Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society Records 1928-2003

Summary
Contents
Names/subjects
Using these materials
Creator
Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society
Size
484.3 linear feet (792 boxes, 4 half boxes, 22 oversize boxes, 9 oversize flat boxes, 2 artifact boxes, 3 oversize legal boxes. 52 flat folders, 56 reel boxes, 9 cassette boxes, and 1 slide box)
Call number
MC 00246
Access to materials

Use of audiovisual material may require production of listening or viewing copies.

The records of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, include administrative records, papers of prominent former members, records of various committees, files on club and chapter affiliates, records of the Society's annual meeting, information related to the publication of the Society's journal American Scientist, files concerning the Sigma Xi Center, subject files, and audiovisual materials.

Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, was formed in 1886 at Cornell University as an honor society for science and engineering; the original founders of Sigma Xi were members of the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering at the university. Moving beyond the Society's early intention of fostering companionship, Sigma Xi has since evolved to offer the sciences a strong, unified voice in support of scientific advancement and achievement.

Biographical/historical note

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society was formed in 1886 at Cornell University as an honor society for science and engineering. The Greek letters "sigma" and "xi" refer to the words "Spoudon xynones," which translates to "companions in zealous research," the organization's motto. The original founders of Sigma Xi were members of the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell. Members were optimistic that the fledgling society would move engineering beyond basic mechanical and shop training to focus on an academic grounding for the discipline. The new organization also recognized the contributions of scientists - regardless of gender - by admitting women members as early as 1888.

Moving beyond the society's early intention of fostering "companionship," Sigma Xi evolved to offer the sciences a strong, unified voice in support of scientific advancement and achievement. In 1948, Sigma Xi addressed the needs of the growing number of scientists in the industry by establishing a branch known as the Research Society of America (RESA). Though RESA had its own governing board, the two societies worked closely together, eventually uniting in 1973.

After experiencing administrative difficulties in Sigma Xi's first twenty-five years, the delegates voted to create a powerful Executive Committee in 1914. This new board provided a centralized governing body for the organization. The Society's first prominent administrator, Thomas T. Holme, was named executive secretary in 1953, a post he held for the next 28 years. Holme's efforts as secretary made an immediate impact, and led Sigma Xi toward a truly national identity, as the Society and its chapters experienced rapid growth in science beginning in the 1950s. Holme steered the organization through the tremendous changes that occurred in science in the 1960s and 1970s.

Many other prominent leaders succeeded Holme in directing Sigma Xi through the challenges science presented in the 1980s and thereafter. The Society continues to grow in popularity and numbers, boasting over 550 affiliate chapters within North America and around the world. Through the Grants-in-Aid of Research program, Sigma Xi has helped to fund student scientific research for several decades. Sigma Xi also produces a bi-monthly research journal, American Scientist, to further the spread of scientific knowledge. Today, the Society works to continue the promotion of scientific research across all disciplines, and also works to honor achievements in scientific endeavors.

Sigma Xi established its headquarters in Ithaca, New York, at Cornell University in 1886. Eventually the headquarters moved to New Haven, Connecticut, at Yale University, where it remained for the better part of the twentieth century. In 1990, the organization moved its headquarters to Research Triangle Park, in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area.

Scope/content

The records of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society date from 1928-2003 and include administrative records, papers of some prominent former members of Sigma Xi, records of various committees within Sigma Xi, files on chapter and club affiliates, records of annual meetings, information related to the publication of the Society's journal, American Scientist, files on the Sigma Xi Center located in Research Triangle Park, subject files, and audiovisual materials. Types of materials include correspondence and other paper records, photographs, architectural drawings, audio cassettes, film, video cassettes, slides, and ephemera.

Materials in the Administrative Records series reflect the operation of Sigma Xi and include meeting minutes and other materials from the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, as well as business files representing the general operation of Sigma Xi. These files address topics such as financial matters, leadership, and membership. This series also contains the papers of several prominent past members of Sigma Xi, including John F. Ahearne, Peter D. Blair, and Evan R. Ferguson.

