Skip to main content

Alfred P. Rockwell correspondence

 Collection — Box: C
Identifier: MC-0446

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection of Alfred P. Rockwell correspondence consists of letters written between 1868 and 1869 from Rockwell to his wife, Katharine Virginia Foote Rockwell, after he was offered a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The letters describe the physical and financial state of the Institute and the personality and educational philosophy of its first two presidents, William Barton Rogers and John Daniel Runkle. Letters from Rogers are also included in the collection.

FULL SC from R: The Alfred Perkins Rockwell correspondence consists of nineteen letters written between 1867 and 1876. These letters were purchased from Maurice Sagoff in September 1977. Mr. Sagoff acquired them from New Hampshire descendents of Rockwell. In 1983 Mr. Sagoff donated three letters from W. B. Rogers to the Archives.

The bulk of the letters were written by Rockwell to his wife, Katharine Virginia Foote Rockwell, between 1868 and 1869 when he left his wife at their home in New Haven, Connecticut, to visit Boston. In Boston, Rockwell met William Barton Rogers, founder and first president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who offered him a professorship in mining engineering. This appointment was confirmed by the Government of the Institute on December 7, 1868. Rockwell then searched in Boston for a suitable home and wrote his wife frequently to discuss living conditions in Boston and to describe his impressions of the Institute.

In his letters to his wife, Rockwell describes the physical and financial state of the Institute and the personality and educational philosophy of its first two presidents, William Barton Rogers and John Daniel Runkle. Runkle's election is closely described in letters dated September 30 and October 1, 1870, and in an undated letter headed Boston, Tuesday Eve.

Rockwell corresponded with William Barton Rogers and received four letters from him which are included in this collection. In his letters to Rockwell, Rogers describes the curriculum of the Department of Mining and Rockwell's appointment.

Rockwell received two letters from James Duncan Hague, professor of mining engineering at the Institute from 1865 to 1868. Rockwell also received a letter from William Edwin Hoyt, professor of civil engineering at the Institute from 1870 to 1877, and a letter from Samuel Kneeland, then Institute professor of biology and later secretary of the Institute.

Dates

  • 1867 - 1876

Creator

Access note

This collection is open.

Intellectual Property Rights

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Separate written application for permission to publish must be made to Distinctive Collections. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection.

Biography

Alfred Perkins Rockwell was a professor of mining engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1865-1868. He was the son of John Arnold and Mary Watkinson Perkins and was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on October 16, 1834. Perkins graduated from Yale in 1855 and spent the following two years at the Sheffield Scientific School. He studied mining engineering in both of these schools and spent an additional year each at the Museum of Practical Geology in London and at the School of Mines in Freiberg. He received a Ph.B. from Yale in 1857 and an A.M. from Yale in 1858.

Rockwell married Katharine Virginia Foote in New Haven on June 20, 1865. She was the daughter of Samuel E. Foote. She died in 1902.

Rockwell served three years in the northern army during the Civil War. He was commissioned as a captain in the First Connecticut Light Battery and served from January 21, 1862, to June 18, 1864. From that date until February 9, 1865, he served as a colonel in the Sixth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. In 1865, Rockwell was made a brevet general for "gallant and distinguished services in the field during campaign of 1864."

Rockwell served on the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Military Academy in 1865. He was a professor of mining at the Sheffield Scientific School from 1865 to 1868. He was a professor of mining engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1868 to 1873. He served as chair of the board of fire commissioners in Boston from 1873 to 1876. He was President of the Eastern Railroad Company 1876 1879, treasurer of the Great Falls Manufacturing Company from 1879 to 1886. Rockwell retired from business in 1886. He wrote Roads and Pavements in France in 1896. Rockwell died in 1903.

Extent

0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials

English

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.
Title
Guide to the Correspondece of Alfred P. Rockwell, 1867-1876
Status
Ready For Review
Author
Deborah A. Cozort
Date
1979
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US