The collection consists of correspondence (both of Nicola Tesla and Kenneth Swezey), copies of patents, articles, pamphlets, brochures, stamps, newsletters, and manuscripts, from 1890-1972 collected and assembled by Swezey.
Scope and Contents:
The Swezey papers are divided into four series: Series 1: Correspondence and Subject Files, Series 2: Tesla Photographs, Series 3: Publications and Series 4: Research Notes. Series 4: Research Notes is housed in a small metal box and contains Swezey's research notes presumably for his incomplete biography of Tesla. Series 1: Correspondence and Subjects Files is arranged alphabetically and is composed of correspondence, copies of patents, articles, pamphlets, brochures, stamps, newsletters and manuscripts. The folders within this series are titled and include a diverse combination of correspondence between Swezey and Tesla, and between Swezey and his colleagues, companies, government officials, museum curators, and Tesla's admirers. Box 19 contains photographs of Tesla, his inventions, his laboratories and personal photographs. Boxes 20-26 include bibliographies, biographies and articles.
The collection is strong in articles from magazines such as Electrical Experimentor, newspaper clippings, articles regarding electricity, power, radio, pamphlets, and brochures.
The collection generally follows Swezey's arrangement and is somewhat inconsistent in terms of organization. However, the folder titles are fairly specific and should give the researcher direction. The materials within the folders are arranged chronologically. While some photo prints have been placed together in Series 2, there are also a large number of photo prints throughout the collection, according to Swezey's original arrangement.
The collection provides an overview of Tesla's unusual personality and Swezey's intense preoccupation with Tesla. The collection also provides insight into Tesla's way of life, philosophies, personality and a general overview of his inventions and how society reacted to this prolific and unusual inventor.
The collection is divided into four series.
Series 1: Correspondence and Subject Files, 1891-1988
Series 2: Tesla Photographs, 1983; 1943
Series 3: Publications, 1959-1970
Series 4: Research Notes, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was born in Smiljan, Lika, now Yugoslavia and emigrated to America in 1884. He worked at the Edison Machine Works as a dynamo designer where he was promised a salary of $18.00 a week, with a completion bonus of $50,000. He realized at the end of the year the bonus had been a practical joke and he resigned.
By 1887, he accumulated enough money to build a laboratory and start working on models of motors. Shortly thereafter, he developed his famous polyphase, alternating current motor, using an alternating current instead of the direct current used up until this point. Tesla's motor kept "exact step with the rotations of the field, regardless of load; this was the first polyphase synchronous motor." (Science, Swezey, vol. 127 p.1149) The induction motor which he later invented developed a high torque in starting, built up speed, and could maintain speed with varying loads. In 1888, Tesla received his first patents from the U.S. Patent Office.
George Westinghouse quickly recognized Tesla's lucrative ideas, and hired him. Westinghouse was awarded the important Niagara Falls Power contract using Tesla's patents for his turbine engine utilizing the polyphase system. After a year, despite his very high salary with Westinghouse, Tesla decided to go back to working in his private lab in New York. He experimented with high frequency currents which led to many discoveries, including the famous Tesla coil the forerunner of fluorescent and neon lighting.
At the same time he started delving in the new field of science, telautomatics, now called automation. He built and demonstrated model boats controlled by wireless radio impulses and the first radio controlled torpedo (the forerunner of the guided missile)
One of Tesla's dreams was to transmit electric signals all over the world without using wires . In 1899, he began building a demonstration plant for wireless transmission at his Shoreham, Long Island laboratory. Despite never completing the plant due to lack of funds, his vision earned him the name "father of radio".
In Tesla's latter years he worked on inventions and ideas which he could not afford to develop and became more eccentric and withdrawn from society. He died January 7, 1943 at the age of 87.
Although Tesla was well regarded in his time, he was never revered in this country as he was in Yugoslavia. Most of Tesla's original documents and correspondence are in Belgrade, Yugoslavia at the Nikola Tesla Museum. The Library of Congress Manuscript Division holds 7 reels of microfilm of these materials.
Kenneth M. Swezey (1905-1972) wrote for the New York Sun in his late teens and early twenties. At this time he met and became friends with Nikola Tesla. Swezey regarded him as an unsung electrical genius and collected Tesla materials from 1921-1972. In his capacity as writer for various publications he frequently wrote about Tesla and his scientific advancements. Privately he spent a large part of his time memorializing him, eg. he started the Tesla Society. He also organized anniversary celebrations commemorating Tesla, etc.
