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Clarence Trent Papers

Identifier: Ms-1985-010

Scope and Contents

The Trent papers contain materials dealing with his activities in the ASME, the Lutheran Campus Ministry at VPI, and engineering education. Further biographical information on Trent may be found in Folder 1 and 27, the latter of which deals with the Distinguished Alumnus Certificate which Bluefield College awarded him in 1986.


  • 1958 - 1991


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Clarence E. Trent was born on September 26, 1904. A native of Northfolk, West Virginia, Trent attended Bluefield Junior College in Bluefield, Virginia, where he earned a two-year academic diploma in 1925. In 1930 and 1931 he earned a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). In 1935 and 1936 he earned BS and MME degrees in Mechanical Engineering at VPI. Trent was appointed an assistant professor at VPI in 1931, teaching at first in the Department of Mathematics. In 1932 he was sent to Bluefield, Virginia, to organize the VPI Engineering Branch School in cooperation with Bluefield College. He served as head of the Branch School for eleven years. He returned to VPI campus in 1943, where he remained until his retirement in 1973, teaching both electrical and mechanical engineering. Trent played an active role in the history of the Virginia Section of the Amercian Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) from 1945 until his death in 1991. In 1981 he was awarded the grade of Life Fellow of the ASME. Serving on the History and Heritage Committee, Trent was a prime force in the selection of two national mechanical engineering landmarks: the Jackson Ferry Shot Tower at Fort Chiswell, Virginia, and Norfolk and Western Railway's 611 steam locomotive. Trent was the co-author (along with Earl B. Norris) of the book Applied Thermodynamics (New York: McGraw Hill, 1955). He died on December 1, 1991, at the age of 87.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)


The collection is arranged according to subject matter.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Trent, Clarence Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

A Guide to the Clarence Trent Papers 1958-1991
Laura Katz Smith
2002 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-08-12: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US