|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in one series: Series I: Correspondence, 1920-1932.
Materials from the office of Professor Charles Edward Lucke (1876-1951), Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University, relating to the National Museum of Engineering and Industry. The collection is composed of correspondence, much of it addressed to H.F.J. Porter, the secretary, and various types of reports.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located offsite. 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); Museum of Engineering and Industry records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
No additions are expected.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 08/--/1989.
2020-04-13 PDF replaced with full finding aid (JR).
History / Biographical Note
Th National Museum of Engineering and Industry was supposed to be part of the Smithsonian. An initiative started by Carl W Mitman, the chief curator of technological collections (1918), called for a teaching museum with the artifacts, documents, patent records, books, drawings, prints, models, photographs and reminiscences of engineers, inventors and scientists. H.F.J. Porter, a consulting engineer in New York who specialized in industrial safety, joined Mitman in his quest. Sometimes referred to as the Secretary of the Museum, Porter started the fundraising, commissioned an architect for the museum building (the largest ever built), and led a national campaign, appealing to the patriotism of America's engineers. The Museum was to have celebratory biographical displays (hall of fame) and serve as an experiential laboratory for future engineers. The displays would include the evolution of technologies (e.g., from horse drawn carriage to the automobile) and the sectioning of machines to show the inner workings. Unfortunately, Porter was unable to raise the necessary funds and the Smithsonian then gave priority to a new museum of history and art, effectively ending the initiative. Porter continued on his own but the congressional bill to fund such a museum failed and Porter died soon after (January 1933). Mitman's successor, Frank Taylor, revived the initiative at the Smithsonian and the National Museum of History and Technology opened to the public in 1964.
Charles Edward Lucke was born in New York 1876. He received a BS from City College in 1895, an MS from NYU in 1899, and a PhD from Columbia University in 1902. After graduation, Lucke began teaching at Columbia. He became head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1908 and remained until he became Emeritus in 1941. During the World War I, he organized the US Navy Gas Engine School at Columbia and he patented over 120 devices. He continued to lecture at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences until his death in 1951.