Swezey also wrote science books, among them: Formulas, Methods, Tips and Data for Home and Workshop, 1969; Science Shows You How, 1964 and After Dinner Science. When Mr. Swezey died in 1972, the Smithsonian Institution acquired his collection.
Kenneth Swezey felt that the United States should honor Tesla and spent most of his life trying to memorialize him. He was instrumental in organizing a celebration of Tesla's 75th anniversary with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, soliciting admiring statements from both individuals and corporations, for the unpublished pamphlet, "Tribute to Nikola Tesla." Some of Mr. Swezey's other Tesla related activities included: forming the Tesla Society, organizing and designing the 100th anniversary celebration, successfully lobbying for the naming of ships, schools, and a unit of measurement after Tesla, and the striking of a stamp commemorating Tesla.
The collection was donated by Robert MacCrate, Attorney, Sullivan and Cromwell in 1972.
Collection is open for research.
Series 1: Leland Anderson correspondence, box 2 is restricted by the donor until 2030.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Ralph M. Parsons Corporation (Pasadena, Calif.) Search this
0.6 Cubic feet (2 boxes)
Great Lakes (North America)
The collection contains executive reports, promotional material, correspondence, articles and publications documenting the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA), which was a large-scale, transcontinental water transfer plan designed by the Ralph M. Parsons Corporation in 1964.
Scope and Contents:
The collection contains a promotional video, correspondence, plans, studies, reports, articles, newspaper clippings, and newsletters, which document the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA), a large scale, transcontinental water transfer plan designed by the Ralph M. Parsons Corporation in 1964 to collect excess water from the northwestern part of the North American continent and distribute it to deficient areas of Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Series 1: Plans and Studies, 1964-1989, is arranged topically and contains conceptual studies, executive plans, summaries, and papers and presentations about the NAWAPA project. The conceptual plans (Volumes One, Two and Five), detail the engineering, financial, and sociogeopolitical aspects of the project, while the other materials provide overall background and context for the project's conception.
Series 2: Correspondence, 1974-1990, is arranged chronologically and contains letters and interoffice memoranda about the NAWAPA project. The contents of the letters primarily relate to efforts to gain federal government support for the NAWAPA. The majority of the correspondence was created by Joseph Volpe, Jr., Vice-President of Parsons Corporation and W.E. Leonhard, Chairman and CEO of Parsons Corporation. Correspondence from congressional representatives such as Senator Fran E. Moss (D-Utah) and Representative Harold T. (Bizz) Johnson (D-California) are present. There are some tax returns, letters and interoffice memoranda concerning the dissolution of the NAWAPA Foundation Inc., which was a subsidiary of the Parsons Corporation.
Series 3: Reference Materials, 1964-1990, is arranged topically and contains brochures, articles, publications, newspaper clippings, notes, and audio visual materials documenting the NAWAPA project and water issues. Materials from the National Water Alliance, National Democratic Policy Committee (Water from Alaska), and the Water Policy Report of the Western Governors' Association are represented. The NAWAPA promotional video tape on 1/2" VHS, circa 1964, was originally shot on 16mm color film and produced by the Ralph M. Parsons Corporation. The film depicts still images of landscapes, mostly rivers and reservoirs, and engineering projects such as dams, hydroelectric power plants and irrigation systems. The film is narrated and discusses the importance of the NAWAPA project. A digital surrogate (RDVD 1052.01) of the videotape exists.
The collection is organized into three series.
Series 1: Plans and Studies, 1964-1989
Series 2: Correspondence, 1974-1990
Series 3: Reference, 1964-1990
Biographical / Historical:
The North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) was a large-scale, transcontinental water transfer plan designed by the Ralph M. Parsons Corporation in 1964. The Parsons Corporation was founded in 1944 to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for government, petrochemical, and infrastructure clients. In the early 1960s, Parsons invested its own financial resources to study and develop a conceptual plan for NAWAPA, which would divert fresh water from Alaska to water-deficient areas of seven Canadian provinces, thirty-three U.S. states, and three Mexican states. The total projected investment was about a hundred billion dollars with construction estimated to take approximately twenty years.
Although the NAWAPA project was never realized, the Parsons Corporation (http://www.parsons.com) continues to provide engineering, construction, technical, and management services to private industries and government agencies.
Immediate source of acquisition unknown. Found in the Division of Engineering and Industry, now known as the Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
This is the original manuscript of Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys, the book in which Collins describes his experiences as a test pilot and in the space program. It features hand corrections by his editor (in red) and Collins (in black) and includes passages which are crossed out and do not appear in the publiched version.
