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Cyril Stanley Smith papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC-0254

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Smith's career as a teacher at MIT is documented in correspondence and plans for the development of courses at MIT in the history of technology, a proposed Center for the Study of Technology, and course notes for his class Technology, Power, and Values (21.08J). Information about his course History of Materials (21.414J) includes course notes, glass slides, metal samples, photographs, tapes and drawings, and a bound set of student term papers (1963, 1965, 1967). Correspondence, drawings, and notes document his research on the history of metallurgy, the interrelationships of art, science, and technology, and the study of Sir Francis Drake's plaque left in California in the sixteenth century. Trips to Iran to conduct research in ancient metallurgical techniques are documented in reports, notes, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1922 - 1992


Access note

This collection is not fully processed and portions of this collection must be reviewed to identify any restricted material before access can be granted. Please submit your requests at least ten business days before your desired visit to allow time for this review. An archivist will respond within five business days to let you know whether your requested material is open. For complete information on this policy, see our Statement on Accessing Institute Records.

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.


Cyril Stanley Smith (1903–1992), BSc, University of Birmingham, England; ScD 1926, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a research metallurgist at the American Brass Company from 1927 to 1942; a member of the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb from 1943 to 1946; and, from 1946 to 1961, a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago, where he was founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Metals. Appointed to MIT as Institute Professor in 1961, he held joint positions in the Departments of Metallurgy and Humanities until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1969. He was one of the original members of the general advisory committee to the Atomic Energy Commission; he also served on the Committee on Science and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences and the President's Science Advisory Committee.


27.6 Cubic Feet (27 record cartons, 1 manuscript box, 1 flat storage box)

Language of Materials



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

Source of Acquisiton

Materials were given to the Department of Distinctive Collections (formerly the Institute Archives and Special Collections) in 1988 by Cyril Stanley Smith and in 1993 and 1994 by Alice K. Smith.

Appraisal note

Needs review.

Related Materials in the Institute Archives

Alice Kimball Smith Papers (MC-0369).


  • Smith, Cyril Stanley. A History of Metallography: The Development of Ideas on the Structure of Metals before 1890. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960. MIT Libraries.
  • ———. From Art to Science: Seventy-two Objects Illustrating the Nature of Discovery. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1980. MIT Libraries.
  • ———. A Search for Structure: Selected Essays on Science, Art, and History. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1981. MIT Libraries.
  • Smith, Cyril Stanley, ed. Sources for the History of the Science of Steel, 1532–1786. Cambridge, Mass.: Society for the History of Technology, 1968. MIT Libraries.

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 Cyril Stanley Smith
Ready For Review
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023 March 30: Revised by processing archivist Chris Tanguay in March 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
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US