Columbia University Archives

Harold Brown papers, 1941-1950

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0333
Bib ID 15274726 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Brown, Harold, 1927-2019
Title Harold Brown papers, 1941-1950
Physical Description 3 linear feet (3 record cartons)
Language(s) English .

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.



This collection is arranged in one series: Series I: Harold Brown papers, 1941-1950.


Content Description

This collection contains Harold Brown's course work in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and the core curriculum. Materials include syllabi, readings, notebooks, exams, problem sets, and essays from both his undergraduate and graduate studies at Columbia University in the 1940s. A copy of his dissertation (Beta-spectra of gaseous A41 and O15) is also included in this set of materials.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Conditions Governing 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.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Harold Brown papers; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.


No additions are expected.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was transferred to the University Archives by Harold Brown's daughter, Ellen Dunning Brown, in January 2021.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Joanna Rios, April 2021.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

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Columbia University -- Alumni and alumnae Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nuclear physics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Harold Brown (September 19, 1927–January 4, 2019) was an American nuclear physicist who served as United States Secretary of Defense from 1977 to 1981, under President Jimmy Carter. Previously, in the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations, he held the posts of Director of Defense Research and Engineering (1961–1965) and United States Secretary of the Air Force (1965–1969). He also served as President of the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) from 1969 to 1977.

Harold Brown entered Columbia at the age of 15 in 1943, when the College had adopted a trimester schedule as part of a war-time, accelerated program. He graduted in July 1945 with honors in Mathematics and Physics at the age of 17. He continued at Columbia where he earned an MA in 1946 and a PhD in 1949. After graduation, Brown received the University Medal of Excellence in 1963, the Graduate Faculties Alumni Association Award for Excellence in 1986, and the Columbia College Alexander Hamilton Medal in 1990.

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Series I: Harold Brown papers, 1941-1950

Class work

Chemistry & Chemical Engineering

Box 1 Folder 1 Chemistry II, 1944 March-April

Box 1 Folder 2 Chemistry 4, 1943 February-April

Box 1 Folder 3 Chemistry 4 lab reports, 1943 February-April

(H.R. Crist's "A Laboratory Course in General Chemistry," completed lab reports for Mr. Glickman)

Box 1 Folder 4 Chemical Engineering 6, 1944 May-June

(Assignments, review sheets, class notes)

Box 1 Folder 5 Chemical Engineering 6 lab reports, 1944 May-June

(Microstructure of various metals and alloys, galvanic protection, salt spray test)

Colloquium on Important Books

Box 1 Folder 7 Notes from Homer to Tacitus, 1944

(Includes paper on the character of Socrates' opponents in the Platonic dialogues. Taught by Dr. Chiappe and Dr. Householder.)

Contemporary Civilization

Box 1 Folder 6 Contemporary Civilization A1 and A2 course materials, 1943-1945

(Assignment sheets, review questions, exams, notes. Also includes materials from Philosophy 161 and Hygiene A1-A2.)

Box 1 Folder 8 Notes from Medieval Society to the French Revolution, 1944

Electrical Engineering

Box 1 Folder 9 Physics EE1 Electricity and magnetism, 1943-1944

Box 1 Folder 10 Physics EE3, 1944 August-October


Box 1 Folder 11 Math 5, 1943 July-October

(Prof. Murray. Exams and graded problem sets)

Box 1 Folder 12 Math 6A, 1943 November-December

(Accelerated sequence of Math 6A and 7 for Navy students; quizzes, assignments, problem sets)

Box 1 Folder 13 Math 7, 1944 January-February

(Lecture notes, assignments, quizzes, problem sets)

Box 1 Folder 14 Math 22R, 1943 February-April

(Prof. Smith. Exam blue books and lecture notes)

Box 1 Folder 15 Math 163, 1940s

(The Real Number System)

Box 1 Folder 16 Math 164, 1940s

(Notes and course bibliography)


Box 1 Folder 17 Physics I and II, 1943 July-October

Box 1 Folder 18 Physics 4, 1944

(Dr. Melvin Avramy)

Box 1 Folder 19 Physics 7, 1944

Box 1 Folder 20 Physics 8, 1944

Box 1 Folder 21 Physics 11, 1944

Box 1 Folder 22 Physics 109 Light, 1940s

(Prof. Hermon Waldo Farwell)

Box 1 Folder 23 Physics 113 Thermodynamics, 1944 October

Box 1 Folder 24 Physics 118 Alternating-current circuits and electronics, 1945 August-September

