Guide to the Papers of John D. Runkle
MC.0007

Summary Information

Repository
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections
Creator
Runkle, Catherine Robbins Bird
Creator
Runkle, John D. (John Daniel), 1822-1902
Title
John D. Runkle papers
ID
MC.0007
Date [inclusive]
1853-1880
Extent
1.0 cubic feet (3 manuscript boxes)
Language
English
Abstract
The collection consists mainly of the professional correspondence of John D. Runkle, a professor of mathematics and the second president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The bulk of the incoming correspondence is from William Barton Rogers, MIT’s founder, and his wife, Emma Savage Rogers, concerning MIT. Other prominent correspondents include Robert H. Richards, Charles W. Eliot, Benjamin Pierce, William R. Ware, Albert F. Hall, and T. Sterry Hunt. Letters from Edward Everett, Chauncey Wright, James Walker, James M. Craft, Edward C. Pickering, J. H. C. Coffin, John Muir, Alfred P. Rockwell, Samuel Kneeland, Gaetano Lanza, John M. Ordway, D. C. Fogg, Simon Newcomb, James Angell, and C. H. Dalton are also included. Most of the letters date from the years 1869 to 1873. In 1871 Runkle accompanied MIT mining students on a trip to Colorado and Utah, and the collection includes several letters he wrote to his wife during the trip. On the topic of a proposed merger with Harvard, a letter from Harvard president Charles W. Eliot suggesting such a plan to Runkle is in the folder of June 1870 correspondence. Other education issues are topics of correspondence and the collection includes an 1876 report Runkle wrote for the MIT Corporation on the "Russian System of Shop-Work Construction for Engineers and Machinists." In 1858 Runkle founded the short-lived journal, The Mathematical Monthly, and the three published volumes are included. There are some letters to Runkle from his son and brother, as well as a volume with copies of letters Catherine Runkle wrote to her sisters, Lucy and Emily Bird, while she was in Europe with her husband and children, July 20, 1878, to September 5, 1880. The bound volume includes a forward written by John Runkle in 1883 to his two youngest children, who were born after the European trip.

Citation

John D. Runkle Papers, MC 7, box X. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute Archives and Special Collections, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Return to Table of Contents »


Biography

John Daniel Runkle, 1822-1902, SB, MA, 1851, Harvard College, was the second president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1870 to 1878, having served as acting president from 1868 to 1870. He was professor of mathematics from 1865 to 1902. Earlier in 1860 he was a member of the committee that prepared the " Objects and Plan of an Institute of Technology," which led to the establishment of MIT in 1861, and he worked closely with the founder and first president of MIT, William Barton Rogers. Runkle's interest in the "Russian system of shop work training" led to the establishment of the School of Practical Mechanisms at MIT in 1876. After his resignation as president in 1878, Runkle was granted two years' leave of absence which he spent traveling in Europe with his family and during which he studied technical and industrial education abroad. He then returned to MIT and teaching.

John Runkle was also associated with the Nautical Almanac computation project from 1849 to 1884. In 1858 he founded the journal The Mathematical Monthly and edited it for three years, when publication ceased.

He was married to Catherine Robbins Bird in 1862 until her death in 1897. Their children who lived to adulthood were Catherine Bird, born February 1863; John Cornelius, born December 1866; Eleanor Winslow, born March 1881; and Gordon Taylor, born July 1882. Two other children, William Bird (February-September 1865) and Emma Rogers (May 1870-May 1871) did not survive childhood.

Return to Table of Contents »


Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections Copyright 1990

MIT Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139-4307
617.253.5690
mithistory@mit.edu

Revision Description

  2011

Access note

The collection is open for research.

Intellectual Property Rights

Access to collections in the Institute Archives and Special Collections is not authorization to publish. Separate written application for permission to publish must be made to the Institute Archives.

Return to Table of Contents »


Related Materials

Related Materials in the Institute Archives and Special Collections

William Barton Rogers Papers (MC 1).

Return to Table of Contents »


Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Harvard-M.I.T. Alliance (Proposed), 1870

Personal Name(s)

  • Eliot, Charles William, 1834-1926
  • Runkle, Catherine Robbins Bird
  • Runkle, John D. (John Daniel), 1822-1902

Subject(s)

  • College presidents--Massachusetts--Biography.
  • Europe--Description and travel--1878-1880.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Faculty.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Presidents.

Return to Table of Contents »


Bibliography

“John Daniel Runkle and His Share in the Development of Technology.” Technique 1901: 37-59.

Tyler, H. W. “John Daniel Runkle, 1822-1902.” Technology Review 4 (July 1902): 277-306.

Life and Letters of William Barton Rogers. Edited by Emma Savage Rogers with the assistance of William T. Sedgwick. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company. The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1896. MIT Libraries | Full text online

Runkle, John D. "The Russian system of shop-work instruction for engineers and machinists." Boston, Press of A.A. Kingman, 1876.

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

Box

Correspondence and proposal regarding union with Harvard 1870 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Biographical notes undated, 1901, 1902 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence and papers undated 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1853-1858 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1860-1861 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1862-1863 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1864 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1865-1866 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1867 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1868 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1869 January to May 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1869 June 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1869 July to September 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1869 October 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1869 November-December 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1870 January 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1870 February-March 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1870 April to June 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1870 July 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1870 August-September 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1870 October 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1870 November 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1870 December 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 January-February 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 March 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 April 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 May 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 June 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 July 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 August 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 September-October 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1871 November-December 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1872 January to March 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1872 April to June 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1872 July 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1872 August 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1872 September 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1872 October 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1872 November-December 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1873 January to March 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1873 June-July 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1873 August-September 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1873 October to December 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1874 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1876 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Correspondence 1878-1879 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


Report on Descriptive Geometry, by Mr. Beal 1877 January 18 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


"The Russian System of Shop-work Instruction for Engineers and Machinists" report by President John B. Runkle to the MIT Corporation. Boston, Press of A.A. Kingman. 1876 

1

Return to Table of Contents »


The Mathematical Monthly, vol. I, II, III 1859-1861 

2

Return to Table of Contents »


Volume of copies of letters from Europe written by Catherine Runkle to her sisters Lucy and Emily Bird 1878-1880 

3

Return to Table of Contents »