Greene, Arthur M.
Manuscript Letter Copy Book of Arthur M. Greene, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, and later the founding dean of Princeton University's Engineering School, with letter copies of his contractor father, Arthur M. Greene, also of Philadelphia, dated 1885-1902

Quarto, approximately 356 letters, on thin tissue like paper, totaling 503 pages, bound in half leather, pebbled cloth, lacks spine, boards detached, corners and edges worn, front flyleaf detached, some water staining, letters dated 28 December 1885 - 17 November 1902. Most letter copies are readable, some are readable with effort, several of the letters are not very readable.

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The volume begins with a 17 page index, which lists approximately 250 individuals to whom letters were written; however, there are whole sections (pp. 73-152 and pp. 428-503) that are not listed in the index, which include approximately an additional 7 letters of Arthur M. Greene, Sr., and approximately 99 additional letters of Arthur M. Greene, Jr., for a total of about 356 letters in all.

Page 1 of the book has a note stating that this volume was purchased in December 1885. Then pages 2 to 54 have letter copies written and signed by Frank W. Ulmer, manager of the Fidelity Improvement Company, of Philadelphia, PA. These letters are dated from 6 July to 9 July 1886. There is one letter dated 28 December, no year, but likely 1885.

Starting on page 55 the volume contains letters written by either Arthur M. Greene, of Philadelphia, or the new manager of Fidelity, Wm. D. Greene. Wm. D. Greene and Arthur are likely related. Arthur either writes the letters himself, or he co-signs them as "superintendent", while William, the manager, wrote them. These letters are dated from 9 July 1886 to about June 1887 and cover pages 55 to 84.This initial section of the letter copy book relates to the Fidelity Improvement Company. The Fidelity Improvement Company began to be listed in the Philadelphia City Directories in 1882 and continued to at least 1887.  The company was listed in 1884 under the section for "carpenters, builders, and contractors." In 1884 the manager was Wm. F. Deakyne, the superintendent George S. Moore. They advertised "for all kinds of improvements, alterations and general repairs to real estate, under one management, wholesale and retail dealers in wall paper."

After this initial section, the letter copy book has a couple of blank pages, and when the letters resume again (on page 88), it is now June of 1898, and the letter copies are written and signed by Arthur M. Greene, Jr., the son of Arthur M. Greene. It appears that the younger Greene has taken over this letter copy book for his own use, independent of the Fidelity Improvement Company. Arthur M. Greene, Jr. wrote 317 letters from pages 88 to 503, most are dated from April to November 1902.

        Arthur M. Greene, Jr. (1872-1953)

Arthur Maurice Greene, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 4 February 1872, the son of Major Arthur M. Greene and his wife Eleanor Jones Lowry. He attended high school at the Manual Training School (17th and Wood) in Philadelphia graduating in 1889, and then graduated in 1893 from the Towne Scientific School of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. degree. He afterwards received the degrees of Master of Science and Mechanical Engineer from University of Pennsylvania in 1894.  In 1917 Penn conferred upon him the honorary degree of Sc.D.

Greene began his professional career in Philadelphia in 1893-1894 in charge of the Apprentices' School of the Franklin Sugar Refinery. He was also worked in the Engineer's Office of the Union Traction Company in Philadelphia for the summer of 1893 (and later in 1897, and 1898). His first major position was as an instructor at Drexel Institute from 1894-1895, before becoming an instructor  of mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania from 1895-1902. During this time he worked as a mechanical engineer for the National Export Exposition Philadelphia in 1899.

In 1902, when these letters were written, Greene was in the process of moving to the University of Missouri from Penn.  Greene wrote regularly to Dr. R. H. Jesse, the President of Missouri, where he would eventually become a Professor of Mechanical Engineering from 1902-1907 and Junior Dean of the School of Engineering from 1906-1907.  While Greene was at Penn he planned the original layout of the equipment for the new mechanical laboratory. While at University of Missouri he also planned and equipped a new mechanical laboratory.

