Willis Appleford Slater Papers, 1910-1937
Held at: Lehigh University Special Collections [Contact Us]Linderman Library, 30 Library Drive, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 18015
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Lehigh University Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Willis Appleford Slater was born in the town of Polo, Illinois, on October 14, 1878. Valuing knowledge and discipline, he attended both grade and high school in the town that he was born. Post high school graduation, at the age of sixteen, he alternated between the labor force and further schooling. Three years later he would attend Valparaiso University at Valparaiso, Indiana for two years. It would be two years after that 1906 when he would attend the University of Illinois at Urbana, Illinois. He graduated here in 1906 with a Bachelor of Science in Municipal and Sanitary Engineering. He continued to study at the University of Illinois, after a two year hiatus receiving field experience and marrying Clara Mary Knodle, becoming a Research Fellow in the Engineering Experiment Station in 1908. Deciding to specialize in reinforced concrete, he graduated with a Master of Science in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in 1910. He received the professional degree of Civil Engineer in 1912 in recognition of his research. He stayed at the University of Illinois, becoming a Research Assistant Professor in 1915. During his time at the University, he gained a reputation as a meticulous and inventive researcher, sometimes deriving mathematical formulas to solve new engineering problem, and an excellent consulting engineer, with his most notable project being the testing of the International Hall. He conducted research into his specialization and co-published “Moments and Stresses in Slabs,” which gained him much recognition. At the onset of the First World War, Slater was called by the Bureau of Standards to be an Engineer Physicist in charge of creating reinforced concrete ships for the Emergency Fleet Corporation. The research gained in this project was presented to the American Concrete Institute in 1919 and Slater was awarded the Wason Medal of the Institute in 1920. After the war, he stayed with the Bureau of Standards until 1928. In his time at the Bureau, he had many important projects, most notably the Knickerbocker Theater Incident, the Stevenson Creek Dam, and the Muncy Dam. In 1928, Slater took the position of Research Professor of Engineering Materials and Director of Fritz Engineering Laboratory. During this period, he was appointed by the Highway Research Board of the National Research Council as part of a committee to conduct an investigation of the problem of proper curing methods for concrete pavement. In 1929, he was elected vice president of Lehigh Valley section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Later that year, he died on October 5, 1931.1878 Born in Polo, Illinois
This collection has four main sections to it: 1. Slater’s student years, in which there is only his master's thesis; 2. University of Illinois Employment, which contains many reports on tests that Slater was a consultant for and a few reports of his own, most notably the investigation paper from the Knickerbocker Theater disaster; 3. U.S. Bureau of Standards Employment, which contains many reports, calculations, and journals belonging to Slater during his industrious career at the bureau (This series includes the papers on the Stevenson Creek Dam); 4. Lehigh University Employment, which includes test reports from Fritz lab and some reports from projects he was appointed to, including the Muncy Dam.
The collection has two major categories activities before Lehigh and Lehigh years, based on that, it has been arranged in 4 series, then chronological by date: Series 1: Student Years Series 2: University of Illinois Employment Series 3: National Bureau of Standards Employment Series 4: Lehigh University Employment
In 2013, Lehigh University has been awarded a $93,700 grant by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Program, funded by the Mellon Foundation to process and create finding aids for six civil engineering archival collections, including the papers of John Fisher; Blair Birdsall; Willis Slater; Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat; series of photographic prints and negatives of civil engineering testing, and collection of bridge postcards. The Project started in March 2014 and completed in March 2016.
The following book catalogued and housed with the book collection: Wegmann, Edward and Noetzli, Fred. “The Design and Construction of Dams: including masonry, earth, rock-fill, timber and steel structures, also the principal types of movable dams.” OCLC: 1828017
- Black, Morris
- Briggs, Lyman J. (Lyman James), 1874-1963
- Carpenter, J.D.
- Dennis, H.W.
- Derleth Jr., Charles
- Emley, J.C.
- Flinn, Alfred D. (Alfred Douglas), 1869-1937
- Hess, R.E.
- Hollister, S. C. (Solomon Cady), 1891-?
- Houghton, James G.
- Johnson, Bruce
- Koehler and Keele, civil engineers
- Merriman, Thaddeus, 1876-?
- Nelson, Russell A.
- Newcomer H.E.
- Noetzli, Fred A.
- Savage, John L. (John Lucian), 1879-1967
- Slater, Willis Appleford, 1878-1931.
- Smith, Bernard F.
- Thomas, C.R.
- Trelease, Frank J., 1913-?
- Weed, Frederick H.
- American Association of Engineers
- American Society of Engineers
- Corrugated Bar Company (Buffalo, N.Y.)
- Department of Commerce and Labor Document -- Bureau of Standards
- Department of the Interior -- Bureau of Reclamation
- Duhrkop Oven Company
- Ford Motor Company
- Fritz Engineering Laboratory
- Gannett, Seelye, & Fleming Engineers, Inc.
- Knickerbocker Theatre (Washington, D.C.)
- Lehigh University, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Muncy Water Supply Co.
- Portland Cement Concrete.
- Schuster Engineering Company
- Southern California Edison Company
- The Engineering Foundation
- University of California (1868-1952)
- University of Illinois at Chicago
- University of Wisconsin
- Arch Dams -- testing
- Cement -- testing
- Concrete slabs -- Design and Construction
- Concrete slabs -- testing
- Reinforced concrete
- Buffalo (N.Y.)
- Chicago (Ill.)
- Detroit (Mich.)
- Harrisburg (Pa.)
- Jersey City (Nj.)
- Muncy (Pa.)
- New York (City).
- North Tonawanda (New York)
- St. Louis (Mo.)
- Stevenson Creek Dam, Santa Clara County, California
- Worcester (Mass.)
- Lehigh University Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Kevin Augustyn
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project. Created in 2008, the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program supports the identification and cataloging of special collections and archives of high scholarly value that are difficult or impossible to locate. It is administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources in Washington, D.C. Award recipients create descriptive information for their hidden collections that will eventually be linked to and interoperable with all other projects funded by this grant program.
- Access Restrictions
Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.
- Use Restrictions
Collection is open for research.
Please inquire about copyright information.
Willis Appleford Slater, 1910 master thesis in Civil Engineering submitted to University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), titled “A study of reinforced concrete slabs” OCLC: 428434663