Biographical / Historical:
Michael Collins (1930 - 2021) served as a fighter pilot and an experimental test pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base from 1959-1963. He was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963. Collins was pilot on the three-day Gemini 10 mission in 1966, during which he became the nation's third spacewalker and set a world altitude record. His second flight was as command module pilot of the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969. He remained in lunar orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. After leaving NASA in 1970, Collins became Assistant Secretaty of State for Public Affairs and, in 1971, became the Director of the National Air and Space Museum, where he remained for seven years. Collins has received numerous decorations and awards and is the author of several books, including this, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys, which was released to critical acclaim by Farrar Straus Giroux in 1974.
A Chronology of Major General Michael Collins' Life
1930, October 31 -- Born to James and Virginia Collins in Rome, Italy. He is the youngest of four children.
1942, September 22 -- Enters St. Albans School in Washington, DC.
1948 -- Graduates from St. Albans School.
1952, June -- Graduates from the United States Military Academy in West point with a Bachelor of Science degree in Military Science.
1952, August -- Joins the United States Air Force (USAF) and begins basic training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, where he learns to fly the T-6 Texan.
1953 -- At Connally Air Force Base, Waco, Texas, he learns to fly T-33A Shooting Star jet trainers.
1953, September -- Learns advanced day-fighter training on an F-86 Sabre at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
1954, January -- Joins the 21st Fighter-Bomber Wing at George Air Force Base, California, where he learns nuclear weapons delivery systems and ground attack.
1954, mid-December -- Transfers with the 21st Fighter-Bomber Wing at Chambley-Bussières Air Base, France.
1956 -- Wins first place in a gunnery competition.
1956 -- Deploys to West Germany during the Hungarian Revolution.
1957, April 28 -- Marries Patricia Finnegan, a social worker, in Chambley, France.
Late 1957 -- Enrolls in a nine-month aircraft maintenace officer course at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois, that he finishes in six months.
1959, May 6 -- Birth of daughter, Kathleen.
1960 -- Commands a Mobile Training Detachment (MTD) at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. This requires him to travel to airbases world-wide. He later becomes the first commander of a Field Training Detachment (FTD).
1960, August 29 -- Enrolls in the USAF Experimental Flight Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, as a member of Class 60C. While there, his flight test instructional aircraft are the F-104 Starfighter, F-86 Sabre, T-33 Shooting Star, B-52 Stratofortressand T-28 Trojan. He logs more than 5,000 hours of flying time.
1961, October 31 -- Birth of daughter, Ann.
1962, February 20 -- Collins' interest in becoming an astronaut is piqued after seeing coverage of John Glenn's orbit around Earth.
1962, October 22 -- Begins a postgraduate course on spaceflight at the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) (formerly the USAF Experimental Flight Test Pilot School) where he flew the T-38A Talon and the NF-101 Voodoo. Classmates include future astronauts Joe Engle, Charles Bassett and Edward Givens.
1963, February 23 -- Birth of son, Michael.
1963, May -- Returns to fighter operations at Edwards Air Force Base after having successfully completed the coursework at ARPS.
1963, June -- Applies to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to become an astronaut.
1963, September 2 -- Is interviewed by NASA in Houston, Texas.
1963, October 14 -- Receives a phone call from NASA's Director of Flight Crew Operations Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, asking if he would like to be an astronaut. He does.
1963, October 18 -- At the Manned Space Center (MSC). later renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC), Collins is selected as one of fourteen new astronauts (7 from the Air Force, 4 from the Navy, 1 from the Marines and two civilians), bringing the total number of NASA astronauts to 30. This third group includes Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. Each astronaut is assigned a specialization. His is extravehicular activities (EVAs) and pressure suits.
1965, July 1 -- Collins and Edward White II are named the backup crew for Gemini 7. Frank Borman and James A. Lovell Jr are the prime crew.
1966, January 24 -- Collins is assigned to the prime crew of Gemini 10, along with John Young as mission commander. This makes Collins the seventeenth American to fly in space.
1966, July 18 -- At 5:20 pm EST, Gemini 10 lifts off from Launch Complex 19 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Among the accomplishments on this three-day mission were the successful rendezvous and docking with an Agena target vehicle, conducting dual rendezvous maneuvers using the target vehicle's propulsion systems, conducting two EVAs, practice docking maneuvers, executing fifteen scientific experiments and evaluating various docked spacecraft systems.
