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Gutenberg, Hertha (Faculty Wife)



  • Existence: 1897 - 1990


Background: See profile of Beno Gutenberg.
Biographical/Historical Description: Hertha Gutenberg, née Dernburg, was born in Darmstadt, Germany. She met her husband, the renowned geophysicist Beno Gutenberg, also of Darmstadt, following World War I and they were married in 1919. Hertha worked in the Gutenberg family soap factory while Beno began teaching at the University of Frankfurt. Following an invitation to a seismological conference in Pasadena in 1929, Gutenberg received an offer of a permanent appointment at Caltech. The Gutenberg family left Germany in 1930 to settle permanently in Pasadena. Mrs. Gutenberg was socially active among Caltech faculty wives. She died in Pasadena in 1990. She and Beno had two children, Arthur (1920-2001) and Stephanie (b. 1925).
Biographical/Historical Collection Notes: Oral history, 1980. In this 47-page oral history with Mary Terrall, Hertha Gutenberg describes life in Germany during World War I and during the 1920s; her emigration to the US in 1930, visits back; and assisting many family members and friends during the Nazi rise to power in the 1930s. She recounts her social life at Caltech under the Millikans and DuBridges, and her involvement with other faculty wives in social and civic actitivies. She recalls her husband's devotion to the seismology lab and to Caltech. Finally, she records her connection with Albert and Elsa Einstein during their visits to Pasadena between 1931-1933.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Herta Gutenberg Oral History Interview with Mary Terrall, 1980-02-06 - 1980-02-13

Scope and Contents Herta Gutenberg was the wife of the geophphysicist Beno Gutenberg. See her profile for further information.
Dates: 1980-02-06 - 1980-02-13

Herta Gutenberg Oral History Interview with Mary Terrall [sound recording], 1980-02-06 - 1980-02-13

Scope and Contents A 1981 interview with Hertha Gutenberg, widow of the seismologist Beno Gutenberg, who directed Caltech's Seismological Laboratory from 1946 to 1957. Both were born in Darmstadt, Germany, and they married there just after World War I. Gutenberg, who received his PhD from Göttingen in 1911, made the first correct determination of the radius of the Earth's core. In 1913 he joined the German University of Strasbourg, then headquarters of the International Seismological Association. He served as a...
Dates: 1980-02-06 - 1980-02-13