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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Oral History Program, oral history interview with Harold E. Edgerton

Identifier: MC-0132

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents of the Collection

In 1975 Marc Miller of the MIT Oral History Program office interviewed Harold Edgerton, Institute Professor and professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The collection contains a transcript of the interview, and background materials and notes including synopses of 18 of Edgerton's laboratory notebooks made by Marc Miller in preparation for the interview.


  • Creation: 1975 August 25, September 4, 16


Access note

The final transcript is open for research. Audio recordings of the interview and unedited transcript are closed.

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.


Harold "Doc" Eugene Edgerton, 1903-1990, B.S. 1926, University of Nebraska; S.M. 1927 and Sc.D. 1931, both in electrical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) , was professor of electrical engineering at MIT, 1928-1966; Institute Professor, 1966-1968; and Institute Professor emeritus, 1968-1990. Edgerton perfected the stroboscope and developed photographic techniques that allowed very rapid events to be observed and captured on film. He also developed techniques for underwater exploration, using sonar devices and flash photography, and participated in many oceanographic and archaeological expeditions. During World War II he designed a strobe lamp for nighttime aerial reconnaissance photography for the United States Air Force and directed its use in Italy, England, and France. In 1947, with Kenneth J. Germeshausen and Herbert E. Grier, former students, he formed Edgerton, Germeshausen & Grier, Inc. (now EG&G, Inc.), a company specializing in electronic technology. In 1953 he began a long association with French underwater explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau, accompanying him on numerous expeditions and designing several devices for underwater photography and exploration. The National Geographic magazine published articles by Edgerton and used his high-speed photographs to illustrate many more. Edgerton's photographs are exhibited in museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.


0.6 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 half manuscript box, 4 audiocassettes in one cassette box)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

Papers of Harold Edgerton, MC 25, in Department of Distinctive Collections, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Guide to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Oral History Program, Oral History Interview with Harold Eugene Edgerton, 1975
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023 August 30: Revised by processing archivist Chris Tanguay in August 2023 to update access notes and enhance description.

Repository Details

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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
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