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Irving W. Burr papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 546

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the papers of Irving Burr primarily relating to mathematics, probability, equations, and engineering statistics, quality control, and applied statistical methods. Types of materials include notebooks, reports, article reprints, and related materials. Please see PDF Finding Aid for collection inventory.


  • 1935 - 1974


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of material in this collection are in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Professor Irving Wingate Burr (1908-1989) was born in Fallon, Nevada in 1908. He was an eminent statistician who taught at Purdue for nearly 35 years.

Burr received his B.S. from Antioch College in 1930 and his M.S. from the University of Chicago in 1935. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1941.

He began as an instructor at Antioch College in 1930 and left there in 1941 as the department chair. He joined Purdue University as Assistant Professor in 1941. He became Associate Professor in 1945 and Professor in 1949. His work included consulting in industry with many firms and teaching in over 100 intensive short courses in statistical methods and quality control for industrial clients. He was the chair of the Department of Statistics from 1962 to 1964 and acting chair for the department between 1968 to 1969. He was a frequent speaker at statistical meetings through the years.

Burr belonged to many associations during his career. He was a leading expert in quality control and industrial statistics. He was Fellow of the American Society for Quality Control, where he was also editor of the monthly Industrial Quality Control from 1961 to 1965. He was on the standards committee and was President of the Indianapolis chapter from 1949 to 1950. As Fellow of the American Statistical Association he was member of the joint committee which established the quarterly journal Technometrics, including work as the chair of the Section on Physical and Engineering Science. He was also member of the Indiana Academy of Science, the International Association for Statistics in Physical Sciences, the Biometrics Society, the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the American Ornithological Union. He was the President of the Indiana Audubon Society from 1961 to 1962.

Burr received the Brumbaugh Award for the American Society for Quality Control in 1950, the Shewart Medal of American Society for Quality Control in 1959 and the Edward J. Oakley Citation of the Midwest Conference Board of the American Society for Quality Control in 1971. He was President of the Society of the Sigma Xi, Purdue Chapter from 1955 to 1961.

Burr's research interests included quality control, non-normality, order statistics and distributions. His text, Engineering Statistics and Quality Control (McGraw-Hill, 1953) was well-known, and he was active as a consultant to business and industry. Professor Burr’s scholarly work centered on statistical process control and distribution theory, and the Burr distributions are named for him. He was a fellow of both the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Professor Burr was a member of the faculty whose work and reputation helped transform Purdue from a regional college to a national research university.

Upon his retirement from Purdue in 1974, the I.W. Burr Fund was established as an award for doctoral students in Statistics. Professor Burr died in Lafayette, Indiana, on March 13, 1989.
Source: "I.W. Burr." Department of Statistics, Purdue University. />

"I.W. Burr Fund." Department of Statistics, Purdue University. />

"Burr, Irving W." Library of Congress Name Authority File. />


7.00 Cubic Feet (Seven cubic feet boxes)

Processing Information

Materials have been housed in acid-free folders and boxes.
Irving W. Burr papers
In Progress
Amanda Rumba and Archives Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed by Archives Staff at an unknown date.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-31: Collection description updated by Keertana Marella.
  • 2020-04-03: Collection identifier updated from burriw0 to MSF 546 by Adriana Harmeyer.
  • 2020-04-27: Collection description updated by Amanda Rumba to align with data entry standards.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States