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William Francis Magie Papers

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Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. 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

Magie, William Francis, 1858-1943 Magie

William Francis Magie graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1879 as valedictorian of his class. (His father, William Jay Magie, was valedictorian of the Princeton Class 1852.) He was a founder of the American Physical Society and was its president from 1910 to 1912. He taught physics at Princeton University for almost half a century, and was one of the group of alumni who nurtured Princeton's development from a college to a university. At the end of his senior year, on Commencement Day, one of his professors, Cyrus Fog Brackett, offered him the job to become his assistant. In 1884 Magie took a leave of absence and went to Germany, where he studied at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin under Hermann von Helmholtz and subsequently earned his Ph.D. A decade later he collaborated with two physicians in publishing the first paper in the U.S. on the possible use of X-rays in surgery. He was also the author of a highly regarded textbook on the rise and content of physical theories, Principles of Physics (1911). His greatest work, however, was in teaching and administration. After Brackett retired in 1908, Magie succeeded him as chairman of the physics department and, later, as Joseph Henry Professor of Physics. From 1912 to 1925 he served as dean of the faculty, and he continued to serve as chairman of the physics department until his retirement in 1929, when, at Commencement Day, he was awarded an honorary Sc.D.

The collection consists of miscellaneous papers of Magie: records and report cards from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), school records from Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin, manuscripts of some of his addresses, a manuscript of the "Account of the process of making the Ph.D. at Berlin, 1885," and selected correspondence. The records from the College of New Jersey include an entrance exam schedule, Magie's letter of admission (1875), and his award certificate (1878) for the Dickinson Prize. There are six autograph (and one typewritten) addresses on various scientific topics given at conferences and club meetings. The records from Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Berlin include a registration form, a student ID card, a receipt, a student manual (1882), three lists of classes, a record of courses taken, his Ph.D. degree (1884), and a printed copy of his dissertation (1885). The correspondence includes three letters (1882) to Magie's mother and father from Princeton, and a letter and two photographs from Frederick S. Osborne to Edward Steese, dated July 2, 1945, regarding the Magie grave tablet. In addition, there is short document about physics signed by Hermann von Helmholtz, Magie's German mentor.

Arranged by accession number.

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.

The collection materials were a gift of David Magie on December 30, 1954 .

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on June 29, 2006 . Finding aid written by Tenley Eakin on June 30, 2006 . Folder inventory added by James Clark '14 in 2012. Folder Inventory for additions (Box 2) added by Hilde Creager '2015 in 2012.

No appraisal information is available.

Publisher
Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
2006
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

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Collection Inventory

DS from Helmholtz, Ferdinand, undated. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Registration, Student ID, Receipts, Record of Courses, Dissertation, Ph.D. Degree from the Königlichen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat zu Berlin, 1884 April 15-1885 March 25. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Student Manual, 3 Lists of Classes, 1882-1885 August 15. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

AMS, Account of the Process of Making the Ph.D. at Berlin, 1885. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Speech: "Culture and Science," Read at Evanston Northwestern University Graduate Club, 1906 March 12. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Speech: Physics Club of New York, 1914 March 7. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Speech for 250th Anniversary of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in First Church, 1914 October 27. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Speech: "Cases of Appreciation of the Theory of Dimensions to the Determination of Physical Relations", 1915 April 15. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Speech at Wooster, 1915 October. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Speech at Science Conference, Dartmouth Sesquicentennial, 1919 October 20. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Speech at Conference of New Jersey State Classical Association, New Brunswick, 1920 October 19. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

3 ALsS to His Mother and Father, 1882 December 3-6. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

College of New Jersey Entrance Exam, Report Cards, Dickinson Prize Award, 1875 July 1-1878 December. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

ALS and 2 photos to Edward Steese Regarding the Photos of the Magie Tablet, 1945 July 2. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Photographs of Dr. Foster, Prof. Weyerstrass, Berlin und Umgebung, Prof. Leller, Prof. Kirchhoff, Unidentified, 1882-1883. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Entry about Magie from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, undated. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Various Cards and Tickets, Document concerning Typography of Magie's Book, Letter, Receipt concerning Promotion Rate, 1884-1885. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Letters from General Secretary of The Royal Institution to Magie, 1933 January-February. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Mathmatical Notes and Calculations, 1884 October 29. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Draft of "Ueber Capillaritäts-Constanten" (About Capillary Constants), undated. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

"Proof by Poissons Equation that I am justified at least with small lutus (see 2) in taking surface as a sphere"", undated. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

"Akademische Lesehalle" (Academic Reading Hall), "Statuten" (Statutes), undated. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Papers relating to Capillary Constant- mostly height of bubbles, 1885 October-December. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Various Cards, Bills, and Receipts, 1884 April-May. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Verzeichniss der Vorlesungen (List of Lectures), Various Cards and Receipts, Missing Pages from Documents, Geometrical Drawing, 1884-1888. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

Document from United State Department of State granting Magie Free Passage with Description of Magie, 1884 February 25. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

"Ueber Capillaritäts-Constanten" (About Capillary Constants) Essay, undated. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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