Clemson University Libraries Special Collections' Bernard A. Behrend Collection provides a look at the career and interests of a pioneering electrical engineer, noted for his contributions to the development of electrical power from the 1890s to the 1910s. Bernard Behrend received over 80 patents for designs and discoveries related to induction motors, turbo-generators and voltage regulation. He also wrote extensively about these subjects.
In addition, the Behrend Collection documents Bernard Behrend's involvement in the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and other organizations that reflect the development of the engineering profession in the early 20th century.
Bernard Behrend also enthusiastically documented and promoted the achievements of other engineers and scientists, particularly those who he felt didn't get the recognition they deserved. He befriended and corresponded with a number of engineers and scientists of the day, collecting their writings, photographs and articles about them. He did the same with people who attracted his interest in the fields of art, history and philosophy.
In addition, Bernard Behrend was an avid book collector. He mainly focused on works important to the history of science and technology, but also enjoyed 19th century British literature. Behrend's other hobbies included American crafts and designing and making precision measuring instruments.
Bernard Behrend's widow Margaret Chase Behrend, also an avid book collector, became interested in Clemson College while staying at her winter residence in Aiken, South Carolina. She donated her husband's laboratory of precision instruments to the College of Engineering in 1938. Over the next four decades she also donated his papers and over 3,000 books, magazines and pamphlets to Clemson's library. The donation included several significant works in the history of science, as well as much needed resources to support the college's curriculum.
Behrend's donation was a remarkably generous gift to a small, rural, state school with limited resources. In the time before electronic connections and digital publications, having these printed works in the campus library was the only way for Clemson students to experience the riches provided within.
The exhibit includes works by Galileo, Copernicus, Euler, Newton, Darwin, Huxley, Thackeray and Swift, among others.
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