Guide to the Papers of George H. Briggs


MS 8255

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

George H. Briggs
Papers of George H. Briggs
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 8255
0.14 metres (1 box)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The collection comprises personal and business correspondence and photographs. They include copies of letters sent by William Briggs (father) to his father in England (1868-77), correspondence relating to the National Standards Laboratory CSIR (1938-39), correspondence pertaining to Briggs' work for the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (1946-47), and correspondence concerning his retirement dinner (1958).

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of George H. Briggs, National Library of Australia, MS 8255, [series and/or file number]'.


The collection was donated to the Library by Dr Barbara Briggs, via the Australian Science Archives Project, in April 1991.


The papers were described and arranged by officers of the Australian Science Archives Project.

Index to Correspondents

An index of correspondents represented in the collection. The numbers refer to Series/File locations.

Briggs, B.: 6/1

Briggs, E.: 4/1, 4/2, 6/1

Briggs, W.: 1/1

Cavendish Laboratory: 2/1

Cockcroft, J. D.: 2/1

C.S.I.R.O./C.S.I.R.: 3/1, 4/3, 5/1, 5/2

Dedman, J. J.: 4/3

Ellis, C. D.: 3/1

Evatt, H. V.: 4/1

Hasluck, P.M.C.: 4/2

Oliphant, M. L.: 3/1

Richardson, A.E.V.: 4/3

Rivett, D.: 3/1

Rutherford, E.: 2/1

United Nations Atomic Energy Commission: 4/1, 4/2, 4/3

Wallace, R. S.: 3/1

Biographical Note

1893 Born 23rd March in Concord, Sydney, N.S.W. Fort Street Boys' High School (Secondary education)

? – 1916 University of Sydney (B.Sc.)

1918 – 1927 University of Sydney (Demonstrator and Lecturer in Physics) Married Edna Dorothy Sayce

1925 – 1926 University of Cambridge (Ph. D. studying at the Cavendish Laboratory with E. Rutherford)

1928 – 1939 University of Sydney (Assistant Professor of Physics under Professor Madsen)

1937 University of Sydney (D.Sc.)

1939 – 1945 Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (C.S.I.R.), Physics Section, National Standards Laboratory (Officer-in-charge)

1945 – 1958 C.S.I.R. / Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (C.S.I.R.O.), Division of Physics (Chief)

1946 – 1947 Atomic Energy Commission, United Nations, New York, U.S.A. (Scientific Advisor to the Australian representative)

1950 – 1952 Institute of Physics, Australian Branch (President)

1950 – 1958 National Standards Commission

1953 Proposal by Briggs to form independent Australian Institute of Physics rejected

1958 Retirement from C.S.I.R.O.

1962 Adoption of Briggs' proposal for Australian Institute of Physics and Briggs made Honorary Fellow

1987 Died 24th July, aged 94

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Personal biographical, 1868-77

Family History, 1868-77 (File 1-1)

[Photocopies of two letters from William Briggs (father of George) to his parents, probably in Britain]

Series 2. Correspondence, 1924-35

Cavendish Laboratory, 1924-35 (File 2-1)

[Correspondence with E. Rutherford (13 letters) and J. D. Cockcroft (one letter), Cavendish Laboratory Cambridge. Photocopies of originals donated by Briggs to Cambridge University Library in 1982]

Series 3. Correspondence, 1938-39

National Standards Laboratory CSIR, 1938-39 (File 3-1)

[Correspondence with D. Rivett, R.S. Wallace, M.L. Oliphant and C.D. Ellis concerning Briggs' appointment to National Standards Laboratory of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research]

Series 4. Correspondence, 1946-47

United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, 1946 (File 4-1)

[Correspondence with E. Briggs during visit to USA and Canada as scientific advisor to H. V. Evatt at the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission]

United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, 1947 (File 4-2)

[Correspondence with E. Briggs during second period in USA as scientific advisor to P.M.C. Hasluck at the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission]

United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, 1947 (File 4-3)

[Correspondence with A.E.V. Richardson, Chief Executive Officer CSIR, and J.J. Dedman, Minister-in-charge of Scientific and Industrial Research, concerning Atomic Energy Commission. Also includes copies of the three reports made by Briggs]

Series 5. Correspondence, 1958

Retirement, 1958 (File 5-1)

[Correspondence concerning retirement dinner for Briggs, December 1958]

Retirement, 1958 (File 5-2)

[Photocopies of previous file]

Series 6. Photographs, 1924-83

Photographs, 1924-83 (File 6-1)

[Two enlarged copies of black and white passport photographs of George and Edna Briggs, 1924; black and white portrait of Briggs, 1958; colour slide of

George and Edna Briggs with Alison Wright (granddaughter), 1980; colour slide of George and Edna Briggs with Margaret Wright (daughter), 1983; photocopy of letter from Barbara Briggs concerning photographs]