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Miller J. Tonkel papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 15

Scope and Contents

The Miller J. Tonkel papers (1939-1997, 0.75 cubic feet) 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
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1939-1942
  • Other: Date acquired: 12/05/2006


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Purdue University

Biographical or Historical 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.

Note written by


0.75 Cubic Feet

0.75 cubic feet (2 boxes) and 1 oversized photograph other_unmapped

1.00 mss._boxes

1.00 flat_box

1.00 photographs


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

Source of Acquisition

Laura Romesburg

Accruals and Additions

Additional accessions to the papers (20110527; 20150821) processed on February 3, 2017.

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

[url=]Collection on the Ross Civil Engineering Camp, 1920s-1950s[/url] [url=]Purdue University Slide Rules collection, 1889-1962[/url]

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
Shauna Borger
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States