Scholars attending conference in honor of Albert Einstein’s 70th birthday
Howard E. Schrader, photographer

August 23, 2021

The PACSCL Board of Directors recently accepted the membership application of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center of the Institute for Advanced Study, welcoming the organization as its thirty-fifth Member.

“PACSCL is thrilled that the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center, with collections that document the enduring impact of the Institute as an intellectual home and refuge for scholars across the globe, is joining the consortium” observed PACSCL board chair Will Noel (Princeton University), in announcing the Board’s decision.

The collections of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center focus on the history of advanced scholarship at the Institute, including mathematics and computing, historical studies, social and natural sciences. The collections complement the holdings of other PACSCL members, including the Science History Institute and the University of Pennsylvania.

“The Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center is extremely excited to join our colleagues in the greater Philadelphia area in continuing the vital work of collecting and advocating for the collective memory of our shared communities,” said archivist Caitlin Rizzo.

The Archives Center serves a broad range of users, including the Faculty, Members, and visitors at the Institute for Advanced Study as well as a range of scholars interested in the history of education and advanced research in the United States. The Archives Center is committed to equitable access and welcomes users from the general public to connect and engage with the remarkable history of the Institute for Advanced Study.

The collections document the historic founding of the Institute for Advanced Study, including the correspondence of early Institute founders Louis Bamberger, Caroline Bamberger-Fuld, and Abraham Flexner, as well as the harrowing stories of many of the Institute’s founding Faculty, including Albert Einstein and Herman Weyl, who found refuge at the Institute during the political persecution of World War II. Additional records document the ground-breaking scholarship of Institute Faculty, including the Kurt Gödel papers and the records of John Von Neumann’s Electronic Computer Project, which led to the construction of the “IAS Machine,” the first computer to leverage a high-speed random-access storage matrix, and the template for all modern computers.

The Archives makes many collections available through its digital repository, Albert. Institute digital collections are also available, including annual reports and Institute publications.

Primary formats collected include administrative records, photographs, and audiovisual materials that document the scholarship of the Institute Faculty and Members. Collections range from the founding of the Institute for Advanced Study in 1930 to the present day. The collection with the greatest emphasis documents the first twenty years of the Institute’s existence from 1930-1950. The archives contain approximately 2,000 linear feet of collections and is continuously growing.

Like many institutions at this time, the Archives’ current access policy has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the moment, the Institute for Advanced Study campus remains partially closed and the Archives Center is only accessible during the closure to visitors by appointment. However, in normal circumstances, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center welcomes both affiliates of the Institute for Advanced Study and members of the general public to access the archives. The Archives Center strives to make access to the archive as easy as possible, so there are no requirements for access that are based on academic qualifications or referrals. The Archives is normally open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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