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Vern Oliver Knudsen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7578

Scope and Contents

Collection includes blueprints, correspondence, business papers and various other materials from Knudsen's consulting work. Project files relate primarily to building projects in California and other locations in the United States. Materials date from 1927 to 1974.


  • 1927-1974


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Vern Oliver Knudsen papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Vern Oliver Knudsen (1893-1974) was a physicist in California. His research focused on sound and acoustical design, and he provided consulting services to architectural firms.

Vern Oliver Knudsen was born December 27, 1893 in Provo, Utah. As a young adult, Knudsen was taught mathematics and physics by Harvey Fletcher, a renowned American physicist. Following his graduation from Brigham Young University in 1915, Knudsen followed the lead of Professor Fletcher to the Bell Telephone Laboratories where he engaged in some of the early work on oscilators. Knudsen soon decided to continue his studies at the University of Chicago in 1919. Having gained his Ph.D. in physics in 1922, Knudsen joined the Department of Physics at the University of California, Los Angeles and began his research on architectural acoustics. Having joined forces with an otologist, Knudsen developed audiometers that improved the diagnosis of hearing impairments. Knudsen was soon called to help design stages of sound recording in 1929. His work did not go unnoticed -- in 1935 Knudsen was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science prize. During World War II he took a leave of absence from the university to research underwater sound, and helped establish the Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego. Knudsen had several works published, including his 1932 "Architectural Acoustics" and his 1950 joint effort with Cyril M. Harris, "Acoustical Designing in Architecture." Knudsen was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Acoustical Society of America. He also served as a member of the Los Angeles Building and Safety Commission, and as president of the California Institute for Cancer Research. He was awarded honorary degrees from Brigham Young University and also from University of California, Los Angeles following his retirement. Vern Oliver Knudsen died of pneumonia on May 13, 1974 in Los Angeles, California.


3 cartons (3 linear ft.)

11 oversize box (5.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Collection has been kept in its original order.

Custodial History

Donated by Morris Knudsen in 1976.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Morris Knudsen; 1976.


This collection provides insight into the life of the first Dean of Graduate Studies at UCLA. Collected in Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social and religious history (20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy 5.VII, August 2007).

Related Materials

See also the Vern Oliver Knudsen papers (Collection 1153; University of California, Los Angeles; Los Angeles, California).

Processing Information

Processed; Kiren Dulai, student processor, and John Murphy, curator; 2010.

Register of Vern Oliver Knudsen papers
Kiren Dulai
2010 May 05
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States