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Neil A. Armstrong papers

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

NASA Career, 1951-2008

Family Papers, 1934-2007

Education, 1947-1970

Military Records, 1946-2009

Teaching, 1961-2004

Boards, Commissions, and Consulting, circa 1970s-2009

Memberships and Advisory Groups, 1971-2012

Speeches, Writings, Manuscripts for Review, and Notebooks, 1958 – 2012

Subject Files

Personal Correspondence, 1970-2012

Artifacts, 1920-2011

Audio Visual, circa 1960s-2011

Books and Magazines, 1671-2012

News Clippings, 1959-2006

Oversized Materials, 1967-2000

Photographs, circa 1900s-2000s

Restricted Materials, 1969-2010

Original Subject File Containers



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Neil A. Armstrong papers, 1671-2012 | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

By Tracy Grimm, Donovan Irven, Mary Sego

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Collection Overview

Title: Neil A. Armstrong papers, 1671-2012Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1960-2012

Primary Creator: Armstrong, Neil (1930-2012)

Extent: 221.3 Cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

Series 1.  NASA Career, 1951-2008 (42.4 cubic feet).  Housed in this series are the documents and other materials generated during Neil Armstrong’s NASA career, from his days as an experimental test pilot through his assignment as the Deputy Administrator of Aeronautics. Early materials of note are documents related to the X-15 program and Armstrong’s engineering work as part of the Dyna-Soar team before his transfer into the astronaut program. A central piece of this series is the inclusion of Armstrong’s application to the NASA astronaut program, as well as his letter of acceptance from Robert Gilruth. Although he was not assigned to any crew during the Mercury program, Armstrong nevertheless acquired key Mercury program materials from his astronaut training and preserved them as part of his personal collection.

The Gemini program is much more fully represented, Gemini 8 in particular, for which Armstrong served as command pilot. In addition to an array of technical documents detailing all Gemini spacecraft, including the Agena docking vehicle with which Armstrong completed the first docking of two vehicles in space, the Gemini sub-series contains items flown during that historic mission.

The largest sub-series presented here contains the materials from the Apollo program. Comprising over 50 manuscript boxes, these materials cover every part of the Apollo program manned missions, from technical documents for each spacecraft, to training materials, to the details of mission planning, through the public relations campaign associated with the world’s first manned lunar landing. Several items in the Apollo sub-series are of historic significance; see the sub-series description for more detail. Armstrong continued his NASA career after Apollo as the Deputy Administrator of Aeronautics. The materials from this part of Armstrong’s career offer unique insight into NASA’s vision of the future in the early 1970s, as well as the difficulties it faced moving space exploration forward after the success of the lunar landing.

After leaving NASA to teach at the University of Cincinnati, Armstrong kept in touch with many of his NASA colleagues, continued to research the developing technologies of space flight and exploration, and participated in several programs associated with NASA. These documents, although extraneous to Armstrong’s official NASA career, are preserved here as a reminder of Armstrong’s lifelong commitment to the organization’s goals in the exploration of space, as well as his irreplaceable status among NASA astronauts as the commander of Apollo 11. The series concludes with Armstrong’s collection of documents published by NASA during the manned space program of the 1960s, including the published findings of those missions.

Series 2.  Family Papers, 1934-2007 (2.20 cubic feet).  The Family Papers series contains materials collected or created by Neil Armstrong’s family members, collected genealogy materials, and Boy Scouts of America items. Of particular note, is a scrapbook compiled by his mother, Viola L. Armstrong which contains items related to Armstrong’s youth such as his grade school report cards, academic awards, and homework assignments. The series also includes letters from his father, Stephen K. Armstrong, clippings, photographs, and papers his parents compiled as Armstrong’s NASA career progressed and he became a public figure. Also included are materials from Armstrong’s participation in the Boy Scouts of America. These papers were in Armstrong’s possession at the time of his death and were transferred as part of his bequest. The Family Papers series is comprised of 4 sub-series; Viola L. Armstrong, Stephen Koenig Armstrong, [Armstrong] Genealogy, and Boy Scouts.

Series 3.  Education, 1947-1970 (5.20 cubic feet).  This series contains some coursework, notebooks, grade reports, and textbooks from Neil Armstrong's undergraduate aeronautical engineering studies at Purdue University.  Armstrong was a student at Purdue from 1947-1949 and then was called to active service in the Navy.  He returned to Purdue in 1952 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1955. Also included in the Education Series are materials from his master’s degree work at the University of Southern California.  Armstrong began research for his master’s in 1960, but due to other aspects of his career, he did not receive his master’s degree until 1970. The series is divided into two sub-series, Purdue University and the University of Southern California. Of note in the Purdue University series are papers related to Armstrong's participation in the Purdue musical, "Varsity Varieties". One can find his diplomas at the end of each respective series. For papers related to Armstrong's elementary and high school education, please see Series 3. Family Papers. To respect original order, they were left as found among his mother Viola’s scrapbook.

Series 4.  Military Records, 1946-2009 (1 cubic foot).  This series contains Neil Armstrong’s United States Navy Officer Service Record, and includes everything from his “Orders; chargeable against appropriation ‘Officer Candidate Training,’ April 18, 1949” through “Certificate, Honorable Discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States of America, United States Navy, October 21, 1960.” The material has been removed from the original file for preservation purposes, but the order has been retained as set forth in Navy regulations (see folder 3, item 7).  This file was placed at the beginning of the series, to provide researcher’s with an overall view of his military record.

Located in folder 5 are photocopies of Armstrong’s [CNATRA] (Chief of Naval Air Training) - Aviation Training Summaries and Evaluations, 1949-1950. The summaries and evaluations give a detailed account of his training and progression as an aviator at this time and include comments from his instructors.  Also of note are various Navy papers found in folder 1 of box 2. These range from letters of appointment, certificates, citations and correspondence. The items were left in their original order, and due to fire damage, they have been sleeved for preservation purposes.

After his military service, Armstrong maintained ties to his military colleagues.  The last folders in this series contain correspondence, including e-mails from some of these fellow servicemen. One folder is dedicated to the VF-51 squadron of which he was a member and includes an official “Fighting Fifty One” patch and reunion information from this squadron. Of special note in this folder is a spiral bound document; “Korean Log, Bob (Bottle) Kaps, VF-51, USS Essex, 28 June 1951 to 25 March 1952, USS Valley Forge (CV-45), 20 November 1952 to 12 April 1953,” which provides a unique look at the activities aboard the carriers. Also found in the [Navy] folder is correspondence in regards to “The Brown Shoes” History Project (subtitled “Personal Histories of the Flying Midshipmen and other Naval Aviators of the Korean War Era”), a project undertaken by the University of Virginia. Included is Armstrong’s personal account, “carrier based fighter escort of B29/B50 raid on Rashin,” written for the project. There are also a few photographs, obituaries and miscellaneous items. The few photographs were left in this series in order to retain their significance, since most were sent with correspondence from Navy colleagues. More Navy photographs featuring Armstrong can be found in Series XVI. Photographs.

Series 5.  Teaching, 1961-2004 (4 cubic feet).  This series consists of items from Neil Armstrong’s work as a professor at the University of Cincinnati. The first box contains miscellaneous University of Cincinnati material that Armstrong had placed in various folders.  These include a press release of his appointment as Professor of Engineering, teaching contracts, campus maps, clippings, correspondence, and publications.

The remaining boxes contain the contents of individual folders and eleven binders and remain as Armstrong had arranged them. The courses include Aircraft Flight Test II, Aircraft Performance, Dynamics I, and Aerospace Engineering, 351, 541, 611, 612, 613, 660, 661 and 823.  Also included is course material from an Experimental Flight Mechanics short course he taught at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

The material ranges from prep material, lecture notes, handouts, assignments, readings, problems, student’s homework/projects, quizzes, tests and final exams.  The ninth binder contains the master copies of problems, quizzes, exams and finals for Aerospace Engineering 660, 661 and 662 (one quiz).

Some boxes are restricted, due to student information and personal information.

