Guide to the Knut Schmidt-Nielsen Papers, 1939-1994 and undated
Biologist whose main area of research was in animal physiology, particularly that of the camel. Schmidt-Nielsen spent the bulk of his career at Duke University, from 1952 to 1995, during which he published approximately 300 articles, and key works such as Animal Physiology, and Scaling: Why Is Animal Size So Important? Collection contains correspondence, research notes, field data, published materials, lecture notes, memos, reports, grant applications, and other materials. The papers span the years 1939-1994, documenting Schmidt-Nielsen's active research and teaching careers.
- Collection Number
- Knut Schmidt-Nielsen papers
- 1939-1994 and undated
- Schmidt-Nielsen, Knut, 1915-
- 18 Linear Feet, 13,500 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English, Norwegian, and German
- Animal Physiology Research Series, 1952-1956
- Awards and Diplomas Series, 1947-1990
- Correspondence Series, 1939-1985 and undated
- Engagements Series, 1948-1994
- Graduate Student Series, 1953-1986 and undated
- International Union of Physiological Sciences Series, 1953-1986, bulk 1980-1986, and undated
- News in Physiological Sciences Series, 1979-1990 and undated
- Publications Series, 1936-1986
- Subject Files Series, 1952-1991 and undated
- Translations Series, 1961-1991
- Audiovisual Materials Series, 1967-1969
The Knut Schmidt-Nielsen Papers span the years 1939-1994, documenting the life and work of this prominent animal physiologist and educator. Formats include correspondence, research notes, field data, published material, lectures, memos, reports, grant applications, and other materials. Schmidt-Nielsen spent most of his career at Duke University where he served on faculty from 1952 to 1995, studying comparative animal physiology and environmental conditions in the desert, particularly in the Sahara and North Africa, with a particular interest in the camel. In addition, Schmidt-Nielsen was active as a lecturer and as a member of various biological organizations, including the International Union of Physiological Sciences and the Interunion Commission on Comparative Physiology, as well as being heavily involved with the publication of News in Physiological Sciences. Also documented is Schmidt-Nielsen's active role as teacher and advisor, and his involvement in the Duke University Nixon Library Committee. The collection is divided into the following series: Animal Physiology Research, Correspondence, Engagements, Graduate Student, International Union of Physiological Sciences, News in Physiological Sciences, Publications, and Subject Files.
The Animal Physiology Research Notes Series contains materials from Schmidt-Nielsen's research trip to the Sahara in 1953 and 1954, including correspondence, data, and journal entries. The Correspondence Series is by far the largest in the collection, and contains both official professional correspondence as well as scientific discussions and other related material. Much of the early correspondence is in Norwegian. The Engagements Series documents lectures given by Schmidt-Nielsen from throughout his career, including lecture notes, slides, and diagrams. Schmidt-Nielsen's teaching work is documented in the Graduate Student Series, chiefly his interactions with graduate student advisees. The International Union of Physiological Sciences Series houses materials from Schmidt-Nielsen's involvement with this organization, of which he was president from 1980 to 1986. The series includes minutes, memos, reports, correspondence, and other related materials. The News in Physiological Sciences Series consists of material related to the publication of this journal. In the Publications Series, there are copies of nearly every article Schmidt-Nielsen published. The Subject Files Series contains miscellaneous material grouped by subject regarding organizations, grant applications, and topics in animal research. Another small series, the Translations Series houses 33 published translations of a selection of Schmidt-Nielsen's textbooks. Finally, the Audiovisual Series houses three sound recordings of conference talks given by Schmidt-Nielsen during the 1960s. Original recordings are closed to use; please contact Research Services staff concerning access.
Unprocessed addition (2006-0026) (11,468 items, 18 lin. ft.; dated 1902-2003) comprises personal and professional correspondence, subject and genealogy files, lecture notes, calendars, clippings, and photographs. The addition is not represented in the finding aid, but a preliminary inventory is available on request. For research access, please contact the Research Services staff.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Technical Services staff need to produce use copies before contents can be accessed.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. There may be a 48-hour delay in obtaining these materials.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Knut Schmidt-Nielsen Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Contains folders of correspondence, data, and other supporting documents related to Schmidt-Nielsen's research on desert animals in the Sahara between August 1953 and July 1954. The folders are divided into two groups, general information and data, and are arranged alphabetically within the groups. His personal correspondence and journal entries are available in a bound format within the series. The data folders contain experiment results and research notes on camels, donkeys, rodents, and plants.
Includes scientific inquiries and invitations; professional correspondence with colleagues, researchers, publishers, and graduate students; and letters of recommendation. Interspersed in the series are vitae and statements of plans, grant application materials, copyright releases, requests for plant and animal samples, occasional newpaper clippings, photographs, and postcards. The 1948-1952 correspondence with the Office of Naval Research contains grant application files. Correspondence from Schmidt-Nielsen's stay in Algeria in 1953-1954 documents logistics and field work during the trip. Duke University correspondence includes records of departmental procedures, graduate students documentation, and requests for lab equipment. An extensive portion of the early correspondence is in Norwegian; occasional documents are in French, German, or Spanish. The folders are labelled and arranged alphabetically by last name or subject. Additional professional correspondence can be found in other series, particularly the International Union of Physiological Sciences and the News in Physiological Sciences Series.
