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Glenn Murphy papers

Identifier: RS 11/11/11

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The collection (1928-1988, undated) contains biographical material, correspondence, memoranda, writings and publications, course material, materials related to professional societies, consulting work, background resources and conference and meeting data. The collection is sorted into multiple series, but some topics, such as consulting work and related correspondence, may be found in multiple series.

Biographical materials in the collection include newspaper clippings, personal correspondence, diaries, awards, diplomas, photographs, and biographical and autobiographical sketches. The collection also includes a number of awards and artifacts. The files containing Murphy’s professional correspondence include contacts with various organizations and individuals. The collection contains letters with Iowa State administrators, government officials, private organizations, former students, and other researchers. Some correspondence related to Murphy’s consulting work and contacts with professional societies may be found in these files.

Murphy’s research endeavors are documented by copies of published articles and drafts of textbooks. The papers and published works include several drafts and copies of chapters from his books. Subjects Murphy wrote about include nuclear engineering and engineering education. Other files that document his research interests include materials related to conferences and lectures he attended or participated in. These include the International Bicentennial Conference at which Murphy served as chairman and the Nuclear Energy Abundant Conference where he was a panelist.

There are two series that document the work Murphy did at Iowa State. One series contains course materials for classes taught by Murphy. These courses were primarily in the theoretical and applied mechanics and nuclear engineering fields. Other records related to Iowa State University include administrative correspondence and reports related to the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Department of Nuclear Engineering, the Curtiss-Wright Engineering Cadette Program, and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. These files also include records of Murphy’s extensive work with nuclear reactors.

Materials related to professional organizations Murphy was affiliated with include annual meeting materials, committee reports, and proposals for grants. Some of the groups with which Murphy was involved include the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education, the American Nuclear Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Commission on Engineering Education, and the Atomic Energy Commission.


  • 1928-1988, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Glenn Murphy was born in Boulder, Colorado on January 17, 1908. He graduated from Colorado State Preparatory School in 1925. He received his B.S. (1929), and M.S. (1930) from the University of Colorado in civil engineering. Murphy then traveled to the University of Illinois to work as a research graduate assistant and achieved a second M.S. (1932) in civil engineering. He earned his Ph.D. (1935) from Iowa State College (University) in theoretical and applied mechanics. The University of Colorado awarded Murphy the degree of Civil Engineer (1937) and the degree of Doctor of Science (1973).

At Iowa State, Murphy was hired as an Instructor (1932-1934) in theoretical and applied mechanics. He was promoted to Assistant Professor (1934-1938), Associate Professor (1938-1941), Professor (1941-1956), and Distinguished Professor (1956-1978). Murphy supported the University in an administrative capacity by serving as Head (1952-1955) of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Head (1955-1960) of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Chairman (1952-1960) of the Nuclear Engineering Administration Committee, and Head (1960-1973) of the Nuclear Engineering Department. Murphy was also Senior Engineer (1948-1963) for the Institute for Atomic Research at Iowa State University. Murphy was the Iowa State University Engineering Education Projects Coordinator (1972-1978) and he also served on the curriculum committee of the Curtiss-Wright Engineering Cadette Program which was created during World War II in order to train women in aeronautical engineering theory and design at a number of colleges and universities across the country.

Murphy performed research in a variety of fields including fluid dynamics, stress analysis, property of materials, similitude, and nuclear reactor dynamics and shielding, however, he is most prominently known for his work in engineering education as a teacher and author. Murphy served as major professor for 111 Ph.D. candidates and for 124 master’s degree candidates. He was the author of eight college textbooks and co-author on an additional six others and he had over 50 papers published in engineering journals. Murphy was a consultant for a variety of private and governmental organizations and an active member in a number of scientific organizations, including the American Society for Engineering Education in which he served on numerous committees and as President (1962-1963).

In recognition of his years of service and valuable research, Murphy received many honors. Murphy was first to be named Anson Marston Distinguished Professor of Engineering (1956) by Iowa State University. He was also awarded the George Westinghouse Award (1951) from the American Society for Engineering Education; Distinguished Service Award (1964) from the Iowa Engineering Society; Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering (1968) from the University of Illinois; Faculty Citation (1968) from Iowa State University.

Glenn Murphy married Frances Pearce of Los Angeles, California, in 1934. He passed away on April 3, 1978, while returning home from a trip to Korea where he had served as a consultant and advisor to the Korea Advanced Institute of Science in Seoul.


24.09 Linear Feet (54 document boxes, 1 half-document box, and 1 oversized box)


Series 1, Biographical Material, 1928-1988, undated (alphabetical)

Series 2, Professional Correspondence, 1935-1978, undated (alphabetical)

Series 3, Papers and Published Works, 1931-1978, undated (chronological)

Series 4, Conferences and Lectures, 1938-1977, undated (chronological)

Series 5, Course Materials, 1935-1975, undated (chronological)

Series 6, Professional Organizations and Affiliations, 1935-1978, undated (alphabetical)

Series 7, Iowa State University, 1936-1977, undated (chronological)

Series 8, Consulting, 1938-1978, undated (chronological)

Physical Location

This collection is stored offsite. Please contact the Special Collections and University Archives at least 3 working days in advance.

Items in related collections

RS 11/11. Iowa State University. Department of Nuclear Engineering records, 1957-2008

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.


Acronym AEC.Atomic Energy Commission

Acronym AMU.Associated Midwest Universities

Acronym AMU-ANL.Associated Midwest Universities-Argonne National Laboratory

Acronym AMU-NEEC.Associated Midwest Universities-Nuclear Engineering Education Committee

Acronym ANL.Argonne National Laboratory

Acronym ANS.American Nuclear Society

Acronym ASAE.American Society of Automotive Engineers

Acronym ASCE.American Society of Civil Engineers

Acronym ASEE.American Society for Engineering Education

Acronym ASME.American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Acronym ASTM.American Society for Testing Materials

Acronym AUA.Argonne Universities Association

Acronym CEE.Commission on Engineering Education

Acronym CNA.Canadian Nuclear Association

Acronym DHEW.Department of Health Education and Welfare

Acronym ECPD.Engineers Council for Professional Development

Acronym HTGR.High Temperature Gas Reactor

Acronym IAS.Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences

Acronym IEES.Iowa Engineering Experiment Station

Acronym NAE.National Academy of Engineering

Acronym NASA.National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Acronym NROTC.Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

Acronym NSF.National Science Foundation

Acronym SPEE.Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education

Acronym VITA.Volunteers in Technical Assistance
RS 11/11/11. Glenn Murphy papers, 1928-1988, undated
July 1, 2020
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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