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John D. Ryder papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 11/6/53

Scope and Content

This collection (1927-1993, undated) contains biographical information, correspondence, writings and creative works, and materials related to Ryder's professional activities and associations.

Much of the personal information about Ryder included in the collection is contained in faculty information forms, awards materials, photographs, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia. In addition to the personal correspondence, there are also files of business and general correspondence to and from Ryder.

Ryder's academic activities are documented by his college thesis and dissertation, as well as other reports written by him. Other materials include awards and honors information, a photograph of the electrical engineering class of 1928, and information about alumni activities. The collection also contains some of Ryder's written works including papers, articles, and editorials. Also included are chapter drafts prepared for his book, speeches, patents, and humorous writings.

Information related to professional and academic associations Ryder was involved with consists of documents from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, including awards, copies of the organization’s published journal, the history of the association, and meeting minutes and correspondence related to the Centennial Task Force. In addition, the series has material from the United States Agency for International Development, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Junior Engineering Technical Society, such as newspaper clippings and correspondence. There are also awards, honors, and photographs from Ryder’s time at Michigan State University.

Additional material related to Ryder's professional activities consists of reports and research regarding the Bailey Meter Company, applications for federal employment, information concerning the Frutchey Bean Company lawsuit, photographs of equipment, designs, and notes.


  • Creation: 1927-1993, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


John (Jack) Douglas Ryder was born to John E. and Lucy Ryder in Columbus, Ohio, on 9 May 1907. He received his B.S. (1928) and M.S. (1929) in electrical engineering from Ohio State University. He received his Ph.D. (1944) from Iowa State University.

Ryder was first employed by General Electric from 1929 to 1931. He then worked for Bailey Meter Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, where he was in charge of the electronic research division from 1931 until 1941. While working there, he received twenty-four patents for automatic control applications of electronics and temperature measurement.

Ryder was hired as Assistant Professor (1941-1944) in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Iowa State University. He was promoted to Professor (1944-1949). Ryder served as Acting Head (1944-1946) of the Electrical Engineering Department and as Assistant Director (1947-1949) of the Iowa Engineering Experiment Station. At Iowa State, Ryder worked with Warren Boast to construct a high-frequency network analyzer.

In 1949, Ryder left Iowa State to become Professor and Head (1949-1954) of the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Illinois. Ryder then became Professor (1954-1972) and Dean (1954-1968) of the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. At Michigan State, Ryder reformed the engineering curriculum and, in 1963, supervised the construction of a new building for the College of Engineering. Upon his retirement in 1973, Ryder became an advisor for the University of Florida-Central Florida Community College.

Ryder spoke and wrote prolifically on the subjects of engineering and education in engineering. Books authored by Ryder include Networks, Lines and Fields (1949); Electronic Fundamentals and Applications (1950); Electronic Engineering Principles (1952); and Engineering Electronics with Industrial Applications and Control (1957).

Ryder held membership and office in many professional associations and societies. He was a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as President (1953) of the National Electronics Conference, President (1955) of the Institute of Radio Engineers, President (1988-1989) of the American Society for Engineering Education, and Executive Vice President (1974) of IEEE. Ryder also served on the committee charged with forming IEEE by merging the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). Ryder was accorded numerous honors and awards for engineering achievement and engineering education in his life, including being named to the IEEE Centennial Hall of Fame in 1984.

Ryder married Sylvia MacCalla of Youngstown, Ohio. Together they had two children, Barbara and John. Ryder died on July 28, 1993.


4.53 Linear Feet (3 records center cartons, 1 document box, and 1 half-document box)


The collection is organized into six series:

Series 1, Biographical Information, 1935-1993, undated (alphabetical)

Series 2, Academic and Education Activities, 1927-1978, undated (chronological)

Series 3, Creative Works, 1930-1992, undated (alphabetical)

Series 4, General Correspondence, 1929-1993, undated (chronological)

Series 5, Professional and Academic Associations, 1930-1992, undated (alphabetical)

Series 6, Professional Activities, 1930-1970, undated (alphabetical)

Items in related collections

RS 11/6. Iowa State University. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering records, 1884-2013

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 11/6/53. John D. Ryder papers, 1927-1993, undated
January 22, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672