A Guide to the Frank L. Robeson Papers, 1899-1952, n.d. Robeson, Frank L. Papers Ms2015-014

A Guide to the Frank L. Robeson Papers, 1899-1952, n.d.

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2015-014


Special Collections, Virginia Tech

©2015 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Jacob Todd, Student Assistant and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist, Special Collections

Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Frank L. Robeson Papers, 1899-1952, n.d.
Physical Characteristics
7.6 cu. ft. 6 boxes
Robeson, Frank Leigh, 1884-
The collection includes papers from Robeson's tenure as a student at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins University, as well as subject and research files from his nearly 50 years as an instructor and professor at VPI, dating from 1899 to 1952.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Frank L. Robeson Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Frank L. Robeson Papers, Ms2015-014, Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Frank L. Robeson Papers were acquired by Special Collections prior to 2008. They are believed to have been donated to the library, probably after Dr. Robeson's death in 1974.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Frank L. Robeson Papers was completed in July 2015.

Biographical Note

Frank L. (Leigh) Robeson was born on June 24, 1884 in Farmville, Virginia, to George M. and Anna M. Robeson. In 1912, he married Mary Anna Matthews (1888-). They had 5 children: Helen (b. 1913), Mary (b. 1915), Martha (b. 1921), Amenta (b. 1922), and Andrew (b. 1927). Robeson died in September 1974 in Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia. He is buried in Westview Cemetery.

Robeson graduated from Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute with a B. S. in 1904. Between 1904 and 1907, he served as an instructor in Mathematics and Drawing and later in Mathematics and Graphics. From 1910-1913, he was an instructor in Mathematics and Experimental Engineering. In 1913, he received an M. A. from Columbia University. From 1913-1917, he served as an Associate Professor of Physics and from 1917-1955 (except for a leave in 1922/1923) as a Professor of Physics. He completed a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins in 1923 before returning to teach at VPI. Between 1036 and 1941, he was the head of the Physics Department. After retiring in September 1954, he was granted emeritus status. In honor of his long career at VPI as a student and teacher, the Department of Physics building, completed in 1960, was dedicated "Robeson Hall" in 1969. A portrait of him hangs in the building.

More on Robeson Hall:



An Historical and Genealogical Account of Andrew Robeson of Scotland New Jersey and Pennsylvania and of His Descendants from 1653 to 1916 .
Find a Grave page

Scope and Content

The collection includes papers from Robeson's tenure as a student at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins University, as well as subject and research files from his nearly 50 years as an instructor and professor at VPI, dating from 1899 to 1952. The papers contain notebooks and students sketch/composition books; personal correspondence; research on topics relating to math, physics, and drawing; notes and lectures from classes taught; Virginia Academy of Science documents; papers; and publications; and a few photographs and negatives.


The original file names were retained when the collection was processed. Some related folders were consolidated and duplicates removed. The collection is arranged in chronological order with the undated materials in the last box.

Index Terms


  • Robeson, Frank Leigh, 1884-
  • Subjects:

  • Faculty
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • University Archives
  • University History
  • Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Contents List

