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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

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


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

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.


0.229 linear feet (1 container)


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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Most of the collection donated by Elizabeth Thompson Bunce, 1986-1987. The oral history was purchased from Columbia University in 1986.

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

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063