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Alfred Marshall Mayor Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Mayer, Alfred M. (Alfred Marshall), 1836-1897.
Title: Alfred Marshall Mayor Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1858-1897
Quantity: 1.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Correspondence, 1863-1897; personal documents, manuscripts, and published material of the American physicist.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Alfred M. Mayor (sometimes also spelled "Mayer") was born Nov. 13, 1836 in Baltimore, Maryland. His father was a Maryland Senator and well-to-do. Alfred M. Mayor attended St. Mary's College and then completed his studies on his own. He became a good friend of Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute and developed a keen interest in the physical sciences.

In 1858 he accepted a chair in physics in Westminster College, Mo. He studied abroad in the Civil War, and returned in 1865 to take a chair of physics in chemistry at Pennsylvania College. Two years later he moved to Lehigh University where he became involved in the science of astronomy. Dr. Mayor completed the last 26 years of his career at the Stevens Institute of Technology. His many interests and research topics ranged in subject from acoustics to the physics of heat and magnetism.

Dr. Mayor married twice, first to Katherine Duckett Goldsborough who after giving birth to a son, Alfred G. Mayor, died in 1869. Dr. Mayor married second Maria Snowden. The two sons of this marriage, Brantz and Joseph Henry both died at an early age. Dr. Mayor continued his research up until his death in July 13, 1897 in Maplewood, New Jersey.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of Alfred Marshall Mayor include correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, published material, a scrapbook, journals and related items.

Correspondence, includes incoming letters, outgoing letters and letters to and from other people. Letters to and from others consist of letters from Mr. Mayor's sons Joseph Henry and 'Ned'. Subject File, includes bills and receipts, a diary of Mr. Mayor's, two journals of his son, invitations, legal papers, photographs, and a scrapbook. Manuscripts, include articles and notes of Alfred Marshall Mayor and manuscripts by others (mostly school themes written by Dr. Mayor's son). Published Material, consists of magazine articles, about and by Dr. Mayor, and newspaper clippings about Dr. Mayor.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Incoming letters are arranged alphabetically by author, and outgoing letters are arranged chronologically. Letters to and from others are arranged alphabetically by author and then chronologically. Subject File materials are arranged alphabetically by subject and manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by author.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

A copy of No. 8 in Audubon's Birds of America series (a pamphlet on owls) has been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate this item.

The Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections for the Hyatt-Mayor families. For information on members of the Hyatt, Mayor, Beebe, and Huntington families see the SCRC Subject Index for the finding aids of individual family members.

Additional Mayor/Mayer family papers are held by Princeton University.

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Subject Headings


Audubon, John James, 1785-1851 -- Birds of America.
Mayer family.
Mayer, Alfred M. (Alfred Marshall), 1836-1897.
Mayor family.


Physicists -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Legal documents.
Manuscripts for publication.
Receipts (financial records)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Alfred Marshall Mayor Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: --
Date: Nov. 1966
Revision history: 20 Mar 2008 - converted to EAD (LDC); 3 Jun 2014 - alt spelling, Princeton papers added, Audubon noted as removed (MRC)

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Box 1 Biographical Material
Incoming correspondence
Box 1 B - D
Box 1 Durand, C.
Box 1 G
Box 1 H - M
Box 1 Manning, George L.
Box 1 Mayor, Frank B.
Box 1 Mayor, Maria
Box 1 N
Box 1 R - S, W, Unidentified
Outgoing correspondence
Box 1 1873, 1876, 1894, undated
Correspondence to and from others
Box 1 Mayor, Joseph Henry
Box 1 Mayor, Ned W.
Subject files
Box 1 Bills and receipts
Box 1 Copyright acknowledgments
Box 1 "A Description of Stevens Institute Grounds"
Box 1 Diary ca. 1858
Box 1 Diaries of Dr. Mayor's sons
Box 1 Invitations
Box 2 Legal papers
Box 2 Photographs
Box 2 Scrapbook
Box 3 Articles and notes by Alfred M. Mayor
Box 3 Articles and notes by Mayor's sons
Published material
Box 3 Articles about Alfred M. Mayor
Box 3 Articles by Alfred M. Mayor
Box 3 Newspaper clippings about Alfred M. Mayor
Pamphlet, The Birds of America
Transferred to Rare Books for cataloging, 2001.

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