It is this expansion and construction of the laboratory at the University of Missouri which concerns most of the letters in this letter copy book. In 1904 Greene was placed in charge of the University's power house, Light and Heat Station. He brought electricity to the whole campus, while increasing the size and capability of the power plant. One letter in the copybook concerns a survey Greene made of the plant as well as suggestions for its improvement.

From 1907 to 1921 Greene was professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before becoming the dean of Princeton University's Engineering School in 1922. While at Rensselaer he established the mechanical engineering department, which was developed with a gift of one million dollars from Mrs. Russell Sage in memory of her husband. His work at Troy included the planning, equipping and development of the mechanical engineering laboratory of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

During World War One, Greene remained in his post at Rensselaer helping to prepare engineers for the military. He served as a member of the War Committee of Technical Societies, aiding the Naval Consulting Board, amongst duties with other committees.

Arthur M. Greene was the first dean of Princeton University's School of Engineering. Under Greene's guidance, four-year undergraduate programs were offered in civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical, and mining (later geological) engineering, and one-year graduate courses leading to the corresponding engineering degree (later to the Master of Science in Engineering for all fields). Greene's devotion and energy gave the school a sure foundation. When he came to Princeton in 1922 there were 84 engineering students; by 1940, when he retired, the number had grown to 379.


In 1902, with H.W. Spangler and S.M. Marshall, Greene published "Elements of Steam Engineering." He also published a number of items on his own: "Pumping Machinery," 1909; "Elements of Heating and Ventilation," 1910; "Heat Engineering" 1912; and "Elements of Refrigeration," 1913. He also wrote for the technical press and for the "Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers."

During the course of his career Greene was active in The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, serving as Manager and Vice-President. He was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a one-time president of two other societies: Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education and the Society of Engineers of Eastern New York. He held memberships in many other professional societies.

Arthur M. Greene, Jr. was married on 12 June 1906 to Mary Elizabeth Lewis (1869-1949), at Clark, Ohio. It does not appear that he and his wife ever had any children. Arthur M. Greene, Jr. died at Madison, Connecticut, on 2 September 1953. He was 81 years old. He was buried at Princeton Cemetery, in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife, who predeceased him, on 9 January 1949.

        Sample Quotes from the Letter Copy Book:

Many of the letters deal with the work that Arthur M. Greene, Jr. was doing for the University of Missouri, which in the spring, summer and fall of 1902, consisted of rearranging the curriculum and equipping the new Mechanical Engineering Laboratory.  He had just been offered and accepted a mechanical engineering professorship there. Letter copies in this volume also deal with Greene's attempts to hire a new assistant that the University allowed in the budget for the lab.

When the correspondence begins Greene is still in Philadelphia finishing up his work at the University of Pennsylvania before moving to Columbia, Missouri. He writes about 37 letters to the president of the University of Missouri, Dr. R.H. Jesse, and also writes some letters to Professor Waters about the new lab and setting it up. He writes a number of letters to various universities inquiring about recent graduates who might fit the new position he hopes to fill at Columbia. He also writes to the prospective candidates themselves. Greene also writes to various businesses inquiring about the prices of equipment and apparatus for the lab. The letter copy book gives great insights into the early years of the field of mechanical engineering education and the University of Missouri's engineering laboratory.

"July 10th [188]6 Benj. W. Richards, Esq., for N.E. Cor. 18th & Page Sts.

Dear Sir,

We the undersigned contractors and builders do hereby agree to build up chimney where it has fallen down in cellar, also to break off old plaster in privy and re-plaster and white-coat the same, also to patch plastering all through house where necessary for the sum of Eighteen and 60/100 Dollars.

Very Respectfully,

Fidelity Improvement Co.

Frank W. Ulmer, Mgr."

"Jan'y 30th [188]6 Benj. W. Richards, Esq.

Dear Sir,

We the undersigned contractors and builders do hereby agree to take off the old tin-roof of premises S.W. Cor. 13th & Mt. Vernon Sts., and put a first class gravel roof warranted and kept in repair for seven years for the sum of Thirty Eight and 60/100 Dollars.

