Skip to main content

George W. Munro papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 58

Scope and Contents

The George W. Munro papers (1826-1970; 3.5 cubic feet) consist of research materials collected by George Munro on John Purdue and the history of Purdue University, as well as Munro's personal papers. The personal papers contain manuscripts and published articles; work related papers, papers and articles related to teaching techniques; and non-work related papers and articles on various literary and timely topics. The papers cover a variety of topics such as Purdue University, John Purdue, mechanical engineering, astronomy, history, information on the moon and the lunar surface, the Purdue Rifles, the Indianapolis to Lafayette Railroad, Abraham Lincoln, and literature.


  • 1826 - 1970


Access Information

This collection is open for research use.

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

George Wesley Munro was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1909 he married Gertrude Madden. They later had one son named Robert Fowlis Munro.

Munro discovered the world of science from a textbook in physics and an enthusiastic teacher in a one room schoolhouse. He graduated from High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan and went on to attend Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) for one year. In 1894 he transferred to Purdue University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1897. For the next nine years Munro worked for several companies. These included Western Electric Company, Westinghouse, Church and Kerr, and the General Electric Company.

Munro's interest in people and intellectual matters led him to return to Purdue as an instructor. In December of 1906 Munro accepted a position as assistant in the Engineering Laboratory. He became Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1918 and full professor in 1926. From 1921 to 1942 Professor Munro devoted most of his time to instruction in the field of engineering thermodynamics. He was regarded as a dedicated teacher and was known on campus as "Uncle Mun.” He established the Munro Scholarship Fund in 1935 for worthy students.

Munro was chosen in 1922 to teach Advanced Thermodynamics, one of the two graduate courses offered. He devised examinations for which the passing grade was 70 and the highest possible grade was 200. This gave all the students an opportunity to tell all they knew, and kept even the best of them in the classroom until the end of the hour.

In 1897 Munro finished compiling "John Purdue and Purdue University: A Study of the Relations Between Them from Its Origin Until His Death." The 222 page typescript evolved from research in an estimated 4,500 issues of Lafayette newspapers printed between 1869 and 1876. Writing about the project, Munro explained: "Primarily this is source material and may prove of value when a complete history of the university is prepared. [By itself] it has only slight popular appeal."

His other writings include: Linear elements on the Lunar Surface (Lafayette, Indiana, 1937); Problems in Engineering Thermodynamics (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1936). He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Fraternity and the American Association of University Professors. Professor Munro retired from Purdue University on June 30, 1942.


3.50 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is separated into two parts: the first half contains the research accumulated on John Purdue and Purdue University, and the second half contains the personal and work related papers of Munro.

Please see PDF Finding Aid for collection inventory.

Processing Information

Material has been housed in acid-free folders and boxes.
George W. Munro papers
In Progress
Amanda Rumba, Archives Staff, Elizabeth Wilkinson, Susan Calvert
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Third edition. Collection description first completed 2010-02-07 by Archives Staff, Elizabeth Wilkinson, and Susan Calvert.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-09: Collection description updated by Amanda Rumba to more fully meet standards.
  • 2021-03-29: Biographical Information modified by E. Sandgren with information from sketch written by David Hovde

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States