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David Oakes Woodbury papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0175

Scope and Contents

Papers about Woodbury's personal life and education include letters from his parents (1850-1900), Woodbury's correspondence with his family and wife, Ruth (1900-1940), his diaries and sketchbooks (1904-1912), and school exams and grades from Stanford. Woodbury's writings are documented in correspondence, manuscript drafts, and background material for his major works, including Around the World in 90 Minutes; Atoms for Peace; Beloved Scientist (biography of Elihu Thomson); Blood on the Lotus; Colorado Conquest; Five Days to Oblivion; Frigid World of Cryogenics; Glass Giant of Palomar; Great White Mantle: Outward Bound for Space; and When the Ice Age Comes. There are interview notes with manufacturers and indexes to his Collier's column, Your Life Tomorrow, about the household applications of World War II technology; and correspondence concerning his lectures on the peaceful uses of atomic energy and other science-related topics.


  • 1860 - 1980


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

David Oakes Woodbury, 1896-1981, AB in engineering, 1920, Stanford University; BS 1921, MS 1922, both in electrical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a research assistant at MIT under Vannevar Bush in 1924. He later became a freelance writer and lecturer in popular science and wrote many books on such diverse topics as satellites, automation, and the building of the Hoover Dam, as well as biographies of noted scientists including Edward Weston and Elihu Thomson. He also wrote for magazines, including a regular column for Collier's, 1943-1947, entitled Your Life Tomorrow.


24 Cubic Feet (23 record cartons, 2 manuscript boxes, 1 flat storage box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

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

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 David Oakes Woodbury
Ready For Review
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