Very Respectfully,

Fidelity Improvement Co.

Frank W. Ulmer, Mgr.

P.S. The guarantee on the roof of 1727 Page St. should have been 7 years instead of 10 years as I told you the other day. Very Respectfully, Frank W. Ulmer, Mgr."

"408 Chelten, Germantown, Mr. John Berkinbine, Engineer in Chief, Philadelphia Exposition, Fort Payne, Ala.

Dear Sir,

In regard to the matter we were talking about when you left Wednesday allow me to say that I wish you would secure some one to fill my position with the Philadelphia Exposition. This I hope you will do immediately or not later than August 1st, 1899. I wish to assist my successor as much as possible.

I take this step for no pecuniary reasons but because I feel that I am not filling the place that I should and because such little progress is being made thinking that another might possibly have ability enough to overcome some obstacles that I have been unable to surmount and push things.

I have contemplated this step many times even a few days after taking up my duties when I found I was not given the authority that I expected. Again I spoke to you on the same subject about July 1st. I feel that there needs to be more definition in the aims of each in your office and that each be made responsible for a certain thing. My work has been hampered when you gave directions that either Mr. [Billberg] or I should be in the office. There are many times that I should be out when Mr. [Billberg] is away attending to business and again when Mr. [Betler] is given supervision over Exposition work to a certain extent I think we are limited. I think you can see that I am the wrong man under the circumstances.

Again, I think we have lost valuable time and are loosing it right along and that there is great danger that we will not be ready on September 14th.

I have nothing to complain of in regard to my personal treatment and I thank you for the many kindnesses you have shown me and I hope you will not think this action wrong, it being my intention that the step be one of assistance to you.

My intention in writing you while away is to give you a chance to think over my successor and thus save time.

Again, thanking you for your favors to me I am very respectfully yours, Arthur M. Greene, Jr., July 14th, 1899"


408 W. Chelten Ave, Germantown, April 17, 1902

Prof. H. J. Waters

Dean Agriculture College and School of Mechanical Arts

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

My dear Prof. Waters,

As I have not heard from you since last writing on April 2nd I fear that my letter may not have reached you. This letter was one of acceptance and thanks. As I have not received any word in regard to the new building I wish to ask again whether the work has started, I am very anxious about this.

About the new apparatus and the arrangement of the same in the new building, had not someone better take this matter up? The time is rapidly moving on and fall will be soon here.

In regard to the course in Engineering would it be proper to suggest some changes at this time or had I better wait until I come out in the fall. I wish to suggest some changes to bring our courses up to the standard set by some of the other engineering schools.

Dr. Jesse sent me a letter from a Prof. Brady in regard to suggestions for additions to the course. I find that the views therein expressed are the same as some I have in mind.

I wish you could send me a print of the new laboratory so that I might study the lay out.

I hope you will pardon me for troubling you but I want to know how things are moving. I trust that you have received my letter of the 2nd ad that you will let me know if you have. I am sincerely yours, Arthur M. Greene, Jr."


"University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, May 1, 1902

Dr. R.H. Jesse

President University of Missouri

Columbia, MO

Dear Sir,

I am in receipt of your favor of the 28th ult. and I shall be pleased to follow out your wishes in this matter. I am very glad to know that it is your desire to make the University of service to the state in work along the lines you mention for it will attract students and also be a reason why we should be supported.

I shall endeavor to see some of our leading manufacturers and talk with them on this subject. I feel that in the Engineering Department we can do many things and I shall endeavor to systematize the various suggestions so that I may present them to you.

I am anxiously awaiting the beginning of next term that I may be with you.

It has occurred to me that it might be well for me to visit some of the engineering schools in the east in order to examine their equipments if the University will authorize me to do the same. Prof. Spangler and Assistant Professor Schramm with Mr. Morris have recently visited Columbia, Harvard, M.I.T., McGill, Troy, Worcester, and Cornell in connection with the equipment of our new laboratory. Their trip was very helpful in showing them what others are doing...

