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Ernst Weber Collection

Call Number



1922-2002, inclusive
; 1930-1992, bulk



56 Cubic Feet 32 boxes

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.


Ernst Weber was an award-winning and accomplished electrical engineer, pioneering advancements in the field both through his own research and his work in founding and running prominent institutions. He was a pioneer in the field of microwave technology. Ernst Weber was president of the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (Poly) from 1957-1969. During his tenure Poly saw some of its greatest students and achievements, while Weber held together an institution struggling with financial distress and impending mergers. The papers of Ernst Weber include writings, awards, collected publications, a variety of items related to the university, papers of the Microwave Research Institute (now Weber Research Institute) and documents related to professional institutions.

Biographical / Historical

Weber was born in Vienna, Austria, on September 6, 1901. He was oldest of five siblings and the son of a homemaker and a railway worker. In 1924, Weber received a degree in Engineering from the Technical University in Austria. Immediately after he began working as a research engineer for the Austrian Siemens-Schuckert Company. Weber attended both the Technical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna concurrently. He studied philosophy, physics, and mathematics, earning his PhD from the University of Vienna in 1926. In 1927, he received his Doctor of Science from the Technical University. His studies of philosophy and engineering remained ingrained in his future work.

Weber's work with the Siemens-Schuckert Company allowed him to move to Berlin. There he taught at the Technical University of Berlin. In 1930, Weber was invited to teach as a visiting lecturer Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (Poly). The rise of Nazism in Europe influenced his decision to accept the position and to relocate to the United States. Weber became a permanent member of the Poly faculty the following year. In 1945, he helped found the Microwave Research Institute (MRI), which would later be renamed as the Weber Research Institute in his honor. This same year he was appointed head of the department of electrical engineering. He was inaugurated as the sixth president of Polytechnic in December of 1957.

A large part of Weber's work and focus while he was president was making the institution financially sustainable. This included many hours devoted to research, as well as tremendous outreach to donors and government officials in both New York City and State. A large portion of his exploration into sustainability focused on mergers with both New York University and the State University of New York. Poly shined during Weber's reign. He was able to apply his interests in philosophy, pedagogy, and engineering to lead the university towards sustainability in the face of financial crisis.

In 1958, he was elected president of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE). After the merging of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the IRE in 1963, Weber became the first president of the combined entity, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 1964, he helped found the National Academy of Engineers (NAE).

Weber would go on to hold over 50 patents in the field of microwave technology. He was a prolific writer covering fields from electrical engineering, to philosophy, often finding a meeting ground between them in his writings. Following his retirement from Poly, he moved to Columbus, North Carolina, where he passed away on February 16, 1996. He departed in the wake of his insurmountable legacy.

SOURCES Ernst Weber, an oral history conducted in 1991 by Frederik Nebeker, IEEE History Center, Hoboken, NJ, USA.


The collection is arranged into seven series, by subject:

Series I: Biographical

Series II: Writings

Series III: Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn

Series IV: Mergers

Series V: Publications

Series VI: Professional Organizations

Series VII: Oversize

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers and writings of Ernst Weber, the sixth president of the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Many of the items in this collection regard his tenure at Poly, potential university mergers, writings, and a collection of volumes and clippings from relevant publications. There are also many items related to various professional affiliations, namely the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the National Academy of Engineers (NAE), and the Microwave Research Institute (MRI), now Weber Research Institute. The items in this collection represent a dynamic range, the bulk related to Weber's time at Poly, both before and during his presidency, as well as some items after departure.

When folders were found to have original titles or labels those titles were kept and noted by placing them in quotation marks.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from:

Poly Archives & Special Collections Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology 5 MetroTech Center Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone: (646) 997-3943 Email Poly Archivist, Lindsay Anderberg:

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Ernst Weber Collection; RG 033; box number; folder number or item identifier; Poly Archives at Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology, New York University.

Location of Materials

Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology 5 MetroTech Center Brooklyn, New York, 11201 (646) 997-3943

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials found in collection; there is no documentation concerning the provenance of these materials.

Sponsor Note

This project was made possible in part by a generous grant from the History Programs, American Institute of Physics.

Collection processed by

Erica Saunders and Lindsay Anderberg

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-22 10:09:16 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is written in: Undetermined, Code for undetermined script script.

Revisions to this Guide

November 2021: Finding aid revised and edited by Zoe Blecher-Cohen, Mandy Abokhair, and Aileen Thong in 2021 to update the institutional change from NYU-Poly to NYU and for compliance with DACS Required Elements for Archival Description.


Poly Archives at the Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology, NYU Libraries
Poly Archives at Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology
Bern Dibner Library of Science and Technology
5 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201