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H. Richard and O.M. Blackwell Collection

Manuscript Collection No.148

Overview | Biography | Scope and Content | Container List


1943-1992. 4.5 cu. ft. in 5 boxes.

Provenance: The Ohio University Library received the H. Richard Blackwell and O.M. Blackwell Collection as a gift from Mrs. Olive Mortenson Blackwell in August 1996. Willard Erik Crabtree processed the collection in Winter 1997. [Brandy Nicole Dyer fixed and reprocessed the collection in Winter 2002.]

Property Rights: The Ohio University Library owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Mrs. Olive Mortenson Blackwell has retained copyrights and/or literary rights to this collection. Consideration of all other copyrights and/or literary rights is the responsibility of the researcher and publisher.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the Ohio University Library.

Photoduplication: Ohio University will entertain requests to photocopy reasonable amounts of material from the collection for the convenience of individual researchers.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection name and number and Ohio University Library in all footnote and bibliographical references.

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Harold Richard Blackwell was born on January 16, 1921 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.S. in philosophy from Haverford College in 1941, an A.M. in psychology from Brown University in 1942, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1947.

H. Richard Blackwell became a resident psychologist at the Polaroid Corporation in 1943. He was selected through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to head the Tiffany Foundation, a vision research project designed for military applications, from 1943 until 1945. He was awarded the Army-Navy Certificate of Appreciation in 1947 for this work. He also served as the executive secretary of the Armed Forces-National Research Counsel Vision Committee from 1945 until 1955. Blackwell became a faculty member at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1948 and developed the Vision Research Laboratory. In 1958 he left the University of Michigan and accepted a position at the Ohio State University, Columbus. Blackwell held the titles of Director of the Institute for Research in Vision, Professor of Bio-physics, Professor of Physiological Optics in Optometry, and Research Professor of Ophthalmology at Ohio State. He retired in 1983 as professor emeritus in the College of Optometry.

Over his career Dr. Blackwell's professional activities included serving as director of the Optical Society of America and he was chairman of their Vision Technical Groups. He was the chairman of the Vision and Physiological Committee for the Optics Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and chairman of the Visual Performance Committee of the International Commission on Illumination [Commission Internationale de L'Eclairage]. He was also a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, the American Institute of Physics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He won the Adolph Lomb Medal of the Optical Society of America in 1950, a Citation for Excellence in Medical Authorship from the Industrial Medical Association in 1957, the Certificate of Distinguished Service of Illuminating Engineering Research Institute in 1960 and was the 1972 Illuminating Engineering Society Gold Medallist. Blackwell was also a Member for Life of the United States Committee for International Commission on Illumination [Commission Internationale de L'Eclairage].

Olive Mortensen (O.M.) Blackwell and H. Richard Blackwell were married in 1943. Mrs. Blackwell earned an A.B. and undertook graduate studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She collaborated with her husband on several research projects and co-authored several papers with him.

Dr. Blackwell died in 1995 and Mrs. Blackwell currently resides in Florida.

Sources:American Men and Women of Science New York: Jacques Cattell Press, 12 (1974) p 517.
American Men and Women of Science New Providence, NJ: R.R. Bowker 19 (1995-1996) p 676.
Curriculum Vitae of H. Richard Blackwell.
Who's Who in Engineering Washingtion: American Association of Engineering Societies 7 (1988) p 152.
"1972 IES Gold Medalist: Dr. H. Richard Blackwell," Lighting Design and Application (August 1972) p 43.

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This collection consisted primarily of H. Richard Blackwell's published work, which is focused on a wide spectrum of vision related research. Due to American involvement in World War II, Dr. Blackwell's early work is more concentrated with military aspects of visual perception. Later, the focus changes to non-military research, such as improving highway safety by researching visual requirements of drivers, and providing for proper lighting levels in the work place. Also included in this collection are several dissertations of students who worked under Blackwell's supervision.

The papers were located within loose-leaf binders when received by the Ohio University Archives and Special Collections, and the Arabic numerals reflect the original order. Alphabetic sequencing in the container list was added to make the collection more accessible as well as to identify additional materials that were not contained within the binders. Unless otherwise noted, H. Richard Blackwell authors all articles.

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