James I. Mueller University of Washington College of Mines photograph collection, circa 1905-1949

Overview of the Collection

Mueller, James I
James I. Mueller University of Washington College of Mines photograph collection
circa 1905-1949 (inclusive)
39 photographic prints (1 box)
Collection Number
Photographs of various University of Washington College of Mines activities
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

James I. Mueller was a widely respected University of Washington Professor of Ceramic Engineering. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1917. Mueller earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and his doctorate from the University of Missouri. During World War II he served in the Army Corps of Engineers.

In 1949 Mueller became a Professor of Ceramic Engineering at the University of Washington at what was then the College of Mines. Among his students and friends, he was most well known for his inspirational and encouraging approach to students. Mueller encouraged students to achieve excellence, whatever their goals. Former NASA space shuttle astronaut Bonnie Dunbar remembers being encouraged by Mueller to pursue her dreams to become an engineer and NASA astronaut, despite the fact that at the time NASA only accepted fighter pilots.

From 1964 until his death in 1986, Mueller was the principal investigator on the NASA ceramics research grant to the University of Washington. The primary accomplishment of this long-term program was the development of silicon nitride as a structural material, today used to produce high temperature engine parts. In a parallel effort, Mueller led the team of scientists who helped develop the insulating ceramic tiles used to protect NASA's space shuttle Columbia, which launched in 1981.

Mueller was a past president of the American Ceramics Society, a member of the National Institute of Ceramic Engineers, American Society of Engineering Education, American Defense Preparedness Association, and several ceramic societies. Over the course of his career, he received many awards for his professional contributions, including the NASA Public Service Medal in 1982, and the American Ceramic Society’s Albert B. Bleininger Award for outstanding achievement. Mueller died of cancer on April 2, 1986 at the age of 69. His contributions to the field of ceramic engineering continue to be recognized through the many awards named in his honor, including the James I. Mueller Lecture Award given annually by the Engineering Ceramics Division of the American Ceramic Society.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The University of Washington College of Mines was established in 1893 as the School of Mines. The mining industry was second only to lumbering in economic importance in Washington State and it was considered important to provide an education for the industry.

The School of Mines’ first permanent home at the University of Washington was the Power House, formerly the express office of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. The Power House was subsequently renamed Mines Hall. In 1911 the School was renamed the College of Mines. In 1947 the College of Mines became the School of Mineral Engineering, and new Mines Hall, built in 1921, was renamed Roberts Hall in honor of Milnor Roberts, former Dean of the College of Mines. With the continued development of the college and its expanding curriculum, the College of Mines became the Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Ceramic Engineering in 1968 and then the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 1983.

Initially, the School offered several degree programs in mining, as well as a three month Winter Mining Session or “Short Course.” The Winter Mining Session or “Short Course” was offered for 27 years. The shorter course was more technical in nature than the regular academic course offerings and had regular, often repeat attendance. Attendees were often professionals who were faced with various on-the-job challenges.

Throughout the development of the program, including new degrees in ceramic engineering and metallurgy, the curriculum continued to include numerous field trips, including an annual excursion of ten days duration to a mining region. Field trips included visits to mines, smelter companies, cement, and quarries, including Sunset Mine, in Index, Washington, Tacoma Smelter Company, and Washington, Superior, and Olympic Portland Cement Companies.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains photographs related to the University of Washington College of Mines. Images include students and faculty on field trips, smelters, cement companies, mines and various portraits. Some photographs were taken by Clarence R. Corey, a University of Washington professor and active Mountaineer. Almost all photographs pre-date Mueller's tenure at the University of Washington.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Preferred Citation

The required credit line for use of images from Special Collections is: University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, [plus the negative number].

The negative number is provided with the image and is a letter + number combination such as UW13452; Hegg 1234; or NA1275. A typical credit line would be, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, UW13452.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Processing Note

Processed by Laurel G. Evans and Megan Peacock; processing completed in 2006.


