Merry Lewis Pence papers, 1879-1954

Abstract

The Merry Lewis Pence papers contain writings, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other items related to his life and work, 1879-1954.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Merry Lewis Pence papers, 1879-1954
Creator
Pence family
Extent
0.4 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Subjects
Pence, Merry Lewis, 1854-1938.
Pence, Sallie.
University of Kentucky.
Lexington (Ky.)
College teachers -- Kentucky -- Lexington.
Arrangement
This collection is arranged by subject in folders.
Finding Aid Author
Processed by Archives Staff and rearranged by Adam Todd in April 2007 under the supervision of Deirdre A. Scaggs, University Archivist.; machine-readable finding aid created by Eric Weig
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Merry Lewis Pence was born in Davies County, Kentucky on August 8, 1854. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1881 and earned his Master's degree in 1885. After studying at a number of universities and holding a series of teaching positions, Pence became a Professor of Civil Engineering at UK in 1889. He stayed in the department for five years, including two years as the department head. In 1894, Pence organized the Department of Physics and served as the department head for its first twenty years.
The discovery of X-Rays in 1895 led Pence to begin work to apply this new radiation to medicine and other fields. He made X-Rays of horse's legs, people's hands and feet, and attempted treatment of tumors in friends who came by. At first, he built his own X-Ray tubes and power supplies. He later acquired portable X-Ray machines which he carried on horseback. Pence also worked on what he called a "Theory of the Earth's Magnetism." He proposed in his writings of 1901 that the earth's magnetism was due to currents circulating inside the earth and was not due to permanent magnets.
Pence served as Professor Emeritus of Physics from 1929-1938. Pence Hall on UK's campus is named for Merry Lewis Pence. Pence married Belle Kelly in 1882; they had eight children. Merry Lewis Pence died on September 14, 1938.
Scope and Content
The Merry Lewis Pence papers contain writings, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and other items related to the life and work of Merry L. Pence. Folders 1 and 2 contain a number of letters and writings by Pence. Of note are a series of poems written by Pence and his Davies County Teacher's Certificate. This collection also contains diagrams and documentation related to a patent granted to Pence for a safety gas burner he designed. The majority of the included newspaper clippings are related to Pence's daughter Dr. Sallie Pence. There is one photograph of the 1900 State College of Kentucky faculty. The included manuscript by Pence is a history of the University of Kentucky from 1866-1936. This manuscript was completed only a few weeks before his death in 1938. The Transit Book, 1890 contains field notes that were the basis on which the topographic maps of the University of Kentucky campus were made in 1890.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to Researchers by appointment. X-ray record book, 1900-1916 is restricted indefinitely.

Contents of the Collection

Papers 1879-1937

  • Box 1
  • Folder 1
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Papers 1879-1937

  • Box 1
  • Folder 2
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Patent Papers

  • Box 1
  • Folder 3
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Clippings

  • Box 1
  • Folder 4
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Photograph of State College of Kentucky faculty 1900

  • Box 1
  • Folder 5
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Transit Book 1890

  • Box 2
  • Folder 1
To top

Bound Manuscript

  • Box 2
To top

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

Researchers are required to have an SCRC Researcher Account in order to request or order digital copies of materials. Research Account set-up and use instructions can be found at: http://libguides.uky.edu/SCRCaccount

If you are visiting the Breckinridge Research Room, please request materials at least 48 business hours in advance of your arrival.

For all other questions, contact us at: https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.

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