Series 6.  Boards, Commissions, and Consulting, circa 1970s-2009 (12.8 cubic feet).  The series contains Neil Armstrong’s collection of widely varied business cards. The corporate board information includes annual reports, meeting minutes, correspondence, retirement celebration material, minimal subject files, and member photographs for the various boards of which Neil Armstrong was a member. The boards include, Cardwell International; Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company; CINergy Corporation; Cordant and Morton Thiokol, Incorporated; Eagle-Picher Technologies, LLC; Cincinnati Milacron; Fifth Third Bank; Gates Learjet Corporation; Marathon Oil Company; Taft Broadcasting Company; United Airlines; U.S. Steel Corporation; Space Industries International; Space.com; Veridian; AIL Systems Incorporated (Subsidiary of Eaton Corporation); EDO Corporation; RMI Titanium Company; Fiduciary Trust Company of New York, background information; miscellaneous documents, and a Board of Directors subject file used by Armstrong. Due to the nature of the corporate board material, it is restricted.

The second part of the series contains minutes, correspondence, presentations, reports, clippings, and miscellaneous documents for the Commissions Armstrong was appointed. The Commissions include the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco.  The “Dahir” or Law proclaiming the creation of the Academy states that, ”Considering Morocco’s geographical situation, at the crossroads of the continents, which has determined its historic vocation and necessitates that it continuously plays a part in the communication, liaison and synthesis between the peoples and civilizations of Europe and Africa, of the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds… Desire that this Academy should be composed of men who by their works and studies are the most eminent and the most qualified, in all branches of learning, who have rendered the greatest service to the country or acquired the highest prestige, recruited freely without any consideration except personal merit and with no other condition to the validity of their election than Our Consent…” “Total membership in the Academy shall be thirty resident members and thirty non-resident members.” Dr. Henry Kissinger and Armstrong were the only initial members from the United States.  Also included among the material from Armstrong’s work with the Academy are a rare collection of conference proceedings and publications compiled by the members of the Academy.

Documents in this series also include material from the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, for which Armstrong was Vice Chair. In 1985 he was appointed to the National Commission on Space, created to study long-term space policy and goals, and one can also find material from this work. In 2005 Armstrong was appointed to the NASA Advisory Council, for which he was Chair of the Aeronautics Committee.  The Council drew on the expertise of its members and other sources to provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA Administrator on Agency programs, policies, plans, financial controls and other matters pertinent to the Agency’s responsibilities.

Some material includes Armstrong’s reference resources related to the various Boards and Commissions, along with miscellaneous consulting material.

Series 7.  Memberships and Advisory Groups, 1971-2012 (0.8 cubic feet).  This series contains material pertaining to advisory groups and memberships for which Neil Armstrong had a role. Types of material include, but are not limited to correspondence, certificates of appreciation, directories, documents, draft proposals, itineraries, meeting schedules and minutes, reports and other miscellaneous items.

The first box contains information from Armstrong’s 1971-1973 tenure as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Peace Corps, specifically his trip to Korea, along with initial planning documents for the Aviation Safety Institute for which Armstrong served in an advisory capacity in the early 1970s. Also included is correspondence, guides, brochures and miscellaneous items from his membership in the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. The last folder contains private, third party papers related to the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Combs Award entries which Armstrong reviewed, and the folder is restricted.

The second box contains material related to the Commonwealth Club and Commercial Club of Cincinnati for which Armstrong was a member. According to printed material in this series, the two clubs worked to exchange ideas, educate and inform its members in matters of commercial, cultural and civic importance, with the goal that such an organization would be a force for good in Greater Cincinnati.

Series 8.  Speeches, Writings, Manuscripts for Review, and Notebooks, 1958-2012 (14.4 cubic feet).  This series contains all of the speech materials kept by Neil Armstrong throughout his career. The series also includes materials related to speech preparation and writing. The speeches have been retained in the order in which they were found. Earlier speeches were kept according to the place in which the speech was given or the organization to which he gave the speech.

Also housed here is Armstrong’s published writings, which include academic articles, pieces for news and other media outlets, and books to which Armstrong contributed. These writings are organized chronologically by date of publication. Following Armstrong’s written work is a collection of manuscripts which were sent to Armstrong for review. For several of these, Armstrong contributed a foreword or introduction. In other instances, Armstrong was simply asked to review the manuscript for publication. The series ends with early notebooks where Armstrong jotted miscellaneous notes for various occasions. The notebooks are exceptional for the insight they provide into his thought process.

Series 9.  Subject Files, 1943-2012 (27.7 cubic feet).  This series contains the majority of Neil Armstrong’s subject reference files, as well as active subject files which includes some of Armstrong’s ongoing correspondence. The reference files span the breadth of Armstrong’s interests and speak to his personal and professional involvement as a life-long engineer.  Much of the reference material preserved here concern space flight and exploration, as well as the aeronautical engineering projects that continued to interest Armstrong after his retirement from NASA. Also of interest are files on geology, including one dedicated to a caving expedition Armstrong took to the Los Tayos caves in Ecuador and another detailing his expedition to the North Pole.

The active subject files reflect research and correspondence Armstrong was conducting toward the end of his life. These files were stored by Armstrong in his office and are preserved here in the order in which they were found.  Armstrong’s own subject headings are indicated by enclosure in [brackets].  The active files include the files on astronauts [ASTRONAUTS]; which are comprised of correspondence related to Apollo 11 lunar surface photography, astronaut policy information, such as policies on the Personal Preference Kit (PPK), policies on appearances, assignments, standards of conduct and other related policies to which the astronauts were held.

Please note there are RESTRICTED materials in this series that require consultation with an archivist prior to use.

Series 10.  Personal Correspondence, 1970-2012 (32.4 cubic feet).  The personal correspondence files consist of incoming letters, cards, requests and copies of replies dating from 1970-2012. Much of this correspondence could be considered fan mail and is global in scope. Please note that personal correspondence prior to 1970 that related directly to Neil Armstrong’s Gemini and Apollo missions can be found in Series I, “NASA Career.”  Also please note that some of the correspondence from Armstrong’s later years can be found among the active subject files in Series 9. Subject Files.  The correspondence in Series 9 is primarily characterized by being with those Armstrong had an ongoing relationship.

In this finding aid the text in [  ] is exactly as Armstrong and his assistants had the files labeled. Much of the correspondence was arranged alphabetically by the sender’s last name or organization name. Found within the series are binders; [NASA FORM LTRS] and [Form Letters] “and codes,” which were used when a standard reply was indicated by Armstrong.

The correspondence is arranged into six sub-series: Completed Correspondence, 1970-1979; [OFF-Sort and P.R.], 1970-1980; Correspondence from Organizations and Schools, 1971-1974; Invitations, Requests and General Correspondence, 1977-1983; Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1970-1994 and Correspondence, Post-University of Cincinnati, 1970-2012. A detailed description of each sub-series precedes the listing for each.

Whenever possible, the personal correspondence has been maintained according to the designated categories established by the secretary who handled Armstrong’s correspondence during their respective years of employment. Per notations on the correspondence, the following secretaries took care of Armstrong’s correspondence that came through NASA, Office of Public Affairs; “S.B. Weber” took care of the replies from 1970-1971; “(Mrs.) Geneva Barnes, Secretary to Mr. Armstrong,” 1971-1972; “(Mrs.) Fern Lee Pickens, Office of Public Affairs,” 1972-1973. Letters needing translation were sent to “KSS/ Mr. Nagurney.”

Secretaries at the University of Cincinnati who handled Professor Armstrong’s correspondence were, Ruta Bankovskis, 1971-1973; (Miss) Luanna J. Fisher, 1974-1975, and 1976-1979 correspondence was handled by Elaine Moore. In 1974 Armstrong begins to refer requests for non-academic appearances to: Mr. Thomas Stix, Stix and Gude, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York 10020. In 1980 Armstrong hired Vivian White as his administrative aide, and she managed the correspondence throughout Armstrong’s later years.

Series 11.  Artifacts, 1920-2010 (27.2 cubic feet).  The artifacts series houses items of various sizes and in a variety of media, and includes artwork, awards, memorabilia, and some collected items most likely from Neil Armstrong’s youth. Much of the artwork came as gifts to Armstrong from colleagues, friends, and admirers. Also included in the series are plaques and awards granted to Armstrong for his service in the NASA manned space program, as well as his professional career at the University of Cincinnati and as a member of several professional boards and commissions. In addition to official award plaques and certificates, Armstrong also collected an array of commemorative coins and medallions related to space flight and exploration, which we have preserved in arrangements according to how Armstrong himself stored them. The series also contains a variety of commemorative memorabilia, including a 1967 Rose Bowl football signed by the winning Boilermakers, and models of different space crafts. Items of note, which are likely from Armstrong’s childhood, include his geology collection, wooden model planes, and a small collection of stamps.

