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Beno Gutenberg Papers

Identifier: 10038-MS

Content Description

The Beno Gutenberg papers include personal, Caltech related, and professional correspondence; government and technical files, data pads and notebooks, reprints, and biographical and personal material.


  • 1908-1962



The collection is open for research. Researchers must apply in writing for access.

Biographical / Historical

Beno Gutenberg was born in 1889 in Darmstadt, Germany. He obtained his doctorate in physics from the University of Göttingen. He came to the California Institute of Technology in 1930 as Professor of Geophysics. Gutenberg, together with Charles Richter, played a pivotal role in developing seismology into an international science of earthquake study and detection. From 1946 to 1957, Gutenberg was the Director of the Seismology Laboratory. He made the first exact determination of the radius of earth's core; he was the authority on earthquakes and the propagation of sound in the atmosphere. He became the technical advisor to US Navy on use of microseisms to locate hurricanes and typhoons. Gutenberg died in 1960 in Pasadena, California.


25 linear feet (55 boxes)

Language of Materials



Series 1, Personal Correspondence, contains communications with individuals and is arranged in alphabetical sequence. Series 2, Correspondence and Documents-Caltech, contains documents of the Division of Geological Sciences, especially files and reports. Series 3, Correspondence and Documents – Professional Organizations and Meetings, contains correspondence with the main American Geophysical Union, National Academy of Sciences, the Seismological Society of America. Series 4, Publication Correspondence and Related Documents, includes correspondence about books publication Series 5, Technical Files,contains notes, manuscripts, photographs and course notes. Series 6, United States Government Files, includes, among others, files on the Geophysical Research Directorate, on the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey and reports on microseisms and hurricanes. Series 7, Biographical and Personal Material, contains also honors and appointments, and Nobel Prize nominations. Series 8, Unprocessed Technical Material, contains data pads, miscellaneous data, seismograms and reprints, photocopies from several German Universities provided by Professor Johannes Schweitzer, reports and International Seismological Summaries.

Acquisition Information

The Papers of Beno Gutenberg were given to the Archives by the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech, in several installments, from 1976 through 2010.

Guide to the Beno Gutenberg Papers
Caltech Archives Staff
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
(626) 395-2704