Skip to Main Content

Special Collections: Environmental History

A guide to resources related to environmental history that are housed in the Eberly Family Special Collections Library.

Energy History

John P. Herrick oil history collection

The collection consists of research materials relating to the early commercial oil and gas industry in New York and Pennsylvania, and includes materials documenting production, refining, pipelines, transportation, and biographies of individuals involved in the oil business. Materials range from 1797-1963, with the bulk being from 1930-1949.


Pennsylvania Shale Energy web archive

This web archive documents Pennsylvania's experience with contemporary natural gas development enabled by a process known colloquially as fracking. Because the communities most directly impacted by natural gas development are least likely to have their experiences formally documented in archival repositories, the emphasis of this web collection is on resources created by and relating to grassroots, local environmental advocacy groups in Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania State University, Petroleum Refining Laboratory records

The Petroleum Refining Laboratory began in 1931 under the direction of Merrell Fenske. It gained international recognition for research resulting in the conversion of heavy viscous oils into marketable products. The Laboratory merged with the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1959, which joined the College of Engineering in 1963. This collection of the Pennsylvania State University Petroleum Refining Laboratory contains research and progress reports, meeting minutes, technical data books, correspondence, and information on research with the military, various chemical, oil, electrical, and auto industries.

 Forrest Remick papers

This collection documents the career of Penn State professor of nuclear engineering Forrest J. Remick, including research administration records, and national and international policies for nuclear regulation. Included are correspondence, reports, records, and some manuals and publications, 1956-2005.


Pennsylvania State University collection on the American Nuclear Society

The collection contains records from the American Nuclear Society kept by Warren F. Witzig between 1954-1995 including meeting minutes, bylaws, rules, and a history of the society. The collection also contains Betacam videos recordings of the Society's 1980 "Enhanced Reactor Safety" conference dedicated to studying the findings of the accident at Three Mile Island, featuring a plenary panel presentation and individual expert interviews.


Nunzio J. Palladino Papers, 1928-2000

Nunzio J. Palladino came to Pennsylvania State University in 1959 as a professor of engineering. He served as dean of the College of Engineering from 1966 to 1981 after which he chaired the Nuclear Regulatory Commission until 1986. The papers document the college and Penn State's role in the Three Mile Island nuclear power plan. Materials include meeting minutes, publications, papers, articles, presentations, reports, budget materials, correspondence, course materials, newsletters, and research materials.


Decommissioning plan for the Shippingport Station Decommissioning Project, 1981-1984

This collection contains the decommissioning plan for the United States’ first commercial nuclear reactor, in Beaver County, PA. The plan is comprised of 11 volumes, and was prepared by Burns and Roe Industrial Services Corporation and Nuclear Energy Services for the U.S. Department of Energy.


Edward J. Walsh papers

Sociologist Edward J. Walsh joined Penn State's faculty in 1975. This collection consists of articles, book chapters, journal articles, and data relating to his research on the partial core meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979.


Warren F. Witzig travel diary about the Chernobyl nuclear reactor site and Ukraine

Warren F. Witzig was professor of engineering and nuclear power at Pennsylvania State University. Travel diary from Professor Witzig's travel to Russia and Ukraine to visit the Chernobyl nuclear reactor site shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Includes Witzig's technical observations of Chernobyl as well as cultural and personal reflections. Various documents laid in, including a pamphlet, Research activity, from Chelyabinsk State University, 1992 (in English and Russian; one additional page of handwritten note, Kyiv, dated Tuesday PM (likely either 1992 June 16 or 23); and letter from Witzig to Ambassador Robert S. Strauss, 1992 May 4, concerning his upcoming trip to Moscow and Ukraine.


American Solar Energy Society records

This collection contains the organizational records of the American Solar Energy Society dating largely from its inception in 1971 as a national section federated with the International Solar Energy Society. Included are primary source records and proceedings documenting ASES-sponsored annual meetings, conferences, and symposia; correspondence files and reports covering the activities of ASES directors and executive board, administrative committees, technical divisions and regional and student chapters. ASES membership information; publications series, communications, and press releases.


Frederick H. Morse papers

Frederick H. Morse worked for the U.S. Department of Energy in the 1970s and 1980s. This collection consists of 47 reports related to solar energy studies conducted by Dr. Frederick H. Morse in conjunction with several different research groups, mainly during the 1970s. The collection also contains printed PowerPoint presentations from the early 2000s and 35 mm slides depicting solar energy projects prior to the 1990s.


Russell Ohl papers

Russell Ohl, a 1918 graduate of the Pennsylvania State College, conducted research in the field of chemical engineering and physics. His research led to the invention of many items, most notably the silicon solar cell, which is central to solar photovoltaic energy production. The collection includes technical memoranda, letters and notes, drawings, charts, graphs, experiment data, and published papers concerning his research, especially with silicon.


Selected Books: