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Elizabeth Thompson Bunce papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00411

Scope and Contents

The collection includes a transcript of an oral history interview conducted P.K. Smith as part of the Columbia University Oral History Research Office (1981). There is also professional correspondence, biographical material, photographs, and awards and citations.

Dates of Materials

  • 1936-1986
  • Majority of material found within 1962-1980


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections ( at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to unpublished materials may be owned by the creator, or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Biographical / Historical

Elizabeth Thompson Bunce born Mineola, NY, 1915; B.S. Smith College, 1937; M.A. in physics, Smith, 1949; awarded Honorary ScD., Smith, 1971. Bunce taught physical education at Kent School, Summit, NJ; was instructor in physics at Smith College, 1949-51; and worked summers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, where she helped run experiments on explosives for the Navy during WWII. She joined the permanent staff there in 1951, was senior scientist and served as chief scientist on many expeditions, being the first American women to have served in that capacity on any research vessel. After retirement, she served part-time as acting chair of geology and geophysics department at Woods Hole. Bunce is best known for her work on seismic refraction studies of the crust and upper mantle of the ocean floor.


1 boxes (.5 linear feet)


Marine geophysicist. Papers contain a transcript of an oral history interview, professional correspondence, biographical material, photographs, and awards and citations.

Related Material

Associated materials located in the Smith College Archives.
Elizabeth Thompson Bunce papers
Finding Aid
Burd Schlessinger
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:13-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2019-04-24: Added paper FA box list.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063