Beginnings: 1900 - 1939
In this section we have a series of essays describing the founding
of the Institute and its early years. We are fortunate to have eyewitness accounts by Hilda
Kingslake, who came over from England with her new husband, Rudolf, who was a founding member of the new
Institute. Hilda Kingslake wrote a history of the first fifty years of the Institute and revised it in
1987 to include the first fifty-eight years. In this section we include three essays from her history
describing the events immediately preceding the founding through the first decade of the new Institute.
In addition , we have a biography of Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake by Brian J. Thompson, and a short
biographical sketch of early faculty member Jane Dewey by Carlos Stroud. Susan Houde-Walter provides
insights into the interrelated foundings of the Institute of Optics and the Optical Society of America.
Even in the Great Depression years of the 1930s, there was a bit of frivolity to leaven the serious
business of getting the new Institute developed. Carlos Stroud describes the beginnings of the optics
picnic and other diversions during this period.