Contains records of Schmidt-Nielsen's participation in scientific meetings and conferences, as well as individual lectures and presentations. A large part of the series is comprised of Schmidt-Nielsen's lecture notes, diagrams, and slides; complete drafts of presentations are less common. Subjects of the lectures include: physiology and adaptations of desert animals; breathing and locomotion; and scaling and size in biology. Also included are conference-related materials, such as correspondence, brochures, and posters. Extensive material is available for the conference on Scaling in Biology held at Duke University in 1973. Interspersed through the series are records from the annual International Conference on Comparative Physiology. A few documents are in French, German, Japanese, and Norwegian. Folders are labelled by date of event and topic, and are arranged chronologically by month of the year. A separate folder at the end of the series contains a complete chronological list of lectures given by Schmidt-Nielsen.
Documents Schmidt-Nielsen's role as an instructor and mentor to graduate students. The series contains personal and official correspondence, application files, and letters of recommendation. The student files often include research proposals, proposals for programs of graduate, tutorials, exams, and other written work submitted by students, with comments from Schmidt-Nielsen. Interspersed are funding files and financial documents. Folders are arranged alphabetically by last name of student. Note: materials are open for use, but are covered by privacy and confidentiality agreement which must be signed by researchers.
Consists of materials and correspondence pertaining to the administrative organization and activities of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS), divided into three subseries: General Information, Meeting Notes, and Correspondence. The General Information Subseries pertains to the period during which Schmidt-Nielsen served as President of IUPS, from 1980 to 1986, and includes meeting minutes, membership lists, memos, reports, and speeches, arranged alphabetically by topic and chronologically within topics. The Meeting Notes Subseries detail the planning and arrangements for international congresses and include programs, lists of participants, and presentation titles; the subseries is arranged by year of event. The Correspondence Subseries includes individual correspondence and memos related to different activities of IUPS and is arranged alphabetically. This series also contains some material in German, French, and Japanese.
Contains materials related to Schmidt-Nielsen's work with News in Physiological Sciences, including correspondence between Schmidt-Nielsen and editors, authors, and publishers; administrative documents; notes, manuscripts, corrected drafts, and occasional published articles. Folders arranged alphabetically by subject title.
Consists of articles published by Schmidt-Nielsen throughout his career, and includes a full publication list at the beginning of the series. Each article is presented in its final published form, either as a reprint or a full journal, with no notes, manuscripts, proofs, or revisions. Some articles are in German and Danish. Folders are labeled and arranged chronologically by year.
Contains miscellaneous materials on a variety of individual subjects related to Schmidt-Nielsen. The bulk of material consists of funding inquiries, grant applications, and reports pertaining to different organizations. The series also contains material about scholarly societies and their activities, interspersed with correspondence. A small section includes documents on animal experiments. Folders are labeled by subject and arranged alphabetically within subjects.
Addition 2001-0075 houses about 50 published translations of Schmidt-Nielsen's textbooks. Titles include Animal Physiology; Scaling: Why Is Animal Size So Important; and How Animals Work. Languages include Japanese, Polish, Russian, German, Greek, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Hindi, Malay, Norwegian, Hebrew, Swedish, and Portuguese.
Houses three sound recordings on 7" reel-to-reel tape, of Schmidt-Nielsen giving lectures at two conferences: the Symposium on Comparative Animal Physiology, Washington, January 1967 (title is "The Unusual Animal, or to Expect the Unexpected"); and the Kleiber Symposium held in Davis, California in August 1969 (two reels). Other individuals named on the containers are A. C. Black and Dr. Shannon.
[Originals closed to use. Technical Services staff must arrange to have use copies made. Please contact Research Services staff before coming to use the collection.]
|1915 Sept. 15||
Born in Trondheim, Norway
Attended University of Oslo
Received D.Phil. from University of Copenhagen
Assistant professor at University of Cincinnati
Became a United States citizen
Professor at Duke University
Awarded Guggenheim fellowship
Published Animal Physiology
Published Scaling: Why Is Animal Size So Important?
|2007 Jan. 25||
Died in Durham, North Carolina
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- International Union of Physiological Sciences
- Interunion Commission on Comparative Physiology
- News in Physiological Sciences
- Schmidt-Nielsen, Knut, 1915-
- Animal mechanics
- Duke University. Zoology Dept
- Duke University. Nixon Library Committee
- Duke University -- Faculty
- Physiology -- Study and teaching (Higher)
- Physiologists -- United States
- Physiology, Comparative
- Zoologists -- Correspondence
The Knut Schmidt-Nielsen Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1994, 2001, and 2006.
Processed by Lauren Hunt and Ioanna Zlateva, July 2007
Encoded by Paula Jeannet, Dan Ruccia, and Ioanna Zlateva, July 2007
Accessions 1994-015, 1994-087, 1996-0026, and 2001-0075 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid. Addition 2006-0026 is unprocessed but available for research. Please contact the Research Services staff before coming to use this collection.