University of Idaho

Manuscript Group 375

WALLACE G. WOOLF, 1890-1990

Papers, 1924-1980
1 cubic foot

The papers of metallurgist Wallace G. Woolf were donated to the University of Idaho Library by the Hecla Mining Company at the request his daughter Jacqueline Woolf Rosenblatt in October 1993. They were processed by Judith Nielsen in May 1995.


Wallace G. Woolf was born March 9, 1890, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended local public schools and the University of Utah School of Mines, from which he graduated in 1912 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering. He worked briefly in Nevada then returned to the University of Utah as a recipient of the Co. E.A. Wall Research Fellowship. He specialized in zinc metallurgy and was awarded his M.S. in 1915. He remained at the university for another year as a U.S. Bureau of Mines Fellow, during which he continued his study of zinc. He then spent two years in industrial employment in Utah with the Holt-Dern Process Co. at Silver City, and the Virginia Smelting Co. of West Norfolk, Virginia.

Woolf joined the Bunker Hill Company in 1918, and was given the specific assignment to develop a process for handling the complex zinc ores of the Coeur d'Alene mining district. This he did, utilizing some Tainton-Pring patents with modifications and innovations worked out in the North Mill pilot plant. Encouraged by his results, in 1926 the company went ahead with construction of a zinc processing plant which he, with the help of U.C. Tainton, designed and built. Two years later, as a result of Woolf's research and guidance, the plant produced the first commercially available slab of special high grade 99.99 percent pure electrolytic zinc. He oversaw operations at the plant for almost 30 years, before becoming manager of metallurgy and later vice-president in charge of Kellogg operations, the position he held when he retired from Bunker Hill in 1960.

In 1954 he supervised the construction of Bunker Hill's first sulfuric acid plant to treat roaster off- gases. He wrote many professional articles and was active in professional organizations, including serving as a director and vice-president of the Northwest Mining Association, and director of the American Zinc Institute. He was a past master of the Masons, a Shriner, and a member of Gyro International. In 1955 he was presented with Scouting's highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award, for his leadership over many years in Shoshone County Boy Scout activities. He received the National Society of Professional Engineers "Inland Empire Engineer of the Year" award in 1958.

Following his retirement he returned to Salt Lake City where he remained active as a lecturer at his alma mater, and also served as a metallurgical consultant. Woolf died in Salt Lake City on September 15, 1990.


The papers of Wallace G. Woolf span the years 1924 to 1980, with the bulk of the material covering the years 1929 to 1950.

Included are articles and speeches by Woolf, his notes on the refining of zinc, published articles on zinc, patent applications, and related material.

More information on the Bunker Hill zinc plant which Woolf helped to design and for thirty years manage, may be found in the records of the Bunker Hill Company, Manuscript Group 367.


The papers of Wallace Woolf were in no discernible order when received. Further examination of the records revealed that they were so diverse that making series assignments would be difficult, therefore the papers were sorted by type or subject and the folders placed in alphabetical order.

The folder headings are self-explanatory, however, some details should be mentioned. Most of the speeches and articles of Woolf are typescripts, but some also appear in published form. It should be noted that several of the typescripts are incomplete. A majority of the correspondence concerns arrangements for talks or articles, although there is one letter detailing the genesis of a 90th birthday card sent to Woolf. The folder for the Gyro Club includes photographs of his retirement party given by the club. The journals are single issues of various journals which Woolf retained; these are in alphabetical order by title.

The only materials discarded were duplicate copies of mimeographed or published material. This did not reduce the volume by a significant amount.



Box Folder Description Items

1 1 American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, 1946 1 2 Armstrong, L.K. Rand Foundation Metal. Endorsement for Stanly Easton, 1938 5 3 Bunker Hill apprentice award ceremony, 1958 1 4 Correspondence, 1925-1980 13 5 Development of the electrolytic zinc process, ca.1924 1 6 Evans-Wallower zinc plant, report to Stanly Easton on, 1930 1 7 Gyro club, 1959 26 8-10 Journals, 1929-1964 10 11 Mining Congress Journal, lead and zinc number featuring the operations of Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mining and Concentrating Company, November 1931 2 12 Manuscript notes, n.d. 6 13 Mayvolume, 1917 1 14 Metals handbook updates, 1932 1 15 Miscellaneous, 1932-1947 8 16 Miscellaneous articles, 1929-1964 7 17 Patent: Electrolytic zinc -- patent digest and patent data, 1924 5 18-19 Metallurgical filter -- application, assignment, etc., 1929-1931 29 20 Research notes, n.d. 1 21 Spokesman Review Magazine, October 6, 1946 1 22 Sullivan Mining Co., average grade of zinc produced and shipped, 1929-1939, 1939 1 23 Sullivan Mining Co. Electrolytic zinc plant. Details of construction--capital account, 1929-1930 4 24 Woolf, Wallace G., Information about, 1956-1985 5 25 Woolf: Articles by, 1939-1950 6 26 The outlook for zinc, Mining Congress Journal, 1941-1942 9 27 Woolf: Speeches, n.d. 3 28 Idaho Mining Association, 1929-1947 6 29 Mining Institute, Seattle, January 16, 1947 11 30 North Idaho Chamber of Commerce, 1941-1958 3 31 Northwest Mining Association, 1951 3 32 Northwest metals and minerals conference, 1952 4 33 Sulfuric acid plant, n.d. 4 34 Washington society of professional engineers, n.d. 1 35 Yesterdays mining, with illustrations by Buck O'Donnell, 1966? 1 36 Zinc, Articles on, 1926-1964 25 37 Zinc, Bunker Hill publications, 1926-1978 6 38 Zinc Plant, 50th anniversary, 1978 13 39 Zinc Plant, Articles about, 1928-1956 11 40 Zinc Plant manual, n.d. 1

mg375.htm / June 1995
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