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HUG 4458

Hunt, Frederick V.   Papers of Frederick V. Hunt : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

©President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2016

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Harvard University Archives
Call No.: HUG 4458
Creator: Hunt, Frederick V.
Title: Papers of Frederick V. Hunt, 1927-1970
Quantity: 10 cubic feet (29 containers)
Abstract: Frederick Vinton Hunt (1905-1972) was a scientist and Harvard University professor who contributed substantially to acoustical engineering. His papers document his professional activities and date chiefly from after World War II.
Language of materials: English.

Inventory update

This document last updates 2016-05-11.

Acquisition Information:

Most material received from Prof. Hunt, 1971. Remainder from Division of Engineering and Applied Physics, August 1973 .

Access to Collection:

Open for research.

Restrictions on Use of Collection:

Photoduplication is permitted. Permission is required for publication. Contact the Reference Staff of the Harvard University Archives for details.

Biography of Frederick V. Hunt

Frederick Vinton Hunt (1905-1972), an American educator and scientist, contributed substantially to numerous aspects of acoustics and communications. An inventor, Hunt also held 13 patents.
Hunt's early interest was in room acoustics, this was followed by an interest in phonograph recording and playback that continued throughout his career. (The interest in phonographs began in 1936. After developing sound recording equipment to document Harvard University's Tercentenary celebration, Vinton and his colleague J.A. Pierce were faced with the challenge of making equally impressive playback equipment; their researches led to the development of criteria that eventually made possible the long-playing record.) In 1941, Hunt founded the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory. During World War II, this laboratory developed anti-submarine devices, including torpedoes and efficient sonar systems. At its height during the war, the staff expanded to 450, and the laboratory facilities grew to include ships, field stations, and the Hemenway Gymnasium at Harvard.
Hunt's achievements as an educator are also notable. His teaching methods were Socratic. Thirty-five doctoral dissertations were written under his direction. He played a key role in establishing the Division of Engineering and Applied Physics, part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, at Harvard University.
Hunt earned an AB in 1924 and a B.E.E. in 1925 from Ohio State University. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard in 1934, submitted a second thesis to the Graduate School of Engineering for an S.D., but was refused because Harvard would not award two doctorates to the same individual. He remained at Harvard until his retirement in 1971. He was Instructor in Physics (1934-1937), Assistant Professor (1937-1940), Associate Professor (1940-1946), Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics (1946-1971); the additional title of Rumford Professor of Physics became his in 1953.
He received many honors, including an honorary S.D. from Harvard in 1945, the Presidential Medal of Merit from President Truman in 1947, and the Distinguished Service Medal by the U.S. Navy in 1970.

Scope and Content of Collection

These papers document Hunt's professional activities, and date chiefly from after World War II. Much of the material relates to professional societies, journals, and committee work. Documents include correspondence, laboratory notebooks, patents, memoranda, a project diary, minutes, reports, and medals.

Organization of Collection

Container List

Selected Search Terms

These papers have been indexed in the International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences (ICOS) using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.
Hunt, Frederick V.
Pierce, George Washington, 1872-1956.
Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory.
Harvard University. Laboratories for Acoustics.
Harvard University. Division of Engineering and Applied Physics.
Harvard University -- Physics.
Harvard University -- Engineering.
Underwater acoustics.