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Thomas Phelan papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MC 76

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Thomas Phelan papers (MC 76) collection consists of student research papers written for Phelan’s undergraduate courses from the mid 1970s until 1994. Paper topics reflect the nature of the courses taught, such as Medieval art and American architecture and artifacts. However, a large percentage of the papers pertain to local history, reflecting the popularity of Phelan’s course “Troy: A 19th Century Industrial City.” These papers illustrate the wide ranging interests of both the professor and his students, with subjects such as transportation (canals, bridges, railroads, steamboats, street cars), industry and industrial archeology (iron and steel manufacturing, paper and textile industries, collar making), local figures (Henry Burden, Sanford Cluett, Erastus Corning, Uri Gilbert, John Griswold, Kate Mullany, Russell Sage, Canvass White, etc.), workers’ living conditions, 19th century entertainment, religious and ethnic groups, and a variety of other topics. There is also a small amount of miscellaneous research material compiled by or for Phelan, including research notes, photocopied articles, photographs, negatives, and slides. Topics are similar to those listed above. In addition, the collection contains typed transcripts of documents pertaining to Stephen van Rensselaer which were originally transcribed for William Bertrand Fink's 1950 dissertation "Stephen van Rensselaer: The Last Patroon."


  • Created: 1973-1996 and undated


Conditions Governing Access

Access to Box 1 is restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).


3.60 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Student research papers written for Phelan's undergraduate courses from the mid 1970s until 1994. Typed transcripts of documents pertaining to Stephen van Rensselaer.

Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged in four series: I. Graded title pages (access restricted) II. Student research papers III. Research materials IV. Transcriptions regarding Stephen Van Rensselaer V. Miscellany Series I and II are arranged chronologically and then alphabetically by authors' last names within each semester. Series III is arranged alphabetically. Series IV has been removed from binders and reflects its original order.

T.A. Gobert and Julie C. Deitz
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
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Repository Details

Part of the Institute Archives and Special Collections Repository

110 8th Street
Institute Archives and Special Collections
Rensselaer Libraries, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy NY 12180-3590 US
518 276 8340