Box 1 Folder 25 Physics 125 Introduction to theoretical physics, 1944 October-December

(Prof. Willis E. Lamb)

Box 1 Folder 26 Physics 135 Atomic physics, 1940s

Box 1 Folder 27 Physics 204 Analytical dynamics, elasticity and hydrodynamics, 1945

(Prof. Willis E. Lamb)

Box 1 Folder 28 Physics 215 Electromagnetic theory, 1940s

(Problems in Electromagnetic Theory)

Box 1 Folder 29-30 Physics 216 Electromagnetic theory, 1946-1947, 2 folders

(Prof. Willis E. Lamb's dittoed course notes)

Box 2 Folder 1 Physics 218 Physical optics, 1948 February

(Problems in Geometrical Optics)

Box 2 Folder 2 Physics 224 Partial differential questions of physics, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 3 Physics 236 Statistical mechanics, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 4 Physics 237 Quantum mechanics, 1945

Box 2 Folder 5 Physics 237-238 Quantum mechanics lecture notes, 1945-1946

(Notes by A. Nordsieck)

Box 2 Folder 6 Physics 240 Applied quantum mechanics, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 7 Physics 248R, 1947

Box 2 Folder 8 Physics 249, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 9-11 Physics 257 Nuclear physics, 1949, 3 folders

3 folders

Box 2 Folder 12 Physics 258 Nuclear physics, 1945-1946

(Prof. John R. Dunning)

Box 2 Folder 13 Physics 270, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 14 Physics 271 Field theories of nuclear forces, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 15 Physics 301, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 16 Physics lab reports, 1943 June-July

Box 2 Folder 17 Physics notes, 1948-1949

Box 2 Folder 18 Physics notes, 1948-1950

(Includes 1950 letter to Prof. Philip Morrison (Cornell) sharing Brown's and Prof. C.S. Wu's calculations.)

Box 2 Folder 19 Physics notes, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 20 "Notes for a Physics Colloquium on the Scattering of Fast Neutrons", 1940s

Box 2 Folder 21 Physics tests and quizzes, 1944-1950

(Questions only. Physics 4, 1944; Physics 514, 1950, Physics, 517, 1950)


Box 2 Folder 22 Electromagnetic theory, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 23 Nuclear physics, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 24 Quantum mechanics, 1940s

Box 2 Folder 25 Notes on the Atomic Energy Commission meeting, Chicago, 1948


Box 2 Folder 26 Beta-Spectra of Gaseous A41 and 015 by Harold Brown and Victor Perez-Mendez, 1949

(Dissertation to be published.)

Box 2 Folder 27 Offprints, 1948-1950

Source books

Contemporary Civilization Source Book Part One

Box 3 Folder 1 Sections I-II, 1941

Box 3 Folder 2 Sections III-IV, 1941

Box 3 Folder 3 Sections VI-VII, 1941

(Section V is missing)

Box 3 Folder 4 Sections VIII-IX, 1941

Box 3 Folder 5 Sections X-XI, 1941

Manual for the Study of Contemporary Civilization Part One

(The Development of Western Institutions and Ideas)

Box 3 Folder 6 Sections I-IV, 1942

Box 3 Folder 7 Sections VI-VIII, 1942-1943

(Section V is missing)

Box 3 Folder 8 Sections IX-XII, 1942

Contemporary Civilization Source Book Part Two

Box 3 Folder 9 Sections I-II, 1942

Box 3 Folder 10 Sections III-IV, 1942-1943

(Section IV Revised 1943)

Box 3 Folder 11 Sections V-VI, 1942

Box 3 Folder 12 Sections VII-VIII, 1942-1943

(Section VIII Revised 1943)

Box 3 Folder 13 Sections IX-X, 1943

Box 3 Folder 14 Sections XI-XII, 1943

(Section XII Supplementary in 2 volumes)

Manual for the Study of Contemporary Civilization Part Two

Box 3 Folder 15 Sections I-III, 1943

Box 3 Folder 16 Sections IV-VIII, 1943

Box 3 Folder 17 Sections IX-X, 1943

Basic Readings in American Government

Box 3 Folder 18 Sections 1-2, 1942

(The Legal Foundations)

Box 3 Folder 19 Sections 3-4, 1942

(The Lawmaking Process, Executive Leadership)

Box 3 Folder 20 Sections 5-6, 1942

(Administrative and Financial Problems, American Foreign Relations)