Thursday, October 14, 2010

Charles Steinmetz Collection

Charles P. Steinmetz
Volume: 8 cubic feet

Charles Steinmetz (1865-1923) 
Biographical Note:

Summary of Life:
Charles Steinmetz (1865-1923) was one of the foremost inventors, scientists, engineers, researchers, and mathematicians of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  His most important work was performed at General Electric (GE) from 1892-1923.  Steinmetz was born Carl August Rudolph Steinmetz in Breslau, Germany on April 9, 1865.

Professional Life:
Steinmetz enrolled in the University of Breslau in 1883 where he studied advanced mathematics, physics, and astronomy.  Involvement in socialist activities and impending legal action forced him to flee to Zurich, Switzerland in 1888. Steinmetz came to the United States in 1889 by the invitation of his roommate Oscar Asmussen, and began working for Rudolph Eickemeyer as an assistant draftsman. 

General Electric purchased Eickemeyer’s company in 1892 and Steinmetz joined GE’s Calculating Department in Lynn, Massachusetts.   Steinmetz was transferred to Schenectady with the Calculating Department in December 1893 and was placed in charge of the department in early 1894.  As head of the Calculating Department, Steinmetz unofficially became chief engineer of the company, and as the Calculating Department grew, he became responsible for much of the design work in the company.

Civic Involvement:
From 1902 to 1914 he chaired the newly created Union College Department of Engineering.  In 1911, Steinmetz was appointed to the board of education, and in 1912 was elected its president.  In 1913, Mayor George Lunn created the board of parks and city planning for which Steinmetz was elected chariman.  Mayor Lunn was reelected in 1915 with Steinmetz as president of the common council.

Description of the Collection:
The materials in the collection focus on Steinmetz’s early life in Germany, his technical work at General Electric, and his personal photography. It includes correspondence, research notes, drawings, blueprints, and graphs from Charles Steinmetz’s research at Eickemeyer’s and General Electric; Typed manuscripts of Steinmetz’s books and articles; Steinmetz’s research notebooks; Photograph albums with photographs taken by Steinmetz and a small number of Steinmetz glass plate negatives and early family photographs from Germany; Large amounts of materials from his family and early life in Germany written in German, including family legal documents, student notebooks, and various certificates relating Charles Steinmetz and his half-sister Clara; A small box of tools used by Steinmetz. The bulk of the material relates to his research. Personal correspondence and information on his civic duties are less represented in this collection.

1.  Photographs 

Photography was Steinmetz’s favorite hobby. The photographs capture nature and family life around the Schenectady area.

2. Germany
Legal documents from his family and student notebooks from the University of Breslau.

3. Articles, Books, and Lectures
A variety of topics from Steinmetz’s varied interests, including science, mathematics, engineering, corporate welfare, education, socialism, government, and World War I.

4. Research Notebooks and Notes
Topics include motor development, alternating-current theory, hysterisis, transient phenomena, and arc lamp research are all represented here, along with the notebook from Steinmetz'’ poker game, the “Society for the Adjustment of Differences in Salaries.”

5. Letterbooks
The letterbooks are bound and contain both personal and business correspondence.

6. Certificates, Awards, and Patents
Steinmetz received over 200 patents during his lifetime. He received honors from several colleges, including Harvard, Union College,and the University of Pennsylvania, and awards from a variety of organizations. Also included are memberships to professional organizations and his citizenship certificate issued in 1896 in Schenectady County Court.

7. Clippings
Newspaper clippings related to Steinmetz’s work, appearances, and civic activities.

8. Blueprints and Sketches
Steinmetz’s work at Eickemeyer from 1891-1892, focusing on an alternating-current railway motor. The series also contains sketches Steinemtz made in 1895 of a canoe motor.

9. Family and Pamphlet Files:
Folders of items collected at the Historical Society by and about Steinmetz. Includes reminiscences of contemporaries, the restoration of his electric car by Union College, some group photographs, clippings relating to Camp Mohawk and his home in the GE Realty Plot, which was torn down in 1946 after a failed attempt to convert it into a historic site. The family folder contains correspondence between Steinmetz and his family, originally in German, and with partial English translations and family photographs.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Larry Hart Collection

Dates: 1792- 2004
Volume: approx. 51.87 cf
Creator: Larry Hart

Larry Hart (1920-2004)
Biographical Note:
Larry Hart was born Clarence William Hart in Schenectady, NY on March 17th, 1920. Hart attended Schenectady public schools and started Union College in 1940, leaving in that year to join the armed services. Larry Hart served with the 357th Squadron, Eighth Air Force in Europe during World War II. In 1943, he worked as an aerial photographer and photo reconnaissance technician.

Hart became a full time photographer and reporter for the Union-Star in Schenectady, NY in 1945. In 1960, he became a reporter for the Schenectady Daily Gazette where he remained a columnist until his official retirement in 1980, although he continued to write freelance. His farewell note was published on March 20, 2000. A political reporter, Hart is probably best known for his historical column, “Tales of Old Dorp” which first appeared in the local section of the Daily Gazette on May 14, 1974, and ran through the 1990s.

Larry Hart served as President (1965-1968 and 1979-1981) and trustee (1962-1983) of the Schenectady County Historical Society. Hart was both Schenectady County Historian and Schenectady City Historian. Larry Hart died on February 10th, 2004, in Schenectady at the age of 83.

Description of the Collection:
The Larry Hart Collection is more than 52 boxes of research files, photographs, documents and records about Schenectady covering the whole of the 20th century as well as earlier eras. As the city and county historian, Hart was able to collect a great variety of materials relating to the local area.