1966, July 21 -- Gemini 10 splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean, 529 miles east of Cape Kennedy, and is recovered by the amphibious assault ship USS Guadalcanal. Gemini 10 attained an apogee of approximately 475 statute miles and traveled a distance of 1,275,091 statute miles. It was the second spacecraft in the Gemini program to land within eye and camera range of the prime recovery ship.
1966, late July -- Receives Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings.
1966 -- Receives NASA's Exceptional Service Medal.
1967, January 27 -- While attending a meeting in the Astronaut Office in Houston, Texas, Collins and others hears of the tragic deaths of astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White. Collins went to the Chaffee home where he informed Roger's wife Martha that her husband died during a routine launch rehearsal test.
1967, November 19 -- NASA announces the crews for the first two manned Apollo/Saturn V flights. Collins (as command module pilot), Frank Borman (as commander) and William A. Anders (as lunar module pilot) are named the prime crew for AS-505, the second mission.
1968, July 22-23 -- At Wilford Hall Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Collins undergoes surgery to fuse two vertebrae after a bone spur is found on his spine.. His role as prime Apollo 9 crew in jeopardy as his convalescence might take up to four months.
1968, August 8 -- NASA announces that James Lovell will replace Collins as prime command module pilot for the upcoming Apollo mission.
1968, December -- Collins serves as capsule communicator (CAPCOM) for Apollo 8
1969, January 9 -- NASA names Neil A. Armstrong (commander), Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr (lunar module pilot) and Collins (command module pilot) as prime crew of Apollo 11.
1969, May 24 -- Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin practice splashdown and anticontamination procedures they will use after returning from the moon in two months. They donned plastic-coated biological isolation garments and sprayed each other with Betadine disinfectant before leaving a test spacecraft in the Gulf of Mexico.
1969. July 3 -- Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin complete their final countdown rehearsal test. They achieved simulated liftoff at 9:32 am EST, the exact time of the scheduled July 16th launch.
1969, July 5 -- At MSC, the Apollo 11 astronauts hold a press conference where they are seated 50 feet away from the nearest reporters and were partially enclosed in a plastic booth to limit their contact 21 days prior to flight lest they get ill. Collins says that he doesn't not feel "the slightest bit frustrated" about going to the moon without landing on it. "I'm going 99.9 percent of the way there," he states, "and that suits me fine."
1969, July 11 -- The Apollo 11 crew undergo the last major preflight medical examination at KSC and are cleared for launch.
1969, July 16 -- At 9:22 am EST, Apollo 11 lifts off from launch complex 39A by Saturn V 506 booster at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff was relayed live on TV to 33 countries on 6 continents and watched by an estimated 25 million TV views in the United States. Onboard is command module pilot Collins, spacecraft commander Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot. While the latter two descend to the lunar surface on the Sea of Tranquility in the lunar module Eagle, Collins orbits the moon alone 30 times for more than 21 hours in the command module Columbia. It takes 48 minutes to pass behind the far side of the moon and is the most distant part of space that humans have yet visited alone. During that time, Collins loses all means of communication; the moon's 2,100-mile rocky diameter stood between him and all other human beings. While the press would later shortsightedly dub him "The Loneliest Man in History" during this period of disconnect, Collins recalled in Carrying the Fire that he was not having an existential, solipsistic crisis. Instead, he was preoccupied with the very real problem of failure on a scale that was hard to fathom. He documented his fear on audiotape recorded at the time, saying, "My secret terror for the last six months has been leaving them on the Moon and returning to Earth alone; now am within minutes of finding out the truth of the matter." What if things went terribly wrong and he returned to Earth alone? "I will be a marked man for life, and I know it." His worries proved to be unfounded. After Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon, he and Aldrin collect 21 kg of lunar surface material and conduct scientific experiments. After spending 21 hours and 36 minutes on the lunar surface, Armstrong and Aldrin lift off the moon's surface using the Eagle's ascent stage and return to lunar orbit, where Collins successfully docks Columbia to it.
1969, July 21 -- After almost a full day on the lunar surface, Armstrong and Aldrin launch off the moon's surface using the Eagle's ascent stage and return to lunar orbit, where Collins successfully docks Columbia to it. After jettisoning the lunar module, Apollo 11 begins its journey home.
1969, July 25 -- The Air Force promotes Collins to the rank of full colonel. In a congratulatory message, General John P. McConnell, Air Force Chief of Staff, says the Apollo 11 mission was "indeed a momentous achievement" and the promotion was a "token of appreciation for the part you played."