Kindly remember me to Mrs. Jesse...Again expressing my pleasure in the scheme for the expansion of our work;                              I am very truly yours, Arthur M. Greene"

"Prof. H.J. Waters,

Dean Dept of Agr & Mec En

Univ of Missouri

Columbia, Mo

My dear Prof. Waters,

I suppose you have been looking for a letter from me for some time. I have been trying to play another card after Good and Stem determined to remain east, but I think that is unsuccessful so will have to turn to the other instruction. The letters received by me from Columbia have referred to three men only, Messrs Dean, Rautenstruach and Wilson.

As Dr. Jesse has written across the letter [from] Mr. Wilson "He will not do," in regard to Mr. Rautenstruach Dr. Jesse wrote the note that "Our men have not been sufficiently trained in Mech Engineering," I think it would be well not to take a Missouri man because we want to introduce new ideas and have a man from the outside would probably be better.

In the case of Mr. Dean I wish to say that I am very well pleased with his letter and the testimonial and also believe that the training received at Wisconsin is a good one. If you think well of it I would suggest that we write to the secretary of Wisconsin and ask for Mr. Dean's grades. I don't know whether or not it would be possible for you to see Mr. Dean or get a photograph and ascertain what sort of a man he is as for a personal appearance is concerned. I think he would be a good man to secure.

I was very much disappointed that Good decided to go to Southwark but of course I wanted him to solve the question himself and I must abide by his decision. I am sure he would have been well suited for the position.

Kindly advise me of any further developments, Very sincerely yours, Arthur M. Greene, Jr."


[P.S.] Had we better write again to some of the eastern colleges or do you think we can stop with Mr. Dean. Prof. Spangler is trying to get some men and he finds it rather difficult.

"408W. Chelten Ave, Germantown, July 1st 1902

Prof. Wm. A. Johnston

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Boston, Mass.

Dear Sir,

You will probably recall my visit on the last day of the A.S.M.E. meeting, while you were working over some laboratory work. The University of Missouri has given me an assistant in Mechanical Engineering at $1000 per year and I write to you to ask if you could suggest any of your recent graduates. The work will be confined to laboratory and elementary work in the classroom. I want a manly fellow who has been a good student.

Any names you can suggest will be gratefully received,

[Sincerely, Arthur M. Greene, Jr.]"


"University of PA, Philadelphia July [17th, 1902]

Alberger Condenser Co.

New York


The University of Missouri will need some small surface condensers cable of [carrying] for one thousand pounds of steam per hour. These will be for experimental purposes and will be used in the Mechanical Laboratory. Kindly give me your lowest price on such and let me know how much cooling surface will be contained in these.

Kindly let me have a set of your latest catalogues, Yours...Arthur M. Greene, Jr., Prof. of M.S., U of Mo."


"Dept of Mech Eng, Columbia Aug 29, 1902

A.O. Norton

167 Oliver St

Boston, Mass

Dear Sir,

Will you kindly give me the lowest price (for Laboratory purposes) for a 15 ton ball bearing ratchet screw jack with a side claw. This is to be used for test purposes only.


Very truly yours, Arthur M. Greene"


"Columbia, Mo. Sept 1st 1902

Pres. R. H. Jesse,

Dear Sir,

To better accommodate the Drawing Department as well as the shops we recommend that the lathes be moved from the first floor north wing of the Mechanic Arts building to the second floor, south wing and that the sloyd benches be placed in the room vacated by the removal of the lathes. The drawing tables can then be placed in the second floor of the north wing leaving the first floor entrance hall free for conferences and elementary manual training. The saws should also be moved to more convenient location. We would also recommend that the Corliss Engine be transferred to the Mechanical Engineering Department and that the department furnish from its laboratory equipment fund two elective motors, one for the machine shop and one for the pattern shop. The present Edison Machine is to be used to drive the blowers....

