Fred W. McNair Papers, 1899-1920

McNair, Fred Walter, 1862-1924


0.20 cubic feet : 2 folders, 1/2 manuscript box (letter size).
Papers, 1899-1920, of Fred Walter McNair, second president of the Michigan College of Mines (now Michigan Technological University) in Houghton, Michigan from 1899-1924. Includes correspondence concerning the demobilization of the 107th Engineers at Houghton, correspondence with the U.S. Geodetic Survey and others about the North Tamarack Mine Experiment, correspondence with his mother on the occasion of becoming president of the Michigan College of Mines and photographs and news clippings pertaining to his work with the U.S. Navy involving control instruments for the firing of large cannons.
Fred W. McNair was born in Fennimore, Wisconsin in 1862 and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1891. He followed with graduate work at the University of Chicago and received a doctorate of science in 1907 from LaFayette College in 1907 as well as a doctorate from Rhode Island State College (now University of Rhode Island) in 1919. He was an instructor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin from 1899 to 1891 before going to the Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) as an assistant professor of mathematics, remaining there until 1893 when he accepted a position at the Michigan College of Mines (now Michigan Technological University) as a professor of mathematics and physics. He was elected president of the college in 1899. Under President Fred W. McNair (1899-1924), the college consolidated its faculty, added several buildings and modified the academic programs. McNair also led the school through the lean World War I years, and he placed the college at the disposal of the armed forces for war training. After the war he worked in developing methods of firing large naval guns in conjunction with Dr. J.F. Hayford of Northwestern University and Dr. L.J. Briggs of the Bureau of Standards. The methods recommended by this group became the standard for the battleships of the U.S. Navy. McNair was president of the Michigan College of Mines until his death in a railroad accident in 1924, returning from Colorado where he had attended the annual meeting of the Society For the Promotion of Engineering Education.

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