Lou Scheimer (A 1952) had a life and career that encapsulates and embodies CMU’s current vision and mission to have “a transformative impact on society through continual innovation in education, research, creativity, and entrepreneurship.”1 He cofounded Filmation Associates in 1963, and advocated for racial diversity and gender equality in many of the production company’s popular, children’s television shows, such as She-Ra, Fat Albert, Isis, and BraveStarr.
This November is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the end of World War I. To mark the occasion, I thought I would dig into the early history of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research to highlight some of the work that was carried out there during World War I.
This Friday Carnegie Mellon will inaugurate it’s 10th president, though we don’t actually have much experience with inauguration ceremonies. Not only are we a relatively young institution, but most of our presidents served relatively long terms. Hamerschlag stayed for 19 years, Doherty for 14, Warner for 15, and Cyert almost broke Hamerschlag’s record with 18 years.
For the few years that I’ve been working with metadata, I’ve had to answer that question that most librarians who don’t work with reference and books dread, “What do you do?” I do admit that at times, I’ve used the trite phrase, “data about data” knowing full well it went a bit deeper than just that. In recent times, I have begun to improve my explanation to them by being more whimsical in my answer thereby avoiding that stress or frustration that comes with explaining this work to people who probably would
not understand no matter how much explaining you did in technical terms.
While organizing and preserving the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research papers, I have kept my eyes peeled for women who contributed to the many scientific discoveries made at the Mellon Institute. Nearly 7 months into this project, two women have captivated my attention thus far: Lois B. Whittle and Dr. Alice G. Renfrew.
In mid November, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the merger between Mellon Institute of Industrial Research and Carnegie Institute of Technology by highlighting all the pioneering, creative and passionate individuals who have made CMU what it is today.
As Assistant Archivist for the university, I have the honor of conducting and recording oral histories with members of the CMU community. Carnegie Mellon is well-known for its creative and innovative talent, from the pioneering work of Herbert Simon and Allen Newell to the dramatic talent of student performers in Scotch ‘n’ Soda. We launched the Carnegie Mellon University Oral History Program early last year in hope of capturing first-hand the stories and experiences of students, faculty and alumni who lived historic moments—think StoryCorps with an academic edge. We record these conversations and preserve them in the University Archives for future generations, and all of the recordings are openly available for anyone to research and study.
Thank you to all of us who joined us for our #AskAnArchivist Day celebrations. I know everyone has been on pins and needles waiting to find out the truth behind our trivia questions.
1. During World War I there were tanks on the Cut, soldiers in Schenley Park, and airplanes where Hunt Library is.
Frozen Orange Juice, Air Quality, and Fertilizer: Digging into the History of Mellon Institute of Industrial Research
In 1967, the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, one of the nation’s premier independent research centers, merged with Carnegie Institute of Technology, a rapidly growing, forward thinking university, to form what we now know as Carnegie Mellon University. By joining the two institutions, the architects of the merger hoped to create an institution that would make Pittsburgh as famous for science as it was for steel .