Allen Hazen attended MIT for
only two semesters in 1888, leaving to accept a position as a sanitary
chemist with the Massachusetts State Board of Health in Lawrence,
Mass. His brief, but brilliant, record as a student of chemistry apparently
qualified him to become Chemist-in-Charge (despite his youth –
he was 19) of a laboratory that would eventually be called the Lawrence
Experiment Station, the mission of which was to develop methods for
treating the burgeoning volume of sewage and manufacturing wastewater
created by the factories and households of the Commonwealth. The station
was the first of its kind in the United States.
Hazen worked on many civil engineering projects in the course of
the next 42 years, including designing filtration systems for Albany,
Brisbane, Toronto, Washington, D.C., and other cities in the United
States, Canada, South America, and Australia. He specialized in
sewage disposal, hydraulics, and water supply. He lived in Boston,
New York, and Vermont and was a partner in the civil engineering
firm of Hazen and Whipple. Despite his short tenure at MIT, he always
thought of himself as a member of the Class of 1888 and retained
fond memories of his days at the Institute.
the fall of 1929 Hazen traveled with his wife Elizabeth by steamship
to Japan to represent the American Society of Civil Engineers at the
World Engineering Congress in Tokyo. The congress, organized by the
Kôggakkai, or Engineering Society of Japan, aimed (in the words
of the society’s invitation) “to discuss various engineering
subjects in anticipation eventually to initiate and promote the international
cooperation in the study of engineering science and problems in all
its branches, and to cultivate a feeling of brotherhood among the
engineers of the world.” About eight hundred papers were presented,
the largest number being given by Americans. “Between papers,”
Technology Review noted, “the delegates are being carefully
instructed in the intricacies of royal etiquette before they take
their wives to call upon Emperor Hirohito…”
received souvenir scrapbooks provided by the organizers of the conference.
The Hazens filled their scrapbook with photographs and ephemera associated
with the trip. The sample page seen here contains a conference registration
card, a rail pass, a train ticket, a scenic view of Mt. Fujiyama,
and a snapshot of Mr. and Mrs. Hazen on a steamer.
Hazen died in 1930. The Japanese army invaded Manchuria in 1931.
The papers of Allen Hazen (MC 430) include personal and professional
correspondence, travel diaries, notes and sketches regarding waterworks,
reports from Hazen and Whipple, Inc., and other materials. The collection
is available for use on-site in the MIT Institute Archives and Special
Collections, Room 14N-118.
of the Month: January 2004