelines, corporate identity guides, group insurance plans, and newsletters.
Cartons 1-3, Oversize folder 1



Arranged hierarchically then chronologically.
Cartons 1-2, Oversize folder 1

Minutes, n.d.


Arranged chronologically.
carton 1, folder 1-29

Minutes, 1948-1964

Oversize folder 1B

San Carlos and Palo Alto Facility Expansion Plans, 1955

Physical Description: [Removed from folder 7, board meeting on 03/31/55]
Oversize folder 1B

Building Program, 1959

Physical Description: [Removed from folder 17, board meeting on 09/30/59]
carton 2, folder 1-27

Minutes, n.d.

Oversize folder 1B

SFD/ Bomac Organizational Chart, n.d.

Cartons 2-3

Reports, 1949-1970


Arranged chronologically.
carton 2, folder 28-33

Financial Statements, 1949-1955

carton 2, folder 34

Economic Study of Use of Magnetometers, 1954

carton 2, folder 35

Survey of Eastern Electronics Organizations, 1954

carton 2, folder 36

Organization Report, 1957

carton 2, folder 37

Marketing Outlook for Eastern Industries, Inc., 1959

carton 2, folder 38

Boston Analyst report, 1960

carton 2, folder 39-41

Budget Reports, 1961-1966

carton 3, folder 1-7

Budget Reports, 1967-1970

carton 3, folder 8

Site Selection Study, 1961

carton 3, folder 9

Proposition for Establishment of a Manufacturing Operation in Italy, 1963

carton 3, folder 10

Varian Product Activity in Educational Field, 1964

carton 3, folder 11-12

Board Reports, 1965

carton 3, folder 13

Corporate Long-range Plan, 1966

carton 3, folder 14

Management Compensation Plan, 1966

carton 3, folder 15-23

Financial Performance Reports, 1967

Carton 3

Acquisition and Joint Venture Studies, 1961-1970


Arranged chronologically.
carton 3, folder 24

Sociéte de Fabrications Communes, 1961

carton 3, folder 25-26

Company X, 1965

carton 3, folder 27

Denmark Radiation Processing, 1965

carton 3, folder 28

Microwave Facility of Company Z, 1965

carton 3, folder 29-30

Wilkins Instrument and Research, Inc., 1965

carton 3, folder 31

Spectromagnetic Industries, ca. 1966

carton 3, folder 32

Syntex/ Varian joint venture, 1966

carton 3, folder 33

Academic Press, 1967

carton 3, folder 34-36

Decision Control, Inc., 1967

carton 3, folder 37

MAT (Freidrich Krupp Mess und Analysentechnik), 1967

carton 3, folder 38

Techtron Party, Ltd., 1967

carton 3, folder 39

Micrographic Technology Corp., 1970

carton 3, folder 40

Vacuum Equipment Division of Norton Company, 1970

Carton 3

Legal Papers, 1959-1963


Arranged chronologically.
carton 3, folder 41

Appellant's opening brief: White & Co. vs. Varian Associates, 1959

carton 3, folder 42

Materials regarding PL 87-653, 1963

Carton 3

Russell Varian, 1950-1959


Arranged chronologically.
carton 3, folder 43

Franklin Institute Award, 1950

carton 3, folder 44

Speeches and articles, ca. 1954-1959

carton 3, folder 45

Articles published in Varian Associates Magazine, ca. 1956-1959

carton 3, folder 46

Biographical sketch, 1959

Carton 3

Presentations, 1969-1998


Arranged chronologically.
carton 3, folder 47

New York Society of Security Analysts, 1969-1992

carton 3, folder 48

Address by Thomas Sedge at Varian Solid State seminar, 1974

carton 3, folder 49

Deloitte and Touche Health Care summit, 1993

carton 3, folder 50

Varian Projected Growth, 1994

carton 3, folder 51

European investors, 1996

carton 3, folder 52

Profiles in Success, 1998

Carton 4



Arranged chronologically.
carton 4, folder 1

Prospecti, 1955, 1966

carton 4, folder 2

Semi-annual reports, 1957-1973

carton 4, folder 3

Quarterly reports, 1960-1990

Carton 4

EMPLOYEES, 1950-1998


Arranged chronologically.
carton 4, folder 4-10

Newsletters, 1950-1998

carton 4, folder 11

Miscellaneous, 1952-1973

carton 4, folder 12

Group Insurance Plan, ca. 1954

carton 4, folder 13

Profit Sharing and Stock Purchasing Plans, ca. 1955-1966

carton 4, folder 14

Concepts in General Management, ca. 1960

carton 4, folder 15

Corporate Objectives, 1986

carton 4, folder 16

Code of Business Ethics, 1989

carton 4, folder 17

Corporate Identity Guide, ca. 1990

carton 4, folder 18-19

Employee guidebook, 1992

Carton 4

SERIES 2, SUBSIDIARIES, ca. 1959-1971


Arranged chronologically by acquisition or formation date into 11 sub-series: Varian A.G., Bomac Laboratories, Semicon Associates, Thomson-Varian, Solid State Products, Varian SpA, Aerograph, Eitel-McCullough, Cary Instruments, Varian Data Machines, and NEVA. Includes company information packets, catalogs, promotional material, annual reports, newsletters, and research and development materials for Varian's subsidiary companies. Some material dates from prior to Varian's acquisitions of these companies.
Carton 4

