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Shreve, R. Norris (Randolph Norris), 1885-1975



  • Existence: March 9, 1885 - February 17, 1975

Biographical Information

Randolph Norris Shreve was born in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduation from high school, he went to work for Mallinckrodt Chemical Works in St. Louis. He made arrangements to borrow money from officials of the Mallickrodt Chemical Works to add to his savings so that he could attend Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard with an A.B., summa cum laudein three years.

After graduation he was in charge of the manufacturing of chemicals for Mallinckrodt Chemical Works from 1907 to 1911. After leaving St. Louis, he worked for Lamar Chemical Works, Newark, New Jersey, from 1911 to 1915; he was then associated with the Arden, Orth and Hastings Corporation, New Jersey; Shreve Chemical Company, Jersey City, New Jersey, and Calco Chemical Company at Bound Book, New Jersey. After 1919 he became a successful chemical engineering consultant, which activity continued through the major portion of his life.

In 1935, he married Eleanor Burns Mitchell. Norris and Eleanor, through a gift of securities and properties, established in the Purdue Research Foundation a trust fund to endow a Shreve Professorship of Organic Technology in the School of Chemical Engineering.

Professor Shreve joined the faculty at Purdue University in 1930. He became head of the School of Chemical Engineering in 1947 and served until 1951, when he assumed the duties of directing the Purdue-Taiwan Engineering Project. This effort culminated in the creation of Taiwan's Cheng Kung University. In 1961 Shreve was named professor emeritus. At the time of his retirement he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering from Purdue University. In 1970 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the China Academy in Formosa.

Professor Shreve played a major role in planning the Chemical and Mettallurgical Building at Purdue University. A logo over the main entrance to the building was designed by Professor Shreve.

As an avocation, Professor Shreve collected jade, gems, and minerals and is well-known in this field. He gave the jade collection to the Indianapolis Art Museum and the gem collection to the Purdue University.

In 1968 he married Irene Mary Strieby in the Washington Cathedral in the nation's capitol. She had served as his editorial assistant in connection with his book, "Chemical Process Industries."

Professor Shreve was responsible for assuming the financial assistance to assure many young men and women a university education, and Shreve also recognized the importance of the teacher education in the education of students. He and Eleanor established a trust for the annual award to an outstanding teacher in chemical engineering.

As president of the Purdue Club of Retired Personnel, Professor Shreve, and his executive committee presented to the president of Purdue University, on April 1, 1968, a monumental report of 57 pages entitled, "A Report of Progress, Some Observations of University Policies, Programs and Practices Having to do With Their Retirees' Well-being and Continued Usefullness."

His was active in the American Chemical Society, and the Division of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry of this organization awarded Professor Shreve the Scroll of Honor. He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists; member, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists; a lifetime member of the Chemists Club (New York); a registered engineer in Indiana; member of Alpha Chi Sigma, the Society of Cincinnati, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Epsilon, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Omega Chi Epsilon, and President of the Harvard Club of New Jersey (1925-1926).


Memorial resolution for Randolph Norris Shreve. Eighth meeting of the 1974-1975 Purdue University Senate, UA 8, Purdue University Faculty and Senate records, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Purdue University Office of Publications Oral History Program collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSO 2
Scope and Contents The Purdue Office of Publications Oral History Program collection documents Purdue University history through oral history interviews with Purdue University professors and administrators. Types of materials include: printed material, cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, compact discs, and digital materials. Interview topics include Purdue history and changes in administration and academic departments.
Dates: 1969 - 1989; Majority of material found within 1970 - 1972

Shreve, Randolph N., July 23, 1969 - July 31, 1969

 Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSO 2, Series 1, Sub-Series 38
Scope and Contents Five oral history interviews with Randolph N. Shreve by Robert B. Eckles.
Dates: July 23, 1969 - July 31, 1969

Randolph Norris Shreve papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 344
Scope and Contents Papers of Purdue professor R. Norris Shreve, including materials relating to Shreve's work with National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, his engineering career, and his research and collecting of gems such as jade. Includes some materials on the history of China and Formosa.

Please see PDF Finding Aid for collection inventory.
Dates: 1900 - 1984; Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1976