When University of Missouri-Rolla historian Dr. Jeff Schramm began researching the U.S. Bureau of Mines Rolla experiment station last spring, he found that almost no scholarly works about the bureau exist.
Schramm will host a luncheon for former Bureau of Mines employees at noon Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the Gasconade Room of the Havener Center on the UMR campus.
Schramm’s project began with a donation to UMR from Jim Jensen, a 1941 UMR physics graduate. Jensen worked for the Bureau of Mines and gave $10,000 to fund a research project on the history of the bureau’s Rolla experiment station, which officially closed in 1996. The project was a perfect fit for Schramm, an associate professor of history and political science at UMR, who is an expert in the history of science and technology.
The Bureau of Mines opened its Rolla experiment station in 1920 and until World War II, it was housed in Fulton Hall on the UMR campus. Through his research, Schramm hopes to discover the historical links between UMR, then known as the Missouri School of Mines, and the Bureau of Mines.
"Throughout its existence, the Bureau of Mines worked closely with academia," Schramm says. "The experiment station in Rolla remained affiliated, both formally and informally, for its entire existence."
Most of the projects managed by the Rolla experiment station focused on metallurgical research, particularly on lead and zinc, common deposits in Missouri. The station also focused on mining and minerals in general, with projects like finding ways to refine ore and improving smelting techniques.
In addition to his other research, Schramm plans to conduct one-on-one interviews with former employees of the bureau’s Rolla experiment station. But first he has to find them.
Schramm will host a luncheon at noon Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the Gasconade Room of the Havener Center on the UMR campus. All former employees of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Rolla are invited to attend. Through the luncheon, Schramm hopes to meet as many former employees as he can and hopes they, in turn, spread the word about his project to other former employees.
The ultimate goal of Schramm’s research is to complete a written history of the Bureau of Mines in Rolla, but he hopes to also gather information on the broader scientific research and development project of similar stations across the country.
For more information on the luncheon or Schramm’s research project on the U.S. Bureau of Mines, contact him in the UMR history and political science department at (573) 341-4808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.