Papers of James Gilbert Black,1921-1983

Descriptive Summary

Title
Papers of James Gilbert Black,1921-1983
Creator
Black, James Gilbert, 1895-1983
Extent
.90 cubic feet , 1,500 items, 2 boxes
Finding Aid Author
Processed by Sharon Brown McConnell; machine-readable finding aid created by Hilary Writt
Repository
Eastern Kentucky University

Collection Overview

Biography / History
James Gilbert Black was born in Rose Hill in Mercer County, Kentucky on August 4, 1895. His parents were Robert and Maggie Black. He attended elementary school in Mercer County and graduated with the highest honors from Harrodsburg High School. In 1916, following a suggestion of his high school principal, he decided to attend college and work toward a degree in physics.
Dr. Black and his brother, Roy, had spent hours during childhood experimenting with pulleys, tin cans, and magnets. A book which often was a guide for them was one by R. K. Duncan. This was the perfect prerequisite to the very happy and satisfying life which Dr. Black lived as an inventor, student, physicist, and teacher.
In May 1919, Dr. Black was married to Ollie Mae Foster of Mercer County. Mrs. Black herself was scholarly and inquisitive and several years after her marriage, she received a college degree from Morehead State University. The couple had four sons: J. G. Jr., William S., George M., and Charles. Two sons were engineers, one a lawyer, and the other a physicist at the Naval Ordinance.
Dr. Black received a B.S degree from the University of Kentucky in 1921 and a masters degree from the same institution in 1922. He did additional work at the University of Wisconsin and at Purdue University before being granted a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1929. His undergraduate studies were interrupted by a stint in the navy during World War I.
Dr. Black's teaching experiences were varied. He taught courses in physics, engineering, and most branches of mathematics during his career. His teaching assignments were at the University of Kentucky, 1920-22, the University of Wisconsin, 1922-23, Purdue University, 1923-25, Michigan State College, 1925-28, University of Kentucky, 1928-29, Morehead State Teachers College, 1929-41, and the University of Michigan, 1941-1945. He was a physics professor at Eastern Kentucky University from 1947-69, serving as chairman of the department for most of those years.
Dr. Black was an employee of both the Philips Laboratory, Inc. (1945-1947), and the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Silver Springs, Maryland during the 1950s and 1960s. During these years he worked in X-ray technology, television development, and in testing, design and improvement of weapons. He was the author of several papers which are on file with these companies, and with three other people, received a patent on an "Apparatus for Determining the Composition of a Substance." Detailed descriptions of some of his many inventions are included in these papers. He received patents for most of his inventions. Following his retirement, he developed a new type of ball point pen.
He was a member of numerous societies and groups, wrote many articles for scientific publications and often presented papers at professional meetings. He wrote several short stories on science in an attempt to popularize physics. Dr. Black had many professional and social interests He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Richmond and was a connoisseur of good literature. He enjoyed sharing anecdotes with friends during leisure moments and was often asked to explain certain phenomena to those with less scientific minds. During the years following his retirement, he remained active mentally and physically. He spent hours enjoying his family and friends. He died on January 5, 1983 and was buried in Springhill Cemetery at Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
Scope and Content
The papers of Dr.James Gilbert Black are contained in two boxes. Both professional and personal papers are included. Dr. Black was a friendly, tolerant, brilliant man whose major concern was the quality of education which the youth were receiving. The papers most directly relating to education are together in Box 1. They are broken down into more selective groups within the box. The General Series is arranged alphabetically by subject in Box 2. Within each folder like items are arranged chronologically. Also in Box 2 is the third series--The Patent And Invention Series. Each folder relates to a separate invention. These papers were presented to the Archives on November 16, 1983 by Mrs. J. G. Black. They cover a period from 1921 to 1983, but only represent a brief glimpse into Dr. Black's productive professional life.

Contents of the Collection

Education Series

The Education Series is contained in one document box and covers the year 1952-1958. Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically therein. In the first folder are Articles 1957-8. It contains four articles on education which Dr. Black collected. Following this is one folder on Bills in Congress concerning education in 1957-8. The clippings file folders contain newspaper articles on the state of education in the late 1950s. Many of the articles are concerned with progressive education, delinquency in the schools, lack of science as a concrete subject in the elementary and secondary schools. Some of these clippings are letters to the editors of newspapers in response to articles. Some comparisons of American and Soviet education are involved. Other articles suggest ways children can use idle time. Many of the articles are clipped from the Lexington Herald, Lexington Leader, or the Louisville Courier Journal. Others are from The New York Times, Washington Star, and other papers. Correspondence are also included. The letters are arranged chronologically and are all dated in 1958. Three essays on education by Dr. Zeack are in the next folder. These are not dated. Following this are items pertaining to Dr. Black's association with RADM H. 0. Rickover. Included next is a small packet of information on public schools. Next is a poem, "A Teacher's Prayer", by Dr. Black and letters he received following its publication. At the end of this series are news articles about Dr. Black's testimony before the House of Representatives on March 4, 1958, letters he wrote to members of Congress, and the letters he received in return concerning this testimony. The articles precede the letters which are arranged chronologically.

Articles

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Bills in Congress

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Clippings-Miscellaneous-Folder 1

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Clippings -Miscellaneous-Folder 2

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Correspondence to Dr. Black

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Essays in Education

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RADM H.G. Rickover

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School Teacher's Prayer

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Testimony before the U.S. House

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Testimony before the U.S. House-Correspondence from Dr. Black

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Testimony before the U.S. House-Correspondence to Dr. Black from the members of Congress…

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General Series

The General Series encompasses a variety of topics which are arranged alphabetically and cover the years 1949-1962. Correspondence with Mr. Barry Bingham, papers associated with Dr. Black's position at the Naval Ordnance and Philips Laboratories are included. Dr. Black's philosophy of education and his feelings toward space and technology are represented. A few documents are included here. There is a biographical folder included. It contains detailed information on Dr. Black's professional and private life. These papers were compiled by Dr. Black prior to his retirement in 1969.

Bingham

  • Box 2
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Biographical

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Miscellaneous Clippings

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Naval Ordinance Laboratory and Philips Laboratory

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Philosophy

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Professional

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Proposal for Grant

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Science Advisory Committee Statements

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Space Clippings

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Space Drawings and Sketches

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Tributes

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Patent and Inventions Series

This series contains copies of detailed descriptions of inventions created by Dr. Black. Letters regarding some of the patents, photographs of the inventions, and diagrams are also included. These span from 1931 to 1962. They are filed alphabetically by name of invention.

Agreements with Philips on Inventions

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Composition of Substance

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Correspondence

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Cyclorama

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Diagrams

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Electricity

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Electrolysis and Synthesis

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Falling Body

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Human Horsepower

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Hydrogen

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Incubation of Eggs

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Lecture Apparatus

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Phonodeik Oscillations

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Phonographs

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Photographs

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Spectrum Plate

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Tunnel Diode

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Spectrum Lines

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X-ray Photography

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The Yo-Yo

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Zinc Vapor

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