Titus George Leclair Papers, 1917-1968

Overview of the Collection

Leclair, Titus George
Titus George Leclair Papers
1917-1968 (inclusive)
1 cubic foot
Collection Number
MG203 (collection)
Professional correspondence, articles and speeches, patent papers, legal agreements, photographs, certificates, biographical sketches.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Titus George LeClair was born in Superior, Wisconsin, August 26, 1899, the son of James Van Renselaer and Jessie Ethel (Fish) LeClair. His family moved to Lewiston, Idaho when he was five years old. He attended schools in Lewiston and was valedictorian of his 1917 graduating class.

He then attended the University of Idaho where he graduated with the degree B.S.E.E. in 1921. While at the university he was president of the Associated Engineers and chairman of the student A.I.E.E. group. In addition he was a member of the glee club and the university quartet. He entered the Student Officers Training Corps while continuing as a full-time student, but was released in December 1918 following the Armistice. He was awarded an honorary D.Sc by the university in 1951.

Following graduation from the university he began work as a testing engineer for the General Electric Company in Schnectady, New York.

In 1923 he moved to Chicago where he began a long association with the Commonwealth Edison Company, which was one of the first industrial companies permitted to have access to atomic secrets for power plant studies. He was also involved with the Nuclear Power Group, a corporation formed to cooperate in the building of the 180,000 kw Dresden Nuclear Power Station owned by Commonwealth Edison.

In 1960 he left Chicago for San Diego, California where he was associated with General Dynamics Corporation, General Atomic Division, as manager of nuclear power applications.

LeClair was recognized as a leader in the development of nuclear power for central station generation of electricity, and served in advisory capacities on the Atomic Energy Commission and the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy.

He was the inventor of several devices used in the electrical industry including relay schemes, switching schemes, automatic printing meters, and special conductors. He was also the author of many papers read before engineering societies and published in the technical press.

He was president of the American Institute of Engineers in 1950-1951, and was a member of the American Society of Engineering Education, the Professional Engineers' Examining Committee of the State of Illinois, the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Western Society of Engineers, Sigma Nu, Eta Kappa Nu, and Tau Beta Pi.

On May 26, 1922 he married Alice Bessee, whose adaptation of the melody of "Garden of Paradise" became the music for the Idaho State Song: "Here We Have Idaho." They had three sons before her sudden death in September 1928. On March 15, 1930 he married Amelie McGuire, with whom he had a daughter.

He continued to be active in his profession until his death. On March 26, 1968, while attending a major Southwest Electric Exchange conference in Boca Raton, Florida, he went swimming in the Atlantic Ocean during a break in the conference activities, and died while swimming.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers of Titus G. LeClair span the years 1917 to 1968, with the bulk of the material covering the years 1930 to 1960.

The papers include correspondence relating to his professional activities, articles and speeches by LeClair, patents, legal agreements, photographs, certificates, several biographical sketches, and articles on atomic energy.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The material in this record group was in labeled folders when received. Although the folder headings were retained, a series order was imposed during processing.

The correspondence is both incoming and copies of outgoing items. It is arranged alphabetically by folder heading, the items in each folder are in chronological order. Occasionally, as in the Bus Bar Construction folder, patents or legal documents are included with the correspondence. Other folders contain congratulatory messages on promotions or job changes.

The articles, papers, and speeches are numbered, and correspond to an index, which is included with the papers. There are only two articles not by LeClair included.

The final series contains patents, both original and printed copies, for devices invented by LeClair, patent agreements whereby he assigned the rights to use his invention to another company; photographs of LeClair, Charles Steinmetz, and illustrations for articles; several biographical sketches and news releases; certificates of membership or achievement; his employee record card at Commonwealth Edison, his high school valedictory speech, several articles on atomic energy, and letters to Mrs. LeClair following her husband's death.

Acquisition Information

The papers of Titus G. LeClair were donated to the University of Idaho Library by his widow, Amelie LeClair in April 1987.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I. Correspondence , 1927-1968Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
American Institute of Electrical Engineers Presidency
4 items
Bus Bar Construction and Relay system with Charles Gross
30 items
Chief Engineer at Commonwealth Edison
41 items
Data Logger - Shell Oil Litigation
95 items
Move to California, General Atomic
73 items
Organizations and Societies (American Nuclear Society)
31 items
Pannelit Royalties
68 items

Series II. Articles, Papers, and Speeches , 1926-1967Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Lists of articles and talks by LeClair
7 items
Articles written by LeClair
142 items
Other articles
2 items

Series III. Patents, Certificates, and Other Papers , 1917-1968Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
8 items
Patent and license agreements
3 items
Photographs and illustrations
15 items
Biographical sketches
12 items
11 items
Other papers
20 items

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Electric engineering -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Nuclear engineering -- United States -- History -- Sources

Corporate Names

  • University of Idaho -- Alumni and alumnae


  • Titus George LeClair (1899-1968) graduated from the University of Idaho in 1921 and pursued a career in electrical and nuclear engineering with Commonwealth Edison Corp. (Chicago) and General Dynamics Corp.

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • LeClair, Titus George--Archives.