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Wendell A. Mordy papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0667

Scope and Content

This collection (1920-2004, undated) contains biographical information, budgets, correspondence, lecture and class notes, research proposals and reports, and writings of Wendell Mordy. These materials document Mordy's career as a scientific researcher and administrator and reveal his interests in the environment, climate change, and meterology.

The biographical materials include biographical sketches, correspondence, certificates and awards, curriculum vitae, diaries, membership information, and news clippings. Records related to Mordy's military service are also included.

Materials related to the Center for the Future include reports funded and published by the Center, materials on climate change and weather modification, budget information, correspondence, and interviews with researchers and staff. The Center was organized as an educational and research institute concerned with studying the social, economic, and political implications of technological change in society. The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions was a scientific think tank founded by former University of Chicago President and Chancellor, Robert M. Hutchins. Materials in this collections related to this organization include papers, reports, and meeting minutes as well as materials detailing Mordy's affiliation with the Center.

A large part of the collection documents Mordy's professional career and his various research and administrative appointments. These materials include papers, budgets, correspondence, and research materials. The collection provides detailed information about the work Mordy performed at each place of employment including the Desert Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Nevada, the Pineapple Research Institute (PRI), the Sea Grant at the University of Miami, and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Finally, the collection also contains a considerable amount of Mordy's professional writings. Most of his writings concern climate change, weather modification, science policy, and meteorological studies. Formats include scientific articles, newspaper columns, book chapters, published monographs, speeches, and conference proceedings. Additional writings can be found throughout the collection.

Dates

  • 1920-2004, undated

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives

Biography/Profile

Wendell Allen Mordy was born to James T. and Jane (Dalrymple) Mordy on April 28, 1920, in Rock Island, Illinois. He received his A.B. (1942) from Pomona College, California, his certificate in meteorology (1942) from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Fil. lic. (Ph.D.) (1958) from the University of Stockholm, Sweden. Mordy was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree (1969) from William Jewell College.

Mordy had a long and distinguished career as a meteorologist, atmospheric scientist, and administrator. During the second World War, Mordy served as a Weather Officer (1942-1945) for the U.S. Air Force and received the Bronze Star. Following the war, Mordy worked as a meteorologist for United Airlines (1946), Pan American Airlines (1946-1947), and the U.S. Weather Bureau (1947-1948). He was then hired by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association as Meteorologist and Head (1948-1956) of the Department of Meteorology at the Pineapple Research Institute and Experiment Station in Honolulu, Hawaii. While there, Mordy studied the islands' weather patterns, the chemical composition of rainwater, and the potential for cloud seeding.

In 1956, Mordy was offered the position of Research Meteorologist (1956-1960) at the International Institute of Meteorology located at the University of Stockholm in Sweden. Mordy investigated cloud condensate and cloud formation while in Sweden and also earned his doctorate. He then served briefly as a Lecturer and Research Associate (1960) at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The University of Nevada hired Mordy in 1960 to organize and direct its newly established research division. Mordy was the Founding Director (1960-1969) of the University's Desert Research Institute and also served as the Edgar J. Marston Professor of Atmospheric Physics (1960-1969). In Nevada, Mordy continued his investigations into the physics of cloud formation and authored several reports on the subject. He also served as Vice Chancellor (1966-1969) for the University. During this time Mordy initiated the development of the Fleishmann Atmospherium Planetarium. Also during this period, Mordy began writing a nationally syndicated science column titled, "Science Today."

Mordy left the University of Nevada to pursue research opportunities at the University of Miami, Florida, where he was named Professor (1970-1972) of Atmospheric Sciences and Director (1970-1972) of the Sea Grant Program. Following that he was named a Visiting Fellow and Associate (1972-1977) at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, an organization based out of Santa Barbara, California. Mordy also helped organize and was named President of the Center for the Future (1973-1988), an educational and research organization concerned with studying the social, economic, and political implications of technological change. He served as President (1977-1985) of the Science Museum of Minnesota. He retired in 1985.

Mordy was an active participant in numerous professional associations. As a member of both the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union he served on councils and committees related to cloud physics and popular education. He served as Chairman (1954-1956) of the Organizing Committee for the Hawaii Geophysical Institute. Mordy was also a delegate to the 7th (1949) and 8th (1953) Pacific Science Congresses.

Mordy married Brooke Davis on November 30, 1942. They raised two daughters, Lee Anne and Ruth Bright. Mordy passed away on July 14, 2002.

Extent

29.4 Linear Feet (21 records center cartons, 1 card file box, and 1 oversized box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Wendell A. Mordy was an educator, atmospheric physicist, and administrator. Mordy started his career as a meteorologist and soon became interested in research. He was named Meteorologist and Head of the Pineapple Research Institute and Experiment Station in Honolulu, Hawaii. He continued his career by accepting positions at the International Institute of Meteorology at the University of Stockholm, Sweden; the Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada; and the Sea Grant Program at the University of Miami, Florida. Mordy served as President of the Center for the Future and also the Science Museum of Minnesota. As a researcher, Mordy was interested in meteorology and cloud physics. He published numerous papers and reports on meteorological phenomena and also wrote a nationally syndicated science column, "Science Today," for more than a decade. This collection contains biographical information, administrative records, correspondence, project records, published works, and writings of Wendell Mordy. The administrative records document Mordy's administration of several prominent research programs and institutes as well as the two centers he was most actively involved with, the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions and the Center for the Future. The writings contain published reports and articles on climate change, cloud formation, weather studies, and other environmental concerns.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into five series:

Series 1, Biographical Information, 1920-2004, undated (chronological)

Series 2, Center for the Future, 1970-1988, undated (chronological)

Series 3, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, 1960-1979, undated (chronological)

Series 4, Professional Career, 1949-1990, undated (topical)

Series 5, Professional Writings, 1951-1977, undated (chronological)

Items in related collections

RS 13/20/56. L. A. (Lee Anne) Willson papers, 1971-2012, undated

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

Title
MS-0667. Wendell A. Mordy papers, 1920-2004, undated
Date
December 12, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
403 Parks Library
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Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
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