Manuscript holdings include the collections of eminent professors and alumni whose developments changed the world, such as “Father of Modern Rocketry” Robert H. Goddard (WPI 1908), noted John Deere engineer and designer Theo Brown (WPI 1901), and NASA engineer Richard Whitcomb (WPI 1943).  Collections related to the WPI curriculum include collections relating to Fire Protection Engineering (WPI offers one of the country’s few Fire Protection Engineering degrees) including the Duane Pearsall papers (developer of the home smoke detector), and Howard W. Emmons papers (Harvard professor and “Father of Modern Fire Safety”). 

The Worcester Industrial History Collection comprises the archives of important Worcester-based and family-owned companies (such as The Morgan Construction Company, Woodbury and Company, and the Crompton Knowles Loom Works) established in the mid-nineteenth century, contributing to Worcester’s development as a leading industrial city. The men who founded these companies were prominent leaders in Worcester County and Massachusetts and were instrumental in the development of WPI or products of WPI education.