Fred Stark Pearson Papers, 1885 -- 1928


Title: Fred Stark Pearson Papers
Dates: 1885 -- 1928
Creator: Pearson, Fred Stark
Call Number: MS141
Size: 0.25 Cubic Feet, 1 box, 4 Digital Object(s)
Language(s): English  
Permanent URL:
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


This collection includes posthumous correspondence, newspaper clippings, journal articles, biographical essays, obituaries, a photograph, and an unpublished manuscript.


This collection is organized into one series.


Fred Stark Pearson (FSP) was born on July 3, 1861. After his father, an engineer on the Boston and Lowell Railroad, died in 1876, the family moved to Medford where FSP began work as a railroad station agent. His skill and intelligence drew the attention of members of the Tufts faculty, and Amos Dolbear convinced him to enroll at Tufts. FSP graduated from Tufts with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1883 and a Master of Mechanic Arts in 1884.

After graduating, FSP served for three years as an instructor in mathematics at Tufts. He then went on to a brilliant engineering career. For his first job for the West End Street Railway of Boston he helped develop steam-generated electricity to run trolleys. Based on this success, he became a consulting engineer to many railways in the U.S. and Canada. He also consulted for civil engineering projects, including the reconstruction of shipping piers and the improvement of coal handling and mining equipment. FSP was greatly interested in long-distance power transmission and water power.

In 1899, he got involved in a project that led to the development of hydro-electric power for São Paulo; he was subsequently involved in similar projects elsewhere in Brazil, Mexico, and Canada. His final major project was to harness the Ebro River to bring power to Barcelona, Spain. Needing to attend a crucial business meeting related to this project, FSP set sail on the ill-fated Lusitania. FSP and his wife Mabel Ward Pearson died on May 7, 1915 when the Lusitania sank, damaged by a German torpedo.

Through his engineering ventures and business investments, FSP became very wealthy. He donated frequently and generously to Tufts. FSP became a Trustee of Tufts in 1900, received an honorary Doctor of Science in 1900, and an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1905.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Any intellectual property rights that the donor possesses have not been transferred to Tufts University.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection was processed by Jennifer Phillips, supervised by Susanne Belovari.

This collection is processed.

Custodial History

This collection incorporates previously un-cataloged items and material from the dismantled vertical file on Fred Stark Pearson.

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • Pearson, Frederick Stark
  • Alumni collections

Series Description

  1. Fred Stark Pearson, papers, 1885 -- 1928

    This series contains posthumous correspondence, newspaper clippings, journal articles, biographical essays, obituaries, a photograph, and an unpublished manuscript, all of which are about FSP.

View Online Materials

Some of the materials from this collection are available online. Not all materials have necessarily been digitized.