The Institute Archives and Special Collections is exhibiting for its Object of the Month excerpts from a diary kept by MIT Professor of Mining Engineering Robert Richards in the summer of 1873. Professor Richards, Professor John Ordway, and a group of nine undergraduates spent their vacation visiting mining camps in northern New England and the Adirondacks–an excursion that was a requirement for mining students at MIT at that time. Professor Richards’s diary includes notes about courses he was teaching, student assignments at mine sites, and sketches of machinery.
Two years after this 1873 diary, Robert Richards married Ellen Swallow, the first female graduate of MIT (S.B. 1873), and the diary includes a few entries about this personal side of his life. Among the papers of Robert Hallowell Richards (MC 116) are other diaries, course materials, and photographs, which are available for research in the Archives, 14N-118, Monday – Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm.