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Elliott Montroll papers

 Collection 0262-UA

Elliott Waters Montroll (1916-1983) was an educator and scientist with a broad range of interests; his specialties lay in the fields of chemistry and physics. His teaching appointments included associations with many different universities, among them the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP). At UMCP he taught in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, originally the Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Applied Mathematics, from 1957 to 1960, from 1961 to 1968, and again from 1981 to 1983. Montroll's papers consist of correspondence, publications, prepared lectures, research notes, grant records, and photographs documenting his teaching and research interests.


  • 1936-1982
  • Majority of material found within 1972-1979

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


9.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Elliot Montroll papers cover approximately the years 1936 to 1982. The bulk of the materials date from 1972 to 1979. His papers include correspondence, reprints of publications, lecture notes, course materials, grant records, and research notes.


Elliott Waters Montroll, an educator and scientist, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 4, 1916, the son of Adolph Baer and Esther (Israel) Montroll. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1937 and a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1940. He married Shirley Abrams on May 7, 1943, with whom he had ten children: Wendy, Brenda, Nicholas, Heidi, Mark, John, Toby, Andrew, Kim, and Charles.

The scope of Elliot Montroll's interests and accomplishments makes it rather difficult to categorize him academically. His research interests spanned statistical mechanics, the theory of probability, mathematical physics, and mathematical modeling of biological and sociological phenomena. During the period 1951 to 1960, he was a research professor at the University of Maryland Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Applied Mathematics (later incorporated into the Institute for Physical Science and Technology). From 1961 to 1968, he held a part-time appointment at the University of Maryland. Montroll was the Einstein professor of physics and chemistry and director of the Institute of Fundamental Studies at the University of Rochester from 1966 to 1981, after which he returned to the University of Maryland as a professor in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology, the position he held at the time of his death. His academic career also included professorships at Princeton (1942-1943), the University of Pittsburgh (1946-1948), the University of Grenoble, France (the summer of 1953), and the Lorenta Professorship of the University of Lieden in the Netherlands (1968).

Elliot Montroll was appointed to many positions of service in the federal government, such as Head of the Physics Branch at the Office of Naval Research (1948-1950) and the Vice President for Research of the Institute for Defense Analysis (1963-1966). He also served as a consultant to various private corporations, including a stint as Director of General Sciences for the IBM Research Center at Yorktown Heights, New York (1960-1963). He was the founding editor of the Journal of Mathematical Physics (1960-1970) and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Among the prizes and fellowships that Elliot Montroll received were a Fulbright fellowship in 1959 and the Lanchester Prize of the Operations Research Society of America in 1959. Elliot Montroll died in 1983.


The collection is organized as seven series:

Series 1
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Series 5
Series 6
Meetings and Organizations
Series 7

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The papers of Elliot Montroll were donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by Mrs. Elliot Montroll. The materials were accessioned by the Special Collections and Univeresity Archives in 1987.

Processing Information

The collection was initially reviewed by various faculty members of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology who separated and transferred much of the printed material to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Library. Seven series were then created from the Montroll papers. All paper clips were replaced by plastic clips and duplicates were discarded. All material was placed in acid-free folder and boxes. Finally, the guide was written.

Guide to the Elliott Montroll papers
Processed by Linda Zintz.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742