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Petty, Ben H. (Benjamin Harrison), 1888-1965



  • Existence: October 12, 1888-January 7, 1960

Biographical Information

Ben H. Petty was born in a sod house on a government prairie claim in Haynes County, Nebraska, October 12, 1888. He moved to Jonesboro, Indiana at the age of six and went through grade school and high school there. He entered the Civil Engineering School at Purdue University in 1909 and graduated in 1913.

From 1913-1915, Petty did flood control work in Miami Valley, Dayton, Ohio, for Morgan Engineering Company, and from 1915-1920 for the Miami Conservancy District. In 1920 he joined the staff of Purdue University as a Professor of Highway Engineering. Petty spent two summers with the Indiana State Highway Commission and most of the remaining summers doing highway education work for counties, cities and state highway districts. He was in charge of the Purdue Road School from 1924-1957, with the exception of army service. He was in active duty with the army June 1943 to April 1945, and served as assistant post engineer, Fort Knox, Kentucky and post engineer, Camp Cambell, Kentucky. He went from Captain to Major, CE.

Ben Petty was a member of the American Road Builders' Association and was a past president of the Educational Division. He served on the board of directors of both organizations. Petty was also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Military Engineers. He belonged to Chi Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Delta Chi and Iron Key and a member of the Indiana Society of Chicago. He was editor of Highway Extension News for twenty-seven years, and authored scores of article appearing in technical publications. Petty was voted Engineer of the Year in 1957 by the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers.


From a brief biographical sketch found in one of his faculty folders.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ben H. Petty papers

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 34, Placement: 01
Identifier: MSF 303
Scope and Contents The collection consists of two folders which contain articles and publications edited by or by Ben H. Petty.
Dates: 1923 - 1954