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Horace Dwight Taft papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 1399

Scope and Contents

The Horace Dwight Taft Papers consist of correspondence, topical files, teaching files, and physics files which document Taft's career as a professor and researcher in physics and as an administrator at Yale University. The papers were the gift of Mrs. Horace Dwight Taft in 1985. The 34.5 linear feet of papers are arranged in three series: I.CORRESPONDENCE AND TOPICAL FILES, II.TEACHING FILES, and III.PHYSICS FILES.

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE AND TOPICAL FILES, consists of alphabetically arranged files containing material which documents Taft's professional and personal activities. Correspondence, grant proposals, annual reports and budgets document physics projects which Taft conducted during his tenure at. Yale in conjunction with the Atomic Energy Commission, the Department of Energy, and the Argonne, Brookhaven, Fermi, and National Accelerator laboratories. Additional material relating to these projects may be found in Series III. Taft's service on advisory panels and committees of numerous professional organizations, and his participation in national and international conferences are documented by correspondence and subject files including those of the American Physical Society, the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, and the International Conference on High Energy Physics.

While the majority of records created during Taft's tenure as master of Davenport College and dean of Yale College are within the University Archives, Taft maintained some correspondence from these offices within his personal Yale files. Taft's administrative and committee activities at Yale, including the Committee on Academic Computing, the Committee on Energy Conservation, the Course of Study Committee, and the Tobin Committee, are documented by correspondence and printed material.

Personal files within the series include correspondence with family members and friends, diaries dating from 1964 to 1983, student notebooks and typescripts of his doctoral thesis chapters, and various personal memorabilia. Writings files containing preprints and reprints of Taft's articles dating from 1956 to 1982, and speeches given at Yale, the Taft School, and other institutions, are also included in the series. As a member of the board of trustees of the Taft School, Taft maintained files of correspondence, board meeting minutes, reports, and printed material dating from 1953 to 1983.

Following the alphabetically arranged correspondence and topical files in this series, is a chronological run of correspondence pertaining to personal and professional subjects.

Series II, TEACHING FILES, consists of course files containing syllabi, lecture notes, problems, examinations, and class lists. Additional files within the series contain graduate student and physics majors data, thesis proposals, and physics department curriculum and departmental examination information.

Series III, PHYSICS FILES, contains notes, data, computer tapes and print-outs, and miscellaneous material relating to physics projects which Taft conducted. As the files are arranged as they were received from Taft's office, there is some overlap between material in this and other series.

Dates

  • 1888-1983

Creator

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 Mrs. Horace D. Taft, 1985.

Arrangement

Arranged in three series: I. Correspondence and Topical Files, 1888-1983. II. Teaching Files, 1941-1982. III. Physics Files, 1947-1983.

Extent

34.5 Linear Feet (85 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.1399

Overview

The papers consist of correspondence, topical files, and physics files which document Taft's career as a professor and researcher in physics and as an administrator at Yale University. While the majority of records created during Taft's tenure as master of Davenport College and dean of Yale College are within the University Archives, Taft maintained some correspondence from these offices within his personal papers. His personal files contain correspondence with his parents and other family members, diaries, and student notebooks and papers. As a member of the board of the Taft School, Taft maintained files of correspondence, board meeting minutes, reports, and printed material from 1953-1983.

Biographical / Historical

Horace Dwight Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 2, 1925, the son of Senator Robert A. and Martha Bowers Taft, and grandson of President William Howard Taft. He attended the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, which was founded by a grand-uncle, Horace Dutton Taft. After serving in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946, Taft enrolled in Yale University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950. Taft was a research assistant and studied under Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago, where he received a master's degree (1953) and a Ph.D. (1955) in physics.

Taft joined the Yale faculty in 1956 as an instructor in physics, and was appointed a professor in 1964. He was master of Davenport College from 1966 to 1971, and dean of Yale College from 1971 to 1979. He served on numerous university committees and was director of undergraduate studies in physics.

Taft's research in 1962 with a group of American and European physicists led to the discovery and identification of one of the last predicted antimatter particles, known as the anti-XI-minus. The discovery helped establish the symmetry between matter and antimatter, a form of matter in which the property of each particle is the reverse of the usual matter in the universe. With Professor Irwin Pless of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Taft developed a device to help physicists read automatically the photographs of paths of subatomic particles and to extract highly specific kinds of information from them. At the time of his death he was involved in research to find a particle called the Tau-neutrino.

Taft was married to Mary Jane Badger. They had three sons, John G. Taft, Hugh B. Taft-Morales, and Horace D. Taft. Horace Dwight Taft died in New Haven, Connecticut on February 11, 1983.
Title
Guide to the Horace Dwight Taft Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
compiled by Susan Brady with Amy Shine
Date
July 1992
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

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)

Location

Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours