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Don Lynn Anderson Papers

Identifier: 10136-MS

Scope and Contents

The Don L. Anderson papers consist of a small collection of correspondence, memos, and miscellaneous administrative paperwork from the Caltech Seismology Laboratory, from the time Anderson served as Director.


  • Creation: 1968-1994


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.


Professor of Geophysics Don Lynn Anderson was Director of Caltech's Seismological Laboratory from 1967 through 1989. In that position, he succeeded two front rank geophysicists, Beno Gutenberg and Frank Press. The Seismo Lab was founded in Pasadena in 1927 by the Carnegie Institution of Washington; its administration was taken over by Caltech some years later, in 1937.

Although closely associated with the development of the magnitude scale (the "Richter scale") and other aspects of seismological measurement, the Seismo Lab has been much more than an earthquake lab. In writing about the Lab in 1989, Anderson stressed its non-earthquake aspects: "The Seismology Laboratory is not primarily an observatory; it has been, in fact, the 'Geophysics Department' at Caltech." While providing earthquake information for the local and statewide community and running the Southern California Seismic Array (the "Network" of seismic stations which record earthquake data), the Lab has produced major scientific work in geophysics throughout its history.

The papers in this collection were deposited in the Archives in 1996 by Professor Anderson. They date from the period of his directorship of the Lab and concern the Lab directly. However, they do not form a complete record, as there are notable gaps, for example, in Anderson's own series of memos (nothing for the last ten years of his tenure) and in general administrative correspondence.

Researchers interested in the history of the Seismology Laboratory should also examine the following files in the Caltech Archives: Historical Files (under Geology Division), Seismology Records (microfiche), and the papers of Beno Gutenberg, Charles Richter and Harry O. Wood.


1 linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Guide to the Don Lynn Anderson Papers, 1968-1994
Processed by Charlotte E. Erwin; machine-readable finding aid created by Brooke Dykman Dockter
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository

1200 East California Blvd.
MC B215-74
Pasadena California 91125 United States of America
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