Edwin B. Rollins Papers, 1850 -- 1976


Title: Edwin B. Rollins Papers
Dates: 1850 -- 1976
Bulk Dates: 1902 -- 1976
Creator: Rollins, Edwin B.
Call Number: MS054
Size: 3.4 Cubic Feet, 2 Hollinger boxes and 15 photograph boxes of various sizes. Most of the collection is housed as part of the University Photographs collection and take up portions of those photograph boxes., 554 Digital Object(s)
Language(s): English  
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10427/14652
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


This collection contains notebooks created by Rollins to document the changes in the built environment of Tufts' Medford campus from 1854 to the mid-twentieth century.


This collection is organized into three series: Notebooks; Writings; and Photographs.


Edwin B. Rollins (1878-1980), E1901, was professor of electrical engineering, chair of the department and acting dean of the College of Engineering. In addition he pursued his interests in photography and research into the history of the built environment of the Medford campus.

Rollins was born in Lewiston, Maine, on June 1, 1878. He attended Tufts College and graduated in 1901. While an undergraduate Rollins worked on campus assisting with the new electrical system on the campus, winding transformers and installing lights. He earned fifteen cents per hour for the labor. Upon graduation, Rollins joined Tufts' engineering faculty as an instructor of physics and electrical engineering. He became assistant professor in 1910 and in 1928 was made full professor and chairman of the department of electrical engineering at Tufts. He served as acting dean of the engineering school from 1927 to 1929. In 1948 he received the alumni association's Distinguished Service Award.

Over the years, Rollins, in addition to his academic and administrative activities, built a full-scale model telephone office, a collection of lamps, wrote a history of the first forty years of electrical engineering at Tufts, and compiled in notebooks a history of buildings and gates on the Medford campus.

Rollins worked closely with Professor Melville Munro who, on the side, worked as campus photographer for three decades. Rollins, only a few years Munro's senior, sparked Munro's interest in photography, encouraging him to embark on what was to become an exhaustive photographic history of Tufts covering the entirety of Munro's years at Tufts. Rollins assisted Munro in assembling the scrapbooks and taking photographs.

For most of his years at Tufts, Rollins lived at 84 Packard Avenue, with his wife, Mabel. He died in Rockland, Maine, on December 17, 1980, at the age of 102.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish.

No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection is processed.

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • University history
  • College of Engineering
  • Dept. of Electrical Engineering
  • Medford Campus
  • Faculty

Series Description

  1. Notebooks, 1940 -- 1955

    This series contains notebooks compiled by Rollins on the history of Tufts buildings, campus homes, the growth of the Medford campus, copies of deeds, and reminiscences of the early years of Tufts. Most contain a narrative of the topic, with photographs, and transcriptions of the original sources where Rollins did his research. The books are not dated, but the bulk of the work was completed by 1955. Some notebooks contain notes added after 1955.

    Part 2 of the Tufts Campus series is not present. The book entitled Campus Deeds is a photocopy.

  2. Writings, 1961 -- 1976

    This series contains poems and prose reminiscences of Rollins' long career at Tufts, especially of student days. Contains a description of Class Day, and his on-campus student job.

  3. Photographs, 1850 -- 1961

    This series contains photographs and photographic reproductions made by Edwin Rollins. Most of the photos are of the Tufts Medford campus and of historical figures associated with the college.

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