[Arthur M. Greene]"


"Dept of Mech. Eng., Columbia, Mo., Sept 2nd 1902

The Riehle Testing Machine Co.

1424 No. 9th St

Phila., PA.


The enclosed order for the Reihle Robinson Dynamometer is based on a bid which you gave me on Dec 11, 1901 ( I believe this is the date) while with the University of Pa. I presume you will furnish the University of Missouri with one at the same price and so I have had our Proctor order the same from you. Kindly advise us if I am correct in this presumption and also how long it will take you to fill the order.

Sincerely yours,

Arthur M. Greene, Jr."


"Dept of Mech Eng., Columbia, Mo. Sept 5, 1902

Mr. Coleman Sellers, Jr., Engr Sellers Co.

16th & Hamilton Sts. Philadelphia

My dear Mr. Sellers,

I am going to ask a favor of you. We may want to do a little crane work with our seniors and I would like to get from your firm a set of your publications relative to the construction of your cranes. I should also like a couple of photographs to frame and place in our building, I want to fill the walls of our rooms and halls with photographs of apparatus, machines, and plants, so that the boys will see around them what things are being done outside. If you could send me a list of any treaties on the subject of cranes or allied subjects I would appreciate it. Hoping you will pardon this presumption I am,

Very truly yours,

Arthur M. Greene, Jr.”


"Sept [5th], 1902 [Schmith] & Co.,Philadelphia, PA


The new laboratory of the University of Missouri will need some of your apparatus and I would like to ask your lowest figures on the apparatus mentioned below for experimental purposes.

1 - #4 Universal Injector

1 - #0 Blower

1 - 2" Exhaust Steam Condenser

1= Spray Head similar to those used at the Ogontz Power Station which you furnished the Union Traction Co. of Philadelphia.

Thanking you for past favors when in Philadelphia at the University of Pa, I am,

Very Truly Yours, Arthur M. Greene, Jr."

"Mr. J. G. Babb

Secretary, Board of Curators, University of Missouri

Dear Sir,

In accordance with your request I have gone over the light and heat plant of the university and would make the following recommendations:


1st. The repair of the steam pipe covering in the tunnels which in many cases is entirely removed from the pipe. This means an expense, as the condensation from these pipes is excessive.


2nd The construction of a locker and wash room for the men in the station. This room to be located between the boiler and the south wall of the boiler house on the west side. The room could be made of matched boards and should be equipped with lockers, washstand, and water closet. I believe thoroughly that we can get better work from the men if we properly care for them.


3rd The enlargement of the present tunnel leading from the boiler house to the junction of the south and west tunnels on the campus. The new [xxxxxx] [xxxxxx] be at least six feet wide. This is necessary on account of the crowded condition of the present tunnel which makes repair work very difficult if not impossible. This is important.


4th The finishing of the engine room. The heat and light plant should be used for instruction purposes and for that reason should be in the best order. The walls should be plastered or tiled or at least painted and the wood work painted. The floor also should be put in good condition. Our engine room at present is not in condition to show to visitors and doe not compare with the power plant of many other state institutions. Although I have nothing to say about the efficiency of the plant I believe these would be more tendency to keep the machines in proper condition if the surroundings were good.

5th The superintendant should have more room for his shop so that all materials, supplies and repair parts could be kept in one place. A place for this which would have many advantages would be the south basement of the Mechanic Arts Building. This room has been thought for a foundry and of used for the Power Plant Shop we should put up an addition at the northwest corner of the Mechanic Arts Building for the foundry I believe the University would profit by having a shop of sufficient size so that every thing could be keep in it The cost of these items I estimate as follows:

Repair of Pipe Covering ------------$  500.00

Construction of Locker Room ------$ 250.00

Enlargement of Tunnel-------------- $225.00

Engine Room.................................$ 150.00

Shop ---------------------------------$2500.00


In making the above report I have assumed that there will be no additional buildings  attached to the plant other than those in N.W. on the campus.

Respectfully yours, Arthur W. Greene, Jr."