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Miller J. Tonkel papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 15

Scope and Contents

The Miller J. Tonkel papers document Miller Tonkel's time at Purdue University as a student in Civil Engineering.  Negatives and photographs show Purdue University football games and area buildings and landmarks.  Papers include certificates from the Purdue Alumni Association celebrating Tonkel's graduation anniversaries, as well as a leather-bound commencement program from 1942. Artifacts in the collection include a slide rule and a photograph album, the latter of which documents campus events and student life, area scenery, and Tonkel's friends and family circa 1940.


  • 1939 - 1997
  • Majority of material found within 1939 - 1942


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Miller J. Tonkel was born August 14, 1919, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He attended Purdue University from 1938 to 1942. While at Purdue, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Tonkel graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

Tonkel was commissioned into the Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps in 1943.  Tonkel's postgraduate education included special oceanographic studies at the University of Washington, graduation from the Armed Forces Staff College and the Federal Executive Institute at Charlottesville, Virginia, and participation in the Brookings Institutions' Advanced Study Program Conference for Federal Science Executives.  In the United States military, Captain Tonkel served with hydrographic and oceanographic operations in waters off the North American continent and in the North Pacific, including the first systematized oceanographic survey of the north central Pacific and underwater atomic tests in the Pacific. Tonkel also held commands in the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, and Alaskan areas. During World War II, Tonkel served as Regimental Survey Officer with the 11th Marine Artillery, 1st Marine Division in Okinawa, Tientsin, China, and Guam from 1945 to 1947. Awards for his service included the Bronze Star, the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, the Society of American Military Engineers KARO Award, and the Victory Medal.  Tonkel retired from the military on February 27, 1977 after more than 34 years of service.  Miller J. Tonkel died on July 16, 2003, in Anderson, South Carolina.


0.75 Cubic Feet (Two boxes and one flat folder)


Photographs, certificates, and artifacts documenting Miller J. Tonkel’s time at Purdue University in the early 1940s.

Acquisition Information

Materials donated by Laura Romesburg on May 11, 2006, May 27, 2011, and August 21, 2015.

Processing Information

Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained.  All materials have been housed in acid-free photographic sleeves, acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes.  Artifacts have been housed in a separate acid-free box for preservation purposes.
Miller J. Tonkel papers
In Progress
Shauna Borger and Trevor Burrows
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017-02-08: Revised by Trevor Burrows

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States