Series 12.  Audio Visual, circa 1960s-2011, (11.8 cubic feet).  This series contains a variety of recordings, films, and images on a variety of media.  The highlights of this series are; numerous magnetic tapes (audio recordings) which include songs written by those inspired by Apollo 11, “wake-up” greetings to the astronauts, various interviews related to Apollo 11, the crew and their families. One box of recordings is dedicated to the entire Apollo 11 mission, from the day before lift-off, lift-off, the descent to the lunar surface, recordings from the events on the moon, ascent, splashdown, quarantine, and an interview with President Nixon.

There are four 45 RPM records containing Apollo 11 related songs, a LP, and 50 full color, 35 mm slides, titled, “One Giant Leap For Mankind: a history of Apollo 8-11,” along with six, 33 1/3 RPM phonograph records and one book which cover the first message from the moon, the Mercury Project, the Gemini Project and the Apollo Project.; “To the moon: Section 1: The story in sound. Section II: The story in pictures and text,” New York: Time-Life Records, 1969.

Also featured are 35mm slides which include NACA and NASA related aircraft and events, slides from the travels of the Apollo 11 crew, post-mission, including some family related slides.  There are slide sets featuring “Project Viking,” the USA’s trip to Mars and “Jupiter/Voyager-2, XA-36.”

There is a mixture of other audio visual materials, including, 16 mm films titled, “Korea Welcomes Astronauts,” miscellaneous VHS tapes, including a Bob Hope Special, X-14 tape, and Apollo astronaut reunion dinner tape. Other items include, CDs containing interviews with townspeople, “the people that knew Armstrong best,” leading up to Tranquility Base, an episode of “I’ve Got A Secret,” which Armstrong’s parents took part in, House Hearing pictures on CD and X-15, Astronaut Wings Ceremony on DVD.  Cassette tapes range from an X-15 interview with Armstrong, “Future Apollo Missions” and “Advanced Projects,” and cassettes related to travels.

The audio visual material also includes VHS tapes containing the 1992 Documentary Series, First Flights, for which Neil Armstrong was host, along with corresponding documents, transcripts, and photographs.  Armstrong explores the history of Aviation in this Arts and Entertainment Network Series.

The last box found in the series contains unmarked, undated and unused, magnetic tapes and cassettes.

The audio visual material has been grouped by type of media and in most cases is in chronological order.

Series 13.  Books and Magazines, 1671-2012 (13.65 cubic feet).  This series contains selected books and magazines from Neil Armstrong’s personal library.  The magazines are grouped as Armstrong had stored them, except for the second box which contains the older magazines and those from 1969.  Many of the older magazines feature various astronauts on the cover or Neil Armstrong himself, with related stories inside.  The issues from 1969 and early 1970s feature Apollo 11 or Armstrong on the cover and inside.  The books are in chronological order, cited in APA (American Psychological Association) format and indicate if they have been signed and/or inscribed by the author.  Some of the books have water damage.  The books and magazines are stored in archival boxes.

Series 14.  News Clippings, 1959-2006 (5 cubic feet).  This series consists of Neil Armstrong’s collection of newspaper clippings. The clippings have been retained as much as possible in the groups in which they were found but arranged chronologically within each group.

The first two boxes contain oversized newspapers covering the Apollo 11 Moon Landing and its anniversaries. This includes a signed copy by Neil Armstrong of the July 15, 1969 Wapakoneta Daily News. The remaining boxes contain clippings from Armstrong’s time at NASA, his life after the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, and his teaching and research career at the University of Cincinnati. This series also contains clippings that appear to be loosely organized by topics or subjects that were of interest to Armstrong.  Lastly, the series includes what appears to be the personal clipping collection of Neil Armstrong’s mother, Mrs. Viola Armstrong.

