Main content

George Frederick Barker Papers


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center [Contact Us]3401 Market Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center. 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

George Frederick Barker was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1835. After graduating from Yale, he worked as assistant to Harvard Chemistry Professor John Bacon. He then served as a chemistry professor at Wheaton College, Albany Medical College, Western University of Pennsylvania, and Yale Medical School. In 1872 Barker was elected as Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught until his retirement in 1900. Penn awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1898. Barker was active as an author, editor and public lecturer. His publications included articles in scientific journals as well as chemistry textbooks. He served as an editor of the American Journal of Science and the Journal of the Franklin Institute. He served as president of the American Chemical Society and as a vice-president of the American Philosophical Society. Barker's network of scientific colleagues included Thomas Edison and Marie Curie and his interests included research relating to the telephone, telegraph, light bulb and the calculations of the transit of Venus. His own special interest was in spectroscopy. Because of his scientific interests and achievements, Barker was involved in a wide range of other activities beyond the classroom. He was involved as an "expert" in court cases, both in criminal cases and in patent litigation, including suits involving Edison Berliner and also the Justice Department and Bell Telephone Company. Barker served as United States Commissioner to the both the Paris Electrical Exhibition in 1881 and the Electrical Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1884.

This collection includes correspondence and papers related to Barker's academic and scientific activities, organizations and colleagues. In addition, the collection contains Barker's own annotated copy of "Barker's Physics" plus materials related to his lectures and published articles.

Within each folder, the material is arranged chronologically. Undated pieces are in the front of the folder.

The George F. Barker Papers were in the possession Dr. Horace G. Richards. After Dr. Richard's death they were presented by his widow to the University Archives, with the exception of the text book "Physics: Advanced Course" which was transferred to Professor T.D. Cope. After Professor Cope's death, this was also transferred to the Archives to be retained with the Barker papers.

University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center
Finding Aid Author
Lorelei Halley
Finding Aid Date
March 1971
Access Restrictions

Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Centers.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view

American Chemical Society.
Box 1 Folder 1
Brewer, William H.
Box 1 Folder 2
Centennial (1876). See also Koenig, Scientific Supplies 1876.
Box 1 Folder 3
Chemistry, Book on - Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 4
Court Cases and Patents - See also Morton and Gray.
Box 1 Folder 5
Department Business and Franklin Institute.
Box 1 Folder 6
Edison, Thomas A.
Box 1 Folder 7
Box 1 Folder 8
Experiments, Observations, Scientific Discussions.
Box 1 Folder 9
Franklin Institute - See Department Business.
Box 1
Gray, Elisha.
Box 1 Folder 10
Invitations to receptions, etc.
Box 1 Folder 11
Job Opportunities - Inquiries, Discussions.
Box 1 Folder 12
Koenig, Rudolph.
Box 1 Folder 13
Langley, Samuel Pierpont.
Box 1 Folder 14
Lectures by Barker, texts and correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 15
Lectures requested by Barker.
Box 1 Folder 16
Morton, Henry.
Box 1 Folder 17
Papers and Publications of Barker's - responses, requests for reviews.
Box 1 Folder 18
Patents - See Court Cases.
Box 1
Personal Correspondence and Miscellaneous.
Box 1 Folder 19
Recommendations - requests, "thank you" letters, letters of introduction.
Box 1 Folder 20
Rowland, H. A. Scientific Apparatus - discussions of.
Box 1 Folder 21
Box 1 Folder 22
Box 1 Folder 23
Box 1 Folder 24
Scientific Discussions and Observations - See also Experiments.
Box 1 Folder 25
Box 1 Folder 26

"Barker's Physics: Advanced Course", personal, annotated copy.
Box 1 Folder 27

Print, Suggest