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William Aitkenhead papers

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 14, Placement: 04
Identifier: MSF 10

Scope and Contents

This collection contains one 13-page autobiography and one article entitled "The Spark In The Life Of The Engine."


  • 1913

Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Materials are in the public domain.

Biographical Information

William Aitkenhead was the Director of Farm Mechanics Work at Purdue University. A native of Scotland, he arrived in the United States in 1893. In 1898 he was married at Bronson, Kansas, to Miss Minnie Woodock, who died in 1918. He married Miss Minnie McMurtrie in 1920. He had three sons: Dr. William C., of Golden, Colorado, Paul W., of Pittsburgh, and Robert Clark of Los Angeles. Professor Aitkenhead died in December 1949. Aitkenhead earned his Master's Degree from Oklahoma and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Aitkenhead then joined Purdue as an instructor of farm mechanics in the Department of Agronomy. In 1922 Purdue established the division of Farm Mechanics as a separate department in order to include teaching, research, and extension. Aitkenhead was named as the department head and retained his position when the department was expanded again into the Department of Agricultural Engineering. Aitkenhead continued as head of the department until his retirement. Aitkenhead made a number of significant contributions to the field of agricultural engineering: development of the patented pulverator plow and mechanical hay drier. He started the agricultural museum at Purdue and in 1943 was awarded a Certificate of Distinction by the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association. Aitkenhead was an elder at Central Presbyterian Church in Lafayette, Indiana. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (London) and a life member of the Bridgeton Burns Club (Glasgow). He was a member of the American Association of University Professors, American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Tau Beta Pi, and Scabbard and Blade.
Source: White, E.A. "Power Farming Activities of Purdue University." Farm Implement News - Chicago. Vol. 41: 26-28. Obituary. Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Indiana), 19 December 1949: 12. />


0.025 Cubic Feet (One folder)

Processing Information

Material has been placed in acid-free folder and box.
William Aitkenhead 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.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-31: Collection description updated by Amanda Rumba to more fully meet standards.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States