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Charles B. Breed papers

Identifier: MC-0559

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Scope and Contents

The collection documents the professional activities of Charles B. Breed from 1893 to 1947. Much of the collection is related to grade crossings and transportation. Materials include photographs, lectures, correspondence, notes, surveys, and subject files.


  • Creation: 1893 - 1947


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Biographical Note

Charles Blaney Breed, 1876-1958, was a professor emeritus of civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received an SB in civil engineering from MIT in 1897.

At MIT his teaching and administrative positions included:

-Assistant, 1898-1901 (1)

-Instructor, 1901-1907 (2)

-Assistant professor of civil engineering,1907-1910 (3)

-Associate professor, 1910-1916 (4)

-Professor of railroad engineering, 1916, (5) other titles included, professor of railway and highway engineering, professor of railway and highway transportation, and professor of civil engineering (6)

-In 1933 Professor Charles M. Spofford was granted a leave of absence, and Breed was made Acting Head of the Department of Civil and Sanitary Engineering (7)

-Head of the Department of Civil and Sanitary Engineering 1933-1943

-In 1943 Theodore B. Parker II, formerly Chief Engineer of the Tennesee Valley Authority became head of the department and Breed returned to teaching full time (8)

-Professor of civil engineering, emeritus 1946 (9)

-Chairman of the faculty 1940-1942

-Served on the MIT Pension Association

He participated in summer surveying camps which occurred every other year in the early 1900s and was solidified into an annual course starting in 1912. (10) During World War I, a School of Military Aeronautics was established on campus and was run by Major Sneed with Breed as chairman of its Academic Board. Breed also taught at the Ground Schools for Aviators established at MIT by the United States Army and Navy. In 1917 Breed was appointed as President of the Academic Board in charge of instruction in the army school. (11)

Outside MIT professional work, honors, and publications: In the summer of 1904 he was employed by the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad assisting with elevating tracks in Chicago. In 1909, he joined with H. K. Barrows to found the consulting firm of Barrows & Breed. In 1911 he attended the first Annual Road Congress of the American Association for Highway Improvement at Richmond, Va. In 1915 he became a member of the Massachusetts State Wide Committee upon the Prevention of Fires in Schools. In 1928 he was president of BSCES (Boston Society of Civil Engineers). In the 1930s he was an active consultant with the Federal Highway Commission and the National Research Council, the Massachusetts State Department of Public Works, and to the City of Boston. In 1932 he became a National Honorary Member of the fraternity Chi-Epsilon. In 1943 he was elected Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

He co-wrote the text The Principles and Practice of Surveying with George L. Hosmer. Volume 1 was published in 1906 and volume 2 in 1908. It was republished many times. He also wrote texts on Surveying and articles on railroad and highway development.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Office of the President. “Annual Report of the President and Treasurer, December 14, 1898,” 1899.

2. ———. “Annual Report of the President and Treasurer December 11, 1901,” 1902.

3. ———. “Report of the President and Treasurer,” 1908.

4. ———. “Reports of the President and Treasurer,” 1911.

5. ———. “Reports of the President and Treasurer,” 1917.

6. Chi-Epsilon. “Charles B. Breed” Accessed July 29, 2020.

7. ———. “President’s Report 1932-1933,” 1933.

8. ———. “President’s Report 1942-1943,” 1943.

9. ———. “President’s Report 1945-1946,” 1946.

10. ———. “Reports of the President and Treasurer,” 1913.

11. ———. “Reports of the President and Treasurer,” 1918.


8 Cubic Feet (8 record cartons)

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Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Preliminary Inventory to the Papers of Charles B. Breed
Preliminary Inventory
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020 July 29: Biographical note by Greta Kuriger Suiter added.
  • 2021 November 19: Edited by Lana Mason for compliance with DACS single-level optimum requirements.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
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