New Collection! George C. Hale papers, 1907-2011

George C. Hale, 1946

Here at the Archives we recently received and processed a new collection, the George C. Hale papers, 1907-2011.  Dr. Hale was an accomplished Indiana University alumnus who made great contributions to the advancement of military ordnance as a civilian chemist.  He received his B.A. and M.S. in Chemistry from Indiana University in 1915.  In 1925, Dr. Hale received his PhD in Chemistry, also from Indiana University.

Dr. Hale spent nearly his entire career working as a civilian scientist at the U.S. Army Ordnance Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, NJ.  He was involved in many of the major accomplishments of the Picatinny Arsenal in the period between World War I and World War II, including the development of cyclonite (also known as RDX), an explosive that eventually went on to largely replace TNT in military ordnance.  He was also credited for the creation of a new explosive compound, Haleite, which was named in his honor.  In addition, he held numerous patents for other explosives, powders, and propellants.

In recognition of Dr. Hale’s life and accomplishments, the Picatinny Arsenal named a laboratory in his honor.  The George C. Hale Building opened in 1962.

The collection, though small, contains a wealth of interesting information regarding Dr. Hale’s life and work.  There are numerous biographical materials, including newspaper and magazine articles on Dr. Hale’s accomplishments and correspondence about his work and research.

Also in the collection are a number of photographs, including some from his time as a student at Indiana University.  The photographs not only provide insight into Dr. Hale’s student days, but also gives a snapshot of IU in the early 20th century.  In particular, a photograph of a young George Hale and his roommate, Dex Neal, shows them standing on a bridge in Dunn’s Woods. We think this may be the only photo we have of this bridge in our collection!

George C. Hale and roommate Dex Neal in Dunn's Woods, circa 1915.
George C. Hale and roommate Dex Neal in Dunn's Woods, circa 1915.

Additions of alumni papers to the Archives are always exciting because we never know what we will find.  Oftentimes they contain unique materials that not only detail the lives of interesting people, but also provides insight into the history of IU.  (And the best way to learn about life at IU is through those who experienced it first-hand!)

If you are an alum (or the family of an alum!) and are looking for a home for scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, correspondence, etc. dating from your student days, please give us a call! We are always on the lookout for materials documenting student life, as it provides a richer picture of the university during a moment in time.

Ballade of Commencement Eve

Congratulations to all those receiving their IU degrees this weekend!! We hope you enjoyed your time in Bloomington and remember your Alma Mater fondly. Today we’d like to share a poem written by IU alumna Bertha Burns Lee Broyles, Class of 1905, upon the occasion of her 50th class reunion.

Dreaming of Springtime

This morning we woke up to a campus which looks quite similar to this scene from 1943…

December 27, 1943

For those of you you aren’t exactly embracing this, close your eyes and envision the following in the words of IU alumna Edith Hennel Ellis (1911) about campus:

” It is more than a thing of beauty. Its trees are sanctuaries under which old men may dream dreams and young men may see visions. Certain scenes stamp themselves indelibly upon the mind: lingering shadows of tall trees creeping across the grass on long summer afternoons;… masses of of Forsythia bursting into sudden yellow bloom; and that loveliest of all Indiana springtime pictures, white dogwood and pink red bud blooming against a green background of maples.” (Indiana University Alumni Quarterly, Vol. XVI No.3, p.331)