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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
11. Artifacts, 1920-2010 (20.2 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Air pilots, Military
Apollo 11 (Spacecraft)
Armstrong, Neil, 1930-
Astronauts--Training of--United States
Dyna-Soar (Space glider)
Edwards Air Force Base. USAF Test Pilot School
Experimental Aircraft (X-15)
Flight Archives at Purdue University
Lunar roving vehicles
Moon--Landing of Space Vehicles
Moon landing sites
National Aeronautics and Space Administration--Space Shuttle insignia
Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
Project Apollo (U.S.)
Project Gemini (U.S.)
Project Mercury (U.S.)
Purdue University--Alumni and alumnae
Purdue University. School of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Society of Experimental Test Pilots
Space exploration (Astronautics)
United States. Navy.
Clippings (Information artifacts)
Diagrams (Mission Module)
Manuscripts (document genre)
Purdue’s Place in Space: From the Midwest to the Moon: http://oldsite.lib.purdue.edu/moon/index.php?id=3
James R. Hansen papers on Neil Armstrong:
The Neil A. Armstrong papers (1671-2012; 207.1 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 seventeen 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.