Zumstein Family History: Professor R Victor Zumstein

This is the third installment for my multi great-grandfather Robert Victor Zumstein. Previous posts discussed his earliest years or early adulthood.

Doctor of Philosophy for Robert Victor Zumstein awarded by The State University of Iowa Jan 13, 1924
Doctor of Philosophy for Robert Victor Zumstein
awarded by The State University of Iowa Jan 13, 1924

According to his diploma, Victor received a Doctor of Philosophy from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) on 13 January 1924. 

On April 7, 1924, the Iowa City Press-Citizen wrote an article featuring Victor. It said,

“Another valued educator is lost to S.U.I.
“Iowa City will regret to say good-bye to Dr. Robert Victor Zumstein, instructor in the department of physics, who has resigned to become a member of the University of Michigan staff, at Ann Arbor. He will push his investigations in the field of the marvels of the spectro there.
“As a physicist, especially one who has mastered the phenomena of spectra, it will be remembered he shone here, winning his Ph.D. degree, via a thesis of unusual worth.
“He was here since four years ago, as a faculty member. He received his M.A. at Toronto University that year.”
In 1924, after spending the summer in Canada, the family moved to Michigan in a Ford Model-T.  In January 1925, a convocation ceremony was held to present Victor’s Ph.D. According to the Iowa Citizen newspaper, the mid-year convocation ceremony was held at 10 am at the new hall of science. The commencement address was delivered by Dr. Carl E Seashore and was themed “The Individual and The College.” The program featured nearly 300 degrees and certificates and military honors. Now, this ceremony occurred came after his actually earning the degree and moving to Michigan. I have to wonder if he earned an additional degree. However, perhaps the newspaper was incorrectly cited. I’m going to have to dig deeper once more to make sure I have my facts straight.
Then Victor received his Doctors of Philosophy Degree in Physics at the University of Michigan in May 1925. It seems fascinating that his two graduation ceremonies were in the same year. Additionally, I really want a copy of his diploma from Michigan!!
Victor, authored or co-authored the following books and papers during his time in Michigan. When the work was complete, is open to speculation or deeper reading by one who understands the physics and chemistry behind the early stage of fiber optic technology development:
  1. The Absorption spectra of copper, silver and gold vapors in the ultra-violet / by R.V. Zumstein 1925
  2. The Absorption spectra of some hydride compounds in the ultraviolet / by E. Hulthèn and R.V. Zumstein 1926
  3. The Absorption spectra of tellurium, bismuth, chromium and copper vapors in the visible and ultraviolet / by R.V. Zumstein 1926
  4. The Absorption spectrum of lead vapor in the ultraviolet / by R.V. Zumstein 1926
  5. The Absorption spectrum of manganese vapor in the visible and ultraviolet / by R.V. Zumstein 1926
  6. The Absorption spectrum of tin vapor in the ultraviolet / by R.V. Zumstein 1926
OSU Professor Victor Zumstein

In 1928, Victor did the ‘unthinkable’. He took a professorship at the University of Michigan’s arch-rival… Ohio State University. After joining the faculty at Ohio State, Robert was often confused as to which side to sit on at Ohio State versus Michigan football games. These two schools were absolute rivals. So, he sat on the Michigan side until he had been at Ohio State more years than at Michigan and then he sat on Ohio State side.

Victor would teach at Ohio State University for some forty years.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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