University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics | University of Illinois Archives
The 1867 Report of the University Committee on Courses of Study and Faculty for the Illinois Industrial University listed a "Professorship of Analytical and Practical Mechanics" among the more important chairs of instruction and assigned courses in mechanics to the Polytechnic Department.1 Courses were first offered in 1870, with the appointment of Prof. Stillman W. Robinson.2 The history of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics as a department did not begin until 1895, when the Board of Trustees approved a new set of Faculty By-Laws, which reorganized colleges and departments. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics courses were considered service courses for the Engineering College and, although they had been offered separately since 1891, they were included within the Department of Municipal and Sanitary Engineering.3 Arthur N. Talbot was the first head of this Department, holding professorships in both Municipal and Sanitary Engineering and Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and it was his prominence in both areas that led to their being combined in one department. Upon Talbot's retirement in 1926, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics was created as a separate department, with the Municipal and Sanitary Engineering courses becoming part of the Civil Engineering Department.4
1. Board of Trustees Transactions, 1st Report, 1867-68, pp. 50, 62.
2. Board of Trustees Transactions, 3rd Report, March 8, 1870, p. 47.
3. Catalogs and Registers, 1892-93, p. 45; Board of Trustees Transactions, 18th Report, February 13, 1895, p. 70.
4. Board of Trustees Transactions, 34th Report, July 7, 1926, p. 3.