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Collection on World War II Training Programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0633

Scope and Contents

This is an assembled collection of materials about various World War II training programs run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It consists of materials donated by participants, primarily those in the Radar School training program. Offical records about World War II academic training programs are in the federal archives. The Registrar's Office at MIT may have information about student records.


  • 1941 - 1993
  • Majority of material found within 1941 - 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.

Historical note

During World War II, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was host to various academic and training programs. It offered multiple special courses for the government's Engineering, Science, and Management War Training Program (ESMWT) whose primary objective was to prepare more people to handle professional and technical responsiblities related to defense. In addition MIT had already established by 1940 a meteorology course for U.S. Weather Bureau staff and continued in meteorology by creating customized meteorology courses for Army and Navy personnel. MIT also ran a Navy V-12 College Training Program, an academic program which was also designed to supplement the number of commissioned officers in the United States Navy. The program ran between July 1, 1943, and June 30, 1946, with courses offered in a condensed time frame. MIT participated as well in the (ASTP) Army Specialized Training Program to educate more army personnel in engineering and science. MIT faculty were responsible for teaching the majority of the special courses.

A specialized radar training program, part of a broader Engineering Defense Training (EDT) program sponsored by the US government, was established at MIT in June 1941. The focus was to educate a core group of Army and Navy personnel about the theory and operation of microwave radar so that they could be ready to use nascent radar technology that was expected to be essential to forthcoming military efforts.

The MIT Radar School was organized to serve programs for the Army (Army Electronics Training Center) and the Navy (Naval Training School, Radar). Classes (a three-month program) were first taught on the MIT campus in buildings 18 and 32. Since radar systems were classified as “secret,” classrooms and participants were under military guard. In May 1942 the school moved to a former industrial building several miles from the Cambridge campus at 470 Atlantic Avenue in Boston overlooking Boston Harbor. Radar systems were installed on the roof of the “Harbor Building” for instructional purposes, and the Boston Harbor islands and their structures provided convenient testing opportunities.

Instruction was coordinated by faculty on loan from the Department of Electrical Engineering at MIT, augmented by additional civilian and military instructors. A textbook, Principles of Radar, edited by J. F. Reintjes, was compiled by members of the instructional staff and formally published after the war ended to make microwave information available to industry and university engineering departments.

The Army program ran from June 23, 1941, to June 30, 1945, and the Navy program was completed December 15, 1945. By the end of the war almost 8,800 students had completed the training.


1 Cubic Feet (2 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 1 card box, 2 folders in a shared flat box)

Language of Materials



Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute Archives and Special Collections

web exhibit:

MC 489 Francis J. Reintjes papers

MC 508 Henry Zimmermann papers

MC 406 Marcy Eager papers

AC 94 MIT Office of the Registrar, Government War Service records


  • "MIT Radar School, 1941-1946: Recollections of the World War II Radar Training Program," by Henry Zimmermann. 1993.
  • History of the M.I.T. Radar School in Relation to Army Training from June 23, 1941 to June 30, 1945, by Malcolm S. McIlroy and Henry J. Zimmermann. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1945.
  • Principles of Radar, by the staff of the Radar School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge, Mass.: The Technology Press, 1944.
  • The Staff of the Naval Training School (Radar), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1945.
  • Q.E.D; MIT in World War II, by John Burchard. New York: John Wiley, 1948.

Processing Information

Box 3 of this collection was initially designated as a separate collection, the Bernard C. Boykin papers (MC-0518). In 2013, materials from the former MC-0518 were merged into the Collection on World War II Training Programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MC-0633).

Guide to the Collection on World War II Training Programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US