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COLLECTION Identifier: HUM 167

Conrad Louis Benoni Shuddemagen mathematical and physics lecture notebooks

Conrad L.B. Shudeman, physicist and philosopher, born Conrad Louis Benoni Shuddemagen, earned his SB (1902) and SM (1904) at the University of Texas. After completing his PhD at Harvard (1908), Shudeman accepted a faculty appointment at the University of Texas, serving as a physics instructor until 1910. The collection contains mathematical and physics notebooks kept by Shudeman while a PhD student at Harvard University from 1904 to 1908. The notebooks offer an overview of Shudeman’s academic activities and training as a physicist and provide insight into the lectures and classroom materials presented in the early twentieth century at Harvard University.

Dates

  • 1904-1908

Creator

Restrictions on access

Open for research.

Copying Restriction

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Extent

1.7 cubic feet

17 Volumes

The collection contains mathematical and physics notebooks kept by Conrad Louis Benoni Shuddemagen (later known as Shudeman) while a PhD student at Harvard University from 1904 to 1908. The notebooks include lecture notes, detailed calculations, drawings, charts, illustrations, examination questions, problem sets, and evaluations of experiments with graphical data. Carefully handwritten, the notebooks show how Shudeman organized his thoughts and understood concepts in physics and mathematics. The notebooks provide an overview of Shudeman's activities and training as a physicist and document his growth as a student at Harvard. Each notebook includes a Shudeman designed monogram “C.L.B.S.”

The notebooks provide insight into the lectures and classroom materials presented in the early twentieth century at Harvard University. Additionally, they reveal the scientific research in mathematics and physics performed while Shudeman was a student at Harvard. The notebooks include sections on mathematics (linear differentials, functional analysis, electricity and magnetism, vector analysis), and physics (radioactivity, photography, wireless telegraphy, physical optics, probability theory, hydrodynamics). Moreover, the notebooks are representative of classes taught by some of the leaders in physics and mathematics in the early twentieth century including Harvard professors Maxime Bôcher (1867-1918), William Elwood Byerly (1849-1935), Benjamin Osgood Peirce (1855-1914), Theodore Lyman (1874-1954), Wallace Clement Sabine (1868-1919), Edwin Herbert Hall (1855-1938), Harry W. Morse (born 1873), and George Washington Pierce (1872-1956).

Biographical Note

Conrad L.B. Shudeman, physicist and philosopher, was born Conrad Louis Benoni Shuddemagen on September 5, 1879 in Black Jack Springs, Fayette County, Texas, to German immigrants Joannes Alexander Schuddemagen (1852-1942)* and Anna Wilhelmine Franke (1857-1944). In 1928, Shuddemagen shortened his name to Shudeman “for business convenience.” The oldest of nine children, Shudeman attended school in Frieberg and Gonzales, Texas. Excelling academically, Shudeman left high school after the tenth grade and took the entrance exam at the University of Texas in the fall of 1899, earning his SB in 1902 and SM in 1904. Shudeman entered Harvard University to study physics on a Thayer Scholarship and a Whiting Fellowship in 1905. At the end of his first year at Harvard, Shudeman was awarded the Bowdoin Prize; the oldest prize offered at Harvard designed to recognize essays of originality and high literary merit. In 1908, he received the John Tyndall Fellowship. Shudeman completed his PhD in 1908; his dissertation was entitled: The Demagnetizing Factors for Cylindrical Iron Rods. II. A Study of Residual Charge in Dielectrics. Following the completion of his PhD, Shudeman accepted a faculty appointment at the University of Texas, serving as a physics instructor until 1910.

While at Harvard, Shudeman became interested in Theosophy, a philosophical system seeking knowledge of God and the nature of divinity through mystical insight. Shudeman left the University of Texas and physics and as secretary of the Karma and Reincarnation Legion of Chicago spent the next twenty years of his life promoting Theosophy. Shudeman joined The American Theosophical Society in Chicago, became a member of its Credentials Committee, and organized a lodge in Austin, Texas. He contributed regularly to the journals Reincarnation and The American Theosophist and traveled extensively in the United States lecturing on Theosophy. In 1923, Shudeman traveled to Europe to speak to Theosophy organizations; he visited fourteen countries including Germany, Austria, Holland, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, England, and Italy. On June 10, 1928, Shudeman married his second cousin, Elizabeth O. Eberle (1894-1976), a sculptor and artist.

In the early 1930s, Shudeman returned to the study of physics and mathematics, and in 1934 became a member of the School of Mathematics at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, studying atomic physics. In 1937, Shudeman accepted a faculty position teaching physics at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. After leaving Florida in 1942, Shudeman taught at several schools including Haverford University, Smith College, Rutgers University, Vassar College, North Dakota State University, and the University of Illinois. While teaching at the University of Illinois, Shudeman suffered an accident on an elevated train and was forced to leave teaching. Shudeman moved to Bartow, Florida, remaining there until his death on March 25, 1950.

* Footnote on family surnames: According to the Unofficial history of the Physics Department at the University of Texas at Austin by Emeritus Professor Melvin Oakes, the spelling of Conrad’s family name, Schuddemagen, was changed by his siblings. It appears Conrad’s brothers adopted the surname Shudde while his sisters assumed the surname Shuddemagen. Conrad’s eight siblings include Walter John Shuddemagen (Shudde), March 24, 1895 – 1990; Henry Edward Shuddemagen (Shudde), July 24, 1885 – April 14, 1970; Louis Otto Shuddemagen (Shudde), August 3, 1890 – January 11, 1983; Emil Gerald Shuddemagen (Shudde), October 22, 1893 – 1987; Lily Clara Shuddemagen (Bryson), April 16, 1883 – February 12, 1983; Louise Caroline Shuddemagen (Holbrook), August 3, 1890 – 1987; Alma Louise Shuddemagen (Kellersberger), March 6, 1888 – October 2, 1976; Ida, lived only six days.

Arrangement

The notebooks are arranged by academic year:
  1. 1904-1905
  2. 1905-1906
  3. 1906-1907
  4. 1907-1908

Acquisition Information

  1. Accession number: 19287; 2014 February 3.

References

Inventory update

This document last updated 2018 December 11.

Processing Information

Processing included rehousing material in appropriate containers, the establishment of a hierarchy, and the creation of this finding aid.

This finding aid was created by Dominic P. Grandinetti in March 2014.
Link to catalog
Title
Shudeman, Conrad L. B., 1879-1950. Conrad Louis Benoni Shuddemagen mathematical and physics lecture notebooks, 1904-1908 : an inventory
Author
Harvard University Archives
EAD ID
hua10014

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Contact:
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