Series 15.  Oversized Materials, 1967-2000 (1 cubic foot).  This series contains a collection of oversized posters, prints, and maps that Neil Armstrong maintained as part of his interest in space flight, aeronautic and astronautic technology, and geology. Most of these materials were bundled together under the label [Posters] by Armstrong himself. Other items in this series were kept by Armstrong as miscellany, variously stored by him in his office and other work spaces. The bulk of items found here are related to NASA and space flight, the remainder reflect Armstrong’s interests in travel and geology.

Series 16.  Photographs, circa 1900s-2002 (12.55 cubic feet).  This series is comprised of six sub-series: NACA/NASA Experimental Test Pilot; Gemini; Apollo and Apollo 11; Military [Navy]; Photograph Subject Files; and Oversized. The text in [  ]s indicate the original folder titles for which Neil Armstrong or his assistant had arranged the photographs.  A description of each precedes the sub-series listings.

The NASA photo series begins with Armstrong’s time as an experimental test pilot for the X-15 project and extends through both Gemini and Apollo programs. When official NASA photographs are present, they are arranged by designated NASA photograph number.

These are followed by the Military [Navy] series. Armstrong’s military service photographs include images of training, formation (flying and marching), various aircraft, Armstrong in his flight suit, Navy friends and Navy reunion photographs.

The Photograph Subject Files series are labeled as Armstrong had originally labeled them and have been left as he had arranged them within the folders.

The photographs in the Oversized (OS) Series were separated out from the other series for preservation purposes. Found within this series are Gemini, Apollo 11, Navy, Awards/Honorary Degrees, Trips and Purdue Alumni Astronaut Reunion photographs, along with miscellaneous photographs.

Series Series 17. Restricted Materials, 1969-2010 (2 cubic feet).  Materials in this series are restricted per donor request to respect third party privacy. Various lengths of restrictions are indicated in the folder listing.

Series 18.  Original Subject File Containers, circa 1943-2012 (7 cubic feet).  This series includes selected cardboard containers originally used by Armstrong in his home office to house a portion of his subject files. These containers were separated from the documents housed in them because the containers are highly acidic.  This series also includes original drop file labels also retained during the processing.  These materials were retained to represent Armstrong’s original records storage system and for exhibit use.

Date Acquired: 09/23/2008. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: "First Flights" documentary, Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco, Aeronautics--Periodicals, Aerospace engineering, Aircraft, Air pilots, Air pilots, Military, Apollo 11 (Spacecraft), Armstrong, Neil, 1930-2012, Armstrong, Stephen Koenig, 1907-1990, Armstrong, Viola L., 1907-1990, Astronautics, Astronautics--Research, Astronautics--United States--History, Astronauts, Astronauts--1960-1970, Astronauts--Training of--United States, Boy Scouts, Businessman, Commercial Club of Cincinnati, Commonwealth Club of Cincinnati, Edwards Air Force Base (Calif.), Flight Archives at Purdue University, Gemini VIII (Spacecraft), Korean War, 1950-1953, Lunar landing sites, Lunar module, Lunar roving vehicles, Military service--1940-1950, Moon--Surface, Moon rocks, NASA--Deputy Administrator of Aeronautics, NASA Advisory Council, NASA space programs, National Aeronautics and Space Administration--Space Shuttle insignia, National Commission on Space (U.S.), Naval aviators, Outer space--Exploration, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Pilots (Aeronautics), President's Advisory Council on the Peace Corps, Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (U.S.), Professor, Project Apollo (U.S.), Project Gemini (U.S.), Project Mercury (U.S.), Purdue University, Purdue University--Alumni and alumnae, Purdue University. School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Space flight, Space photographs, Space vehicles--Landing--Moon, Test pilots, United States. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, United States. Navy, University of Cincinnati. School of Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California. School of Aerospace Engineering, X-15 (Rocket aircraft), X-20 (Space glider)

