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Ernst J. Berg papers

Identifier: SCA-0019

Content Description

The Ernst J. Berg Papers document Berg's electrical engineering research and teaching at Union College, the University of Illinois, and General Electric. The collection primarily consists of correspondence, technical reports, technical notes, lectures, and writings.


  • 1844 - 1942
  • Majority of material found within 1898 - 1941

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Ernst J. Berg (1871-1941), was a professor of electrical engineering at Union College, a radio pioneer, and a major contributor to electrical engineering theory. Born in Oestersund, Sweden, Berg graduated from the Royal Polytechnicum in Stockholm with an M.E. degree. In 1892, he emigrated to the United States and took a job with the newly-formed General Electric Company, which then had its headquarters in Lynn, MA. There he met Charles P. Steinmetz and began a life-long friendship and lengthy technical collaboration with him.

Berg and Steinmetz moved with GE to Schenectady in 1894 where they completed the classic Theory and Calculation of Alternating Current Phenomena (1897). The title page describes their partnership: Steinmetz, the main author, "with the assistance of Ernst J. Berg". In 1899, he effectively ran Steinmetz's department at GE, which had responsibility for designing advanced alternating-current machines, approving all design changes to alternating current equipment and developing theories of design.

The partnership ended in 1909, when Berg left GE to head the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Illinois. He returned to Schenectady in 1913, replacing Steinmetz as head of the Electrical Engineering Department at Union College, a post Berg held until his death in 1941.


17.64 Cubic Feet

15 Boxes

Language of Materials





The original order has been maintained when possible. Series I-IV of the papers were originally fastened in binders and given alpha-numeric identifiers based on material type.

Series I, Correspondence, 1898-1941. Series II, Technical Reports, 1894-1909. Series III, Technical Notes, 1909-1913. Series IV, Lecture Notes, 1912-1942. Series V, Writings, 1892-1941. Series VI, General, 1844-1941.

Custodial History

The bulk of the collection was transferred from the Electrical Engineering Department in 1964. In June 1986, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) donated additional material that they had received from Berg's secretary, Helen C. Farone in 1963.

Processing Information

In 2017, collections 19 (Mss US B493), 20, and 241 (Mss US B491) were combined with accession 2016.005 to create SCA-0019. Materials were removed from their original binders for reasons of preservation in 2021.

Ernst J. Berg papers
Matthew Golebiewski
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Union College
807 Union Street
Schenectady NY 12308 United States