1969, July 25 -- Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins splash down on July 24 in the Pacific Ocean and are retrieved by the USS Hornet. After donning biological isolation garments, they enter the Mobile Quarantine Facility along with the recovery physician, a recovery technician and the lunar samples where they remain until August 10, 1969.
1969, August 12 -- Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins hold their first postflight press conference at MSC, where they narrate a 45-minute film of the mission and answer questions. While discussing hte lunar landing, Collins says it was a "technical triumph for this country to have said what it was going to do a number of years ago and then, by golly, do it. It was also a triumph of the nation's overall determination, will, economy, attention to detail, and a thousand and one other fators that went into it."
1969, August 13 -- The three Apollo 11 astronauts attended parades in their honor in New York City and Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California. An estimated six million people attend.
1969, August 17 -- Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins appear on CBS's "Face the Nation". Collins mentions that he would not fly in space again because he found it increasingly difficult "to keep up year after year" with the rigorous training required.
1969, September -- The three Apollo 11 astronauts embarked on a 38-day world tour. In all, they visited 22 countries.
1969, September 6 -- The Apollo 11 astronauts attend celebrations in their hometowns. Collins, who was born in Rome, Italy, chooses to visit New Orleans, Louisiana, as his adopted hometown, where he also visits NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility.
1969, December 15 -- Begins work as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. President Nixon announced his plan to nominate Collins on November 28th.
1970 -- Receives NASA's Distinguished Service Medal.
1970 -- After 18 years of Active Duty service in the Air Force, begins serving in the Air Force Reserve.
1971, February 22 -- President Nixon accepts Collins' resignation as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, effective April 11.
1971, April 12 -- Becomes Director of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington, DC. Collins tirelessly lobbied for funding from Congress to build the museum. $40 million was allocated for construction.
1973, April 6 -- The Senate confirms the nomination of Col. Michael Collins to be a brigadier general.
1974 -- Completes the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.
1974, August 11 -- Publishes Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys to critical acclaim.
1976 -- Publishes Flying to the Moon and Other Strange Places.
1976, March 10 -- Is confirmed by the Senate as a reserve major general.
1976, July 1 -- The National Air and Space Museum opens to the public. Thanks to Collins' leadership, it is both under budget and three days ahead of schedule. The ceremony was presided over by President Gerald R. Ford and ribbon was cut by a signal transmitted by the Viking I spacecraft in orbit around Mars.to a large metal arm.
1976, November 16 -- Collins in one of 3 NASA employees to win the National Civil Service League's career service awards.
1976, December -- The Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) announce that Collins has been appointed mobilization assistant to the AFSC commander. This position was the top Air Force Reserve post in AFSC.
1977 -- Is inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame atthe New Mexico Museum of Space History.
1977, September 30 -- The National Aeronautic Association announces that the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) will present the gold space medal to Collins, at a ceremony to be held in Rome, Italy, on October 3rd. It is awarded yearly as the world's highest award for spaceflight.
1978 -- Becomes an Undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution, a position he holds until he resigns on January 28, 1980.
1980 -- Is Vice President of Vought, Inc. (formerly Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) Aerospace and Defense Company) in Arlington, Virginia.
1982 -- Retires from the Air Force as a Major General.
1983, March 4 -- Asteroid 6471 Collins is named after him.
1985 -- Resigns from LTV Aerospace and starts his own consulting firm, Michael Collins Associates.
1987, March -- Aviation Week and Space Technology reports that the Space Goals Task Force of the NASA Advisory Council, headed by Collins, will recommend a crew-tended mission to Mars. Collins stressed that the development and operation of a US/international Space Station was a prerequisite for exploration of Mars and beyond.
1988 -- Publishes Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventures in Space.
1990 -- Publishes Mission to Mars.
1993, March 18 -- NASA announces that 14 astronauts who orbited the Earth during Project Gemini (which includes Collins) were inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame.
1993, March 3 -- Death of son Michael in Massachusetts.
2011, November 16 -- Collins, Armstrong and Aldrin receive the Precedential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
2014, April -- His wife Pat passes away.
2020 -- The National Air and Space Museum Award, established in 1985, is re-named The Michael Collins Trophy.
2021, April 28 -- Michael Collin dies of cancer at his home in in Naples, Florida.
2023, January 30 -- Collins' ashes are interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
The manuscript and galley proofs were found in the Ramsy Room, October of 1992. The galley proofs were deaccessioned on 02/18/99.
No restrictions on access