Committe Records document some of the committees which operate under the leadership of the Board of Directors of Sigma Xi. This series does not contain records from all of Sigma Xi's committees, and is mostly limited to a few of the more prominent committees: the Committee on Grants-In-Aid of Research and the Committees on Lectureships; Membership; Qualifications; and Science, Math, and Engineering. The material found in this series consists primarily of correspondence and information pertaining to meetings each of the committees held throughout the year.

The Chapter Records series contains information regarding individual Sigma Xi affiliates and consists primarily of correspondence and annual reports. Annual Meetings Records include files related to the planning and conducting of Sigma Xi's annual meeting and forum.

The American Scientist Publication Files series contains items related to the publication of Sigma Xi's bi-monthly journal. Contents of this series include files on authors and contributors, some manuscripts used in publication, correspondence with readers, administrative records, and general reference information concerning publication of this journal.

The Subject Files series contains topical files that do not relate to the administration of Sigma Xi, but do relate to programs and the work of its members. Topics represented include the use of animals in research; Honor in Science, a guide to ethics and values in research published by Sigma Xi; various conferences and events; and the Visualization Technologies in Environmental Curricula grant project of Sigma Xi.

The Sigma Xi Center series contains the administrative files and other contractual paperwork surrounding the proposal and construction of the Sigma Xi Center building in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Also included in this series are surveys of the land the building was constructed on and architectural drawings of the building.

Audiovisual Materials documenting various Sigma Xi activities exist in several formats, including 8mm film, 16mm film, VHS cassette tapes, Beta cassette tapes (various sizes), audio cassette tapes, and DVDs. Recorded material corresponds primarily to annual meetings in the 1980s and 1990s; recordings used to create the Sigma Xi Centennial film; and miscellaneous recordings, including meetings of Sigma Xi committees and recordings of speeches and presentations.

Arrangement

The Records of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society are divided into eight major series.

  • Series 1. Administrative Records, 1937-2002 contains the records of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Sigma Xi, as well as general administrative records. This series also includes the papers of some prominent members of Sigma Xi, including John Ahearne, Peter Blair, Evan Ferguson, C. Ian Jackson, and Tom Malone, among others.
  • Series 2. Committee Records, 1952-2003 contains the records of various committees within Sigma Xi, including the Committee on Grants in Aid of Research, the International Committee, the Committee on Lectureships, the Committee on Meetings, the Committee on Membership, the Committee on Nominations, the Committee on Qualifications, the Committee on Regions, the Committee on Science and Society, and the Committee on Science, Math and Engineering Education, in addition to many others.
  • Series 3. Chapter Records, 1928-2002 contains organization information regarding each club and chapter affiliate of Sigma Xi. This series consists of annual reports from each affiliate and correspondence between the individual chapters and the executive office of Sigma Xi.
  • Series 4. Annual Meetings Records, 1959-1999 contains records of the national annual convention held by Sigma Xi and attended by delegates of each chapter and club. This series contains files on planning, agendas, programs, and reports of the meeting, as well as correspondence between delegates and the national headquarters regarding the meetings.
  • Series 5. American Scientist Publication Files, 1950-2002 contains information related to the publication of Sigma Xi's journal. These files include copies of articles submitted for publication, articles turned down for publication, letters to the editor, correspondence, business information, and other general materials regarding publication.
  • Series 6. Subject Files, 1951-2003 contains correspondence and other material concerning events, organizations, and people associated with Sigma Xi. Materials in this series represent those items that do not directly relate to the records in any other series.
  • Series 7. Sigma Xi Center, 1989-2003 contains correspondence and other administrative documents concerning the proposal and construction of the Society's headquarters building (The Sigma Xi Center) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. This series also contains the architectural drawings of the Sigma Xi Center building.
  • Series 8. Audiovisual Materials, 1983-1998 contains sound and image recordings of various Sigma Xi activities, including meetings, presentations, and the Society's Centennial film.

Use of these materials

The nature of the NCSU Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NCSU Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society Records, MC 00246, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Source of acquisition

Donated by Sigma Xi in 1997, 2000, 2004.