Harvey Mudd College Oral History Collection

Harvey Mudd College Special Projects

Davenport, William H. (b.1908)

Humanities and Social Sciences Chairmen

Founding Faculty, 1990

Chaired the Humanities and Social Science Department from 1957 to 1968. From 1968 to 1973, he was the Willard W. Keith Fellow in Humanities. From 1973 to 1983. He taught part time as an emeritus professor. Here, Davenport discusses his early academic career, the designing of the Harvey Mudd curriculum and the role and funding of the humanities at Harvey Mudd, the college community and the growth of the college.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

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Garrett, Marian Thomas [Mrs. Leroy A.]

Trustee

1988

Marian Garrett was the wife of Leroy A. Garrett, personal attorney for the Mudd family and founding board member of the college. After her husband's death in 1963, Mrs. Garrett was appointed to the board. She discusses her husband's life and work as well as her own service on the Buildings and Grounds Committee and other Claremont Colleges Committees.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

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Hastings, Robert P. (b. 1910)

Trustee

1990

Robert Hastings served on the Board of Trustees from 1956 to 1985. He discusses relationships between the Hastings and Mudd families, his relationship with and impressions of Henry Mudd, President Joseph Platt, and the founding board members. He also talks about land exchanges and housing negotiations with Scripps College.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

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McKelvey, George I. III. (b. 1925)

Founding Staff Member

1991

George McKelvey was the Director of Development from 1957 to 1968, Vice President for Development from 1968 to 1988 and the Vice President of the College from 1988 to 1990. He discusses his early acquaintance with Joseph Platt at the University of Rochester, his role in creating and building the development office and the original trustees of the college.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

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Mudd, Henry T.

Harvey Mudd College Board

Son of Harvey Mudd, Member of Founding Board, and Chairman of Board, 1985

Henry Mudd recalls the beginning of the concept of a new engineering college as part of the Claremont Group Plan, the philanthropic tradition of the Mudd family, and the various responses of the extended Mudd family to the idea of this college. He speaks of the role of Leroy Garrett in seeking funds and the selection of the first president of the college. Mr. Mudd succeeded his mother, Mildred E. Mudd as chairman of the board during the time when the decision to admit women was made.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

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Platt, Jean Ferguson [Mrs. Joseph B. Platt]

President's Wife

Wife of Founding President of Harvey Mudd College, 1988

Jean Platt discusses her childhood, education, and work for Polaroid. After their marriage the Platts moved to Rochester, where Joseph Platt held a faculty position at the University of Rochester. Her husband accepted the presidency of the newly founded Harvey Mudd College and they moved to Claremont, California. She discusses their initial housing and the construction of the new home for the president. Mrs. Platt speaks of the faculty wives of the college and the close-knit feeling of the college community in the 1950s. She discusses the tenure she next served as wife of the president of the Claremont Graduate School.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

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Platt, Joseph B. (b. 1915)

President

1989

Joseph Platt served as the president of Harvey Mudd College from 1956 to 1976. He discusses the birth of the college, including details of funding, construction and the college community.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

See also: Platt, Joseph B.

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Wickes, George C. (b. 1923)

Professor of English

1989

Wickes was one of the founding faculty members of Harvey Mudd College in 1957 and worked as an unofficial historian of the college in a personal diary of the early years. He discusses his service in the O.S.S. in Vietnam and his early academic career although emphasis is on his tenure at Harvey Mudd and his relationship with Joseph Platt.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

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Origins of the Atomic Age Project

This project was initiated in 1975 by Harvey Mudd College of Engineering, one of the Claremont Colleges. The focus of the project is not so much the details of the scientific research, but rather on the social and political implications. of scientific developments since 1940. The completed interviews are deposited in the Sprague Library at Harvey Mudd College.

Campbell, J. Arthur (b.1917)

Chemist

1975

James Arthur Campbell earned his doctorate in chemistry in 1942 from the University of California at Berkeley with Dr. Roger Hildebrand. He remained at Berkeley until 1945 to teach and to work in the Manhattan Project. Mr. Campbell talks about the nature of his involvement in the Manhattan Project, the secrecy of scientific work during wartime, and of his concern that there be civilian control of atomic energy. Nuclear power development as it relates to the earth's long-term environment and the energy problem is also discussed.

Interviewer: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program.

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Focke, Alfred B. (b.1906)

Physicist

1975

Alfred B. Focke served as a Physicist in civilian capacity for the Navy Bureau of Ordnance during World War II. After the war, Dr. Focke worked in various capacities at the Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego. In 1954 he became Scientific Director of Operation WIGWAM, which was the testing of the first deep underwater nuclear explosion. Dr. Focke joined the faculty of Harvey Mudd College as Professor of Physics where he remained until his retirement in 1971. Dr. Focke describes in detail the wartime research he did for the Bureau of Ordnance and he described the advantages of his civilian status in dealing with the military. He also discusses nuclear stockpiling and the possibilities of atomic war.

Interviewers: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program; John B. Rae, Professor of History, Harvey Mudd College.

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Goudsmit, Samuel Abraham (b.1902)

Physicist

1976

Samuel Goudsmit was born in Den Hague, the Netherlands. In 1925 he and George Uhlenbeck, a fellow doctoral student at the University of Leiden, discovered the electron spin, a fundamental contribution to quantum mechanics. In 1927 he joined the Physics faculty at the University of Michigan. From 1942 to 1946 he was on leave to the Radiation Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and in 1944 he was named civilian head of a secret mission, ALSOS, to ascertain German progress in atomic research. After the war, he worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and in 1951 he assumed the position of editor-in-chief of the American Physical Society. Dr. Goudsmit speaks of the distinguished scientists he met during his years at Leiden, relates the details of the ALSOS mission, and compares the development of science in the United States and in Europe.

Interviewers: Graydon D. Bell, Professor of Physics, Harvey Mudd College; Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program; John B. Rae, Professor of History, Harvey Mudd College.

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Rojansky, Vladimir

See Rojansky, Vladimir in World War II: Persecution and Uprising

Platt, Joseph B. (b.1915)

Physicist

1975

Joseph B. Platt received his academic degree in physics, completing his doctorate at Cornell University in 1942. During World War II, he worked on radar devices and served as a civilian assigned to the European and Pacific theaters. In 1949 he joined the research staff of the Atomic Energy Commission as Chief of the Physics Branch. In 1956, Dr. Platt was appointed the founding president of Harvey Mudd College, the fifth college established as part of the Claremont Colleges Group Plan, and designed as a small residential college of physical science and engineering. The interview relates Joseph Platt's experiences in graduate school, where many of his fellow physicists later became involved in the Manhattan Project. He discusses the Atomic Energy Commission and his perception of the relationship between science and government.

Interviewers: Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program, John B. Rae, Professor of History (Harvey Mudd College).

See also: Platt, Joseph B.

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Spilhaus, Athelstan (b.1911)

Scientist

1975

Born in the Union of South Africa in 1911, Athelstan Spilhaus was educated in South Africa, England, and the United States. Dr. Spilhaus was professional and public service affiliations nationally and internationally and has received many honors as a renowned meteorologist, oceanographer, and educator. He reminisces about the development of his interests in engineering, aeronautics, meteorology and oceanography. He discusses weather prediction and the collection of debris in the atmosphere to detect nuclear explosions. Dr. Spilhaus also recounts his experiences while director of atomic weapons tests in Nevada in 1951.

Interviewers: J. Arthur Campbell, Professor of Chemistry, Harvey Mudd College; Enid H. Douglass, Oral History Program; Alfred B. Focke, Senior Professor, Emeritus of Physics, Harvey Mudd College.

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