Skip to main content

Leonids Slaucitajs papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: IHRC2419


Papers (1947-1969) of scientist Leonids Slaucitajs (1899-1971) are mainly about geomagnetism. Also included are memoirs; biographical materials; publications; and materials relating to his activities in the arts.


  • Creation: 1947-1969


Language of Materials

English, Latvian, German and Spanish


Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRCA.


Leonids Slaucitajs was born April 10, 1899, to Janis and Emilija (née Berzons) Slaucitajs in Jaunlaicene, rural Latvia, then a part of the Russian empire. After completing his elementary schooling, Slaucitajs went to realskola (a secondary school with emphasis on science) in Valka, Latvia, a town on the border with Estonia. Finishing there, he began a course in life that took him through several navigation schools and eventually to Vladivostok, where he boarded a Russian cruiser and sailed in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, returning to Russia only after the February 1917 revolution. In 1918 he was posted in Murmansk where he served in the Russian Artic fleet.

Returning to independent Latvia in 1920, he volunteered for the Latvian navy. He also resumed his studies. In 1921 he was invited to serve as a sub-assistant in the astronomical observatory at the University of Latvia. He married Milda Hartmans, a drama and ballet student, in 1924. That same year, Slaucitajs' daughter Tatjana was born, and he published his first scientific article. He received a mathematics degree in 1925 from the University of Latvia and in 1931, the same year his son Andis was born, earned a post as privatdocent at the university. He saw the United States for the first time in 1936 when he spent a year studying geomagnetism and physical oceanography at Carnegie Institute in Washington, D.C. By 1940, Slaucitajs had been promoted to the directorship of the geophysics and meteorology institute at the University of Latvia. Two years later he was granted a doctorate in mathematics by the University.

Slaucitajs became interested in music very early, playing the organ while still living at home in Jaunlaicene. He later played the cello in the student orchestra of the University of Latvia. In 1927 he began taking coursework in music theory at the Conservatory of Latvia, completing the program in 1933. In 1935 a symphony orchestra was founded at the University of Latvia, with Slaucitajs as conductor.

Like many other Latvians, Slaucitajs, with his family, fled to Germany in 1944 to escape the impending loss of Latvia to Soviet military forces. In Germany, Slaucitajs worked at a magnetism observatory, at the German Sea Observatory in Hamburg, and then as a geophysics professor at Baltic University.

In 1948 the University of La Plata, Argentina, invited Slaucitajs to a position there. From 1948 to 1968, Slaucitajs served as director of the university's geophysics department. While in that post he led three expeditions to the Antarctic. He also took painting classes at La Plata, which gave him background for the approximately 80 paintings he did of the Antarctic. In 1968 he retired from the La Plata faculty and began a guest lecture tour that took him to Australia, Hawaii and East Africa, among other areas.

Besides his scientific and musical activities, Slaucitajs was an active member of Latvian communities in Argentina and Sydney, Australia. After his tour, he continued giving lectures and attending conferences in the United States and Australia.

Slaucitajs published about 300 popular science articles, music critiques and travelogues, as well as other articles, in Latvian. He also is credited with about 80 scientific research articles and two textbooks, published in several languages.

Slaucitajs died on September 12, 1971, in Sydney, Australia.

A detailed presentation of Slaucitajs' life is his memoirs, Zinatnes darba--Draugos ar makslu, one copy of which is in Slaucitajs' collection. Another copy copy is in the Immigration History Research Center's imprint collection.


.75 Linear Feet (14 folders)


This collection, before processing, was in no particular order, although some material was grouped together with the envelopes in which it had been sent from Slaucitajs to Magdalena Rozentals. The processor organized the collection into four basic categories: I. Biographical material and correspondence (folders 1-5); II. Activities in the arts (folder 6); III. Publications in the sciences (folders 7-10); IV. Miscellaneous material (folders 11-14)


The Slaucitajs collection was deposited in the Immigrant Archives ca. 1969 by Miss Magdalena Rozentals of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rozentals donated the materials, which she received from Slaucitajs, with Slaucitajs' consent. The collection, which contains material in English, German, Latvian and Spanish, consists of approximately 0.75 linear feet of publications, papers and correspondence. It was processed during November and December of 1980.

Inventory of the Leonids Slaucitajs papers.
IHRC Archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding Aid in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Immigration History Research Center Archives Collecting Area