Skip to Content

John Gibson Winans papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20-4F-1360

Scope and Contents

The John Gibson Winans papers, 1930-1982 (bulk 1940-1953) contains the personal and professional papers of J. Gibson Winans, mainly from his affiliation with the University of Wisconsin and Sylvania Electric Products Inc. The collection includes correspondence pertaining to conferences, research, and other professional activities, as well as early indications of Winans' eventual involvement in politics, including a letter from Senator Joseph McCarthy. Also includes research reports, notes on physics and other topics, teaching materials, documents related to Winans' publication history, and other miscellaneous items.


  • 1930-1982
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1953


Terms of Access and Use

The John Gibson Winans papers, 1930-1982 (bulk 1940-1953) are open to researchers.

Privacy protected information (including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and/or personnel records) may be revealed during use of archival collections, particularly in collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.

Please note: This collection is stored off-site. Access to collection requires 3 business days’ notice. Contact [contact information] to schedule an appointment.


Pursuant to University Archives Restricted Records Policy regarding personnel records, access to folders 1.42-1.44 of this collection is RESTRICTED until January, 2029. Please see the Terms of Access and Use at the file level for specific information regarding the dates of restriction for specific materials within this collection.


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 University Archives before requesting photocopies and/or publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Once permission is obtained, most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Physicist and University at Buffalo professor emeritus J. Gibson Winans was born in Mexico, Missouri on July 2, 1902. He graduated from Colorado College in 1923, received a master's degree from Dartmouth in 1924, and earned his doctorate from University of Wisconsin in 1927, then served as National Research Fellow at Princeton University from 1927-1928 and International Education Board Fellow at the University of Gottingen, Germany from 1928-1929.

In 1930, Winans became Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin, and in 1945 became a research physicist for Sylvania Electric Products Co. He was also an aeronautical research engineer at Langley Aeronautical Lab for three months during 1957.

In 1962, Winans left his position in Wisconsin to become a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Buffalo, becoming professor emeritus ten years later. Winans researched visible and ultraviolet spectroscopy and helped pioneer experimental quantum mechanics. He also was interested in aviation and became well-known for his proposal for circular runways at airports. Winans was involved in local politics as well and sought the 1976 Democratic nomination to run against Jack F. Kemp for a seat in the United States House of Representatives.

Winans died in Millard Fillmore Hospital on January 1, 1990 at the age of 87.


1.83 Linear Feet (1 record carton, 2 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Professional materials and some personal items from the earlier part of John Gibson Winans' career in physics, before he became a professor at the University at Buffalo.


The materials in this collection are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Physical Location

Please note: This collection is stored off-site. Access to collection requires 3 business days’ notice. Please call University Archives at 716-645-2916 or send an email to to schedule an appointment.

Acquisition Information

The John Gibson Winans papers were gifted to University Archives in two separate accessions: the first by J. Gibson Winans in October 1986 as accession #86-056, and another by Charlotte Frantz and Paul Sprecher in October 2001 as accession #03-705.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Grace Trimper, February 2019; finding aid encoded by Grace Trimper, February 2019.


Finding Aid for the John Gibson Winans papers
Finding aid prepared by Grace Trimper
13 February 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

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