The collection is arranged by format and then topically or by date. This collection is a great tool for the researcher interested in local research topics, local oral history, genealogy, and pictorial views of Schenectady and the surrounding area. Subjects covered include American presidents, the American Civil War, ALCO, G.E Company, Charles Steinmetz, oral history, urban renewal and historic preservation.

1. Audio/Visual Materials: (3.63 cf)
A collection of 93 cassettes, 44 reel to reel, 9 film and 10 VHS tapes, mostly dated between the 1960s-1990s. Most of the cassettes seem to have been recorded by Larry Hart himself. This collection primarily focuses on interviews and oral histories of the Schenectady area. Topics include several presidential speeches (not recorded locally); WGY radio; Mayor George Lunn; and GE scientist Charles Steinmetz.

2. Books: (10.8 cf)
A collection of 110 titles. Topics include local history; Schenectady and the greater Mohawk valley; and the American Civil War.

3. Correspondence: (0.38 cf)
A collection of letters received by and sent by Larry Hart. These letters are divided into two major categories: local and genealogical questions ranging from 1966-2000 and Schenectady City/County Historian- Monthly and Annual Reports ranging from 1970-1985.

4. Documents (.57 cf)
This collection covers a wide variety of local topics, which includes 58 documents from Richmond, New Hampshire in Cheshire County, dating 1792-1826 and relating to Benjamin and David Perry. Items of interest include: A press-pass for the Ringling Bros. Circus, 1954; an Erie Canal Sesquicentennial envelope; a dance card from the eighth annual ball of Ira Van Buren Lodge, 1904; 3 war ration books owned by Hart and his family.

5. Magazines: (1.19 cf)
This collection includes several editions of various magazines of national and local interest. Included are issues of Life Magazine and several local periodicals, the Periscope from the first issue in 1915 through February of 1926, Schenectady Works News, Mohawk Valley USA. Topics of interest include: The American Civil war in New York; Eisenhower’s death; Kennedy’s death; Landing on the moon; The 355th fighter group assn. Mustang.

6. Maps: (1.98 cf)
A collection of copies and original maps of Schenectady County and the surrounding area, Erie Canal and the Adirondacks.

7. Newspapers: (1.33 cf)
A collection of originals and copies of newspapers, all locally issued except a copy of the New York Tribune about the sinking of the Titanic. Topics include: Original 1803 Western Spectator; copies of the first issue of the Gazette in 1894; Union Star 1945 about the war in Japan.

8. Oversized Materials: (0.89 cf)
A collection of documents relating to local history and Larry Hart’s personal achievements, several certificates which were presented to Hart for his work, and a scrapbook of his WWII experiences. Also reflects his wider interests in history with Civil war material. Topics include: WWII scrapbook pages from Hart’s time in the Air force; Jack Dempsey fight poster; wooden cigar box lid sketched on by Steinmetz; layout pages for book covers.

9. Pamphlets (1.36 cf)
A collection of pamphlets, covering a variety of topics ranging local, Schenectady city, county and New York State, and national history.

10. Photographs: (7.60 cf)
The Larry Hart Photograph collection contains mostly black and white pictures dating from the late 1800’s to the 1990’s with a primary concentration between the 1940’s and the 1990’s. It is arranged according to topics, which seem to correlate with the themes of his “Old Dorp” newspaper articles. The collection also contains photographs, letters, and documents contributed from other sources. Oversized photographs are also included, many of which have been enlarged from smaller prints and several of which are framed. A large collection of Carman School class photographs are among the oversized pictures.

11. Postcards: (.39 cf)
This collection includes color and black and white postcards as well as some photo postcards. A number of postcards have handwritten messages, are stamped by the Post Office, and include the name of the addressee. The dates on the postcards range from the early 20th century up to the 1980s. Topics include: Holidays: Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s day, Valentine’s day, Christmas and New Years; various Schenectady city sites including General Electric, American Locomotive Co., parks, the circus fire of 1910 and Union college ; Schenectady County sites including Albany, Rotterdam and Amsterdam; out of area sites including Washington D.C. and New York City and views of the Hudson River.

12. Research Files: (11.77 cf)
A collection of documents, newspaper articles and notes, sorted by topic. These files contain topics of local, state and national importance. Many of the topics were most likely compiled for Larry Hart’s “Old Dorp” articles. Topics of possible research interest include: ALCO; Susan B. Anthony; Barbers; Baseball; Brooklyn; Carnegie Hall; churches; Civil War; Dutch; Gazette; Halloween; Indians; Lynching ; George Lunn; Markers; Eliphalet Nott; Presidents; Red Cross; Rexford; Stamps; Vale Cemetery; Wall Street; World War II; Joseph Yates.

13. Scrapbooks: (2.4 cf)
This is a collection containing 20 scrapbooks and photo albums. The albums are a variety of sizes and in varying conditions. Most of these albums were compiled by Larry Hart, but seven scrapbooks were compiled by others. Two of the albums were compiled by Clarence Hart, Larry Hart’s birth name. Sometime after World War II, he legally changed his name to Larry Hart.

14. Slides: (.11 cf)
This collection includes color and black and white photos. The collection also includes several illustrations and maps, in both color and black and white. Dates of these slides seem to be the 1950-1980s with subjects ranging from approximately the late 19th to 20th century.

15. Negatives: (.96 cf)
A collection of negatives, presumably taken by Larry Hart throughout his lifetime. The collection is a compilation of both black and white and color negatives in a variety of sizes including 4 x 5 inches, 1 ¾ x 2 inches and 1 ½ x 1 inches. Topics include: Transportation; fires; car accidents; deaths; Rotary club event; several Schenectady buildings and streets.