Forms of Material: Aerospace engineering--Handbooks, manuals, etc., Aerospace engineering--Periodicals., Aerospace engineering--Textbooks., Artifacts (Object genre), Astronautical charts, Astronautics--Periodicals., Audiocassettes, Awards, Black-and-white photographs, Black-and-white slides, Books, Business records, Clippings (Information artifacts), Color photographs, Color slides, Correspondence, Coursework, Diagrams, Diagrams (Mission Module), Diplomas, DVDs, Email correspondence, Fan mail, Films, Handbooks, Historical documents, Letters (Correspondence), Lunar photography, Magnetic tapes, Manuals, Manuscripts (Documents), Maps, NASA publications, Negatives (Photographs), Notebooks, Personal papers, Publications, Records (Documents), Reference materials, Report cards, Scrapbooks, Sound recordings, Speeches, Textbooks, Textiles, Transcripts, VHS, Working papers, Writings

Languages: English, Russian

Abstract

This collection includes documents, coursework, working papers and subject files, correspondence, writings, speeches, photographs, and newspaper clippings related to Neil A. Armstrong's education, Navy career, training and career as a test pilot and astronaut, his career as a professor of engineering, and roles as advisor and participant for various commissions.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Neil A. Armstrong papers (1671-2012; 221.3 cubic feet) document the military, aeronautics, astronautics, teaching and corporate business career of Neil A. Armstrong.  The papers also feature items from Armstrong's youth and education. The collection includes but is not limited to documents, coursework, working papers, subject files, correspondence, writings, speeches, recordings, photographs and newspaper clippings. The papers are divided into eighteen series, and further information on the scope and content of the collection is located at the series level.

*Please see pdf finding aid for a complete listing.

Biographical Note

Neil Alden Armstrong was born near Wapakoneta, Ohio on August 5, 1930 to Viola Louise Engel Armstrong and Stephen Koenig Armstrong. He was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. At the age of 16, in 1946, he earned his student pilot certificate. He graduated from Blume High School in Wapakoneta, Ohio and having been accepted to the Navy’s Naval Aviation College Program, attended college at Purdue University beginning the fall of 1947. His studies in aeronautical engineering were interrupted in the spring of 1949 when he was called to military duty. His active military service spanned 1949 – 1952. He served as a Naval aviator in the Korean War during which he flew 78 combat missions. In 1952 he resumed his studies at Purdue University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1955. In 1955 he accepted a position as an Aeronautical Test Pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA) Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio.  Later in 1955 he would join NACA’s aeronautical research pilots at the High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base, in California. From 1955 until 1962 he flew a number of experimental aircraft including the X-1B, the F-100C, the X-15. He authored and  co-authored a number of research papers during this period and also conducted research as a pilot-engineer on the developing Dyna-Soar project.

In 1962 Armstrong transferred NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston as one of the nine astronaut trainees of the astronaut class of 1962.  Along with astronaut training activities, he was given the responsibilities for operations and training under Alan Shepard, chief of the astronauts. One of his tasks was to calculate how many crews were needed at any one point in time to meet the requirements of the program’s goals. He served in supporting roles for Mercury 9, his first flight crew assignment was as backup commander to Gordon Cooper on Gemini V. Throughout this period his work responsibilities were divided between general training, planning and calculations of the best “trajectories and sequences of events,” and in lab spacecraft systems tests and simulations. (see Hansen, 235) He served in a supporting role for Gemini III, command pilot for Gemini VIII that launched in March 1966. He served as commander of Apollo 11 that launched in July 1969 and became the first human to walk on the moon. Following the Apollo 11 mission, he embarked on the “Giant Step” world tour and later a Bob Hope USO Tour. He received numerous awards, achievement medals, and honors following the Apollo 11 mission.

In 1970 he earned his Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. From 1970 -1971 he served as Deputy Associate Administrator for Aerospace in NASA’s Office of Advanced Research and Technology. From 1971 through 1979 he taught and conducted research as Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Armstrong served on several corporate boards including Cardwell International, Gates Learjet Corporation, Marathon Oil Company, United Airlines, U.S. Steel Corporation, and Space Industries International.  He also consulted on issues of management as well as on aerospace. He served on commissions including the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Peace Corps, the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, the National Commission on Space, and the NASA Advisory Council. He was also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco.  He wrote and delivered hundreds of speeches throughout his professional career and into his retirement. He continued to receive fan mail until his death in 2012. He was married to Janet Shearon from 1956-1994, and to Carol Held Knight from 1994 to 2012. Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012 following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

