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H. Tracy Hall papers

Identifier: MSS 3204

Scope and Contents note

Collection primarily documents Hall's career as a chemist and includes personal research notes, drawings, blueprints, and photos, publications and drafts, research proposals and reports, technical information, and patents, as well as incoming and outgoing correspondence and administrative information regarding Brigham Young University, General Electric, Megadiamond Corporation, and other professional, community, and civic societies in which Hall was involved. It also includes personal information such as personal and family history, correspondence, early academic details, family finances, and legal information. Materials date from between 1881 and 2002.


  • 1881-2002


Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use note

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

Biographical History

H. Tracy Hall (1919-2008) was a professor of chemistry and director of research at Brigham Young University.

Howard Tracy Hall was born to Howard and Florence Tracy Hall in Ogden, Utah, October 20, 1919. Hall grew up in Ogden, earned his associate's degree from Weber College (1939), then received his bachelor's (1942), master's (1943), and doctoral degrees (1948) at the University of Utah. During this time, he also served in the United States Navy (1944-1946), received training in electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and courted and married Ida-Rose Langford (September 1941). Upon graduation with his doctorate, Hall took a post in the General Electric Research Laboratory (GE) in New York, where, in December 1954, he became the first man to achieve a reproducible method of synthesizing diamonds from raw carbon particles by means of his own patented invention, a high-pressure, high-temperature apparatus known as the 'Belt.' This multianvil press was the first known machine capable of producing temperatures of up to 3,000° C and pressures of up to 100,000 atmospheres simultaneously. Hall continued to work at GE until 1955, when he received an offer from Brigham Young University (BYU). Hall accepted the post as professor of chemistry and director of research, which he kept until his retirement in 1980, having also received commissions for many years as a private consultant. Ida-Rose Langford died in 2005. Hall died July 25, 2008, in Provo, Utah. He is succeeded by his seven children: Sherlene, Howard Tracy, Jr., David Richard, Elizabeth, Virginia, Charlotte, and Nancy.

During his prestigious career, Hall wrote at least ninety-five articles, all of them published in various scientific magazines or presented at various conferences and symposia. He has been assigned at least twenty patents, in the United States as well as abroad (England, France, Italy, Japan, West Germany, etc.), for his high-pressure equipment and methods, as well as receiving numerous research grants. In addition, Hall has also received over fifty awards, honors, and distinctions for his dedication and achievements in the field of high-pressure research and personal contributions to society: the National Association of Manufacturer's Modern Pioneers in Creative Industry Award, 1965; the James E. Talmage Scientific Achievement Award, 1965; BYU's Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, 1967; the American Institute of Chemists 'Chemical Pioneer' Award, 1970; BYU's Outstanding Manhood Award, 1971; an honorary Doctor of Science degree from BYU, 1971; the American Chemical Society Gold Medal and Award for Creative Invention, 1972; Intermountain Society of Inventors and Designers Certificate for Distinguished Service and Leadership in the Field of Invention and Designing, 1972; American Society for Metals Engineering Materials Achievement Award, 1973; Weber State Distinguished Alumni Award, 1975; American Physical Society International Prize for New Materials, 1977; Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters Willard Gardner Prize, 1977; BYU's Karl G. Maeser Research Award, 1978; Abrasive Engineering Society Man of the Year Award, 1980; and the Charles Stark Draper Prize, 1997.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

2 oversize boxes (1.5 linear ft.)

34 cartons (34 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



The collection primarily documents Hall's career as a chemist as well as personal history, 1881-2002.


Arranged into eight series: 1. H. Tracy Hall correspondence, 1949-2002. 2. H. Tracy Hall awards, scrapbooks, and other materials, 1881-2001. 3. H. Tracy Hall publications, 1946-1997. 4. H. Tracy Hall research papers, 1938-2000. 5. H. Tracy Hall letters, reports, and other materials, 1946-2000. 6. H. Tracy Hall collection of publications, 1950-1993. 7. H. Tracy Hall patents, 1919-1998. 8. H. Tracy Hall negatives, photographs, and other material, 1953-1985.

Custodial History note

Donated by H. Tracy Hall in 1995.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated; H. Tracy Hall; 1995.

Appraisal note

LDS scholarship and historiography (20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.III, 2007).

Processing Information note

Processed; Amanda Clark; June 2007.

Register of H. Tracy Hall papers
Karen Glenn and Amanda Clark, student processors and John Murphy, curator
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