Roberts, Milnor, 1877-1965 History of the College of Mines, University of Washington, written for the diamond jubilee of the University, 1936

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Cement CompaniesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Washington Portland Cement Company, Concrete, Washington
Folder item
1 1 undated
1 2
Clay pit
1 3
Burner end of clay and limestone drying kiln
1 4
Tube mills
Superior Portland Cement Company, Concrete, Washington
Folder item
1 5 1907-1910
1 6
Quarry face
1 7
Students and faculty in front of staff house
University of Washington College of Mines Spring Trip, 1931. Individuals pictured include: Professor Daniels, Tom L. Pittman (Class of 1932), A. Frederickson, L.B. Faulkner, W.P. Pevrenaud, Paul Bundy (Class of 1932), Robert L. Thorne (Class of 1931)
1 8
View of a cement company (possibly Superior Portland Cement Company) in valley
1 9
Machinery and railroad track on hillside (possibly Superior Portland Cement Company)
Olympic Portland Cement Company, Bellingham, Washington
Folder item
1 10
Interior of plant
"2 Komminuters on left, 1 tube mill on right; finishing end. Mixing bins in foreground."

Smelter CompaniesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Tacoma Smelter Company, Tacoma, Washington
University of Washington College of Mines Spring trip
Folder item
2 11
Men working at casting machine casting copper ingots
2 12
Cooling copper ingots
2 13 1916
University of Washington College of Mines Short Course
Folder item
2 14
Faculty and students at smelter
C.R. Corey (photographer)
January 27, 1917
2 15
Faculty and students at smelter
C.R. Corey (photographer)
Identified on front of photo are are: Dean Roberts, Professor Corey & Professor McAllen.
January 27, 1917
Smelter, Keller, Washington
Folder item
2 16
Daniel Barr and Mr. Roberts standing on either side of lead stack
'Darrell Barr, Mr. Roberts on Mine Excursion to Republic and Holden. Lead stack about 36" X 72"'
March 1939
Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
3 17-18
Students and faculty on field trip at Sunset Mine portal, Index, Washington
"Mining 52 (Sophomores), Mining 180 (Seniors), Prospector's Class."
November 15, 1949
3 19
Group of men in formal attire at mining site
3 20
Five men sitting in a mine
"Visiting State Patrolmen in face of the Basin Manway, now being driven in No. 5."

University of Washington College of MinesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
4 21
Old College of Mines building, University of Washington
Built in 1901 (new College of Mines building built in 1921).
4 22
Interior of Ceramics Lab
"Jigger in foreground. Me [James I. Mueller] in background."
4 23
Jean Peterson, probably in the University of Washington Ceramics Lab
Field Trips
Folder item
4 24-26 March 18, 1933
4 27-28
Students and faculty seated on ridge overlooking gravel pit at Pioneer Sand and Gravel
March 19, 1933
4 29
Dean Milnor Roberts with another man (possibly a student), Glacier, Washington
March 19, 1933
4 30 March 22, 1933
Folder item
5 31
Coal mining class on front steps of the College of Mines
C.R. Corey (photographer)
Class includes a Japanese student.
5 32 1911
5 33 1919
5 34
James H. Hauce at U.S. Assay office, Salt Lake City, Utah
Graduate of University of Washington College of Mines class of 1908.
5 35
James H. Hauce and three unidentified men at the U.S. Assay office, Salt Lake City, Utah
5 36
William C. Speidel in the University of Washington football uniform
Seattle Photographic Co, 49 Sullivan block, Seattle
Captain of 1904 University of Washington Varsity Football Team.
5 37
E.A. Bridgeman
5 38
Bill Canton
On back: "Best 100 yd. man in camp."
5 39
Seismologist and geologist Bailey Willis
Newton Studio, Palo Alto, California (photographer)
Autographed by Bailey Willis, November 1935.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Cement Plants --Equipment and supplies--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Cement plants--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • College students--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • College teachers--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Mines and mineral resources--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • Mining schools and education--Photographs
  • Portland cement industry--Washington (State)--Photographs
  • School field trips-- Washington (State)--Photographs

Corporate Names

  • Portland Cement Co.--Photographs
  • University of Washington. College of Mines--Photographs

Geographical Names

  • Concrete (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Tacoma (Wash.)--Photographs

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographic prints
  • Portrait photographs

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Corey, C.R (photographer)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)