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Henry G. Houghton papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0242

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Collection includes correspondence and notes about Houghton's research, including studies of the fundamental physical properties of fog; apparatus and methods for measuring fog particles; the resistance of fog and clouds to the transmission of visible light and radiant rays; and methods for the artificial dissipation of fog. Correspondence and research notes document the studies of the growth and evaporation of salt water Houghton conducted as a consultant for the General Public Utilities Corporation. There are course notes, exams, and other teaching materials from courses he taught, including Atmospheric Electricity, Ozone, Physical Meteorology, and Physical Oceanography. Drafts, correspondence, editorial notes, and reprints further explain his research on fog and atmosphere. Also includes correspondence and a final report of the 1971 MIT Committee on the Appointment Structure of the Non-Teaching Staff, which Houghton chaired. The collection contains Houghton's correspondence while councilor, secretary, and president of the Board of Trustees for the University Corporation for Atmosperic Research.


  • 1929 - 1984


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.


Henry Garrett Houghton, 1905-1987, BS 1926, Drexel Institute of Technology; SM in electrical engineering, 1927, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was a member of the research staff at MIT's Round Hill Research Station from 1928 to 1938, where his work on the physical properties of fog led to the development of one of the first practical methods of dissipating fog. He became a faculty member at MIT in 1939, associate professor and executive officer of the Department of Meteorology in 1942, and professor and head of the department in 1945, serving until his retirement in 1970. The Henry G. Houghton Lecture program of the MIT Department of Earth, Planetary, and Atmospheric Sciences is named in his honor.

During World War II Houghton trained weather personnel for the Army and Navy and was a member of several committees working on infrared and heat radiation and meteorological and de-icing problems. He also was active in the American Meteorology Society and served as the first chair of the University Committee on Atmospheric Research, UCAR (now University Corporation on Atmospheric Research).


4.3 Cubic Feet (4 record cartons, 1 manuscript box, 2 blueprints )

Language of Materials



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

Source of Acquisiton

Some of the materials were transferred to the Department of Distinctive Collections (formerly the Institute Archives and Special Collections) in March 1988 by the Department of Meteorology; the remainder were given by Houghton's brother R. Everett Houghton in November 1994.

Related Materials

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Meteorology records, AC 177. Department of Distinctive Collections.

Henry G. Houghton papers, NCAR/UCAR Archives, Boulder, CO.


  • Houghton, Henry G. Physical Meteorology. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985.


Finding aid created by Mark Vargas, 1988.

Preliminary Inventory to the Papers of Henry G. Houghton
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