Papers of James Gilbert Black,1921-1983
- Papers of James Gilbert Black,1921-1983
- Black, James Gilbert, 1895-1983
- .90 cubic feet , 1,500 items, 2 boxes
- Eastern Kentucky University
- 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.