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Waldemar Kaempffert
Waldemar Kaempffert
(September 27, 1877 - November 27, 1956) was an American science writer and museum director.

Waldemar Kaempffert

Occupation Science writer

Contents

1 Career 2 Awards 3 References 4 External links

Career[edit] Waldemar (Bernhard) Kaempffert was born and raised in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Science from the City College of New York in 1897. Thereafter, he was employed by Scientific American, first as a translator (1897–1900), then as managing editor (1900–1916). He also wrote articles about science for other publications during this time, including three articles for Harper's, beginning in 1908. In 1916, he started working as the editor of Popular Science Monthly. In 1922, he began writing essays about science for The New York Times, where he was named Editor of Science and Engineering in 1927. During the 1920s, he also wrote free-lance magazine articles. in a June 1924 essay for Forum magazine, "The Social Destiny of Radio," he addressed a non-technical audience, discussing where radio had been and how it was changing American life. In 1928, following a nationwide search for a director, the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago asked Kaempffert to become its first director. He enthusiastically devoted himself to the work of laying out the history of the sciences and of the industries. He encouraged his curators and exhibit designers to base their exhibits on careful research in order to be as objectively truthful as possible. This devotion to objectivity, however, led to disputes with the board of directors, especially around the appointment of George Ranney, who was also a director of International Harvester. This appointment created an apparent conflict of interest in the museum, as International Harvester was contributing to an exhibit on farm tractors that claimed that an IH predecessor company was responsible for the invention of the tractor. Research by both Kaempffert and his staff showed otherwise, but he could not antagonize donors to the museum nor his board of directors. The board also found issue with Kaempffert's cost accounting. The board, all business executives, kept careful track of every dollar spent. Kaempffert, however, was more lax in his accounting. No wrongdoing was alleged, but the board wanted greater oversight. To achieve that, the board created a new layer of management, "assistant directors," who reported not only to Kaempffert but also directly to the Board. It was this usurpation of Kaempffert's authority that led him to ask The New York Times
The New York Times
in January 1931 if he could have his old job back which was agreed. He remained with The New York Times
The New York Times
until his retirement in 1956. He was succeeded as science editor by William L. Laurence. Kaempffert was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, History of Science Society, National Association of Science Writers (serving as the president in 1937), and the Newcomen Society. He was also a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1940 to 1956.[1] Kaempffert was a member of the American Society for Psychical Research, an organisation dedicated to parapsychology. He was a friend of the parapsychologists James H. Hyslop
James H. Hyslop
and Walter Franklin Prince.[2] Kaempffert wrote a supportive review of J. B. Rhine's book Extrasensory Perception (1934) in The New York Times.[3] In 1916, he vigorously defended the Martian canals theory against skeptics.[4] His obituary in The New York Times
The New York Times
said his death, on November 27, 1956, was the result of a stroke. He was 79. On January 7, 1911, Kaempffert married Carolyn Lydia Yeaton. She died in 1933. Awards[edit]

Kalinga Prize
Kalinga Prize
(1954)

References[edit]

^ George "Foster Peabody Awards Board Members". Peabody Awards. ^ Berger, Arthur S. (1988). Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology: A Biographical History, 1850-1897. McFarland. p. 212. ISBN 0-89950-345-4 ^ Misiroglu, Gina. (2009). American Countercultures: An Encyclopedia of Nonconformists, Alternative Lifestyles, and Radical Ideas in U.S. History. Routledge. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-7656-8060-0 ^ Hickey, Walt (2017-03-21). "A Mistranslated Word Led To Some Of The Best Fake News Of The 20th Century". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-03-23. 

"The A.B.C. of radio: The underlying principles of wireless telephony in simple language" 1922 by Waldemar Kaempffert Cattel, Jaques (ed.) "Kaempffert, Waldemar Bernhard" American Men of Science: A Biographical Directory, 9th ed., vol. 1, Physical Sciences. Lancaster, PA: The Science Press, 1955. Kaempffert, Waldemar. "The Social Destiny of Radio" Forum, vol. 71, #6, pp. 764–769. " Waldemar Kaempffert
Waldemar Kaempffert
Dies: Science Editor of The Times, 79" New York Times, November 28, 1956, p. 35. Pridmore, Jay. Inventive Genius: The History of the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago. Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry, 1996, pp. 26–48. For information on Kaempffert's tenure with the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago.

External links[edit]

Works by Waldemar Kaempffert
Waldemar Kaempffert
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Waldemar Kaempffert
Waldemar Kaempffert
at Internet Archive

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 30536676 LCCN: n84803786 ISNI: 0000 0001 0884 3211 SUDOC: 087285

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