VARIAN A.G., 1959


Arranged hierarchically.
carton 4, folder 20

Information packet, ca. 1960

Carton 4



Arranged hierarchically.
carton 4, folder 21

Catalogs, ca. 1960

carton 4, folder 22

Promotional material, ca. 1960

Carton 4



Arranged hierarchically.
carton 4, folder 23

Research and Development, ca. 1964

carton 4, folder 24

Information booklet, ca. 1960

carton 4, folder 25

Promotional material, 1964

Carton 4



Arranged hierarchically.
carton 4, folder 26

Annual reports, 1962-1966

carton 4, folder 27

Promotional material, 1967

Carton 4


carton 4, folder 28

Information booklet, ca. 1964

Carton 4


carton 4, folder 29

Board of director's visit, 1967

Carton 4



Arranged hierarchically.
carton 4, folder 30

Information booklet, ca. 1966

carton 4, folder 31-32

Newsletters, 1959-1966

carton 4, folder 33-34

Promotional material, 1961-1966

Carton 4



Arranged hierarchically.
carton 4, folder 35

Annual Report, 1964

carton 4, folder 36

National Electronics, Inc., ca. 1960

carton 4, folder 37

Catalogs, 1964-1965

Carton 4



Arranged hierarchically.

Scope and Content Note

carton 4, folder 38

Stockholders, ca. 1966

carton 4, folder 39

Catalogs, 1965-1966

carton 4, folder 40

Promotional material, ca. 1960

Carton 4



Arranged hierarchically
carton 4, folder 41

Newsletters, 1969-1970

Physical Description:
carton 4, folder 42

Promotional material, ca. 1960-1970

Carton 4

NEVA, ca. 1967

carton 4, folder 43

Promotional material, ca. 1967

Carton 4



Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Includes booklets from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance-Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (NMR-EPR) workshops, central research reports, and a booklet on rare earth cobalt magnets.
carton 4, folder 44

WCMA Product List and Membership Roster, 1953

carton 4, folder 45

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance-Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (NMR-EPR) workshops, ca. 1957

carton 4, folder 46

Central Research Reports, 1963

carton 4, folder 47

Rare Earth Cobalt Magnets, 1972

Cartons 4-5, Oversize folders 1-2



Divided into 3 sub-series: Catalogs, Product Promotional Materials, and Company Publicity. Includes catalogs for various company divisions including klystrons, microwave equipment, tubes, and instruments. Product Promotional Material is made up primarily of advertisements from industry magazines and promotional mailings for distributors. Company Publicity includes newspaper clippings, product and facility information, invitations, various promotional pamphlets, publications, indexes, company history, press releases, and newsletters.
Carton 4

CATALOGS, 1950-1965


Arranged chronologically.
carton 4, folder 48

Microwave Equipment, ca. 1950-1954

carton 4, folder 49

First Catalog, 1952

carton 4, folder 50

Klystrons, ca. 1954-1962

carton 4, folder 51

Price lists, 1954-1965

carton 4, folder 52

Tube Division, ca. 1958

carton 4, folder 53

Instrument Group, ca. 1960

carton 4, folder 54

Recorder Division, ca. 1960

carton 4, folder 55

Varian Associates, 1960-1961

carton 4, folder 56

Radiation Division, 1962

carton 4, folder 57

Microwave Tube Group, 1963-1964

Carton 5, Oversize folder 1



Arranged chronologically.
carton 5, folder 1-4

Instrument Division, ca. 1950-1990

carton 5, folder 5

Klystrons, ca. 1950-1960

Oversize folder 1B

Klystrons, 1987

carton 5, folder 6-8

Vacuum Products Division, ca. 1950-1996

carton 5, folder 9

Varian Associates, ca. 1950-1960

carton 5, folder 10

Varian Canada, Ltd., ca. 1954

carton 5, folder 11

Analytical Instruments Division, ca. 1960

carton 5, folder 12

Microwave Tube Group, ca. 1960

carton 5, folder 13

Radiation Division, ca. 1960

carton 5, folder 14

Special Products, ca. 1960

carton 5, folder 15

Tube Division, ca. 1960

carton 5, folder 16

Varian Adco, ca. 1960

carton 5, folder 17-24

Medical Equipment, 1990-1992

carton 5, folder 25

Semiconductor Equipment, ca. 1990

carton 5, folder 26

Varian Oncology Systems, ca. 1996

Carton 5, Oversize folders 1-2

COMPANY PUBLICITY, ca. 1948-1998


Arranged chronologically.
carton 5, folder 27

Clippings, ca. 1950

Oversize folder 1B

Clippings, ca. 1950

carton 5, folder 28

Product and facility information, ca. 1955-1960

carton 5, folder 29

Invitations and open house, ca. 1957-1964

carton 5, folder 30-32

Promotional pamphlets, ca. 1957-1990

carton 5, folder 33

Publications Indexes, ca. 1957-1964

carton 5, folder 34

Instrument Division information packet, 1958

carton 5, folder 35

Company history, ca. 1960

Oversize folder 2A

First "home" of Varian Associates - photograph circa 1948

carton 5, folder 36-37

Journal articles, ca. 1956-1998

Oversize folder 1B

Western Electronic News, 1956

carton 5, folder 38

NMR and EPR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance-Electron Paramagnetic Resonance) at Work, ca. 1960

carton 5, folder 39-43

Press releases, ca. 1960-1980

carton 5, folder 44

Product Applications, ca. 1960

carton 5, folder 45

Special award: Highest Reader Recall in Microwaves, 1962

carton 5, folder 46

Proceedings: Tenth Annual Users Meeting, 1984

carton 5, folder 47

Outline: Customer Presentation, 1985

carton 5, folder 48

Spectroscopist's newsletter ( Spectral News), ca. 1990

carton 5, folder 49

Application Summary, 1994