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.
Given to Carnegie Mellon University in 1987 by two local Pittsburgh collectors, Jacob Lawrence’s 1947 tempera painting, “A Class in Shoemaking” clearly shows his pictorial style that he called “dynamic cubism,” with jagged compositions in bold, flat colors that are abstract yet figurative, and full of social comment. Often in his career, he painted tradespeople, craftspeople and laborers hard at work in many fields.
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 .