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John Bell Rae papers

 Collection
Identifier: H-Mss-0703

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal papers of John Bell Rae. Materials in this collection include biographical information, personal correspondence, and notes. It also contains Rae's various academic papers, including articles, theses, research notes, and lectures on engineering history and policy.

Dates

  • 1936-1988 and undated

Creator

Language of Materials

Languages represented in the collection: English.

Access

Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

John Bell Rae (1911 – 1988) was a historian and professor whose lifelong fascination with industry and technology, and its impact on human development, shaped his career. Besides teaching at both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvey Mudd College, Rae authored seminal texts on the history of industry and performed research for engineering projects and committees such as the NASA Historical Advisory Committee, Harvard University’s Research Center for Entrepreneurial History, and had his research into the American automotive industry sponsored by the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. He was also a founder and past president of the Society for the History of Technology. In 1980, he was the recipient of its highest award, the Leonardo da Vinci Medal.

Rae was born in Glasgow, Scotland and emigrated with his family to the United States when he was twelve years old. He earned his B.A. in history from Brown University and briefly studied at Yale before returning to Brown for graduate study on the history of economics. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees under the supervision of James B. Hedges, and wrote a highly regarded dissertation on railroad land grants. Beginning his teaching career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rae would leave the institution in 1959 in order to become a full time faculty member at the newly founded Harvey Mudd College. There, he taught classes on the history of technology and industry. He strongly believed that engineers should also have a liberal arts education, and served as chairman of the Liberal Studies Division of the American Society for Engineering Education in both 1962-63 and 1968-69.

Retiring in 1976, John Bell Rae continued to teach at Claremont Graduate School, research, and write. He remained active until his unexpected passing in 1988. Rae is remembered for his prolific career, dedication, and passion for his work.

Sources

Flink, James J. "John Bell Rae (1911-1988)." Technology and Culture 30, no. 3 (1989): 718-22. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3106002.

Extent

5 Linear Feet (5 records boxes)

Abstract

This collection contains the papers of John Bell Rae, a historian of industry and tecchnology and one of the first members of the Harvey Mudd faculty. Besides teaching at both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvey Mudd College, Rae authored seminal texts on the history of industry and performed research for engineering projects and committees such as the NASA Historical Advisory Committee and Harvard University’s Research Center for Entrepreneurial History. This collection contains Rae's biographical information, personal correspondence, and notes. It also contains Rae's various academic papers, including articles, theses, research notes, and lectures on engineering history and policy.

Organization and Arrangement

Collection is arranged at the folder level. Original order of the materials was maintained.

Physical Location

Please consult repository.

Provenance / Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Florence Rae, 1989.

Accruals

No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Processing Infomation

Collection was minimally processed. Files were rehoused into archival folders and boxes. Metal clasps and fasteners were removed and replaced with plastic. Original order was maintained.

Creator

Title
John Bell Rae Papers
Author
Finding aid prepared by Sara Chetney, MA
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the 01 - Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library Repository

Contact:
800 North Dartmouth Ave
Claremont CA 91711 United States