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United States Military Academy Library

Cadet Letters Home: Physics

Virtual Exhibit of material from the Library's Archives and Special Collections pertaining to the cadet experience in the field of Physics.


The Special Collections holds rare books, diaries, letters, maps, photographs, and other unique items.

The Archives consist of the Academy records since 1802, with staff records (demerits, grades, regulations).

Here are a selection of cadet letters and diary entries describing their experiences studying Physics. All content is from the Archives and Special Collections, USMA Library.

Cadet Letters Home: The academic experience, featuring Physics

  1. Regulations for USMA, 1825
  2. Hand drawn map of West Point by CDT William Chapman, USMA 1831, (1830)
  3. Letter of CDT George Cullum, USMA 1833, (September 9,1831)
  4. Letter of CDT Ulysses H. Grant, USMA 1843, (July 18,  1840)
  5. Diary of  CDT Charles H. Barth, USMA 1879, (October 3, 1879)
  6. Cadets performing experiments, Department of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, 1903
  7. Five Year Diary of CDT Richard Stanley Von Schriltz, USMA 1941, (c.1937 - 1941)
  8. Diary entry of CDT Richard Stanley Von Schriltz, USMA 1941, (October 20, 1938)
  9. Diary entry of CDT Richard Stanley Von Schriltz, USMA 1941, (October 22, 1938)
  10. W.H. Stockbridge photograph of science equipment, Department of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, [n.d.]

Chapman family papers.
Chapman family.1827-1973.

George W. Cullum papers.
Cullum, George W. (George Washington), 1809-1892, USMA 1833.

In this letter, Cadet Grant mentions the inverse square law of light.

Ulysses S. Grant papers.
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885, USMA 1843.

Cadets performing experiments with an Atwood Machine.

[Department of Natural and Experimental Philosophy]
Stockbridge, William H., d. 1933.

Von Schriltz family papers.
Von Schriltz family. 1934-1970.

October 20, 1938

I have the swellest Physics P. He helps us a lot by doing work that we’ll be able to use after we get to the board. Lt. Ward (W.A. or A.W.) is his name. I like him.  He’s a teacher as well as an instructor. He told us to set up the problem first and get the slide rule answer later if we had time...I’m a little tired now but so comforting to know that spec will be sufficient to pass under Lt. Ward. He is really interested in our getting the work and is an aid rather than a liability. I guess I’ve about reached the place where going proficient so as not to be found is my ambition in Math and Physics. I rather doubt if doing real well will make a great deal of difference when I get out.


Von Schriltz family papers. Von Schriltz family. 1934-1970.

October 22, 1938

A bit of bragging, I did very well in physics today not only because of my spec and because of the swellness of Lt. Ward but also because (stung by Brewer’s inadvertent remark that I was specing rather than studying) I did try (with fair success) to understand it.


Von Schriltz family papers.
Von Schriltz family. 1934-1970.

Design and Content

LibGuide Design: Mary Ahenakew, Exhibits Librarian

Content: Susan Lintelmann, Archives & Special Collections Curator

Digital Images: Casey Madrick, Information Resources Technician

Transcriptions: Katie Tricomi, Archives & Special Collections Technician



COL Corey S. Gerving, Academy Professor, Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering

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