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United State Book Exchange (3 folders)

Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution, International Exchange Service  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 509, Smithsonian Institution, International Exchange Service, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0509-refd1e3713

United States Book Exchange, Inc., 1950-1960

Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 50, Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Secretary, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0050-refd1e8121

Louis R. Purnell Interviews

Creator::
Purnell, Louis R., interviewee  Search this
Extent:
13 audiotapes (reference copies).
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Interviews
Audiotapes
Oral history
Date:
1993-1994
Introduction:
The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Louis R. Purnell was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his long career at the Institution, including fifteen years as Curator of Astronautics at the National Air and Space Museum, and his pioneering work as an African American professional.
Descriptive Entry:
Purnell was interviewed in seven sessions between December 1993 and February 1994 by Terrica M. Gibson, an Intern with the Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives. The interviews cover his childhood in Wilmington, Delaware, and Cape May, New Jersey; his education, love of flying, service during World War II; reminiscences of prominent Army Air Corps personnel, including General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.; careers with the Office of the Quartermaster General, U.S. Book Exchange, NMNH and NASM; the circumstances surrounding the first lunar landing; the move of NASM from the Arts & Industries (A&I) Building; relationship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and reminiscences of colleagues including G. Arthur Cooper, S. Paul Johnston, and Michael Collins.

This collection is comprised of approximately 12 hours of recordings and 291 pages of transcript. In total, this collection includes 24 original 7" reels, 24 preservation digital .wav files, 13 reference copy audio cassette tapes, and 24 reference copy digital .mp3 files.
Historical Note:
Louis R. Purnell (1920-2001), was born on 5 April 1920 in Snow Hill, Maryland. He spent his youth in Delaware and Cape May, New Jersey. While beginning his undergraduate degree at Lincoln University, in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, he was able to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot when the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) was instituted on campus. In 1942, he enlisted and was accepted into the seventh class of African American Army Air Force aviation cadets stationed at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama [the Tuskegee Airmen]. He joined the all-Black 99th Fighter Squadron in 1943. During World War II, he completed two tours of duty in North Africa and southern Italy with the 99th, and later the 332nd Fighter Group. He was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with Eight Oak Leaf Clusters.

After his return to the United States, Purnell returned to Lincoln University and completed a B.A. in Psychology. He took a position as a Speech Therapist at the Lena J. Sklar School in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He eventually moved to Washington, D.C., and held positions at the Office of the Quartermaster General and the United States Book Exchange at the Library of Congress. Purnell worked in a variety of jobs at the Smithsonian, eventually joining the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology and Paleobotany in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in 1961. In 1968, he moved to the Department of Astronautics of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). During his career in the Astronautics Department (renamed the Department of Space Science and Exploration in 1980), he progressed through the ranks from Museum Specialist to Curator, a position he held until his retirement in January 1985.
Rights:
Restricted.
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
African American history  Search this
History of science and technology  Search this
Paleontology  Search this
Aeronautics  Search this
Military history  Search this
Museum curators -- United States -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Audiotapes
Oral history
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9578, Louis R. Purnell Interviews
Identifier:
Record Unit 9578
See more items in:
Louis R. Purnell Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru9578

Louis R. Purnell, Jr., Curator of Astronautics, in Front of Airplane at NASM

Author:
Unknown  Search this
Subject:
Purnell, Louis R  Search this
National Air and Space Museum  Search this
National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Dept. of Astronautics  Search this
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Dept. of Paleobiology Division of Invertebrate Paleontology  Search this
Department of Paleobiology (NMNH) Division of Invertebrate Paleontology  Search this
United States Army Air Forces Fighter Group, 332nd  Search this
Tuskegee Airmen, Inc  Search this
Physical description:
Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 5w x 7h; Type of Image: Person, Candid; Medium: Photographic print
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
c. 1980s
Topic:
Museum curators  Search this
Museums--Employees  Search this
Smithsonian Institution--Employees  Search this
Air pilots  Search this
African American air pilots  Search this
African Americans  Search this
Standard number:
SIA2008-3012
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sic_11832

Louis R. Purnell in his United States Air Force Uniform

Author:
Polk's Studio, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama  Search this
Subject:
Purnell, Louis R  Search this
National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Dept. of Astronautics  Search this
United States Army Air Forces Fighter Group, 332nd  Search this
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Dept. of Paleobiology Division of Invertebrate Paleontology  Search this
Tuskegee Airmen, Inc  Search this
Physical description:
Number of Images: 1; Color: Sepia; Size: 2.5w x 3.75h; Type of Image: Portrait; Medium: Photographic print
Type:
Photographic print
Portraits
Place:
United States
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
c. 1942
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Uniforms, Military  Search this
Museums--Employees  Search this
African American air pilots  Search this
African Americans in aeronautics  Search this
Air pilots  Search this
Museum curators  Search this
Smithsonian Institution--Employees  Search this
African Americans  Search this
Standard number:
SIA2011-0143
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sic_12636

Louis R. Purnell in Airman Uniform

Author:
Unknown  Search this
Subject:
Purnell, Louis R  Search this
National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Dept. of Astronautics  Search this
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Dept. of Paleobiology Division of Invertebrate Paleontology  Search this
National Air and Space Museum  Search this
United States Army Air Forces Fighter Group, 332nd  Search this
Tuskegee Airmen, Inc  Search this
Physical description:
Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Portraits; Medium: Photographic print
Type:
Photographic print
Portraits
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
c. 1942
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Uniforms, Military  Search this
African American air pilots  Search this
Museum curators  Search this
Smithsonian Institution--Employees  Search this
African Americans  Search this
African Americans in aeronautics  Search this
Standard number:
SIA2011-0144
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions
Data Source:
Smithsonian Archives - History Div
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sic_12637

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