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Sparkle M. Furnas papers

 Collection — Box: 1-18
Identifier: 4-9-1091

Scope and Contents

Collection contains personal papers, memorabilia, publications, clippings, scrapbooks, and photographs from the professional and family life of Sparkle Moore Furnas, wife of University of Buffalo Chancellor Clifford C. Furnas. Notable are the Moore, Brunes, and Furnas genealogies, Spray and Furnas family photographs, teaching materials on nutrition, and the extensive collection of travel materials from the 20th century.


  • 1901-1991


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Sparkle M. Furnas Papers, 1901-1991 are open for research.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Sparkle Moore Furnas

Sparkle Velma Moore was born March 14th, 1901 daughter of Rosa B. Brunes Moore and William Allen Moore near Zionsville, Indiana. She attended Boone County Public Schools and graduated from Zionsville High School in 1919. She attended Purdue University off and on from 1919-1924, graduating with a B.S. degree. In between she taught high school home economics and general science in Colfax, Lebanon, and Waterloo High Schools in Indiana. From 1924-25 she taught home economics, English and Latin in Whitestown High School, Indiana.

Sparkle Moore married Clifford Cook Furnas on April 12, 1925 in Happy Hollow, W. Lafayette, Indiana. The first year of their marriage they spent in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Clifford received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1926. They moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1926 where Sparkle was appointed an Assistant in Dietetics and Nutrition in the Home Economics Department at the University of Minnesota and began her work on a Master's Degree. She was promoted to Instructor in 1927, completed her degree in June, 1930, and continued to teach full-time 1930-1931.

The Moores lived in to New Haven, Connecticut from 1931 to 1943. While Clifford taught at Yale, Sparkle was active in community organizations, attended graduate seminars in biochemistry, taught classes on nutrition for the Red Cross, gave lectures and wrote articles on nutrition, supported her husband's research and social activities, and helped design and build a home in Mt. Carmel, Connecticut. Daughter Beatrice Louis Furnas was born on January 8, 1933.

In February 1943, the Moores moved to Buffalo, New York where Dr. Furnas had been named Director of the Curtiss-Wright Research Laboratory [later renamed the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory and then Calspan]. Sparkle continued her professional and community service activities lecturing on nutrition, working with the A.A.U.W. , the local parent-teacher association, and other civic organizations. Ever the supportive spouse, Sparkle organized many social engagements related to her husband's work.

In 1954 when Dr. Furnas was named Chancellor of the University of Buffalo, Sparkle assumed the tireless role of "first lady" at UB. She served as hostess and entertained some 50,000 persons from 1954 to 1966 when Dr. Furnas retired. Sparkle Furnas was honored many times over by various UB and local organizations including the Walter P. Cooke Award for service to the University in June 1971.

Following Dr. Furnas' death in 1969, Sparkle dedicated herself to organizing his papers, memorabilia, etc. and advocated for the University to establish the Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Room. She privately published an index to all of his works, eight other titles written by him, and a special memorial biography. She also research and organized the Furnas Family records and memorabilia to produce a book called Furnas Family Fragments, researched and published the Moore and Brunes family genealogies, and published a book of poetry by Clifford's father, T. Chalmers Furnas.

The Furnas' were avid worldwide travelers. Sparkle documented their trips by collecting and organizing memorabilia.

Sparkle Moore Furnas died in 1996.

Clifford Cook Furnas

Clifford C. Furnas (1900-1969), chemical engineer, metallurgist, aviator researcher, and Olympic athlete, was the University's ninth chief executive, holding the position of Chancellor from 1954 until 1962 when the University merged with the State University of New York and his title changed to President. Furnas undertook an extensive program of expansion and enrichment to meet the growing educational needs of Western New York. He was the guiding force in the merger of the private UB with the State University of New York in 1962. He served as President through 1966.

Dr. Furnas was a nationally recognized scientist, educator, administrator, and author. He studied chemical engineering at Purdue University from 1918 to 1922 and taught Engineering at Yale in the 1930s. He directed the Airplane Division of Curtiss-Wright in Buffalo, New York from 1942 to 1945 and the Cornell Aeronautical laboratory from 1946 to 1954. From 1955 to 1957, Dr. Furnas served as Assistant Secretary of Defense a the Pentagon, under the Eisenhower administration.

His personal and professional achievements included his participation in the 1920 Olympic Games, authoring an award-winning book, and working on the project to develop the United States first space satellite, Explorer I.

Dr. Furnas once said, "All of my life I have been involved alternately in research and university education. They go together and they are both necessary for human progress..."


20.5 Linear Feet (14 cartons, 2 manuscript boxes, 2 flat boxes)


Collection contains personal papers, memorabilia, publications, clippings, scrapbooks, and photographs from the professional and family life of Sparkle Moore Furnas, wife of University of Buffalo Chancellor Clifford C. Furnas.


This collection is arranged in four series:

  1. Biographical
  2. Education & Teaching
  3. Professional and Community Activities
  4. University of Buffalo/State University of New York at Buffalo
  5. Travel

Acquisition Information

Collection received from Sparkle Furnas between the 1960s and 1980s.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

  1. 4/9/805, Clifford C. Furnas Papers, 1900-1986 (bulk 1917-1969)
  2. 4/9/843, Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Room, 1900-2010
  3. MS 190, T. Chalmers Furnas Papers, 1894-1974 (bulk 1894-1946)
  4. MS 215, Clifton J. Furness Papers, 1903-1974 (bulk 1903-1955)

Processing Information

Originally processed by Archives staff circa 1999. Reprocessed by Karen Spencer, April 2011.


Finding Aid for Sparkle M. Furnas papers
Finding aid prepared by Karen Spencer.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)