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Marden Family Collection, 1904 - 1971

Identifier: 13-1: Marden Family

Scope and Contents

This collection documents Dr. John Wesley Marden and his wife Fay (Stubblefield) Marden's accomplishments. Included are certificates, diplomas, patent documents and Marden's Acheson medal.

This collection is arranged into five series:

    1. Certificates

    2. Diplomas

    3. Speeches

    4. Patents

    5. Special Formats


  • 1904 - 1971


1 Linear Feet : 5 folders, patent binder and medal (with container it came in)

Language of Materials



Dr. John Wesley Marden graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1909 with a Bachelor's in Science. He also received a Doctor of Science degree from IWU in 1946. His wife Fay (Stubblefield) Marden also graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a Bachelor's in Science in 1912. After graduating from IWU John went to work as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois. He then received a fellowship and received both master's and doctoral degrees from New York University. From 1912-1920, he taught at the universities of Minnesota and Missouri. He was tapped by Washington during WWI to probe the properties of zirconium, fearing the Germans were using the substance or a derivative in their Big Bertha cannons, sparking his interest in rare metals.

In 1920, He joined Westinghouse Research Laboratories and remained there until his early retirement in the early 1950. John W. Marden was deputy research director at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation Lamp Plant in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Working with Harvey C. Rentschler, the plant’s director of research, Marden developed a reliable process for producing pure uranium metal. Westinghouse is where uranium was first isolated in large enough quantities to be of practical use. He studied uranium as a possible replacement for tungsten in lamp filaments, learning much about production of pure uranium that would play a pivotal role in World War II's atomic bomb project. Subsequently, as part of the Manhattan project, Marden and his associates were called on to produce approximately 69 tons of uranium, receiving War Department, presidential and Army citations for the work.

In 1952 Dr. John W. Marden was presented the solid-gold Acheson medal, the highest award given by the Electrochemical society, for "outstanding contributions in the science and technology of rare metals. He also received several patents for his inventions. Marden was a charter member of Illinois Wesleyan’s Science Advisory Committee, formed in 1954 to help guide development of academic programs, equipment, facilities, and graduate-school contacts. Both John and his wife Fay were highly involved in alumni events throughout their lives. John passed away in June 1977; Fay died in 1976.

Physical Location

This collection is shelved in Special Collections.

Custodial History

The Acheson medal was donated by Marden's daughters, Martha Messing and Maryellen Blair, in 1978 to the University. The diplomas, certificates and patent binder was donated by Marden's grandson Bob Blair.

Repository Details

Part of the Illinois Wesleyan University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 2899
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington IL 61701 US