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Arnold Orville Beckman Papers

Identifier: 10103-MS

Scope and Contents

The Arnold O. Beckman papers primarily relate to Beckman’s philanthropy, including newspaper clippings, photos, scrapbooks, honorary plaques and certificates, and correspondence (circa 1954-1989).


  • 1919-1989


Biographical / Historical

Arnold Orville Beckman (1900-2004) was an American investor, inventor, chemist, and philanthropist. He was the founder of Beckman Instruments, Inc.; Caltech Assistant Professor from 1929 to 1940 and a Caltech Trustee from 1953 to the end of his life.


10 linear feet (12 archival boxes, 3 storage boxes, plus oversize material)


The Arnold Beckman materials are primarily printed matter relating to Beckman's philanthropy, including newspaper clippings, photos, albums and scrapbooks. There are also two manuscript boxes of biographical newspaper clippings from the 1950s through 1989. Although there is only a small amount of correspondence (less than one archival box), many of the correspondents are noteworthy figures, including several politicians. The three storage boxes at the end of the collection contain photo albums and scrap books. The collection also contains a large number of photographs, several plaques and honorary certificates, two reel-to-reel audio tapes, two audio cassettes and one Lyndon Johnson pen.


Series 1, Biographical Information, contains newspaper clippings, articles and printed material about Beckman’s life.

Series 2, Philantropic Gifts, contains the documentation of the Beckmans’ many donations and endowements.

Series 3, General Correspondence, includes communications with individuals and it is arranged in alphabetical sequence. Major individual correspondents represented in Series 3 include United States President Richard Nixon, Caltech presidents Lee DuBridge, Harold Brown and Marvin Golderberger and HRH Princess Margaret.

Series 4, Miscellaneous Printed Information, contains few printed materials and transcripts.

Series 5, Photographs, contains family photos, formal portraits and photos of Beckman and his wife Mabel taken at events and with personalities.

Series 6, Miscellaneous Items and Tapes, contains memorabilia, recordings and mementos.

Series 7, Miscellaneous Documents, includes, speeches, interviews and research notebooks.

Series 8, Awards, Honors, contains awards, certificates and medals.

Series 9, Scrapbooks, Photo Albums, includes both family album and album of events attended by Beckman.

Series 10, Miscellaneous Oversized items, contains a family photo album, scrapbooks and awards.

Related Materials

Oral history interview with Arnold O. Beckman, Caltech Archives 1978. (
The Papers of Arnold Orville Beckman
Gwen Torges
October 1990
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

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

1200 East California Blvd.
MC B215-74
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