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COLLECTION Identifier: UAV 859

Records of the Underwater Sound Laboratory,


The Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory was operated by the University from 1941 to 1949 under contract to the National Defense Research Committee/Office of Scientific Research and Development. Research at the Lab focused on the improvement of equipment for the detection of underwater sound and the design of new equipment. The records document experiments, apparatus, and Lab administration. Topics include underwater acoustics and sonar.


  • 1941-1949


Language of Materials


Access to Collection

Personnel records are restricted for a period of 80 years from the date of their creation. Contact the reference staff in the Harvard University Archives for details.

Restrictions on Use of the Records

University Records are restricted for 50 years from the date of the record. Student and personnel records are restricted for 80 years. Consult Harvard University Archives reference staff for details.


66.25 cubic feet (182 boxes and 8 folders)

Includes administrative records of Director and Associate Director; correspondence with various companies concerning placement of laboratory personnel after project completion; photographs of experiments and apparatus, blueprints; staff memoranda; personnel records; a 1946 staff roster; and 1945 project report. Files of Director F.V. Hunt contain correspondence, memoranda, personnel lists, contracts, minutes and related Administrative Council documents, office logs, clippings, manuscript history of the Laboratory, and items relating to its dismantling after termination of its contract.

History of the Underwater Sound Laboratory

The Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory (HUSL) was operated by Harvard University during World War II, under contract with the National Defense Research Committee/Office of Scientific Research and Development (Contracts OE Msr 58 and OE Msr 287). The Lab was established to improve available equipment for detection of under water sound and to design new equipment. The contracts continued through January 31, 1946. Frederick V. Hunt was director of the Laboratory.

Record sub-groups and series

  1. Administrators' Records
  2. ___Office of the Director, F.V. Hunt: UAV 859.10
  3. ___Office of the Director, including the records of Associate Director C.P. Boner: UAV 859.12
  4. ___Career placement of Lab personnel: UAV 859.20
  5. ___Miscellaneous administrative records: UAV 859.30
  6. ___Subject files from the Office of the Director: UAV 859.95.1
  7. ___Records of the business manager, Richard W. Pratt: UAV 859.95.2
  8. Miscellaneous records: UAV 859.95.3
  9. Forms: UAV 859.229
  10. Internal memoranda
  11. ___Internal memoranda (various subjects): UAV 859.295.1
  12. ___Internal memoranda re: ordnance: UAV 859.254.4
  13. ___Internal memoranda re: SONAR: UAV 859.254.6
  14. Research records
  15. ___External reports: UAV 859.295.2
  16. ___Logbooks of experimental vessels: UAV 859.295.3
  17. Personnel records
  18. ___Individual personnel records, including first aid: UAV 859.269
  19. ___Personnel administration records: UAV 859.295.4
  20. ___Report: A Summary of Technical Personnel and Research Projects: UAV 859.445
  21. ___Roster of all employees: UAV 859.446

Provenance and Acquisition Information

Unnumbered accessions and accession number 9141. Transferred to the Harvard University Archives in 1981 as part of the records of the University's World War II research contracts.

Related Materials in the Harvard University Archives

This collection is complemented by the papers of Frederick V. Hunt.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2018 November 7.

Processing Information

These records were processed by staff in the Harvard University Archives probably prior to 1985. The finding aid was encoded at the American Institute of Physics and revised to conform to Harvard University guidelines.

Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory. Records of the Underwater Sound Laboratory : an inventory
Harvard University Archives
Published in 2000
Language of description
This finding aid has been encoded by the Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics as part of a collaborative project supported by a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities, an independent federal agency. Collaboration members in 1999 consisted of: American Institute of Physics, California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Rice University, University of Alaska, University of Illinois, and University of Texas.

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.

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