Everett R. Phelps Papers

Accession Number: 
WSP000175
Extent: 
.75 linear feet (2 MB)
Date: 
1948-1961

The papers of Everett R. Phelps were placed in the University Archives by Professor Vaden W. Miles in 1968, with an additional donation following in 1981. These papers reflect his work for the Howard A. Donnelly Award Committee and his commitment to the use of television to make the physical sciences understandable and enjoyable to average viewers.

Everett R. Phelps received his A.B. from Clark University and his A.M. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. In 1922 Phelps became an instructor in the Detroit Junior College, predecessor to the Wayne University Liberal Arts College. In 1944 he advanced to the role of professor of Physics and Astronomy. He continued in this role until his death in December of 1961, serving as acting chairman of the department from 1947-1955. During his time at Wayne State University Dr. Phelps was actively involved in the committee of the Howard A. Donnelly Award, a financial award for members of the graduating class who were deemed to have been exceptional both in scholarship and in student activities.

Phelps was perhaps best known in Detroit for his television appearance as the Master of Ceremonies for the “Magic of Science” programs on WXYZ-TV and the Wayne State University Science programs on WJBK-TV. In addition, he appeared in a number of commercials as “Mr. Weather” for WXYZ in 1950, and as the weatherman on WJBK-TV from 1951 to 1958.

In addition to his prominent role in television, Professor Phelps was the author of several books and articles, a member of numerous professional organizations, and served as the honorary president of the Windsor Center of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He was also locally prominent due to his numerous lectures to Detroit area community groups, averaging about 30 lectures each year on topics such as the solar system and the presentation of science on television.

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