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William Weldon Watson Papers

Call Number: MS 828

Scope and Contents

The William W. Watson Papers represent the professional activities of Dr. Watson outside of his duties as chairman of the Physics Department at Yale. They date from (approximately) 1950 to 1963 and include correspondence, reports on professional conferences, and writings. Professor Watson's role as science adviser in the Philippines is especially well-documented by correspondence. His involvement with the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology and his participation on the Atomic Energy for Connecticut Committee are also noteworthy. The papers were received from Dr. Watson on May 8, 1978.

Photographs of the Sloane Laboratory staff (1920-1921, 1951), the dedication of the Electron Accelerator Laboratory (1963), and an aerial view of the Gibbs Laboratory and Accelerator Lab (1955) have been removed for the Yale Picture Collection.

Watson's files as chairman of the Yale physics department from 1940 to 1961 have been retained by that department (1978).


  • 1924-1983


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William W. Watson, 1978, 1981, and 1985.


The papers are arranged into five series and one addition: I. General Correspondence, 1951-1960, II. Topical Correspondence, 1928-1968, III. Conferences, 1954-1959, IV. Writings, 1949-1968, and V. Personal and Miscellaneous Papers, 1945-1968.


3 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers reflect William W. Watson's career as a physicist and include correspondence, subject files, writings, and reports on professional conferences and writings, largely for the years 1950 to 1963. Best documented is his work as science advisor to the Philippine government, his involvement with the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, and his participation on the Atomic Energy for Connecticut Committee.

Biographical / Historical

William W. Watson was born on September 14, 1899 in Eveleth, Minnesota. He received his B.S. degree in 1920; his M.S. degree in 1922; and his Ph.D. degree in 1924, all from the University of Chicago. He was on the Chicago faculty from 1922 to 1928, when he was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at Yale. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1931 and to full Professor and Chairman of the department in 1940. Under Professor Watson's direction, the Physics Department at Yale underwent considerable expansion both in the size of its staff and student body, as well as in its housing and facilities. In 1961, Professor Watson stepped down from the chairmanship, and seven years later, in 1968, he retired from the Yale faculty. He died August 3, 1992.

Guide to the William Weldon Watson Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Nancy Fappiano and Tom Hyry
May 1997
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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