Subject/Index Terms

"First Flights" documentary
Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco
Aeronautics--Periodicals
Aerospace engineering
Aircraft
Air pilots
Air pilots, Military
Apollo 11 (Spacecraft)
Armstrong, Neil, 1930-2012
Armstrong, Stephen Koenig, 1907-1990
Armstrong, Viola L., 1907-1990
Astronautics
Astronautics--Research
Astronautics--United States--History
Astronauts
Astronauts--1960-1970
Astronauts--Training of--United States
Boy Scouts
Businessman
Commercial Club of Cincinnati
Commonwealth Club of Cincinnati
Edwards Air Force Base (Calif.)
Flight Archives at Purdue University
Gemini VIII (Spacecraft)
Korean War, 1950-1953
Lunar landing sites
Lunar module
Lunar roving vehicles
Military service--1940-1950
Moon--Surface
Moon rocks
NASA--Deputy Administrator of Aeronautics
NASA Advisory Council
NASA space programs
National Aeronautics and Space Administration--Space Shuttle insignia
National Commission on Space (U.S.)
Naval aviators
Outer space--Exploration
Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
Pilots (Aeronautics)
President's Advisory Council on the Peace Corps
Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (U.S.)
Professor
Project Apollo (U.S.)
Project Gemini (U.S.)
Project Mercury (U.S.)
Purdue University
Purdue University--Alumni and alumnae
Purdue University. School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Society of Experimental Test Pilots
Space flight
Space photographs
Space vehicles--Landing--Moon
Test pilots
United States. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
United States. Navy
University of Cincinnati. School of Aerospace Engineering
University of Southern California. School of Aerospace Engineering
X-15 (Rocket aircraft)
X-20 (Space glider)

Administrative Information

Repository: Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Accruals:

20080923

20081007

20081111

20081217

20090114

20090218

20120922

20121016

20121102

20130412

20151106

20160627

Alternate Extent Statement: 466 mss, cubic feet and flat boxes

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for scholarly research.  A 48 hours notice and consultation with the Flight Archivist is required to access the collection.  Portions of the collection are restricted per donor restrictions and third party privacy.

Use Restrictions: Purdue University per deed of gift.

Acquisition Source: Donated by Neil A. Armstrong and Carol Armstrong, with the majority of the papers donated by Carol Armstrong and family in 2012.

Related Materials:

Purdue’s Place in Space: From the Midwest to the Moon:

http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/moon

James R. Hansen papers on Neil Armstrong:

https://apps.lib.purdue.edu/archon/index.php?p=accessions/accession&id=470&q=armstrong

Preferred Citation: MSA 5, Neil A. Armstrong papers, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Processing Information: Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained. All materials have been housed in acid-free folders or polyester sleeves and acid-free boxes.  Coursework has been copied on archival paper and originals retained. Some clippings containing images of people or color graphics, or front pages of newspapers, have been preserved for display purposes, with photocopies made available for research. Oversized [OS] maps, diagrams, certificates, and other printed material; photographs; and artifacts have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes.

Finding Aid Revision History: An addition was added on August 8, 2016.

Other URL: http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/fa/pdf/msa5_armstrong_n.pdf


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: NASA Career, 1951-2008],
[Series 2: Family Papers, 1934-2007 ],
[Series 3: Education, 1947-1970],
[Series 4: Military Records, 1946-2009 ],
[Series 5: Teaching, 1961-2004 ],
[Series 6: Boards, Commissions, and Consulting, circa 1970s-2009],
[Series 7: Memberships and Advisory Groups, 1971-2012],
[Series 8: Speeches, Writings, Manuscripts for Review, and Notebooks, 1958 – 2012],
[Series 9: Subject Files],
[Series 10: Personal Correspondence, 1970-2012],
[Series 11: Artifacts, 1920-2011],
[Series 12: Audio Visual, circa 1960s-2011 ],
[Series 13: Books and Magazines, 1671-2012],
[Series 14: News Clippings, 1959-2006],
[Series 15: Oversized Materials, 1967-2000 ],
[Series 16: Photographs, circa 1900s-2000s],
[Series 17: Restricted Materials, 1969-2010],
[Series 18: Original Subject File Containers, circa 1943-2012],
[All]