Skip to main content

Clarence Trent Papers

Identifier: Ms-1985-010

Scope and Content

The Clarench Trent Papers contain materials dealing with his activities in the Amercian Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Lutheran Campus Ministry at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and his engineering education. Further biographical information on Trent may be found in Folders 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

The collection is open for 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 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).

Trent died on December 1, 1991, at the age of 87.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 box)


The collection comprises the papers of Clarence E. Trent, having to do with his involvement in American Society of Mechanical Enginners, the Lutheran Campus Ministry at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI), and his engineering education.


The collection is arranged into three series according to subject matter:

Series I: Biographical, c.1982-1989 Series II: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 1958-1991, n.d. Series III: General, 1968-1977, 1982-1986, n.d.

Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to Special Collections and University Archives in February 1992.

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 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the [Collection title] was completed prior to 2003.

Clarence Trent Papers, 1958-1991
Laura Katz Smith, Archivist, and Clayton McGahee, Staff
2002 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Original 2002 Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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