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Charles R. Cross papers

Identifier: MC-0107

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Scope and Contents

The collection includes correspondence by and to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) physics professor Charles Cross, who taught in the physics department 1870-1917. Included is correspondence on the acquisition of apparatus for the Rogers Laboratory of Physics, scientific research and teaching including correspondence with Elihu Thomson, photographs, and newspaper clippings about scientific instrumentation and early application of and experiments with the x-ray process. There is also information about the proposed alliance with Harvard in 1905.

This collection contains early information about physics curricula at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in particular three volumes of notes Charles Cross took of lectures given by Edward Pickering, the first professor of physics at MIT, notes taken in the years 1867 to 1868. It also includes Cross's copy of Courses of Instruction (MIT)1866-1893. A volume of student notes taken by William R. Cross (class of 1855, Union College) of a physics lecture at Union College given by instructor John Foster (class of 1835, Union College).


  • Creation: 1855 - 1913


Conditions Governing Access

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 Robert Cross, 1848-1921, was born in Troy, New York. He earned an S.B. degree in 1870 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was a member of the third graduating class. Upon graduation he became a member of the teaching staff, and then the faculty, in the physics department at MIT, until he resigned in 1917. Cross also served as head of the Department of Physics. In 1882 Professor Cross instituted the first course in electrical engineering in the United States as part of the physics department at MIT. The electrical engineering program was run by Cross out of the physics department until 1902.

In 1875 when MIT graduates established an alumni association, Cross served as the first secretary of the Alumni Association.

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) was organized February 9, 1876, at a meeting in Boston in MIT's Rogers building, by MIT professor Edward C. Pickering, who served as the club's first president. Three years later, in 1879, Professor Cross became president of the club.


2 Cubic Feet (4 manuscript boxes, 1 flat box)

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Physical Location

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

Related Materials

Harvard University, Harvard Law School Library. Deposition of Charles R. Cross in United States of America v. American Bell Telephone Company and Emile Berliner, 1893.


  • Cross, Charles R. Notes on Mechanics. Boston: W.B. Libby, the Garden Press, 1911.
  • Cross, Charles R. Course in Elementary Physics. Boston: Press of A. A. Kingman, 1873.
  • Works about Charles Cross
  • Penfield, Paul. "Electrical Engineering is Born. In The Electron and the Bit: Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1902-2002, edited by John V. Guttag, 7-8. Cambridge: MIT, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Dept., 2005.
  • "Professor Cross Resigns, The record of a half century devoted to scientific work." Technology Review 19, no. 7 (1917): 405-406.
  • Tyler, Harry W. "The Work of Professor Cross at the Institute." Technology Review 19, no. 7 (1917): 407-408.
  • "A Pioneer in Physics." Technology Review 19, no. 7 (1917): 484. Reprinted from the Boston Evening Transcript.
  • "The Corporation Thanks Professor Cross, Corporation Resolution on Resignation of Professor Charles R. Cross." Technology Review 19, no. 8 (1917): 651-652.
  • "Charles Robert Cross, a memorial presented to the Faculty and spread upon its records at the December meeting, 1921. Technology Review 24, no. 1 (1922): 22-24.
  • Goodwin, H. M. "Professor Cross as Teacher and Man: a supplement to the Faculty Memorial." Technology Review24, no. 1 (1922): 25-28.
  • "Reminiscences of Professor Cross" Technology Review 24, no. 1 (1922): 29-30.
Guide to the Papers of Charles R. Cross
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Revision Statements

  • 2021 July 9: 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

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