Austin History Center

Frederick Albert Matsen Papers

An Inventory to the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Meisenbach, Megan Matsen
Title: Frederick Albert Matsen Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1938-2010
Abstract: Correspondence, news clippings, printed material, legal documents and photographs document the life and residence (1800 San Gabriel St.) of Frederick Albert (Al) Matsen, professor emeritus of chemistry and physics at the University of Texas at Austin.
Identification: AR.2010.006
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library 810 Guadalupe PO BOX 2287 Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Frederick Albert (Al) Matsen was born in Racine, Wisconsin July 26, 1913 to Danish Immigrant parents Frederick Albert, Sr. and Karen Madsen. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin in 1937, he was the first member of his family to obtain a college degree. He went on to complete his doctorate in Physics and Chemistry from Princeton University and joined the staff at the University of Texas at Austin in 1943 where he remained as a professor and researcher for over 50 years. During this time, he published over 250 research articles and authored six books. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1950 and a National Science Foundation Fellowship to the Poincare Institute in Paris, France. Matsen is perhaps best known within the UT community for leading the effort to establish UT's first computer center in Welch Hall in 1950 and for developing a unique honors undergraduate class in quantum chemistry that he taught for more than 40 years. Matsen personally endowed two graduate fellowships in Theoretical Chemistry and Physics at UT. In 1988, the first Regent's endowed Presidential Fellowship in Theoretical Chemistry was established by the University in his honor.

Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised primarily of new clippings (1951, undated))and photographs (1953-1957, undated) that document Al Matsen's professional career as a college professor and researcher. Other documents (1938, 1951, 1969, 1998, 2006-2009, undated)include correspondence related to his Regent's endowment, obituaries for Matsen and his wife, Cecelia Kirkegaard, a marriage certificate and a deed chronology of his residence located at 1800 San Gabriel St. There are also several photographs of the residence and it's construction (1951-2010, undated). Many of the photographs and some printed items are available digitally on the CD located in the photographs series.


The collection is arranged into two series:
I. Printed Material
II. Photographs


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Matsen, Frederick Albert (1913-2006).
Matsen, Cecelia Kirkegaard (1910-2006).
Austin (Tex.).
University of Texas at Austin.
Theoretical Chemistry.

Separated Material

Biographical material including copies of obituaries transferred to Austin Files - Biography Files.

History, deed chronology and appraisal documents for 1800 San Gabriel St. transferred to Austin Files - Housebuilding Files.

Copies of architectural plans for 1800 San Gabriel St. transferred to Architectural Archives (FF 2-MISC).

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Donated by Phoebe Allen on behalf of Megan Matsen Meisenbach.

Preferred Citation

Frederick Albert Matsen Papers (AR.2010.006). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2010/014

Donation Date: 2010

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Susan Rittereiser/2010.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Printed Material, 1938-2009, undated

Box Folder
1 1 Printed Material, 1938-2009, undated

Photographs, 1951-2010, undated

Box Folder
1 2 Photographs, 1951-2010, undated