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At a Glance
Selected materials cataloged; remainder arranged. This collection is arranged in two series.
Scope and Contents
The Willard L. Severinghaus Papers include the personal and professional papers of Columbia University Physics professor Willard Lesly Severinghaus, as well as a small amount of material related to the extended Severinghaus family. There are also record books from the Terre Haute, Indiana German Methodist Episcopal Church where Severinghaus's father, John F. Severinghaus, was pastor.
Manuscript files include teaching notes and student lists; notebooks on physics, experiments, etc.; college notebook on biology and Willard Lesly Severinghaus notebooks and Frances Orr Severinghaus diary of their trip to Europe in 1927. Teaching materials; American Physical Society, 1939-1941; lightning; Moores Hill College, Moores Hill, Indiana; and telephotographs are included in the subject files. Biographical information includes the wedding announcement of Willard Leslie Severinghaus and Frances Orr; his obituary and letters relevant to his wife's teaching appointments. There are photographs of Severinghaus, his family, other scientists, laboratory equipment, the "Leonardo da Vinci Aircraft" exhibit, one identified group photograph of the "Cavendish Research" in 1926, 24 lantern slides (3 1/4 x 4 inches, glass) produced by the McAllister-Keller Company of New York, which appear to be a specially ordered lecture set on lightning & six slides for a lecture on thermodynamics. There is also a 75 item, A-Z student name and quiz grade card file, and 17 books from his library.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
The following boxes are located off-site: 2-9. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Willard L. Severinghaus papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Severinghaus family papers: Papers of Willard L. Severinghaus' nephew, Leslie Severinghaus, and family. Includes other papers of John F., Aura E., and Charles E. Severinghaus. At Cornell University.
Aura E. Severinghaus Papers: Papers of Willard L. Severinghaus' nephew, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Professor of Anatomy Aura E. Severinghaus. At the Columbia University Medical Center Archives.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of Mrs J. Walter Severinghaus, 1988.
Gift of Helen Severinghaus, 1990.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Processed JHR 08/29/90.
2020-03-17 PDF finding aid converted to EAD, and scope and content and biographical notes revised by CLB.
History / Biographical Note
Willard Lesly Severinghaus (1882-1947) was a professor of Physics at Columbia University, 1919-1941, and secretary of the American Physical Society, 1929-1940.
Severinghaus was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on January 28, 1882, to the Reverend John Frederick Severinghaus and Maria Albers Severinghaus. He was the youngest of nine children. He earned an A.B. and master's degree in Physics from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1904 and 1905, respectively. From 1904 to 1907, Severinghaus was a professor of Physics at Moores Hill College. He then began working as an assistant in the Columbia University Physics department.
Severinghaus earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1914. His research specialized in thermodynamics and electricity. He taught Physics at the university for the rest of his career, until his retirement in 1941.
Severinghaus married Frances Orr, a former graduate student of his and a Physics teacher at Brooklyn College, on August 26, 1920. They had no children. He died in New York City on August 28, 1947.