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Elmer and Rose Hutchisson

Elmer & Rose HutchissonElmer Hutchisson and Rose Valasek Hutchisson played an instrumental role in the establishment and perpetuation of the Center for History of Physics.

Rose Valasek graduated from Flora Stone Mather College in Cleveland (later absorbed into Case Western Reserve University) and married Elmer Hutchisson in 1925. She was offered an assistantship for graduate work in history at the University of Minnesota, but at the time two people from the same family were not permitted to have jobs at the university, and she deferred to her husband's career. Elmer Hutchisson was subsequently a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and served as AIP's second director from 1957 through 1964. A man of broad cultural interests, concerned that the role of physics in modern society be properly recognized, he originated the Center for History of Physics and its Niels Bohr Library. He believed, as he put it in a 1970 oral history interview, that "since the institute is dealing primarily with people, rather than with physics research... we should have a library concerned with physics people." A strong advocate of preserving historical documentation, and seriously concerned about what he called "scientific illiteracy in an age of science," he felt that establishing the Center and Library was one of his most satisfying personal accomplishments.

Some of Elmer Hutchissons's other accomplishments as director included establishing AIP's advisory committees, its education department, its translation program for Russian-language physics journals, and the annual meeting of its Corporate Associates. While assistant director of AIP in 1936-1937 he founded the Journal of Applied Physics and was its editor from 1937 through 1953. He died in 1983.

Rose Hutchisson endowed the Center for History of Physics with $600,000. The endowment came to AIP following her death in 1994 and was used to establish the Elmer and Rose Hutchisson Endowment Fund. Income from this endowment is used to support various programs of the Center and its Niels Bohr Library. The first uses of the income were: to significantly expand work to locate and index information on collections of correspondence, to support oral history interviewing of scientists of the former Soviet Union, and to enlarge the program of grants-in-aid to scholars needing help with travel and other expenses.

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