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Henry A. Erikson Papers, 1896-1951

Summary Information
Title: Henry A. Erikson papers
Dates: 1896-1951
Creator: Erikson, Henry A. (Henry Anton), b. 1869.
Extent: 1 box (0.33 cubic feet)
Language: Collection materials in English
Collection Number: uarc 579
Collection contains the papers of Henry A. Erikson, professor emeritus and head of the department of physics at the University of Minnesota.

Repository: University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was deposited in University Archives by Dr. Erikson's daughter, Mrs. Cushman K.D. Minar in April and July 1958.

Access Restrictions:

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Preferred Citation:

Henry A. Erikson papers, University Archives, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Biographical Note of Henry A. Erikson (1869-1955)

Henry A. Erikson, B.E.E. (1896), Ph.D. (1908) University of Minnesota. Professor and chair of the department of physics at the University of Minnesota (1915-1938). Known for his research on the ionization of gases.

Henry Anton Erikson was born on July 30, 1869 in Mount Morris, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Minnesota, earning his bachelors degree in electrical engineering in 1896 and doctorate degree in physics in 1908. From 1908-1909, Erikson continued his education at Cambridge University with J. J. Thompson. He joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota as an instructor in 1898; he was promoted to assistant professor, associate professor in 1914 and professor in 1915. Erikson served as chair of the department of physics from 1915 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1938. He was known for his research on the ionization of gases, and in the 1930s he discovered the initial positive air ion. Henry A. Erikson died on June 22, 1957.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence regarding the department of physics, the construction and dedication of the physics building and miscellaneous subject files. Other correspondence with and regarding noted physicists, J. Frenkel, Edward U. Condon and W.F.G. Swann is also included in the collection.

There is one folder concerning Professor Erikson's tenure as chairman of the first Distinguished Alumni Committee (1927-1928) with lists of distinguished physics alumni. There is a small amount of material regarding Erikson's involvement with the removal of the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks from the University's campus in the 1920s. A 68-page handwritten history of the physics department by Henry A. Erikson entitled, "Retrospect," is also included in the papers.

Related Material

Comptroller records

Department of Physics records

School of Chemistry records

Subject Terms
Index Terms
  • This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
  • Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974.
  • Erikson, Henry A. (Henry Anton), b. 1869 -- Archives.
  • Swann, W. F. G. (William Francis Gray), 1884-1962.
  • University of Minnesota. Dept. of Physics.
Detailed Contents
 Location  Title
Box 1
Distinguished Alumni Committee, 1927-1928. Box 1
Physics Building, Construction of, 1916-1921. Box 1
Note Includes correspondence regarding moving of the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks from campus.
Physics Building, Dedication of, 1928. Box 1
"Retrospect" - History of the Department of Physics, undated.  Box 1
J. Frenkel, correspondence with and regarding, 1930-1931. Box 1
Edward U. Condon, correspondence, 1928-1929. Box 1
W.F.G. Swann, correspondence, 1922, 1936, 1944, 1947, Box 1
Ph.D. Thesis, 1908. Box 1
Miscellaneous correspondence and newspaper clippings, 1896-1951. Box 1