Box-folder 1-1
Machine Drawing Sketch Book, 1899
Box-folder 1-2
Workshop Composition Book, 1902
Box-folder 1-3
Notes and Papers, 1903-1921
Box-folder 1-4
Personal Papers, 1904-1923
Box-folder 1-5
Lettering for Engineering Students, 1904
Box-folder 1-6
Notes, 1904-1915
Box-folder 1-7
Electrical Laboratory Notes, 1904
Box-folder 1-8
Notes, 1906-1913
Box-folder 1-9
Transfer Notes from Loose Leaf Notes, 1907-1925
Box-folder 1-10
Applied Mechanics, 1907
Box-folder 1-11
M.I.T. - November, 1907
Box-folder 1-12
Research and Reference Material, 1909-1926
Box-folder 1-13
Relating to House Construction, 1910-1918
Box-folder 1-14
Examples in Differential Equations, 1908
Box-folder 1-15
Notes on Dynamics Text, 1910
Box-folder 1-16
Technic of Mechanical Drafting with Notes, 1910
Box-folder 1-17
Problems in Mechanics, Heat, Optics, 1911
Box-folder 1-18
Notes on Osbourne's Differential and Internal Calculus, July and August 1911
Box-folder 2-1
Correspondence, 1911-1920
Box-folder 2-2
Columbia University Class Registration Book, 1912
Box-folder 2-3
Modern Theories in Geometry, 1912
Box-folder 2-4
Geodesy and Practical Astronomy, Columbia University, 1912
Box-folder 2-5
Physics Laboratory- Freshman and Sophomore Instruction Sheets, 1913
Box-folder 2-6
Partial Differential Equations, 1913
Box-folder 2-7
Lecture Notes and Exams- 1st Physics, 1913-1916
Box-folder 2-8
Notes on Astronomy, Heat, Differential Equations, 1913
Box-folder 2-9
Notes, Articles, and Sketches on Homes and Homebuilding, 1913-1928
Box-folder 2-10
Two-Story Apt. Building Guidelines, 1914-1921
Box-folder 2-11
Relating to House Construction, 1914-1921
Box-folder 2-12
W.F. Meggers- Electricity and Magnetism, 1915
Box-folder 2-13
Physics 2 Exercises in Mechanics and Temperature Determination, 1916
Box-folder 2-14
Clippings, Brochures, and Advertisements, 1916-1944
Box-folder 2-15
Theoretical Mechanics- Notes from Lectures of Dr. J.S. Ames, 1917
Box-folder 2-16
Experiments in Optics, 1917
Box-folder 2-17
Physical Apparatus- to be Bought, to be Constructed, and where to get it, 1917
Box-folder 2-18
Notes- Data for Text, 1917
Box-folder 3-1
Physics Lab Equipment and Notes, 1917
Box-folder 3-2
Notes and Exam Notes on Optics, 1917
Box-folder 3-3
Exam on Optics and Experiment on Calibration of a Thermocouple, 1917
Box-folder 3-4
Infinite Series Notes Theory of Function- Cohen, 1920
Box-folder 3-5
Notes, 1920
Box-folder 3-6
Residence Specifications, 1920
Box-folder 3-7
Correspondence, 1920-1929
Box-folder 3-8
Research and Reference Pamphlets, 1920-1946
Box-folder 3-9
Notes, 1920
Box-folder 3-10
Einstein's Theory- Lectures of Dr. F.D. Miconaghan, Johns Hopkins University, June-July, 1920
Box-folder 3-11
Moment in Inertia, 1921
Box-folder 3-12
Lecture Notes and Exams- 2nd Physics, 1921-1922
Box-folder 3-13
Lectures on Electricity and Magnetism, 1922
Box-folder 3-14
Electron Theory, 1922
Box-folder 4-1
Vector Analysis- U. Chicago, 1922
Box-folder 4-2
Lectures on optics, 1922-1923
Box-folder 4-3
The Infrared Spectrum of Helium in Long Discharge Tubes, 1923
Box-folder 4-4
Notes on Thermodynamics, 1923
Box-folder 4-5
Introduction to Quantum Theory, 1923
Box-folder 4-6
Sketching Book- Tables, 1923
Box-folder 4-7
Atomic Theory, 1923
Box-folder 4-8
Radiofax- Lefax Looseleaf Handbooks, 1923-1924
Box-folder 4-9
Noteson Physics Laboratory- M.I.T., 1924
Box-folder 4-10
Junior Physics, 1926-1937
Box-folder 4-11
The ABC of Hydrogen Ion Control, 1926
Box-folder 4-12
Junior Laboratory, 1926
Box-folder 4-13
Constructed in Shop, 1926-1927
Box-folder 4-14
Electricity and Magnetism, 1928
Box-folder 4-15
Advertisements, 1929-1945
Box-folder 4-16
Radio Talk, 1930-1946
Box-folder 4-17
Correspondence, 1930-1939
Box-folder 4-18
Notes on Physics: Part 1, Mechanics, 1932
Box-folder 4-19
Manuscript of Notes on Physics- Part II- Electricity and Magnetism, 1932
Box-folder 4-20
Manuscript of Notes on Physics- Part I- Mechanics, 1932
Box-folder 4-21
Notes on Physics Part II: Electricity and Magnetism, 1933
Box-folder 4-22
Household Meteorology and Physics, 1934-1939
Box-folder 5-1
E&M- Electromagnetics, 1935-1940
Box-folder 5-2
Spectrophotometric Materials, 1935-1936
Box-folder 5-3
Lecture Notes- Physics 312, 1935
Box-folder 5-4
X-rays and Radioactivity, 1936
Box-folder 5-5
Virginia Academy of Science, 1937-1938
Box-folder 5-6
Notes on Physics Part III: Wave Motion, Sound, Heat, and Light, 1937
Box-folder 5-7
Biophysics, 1938-1939
Box-folder 5-8
Advanced Physics, 1938
Box-folder 5-9
Biophysics, 1938
Box-folder 5-10
E&M- Electrostatics, 1938
Box-folder 5-11
E&M Laboratory Manual, 1939
Box-folder 5-12
The Bent of Tau beta, July 1940
Box-folder 5-13
Precision of Measure, 1940
Box-folder 5-14
Correspondence, 1940-1949
Box-folder 5-15
X-rays, Spring Quarter, 1941
Box-folder 5-16
Lectures and Notes, 1942-1944
Box-folder 5-17
Physics 312 (Chemistry), 1942
Box-folder 5-18
Notes on Mechanics and Wave Motion, 1943-1954
Box-folder 5-19
Klystron Manual, 1945
Box-folder 5-20
Schaum's Outline of Theory and Problems for Students of College Physics, 1946
Box-folder 5-21
Paper: A Simple Method for Adapting on Ordinary Wall Galvanometer for use in Large Classrooms, 1946
Box-folder 5-22
Electricity and Magnetism, 1946
Box-folder 5-23
Electricity and Magnetism, 1947
Box-folder 6-1
Box-folder 6-2
An Exercise on the Sphere of Geom. of Space
Box-folder 6-3
Box-folder 6-4
Electricity and Magnetism
Box-folder 6-5
Illustrations of Stem Engines, Steam turbines, Pumping Engines
Box-folder 6-6
Manuscript Index to Notes on Physics
Box-folder 6-7
Box-folder 6-8
Notes for a course in Thermodynamics
Box-folder 6-9
Box-folder 6-10
Physics 3- Experiments in Electricity and Magnetism
Box-folder 6-11
Box-folder 6-12
Thermodynamics, Second term