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Richard Porter Papers

Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Names:
General Electric Company  Search this
General Electric Company. Guided Missiles Department  Search this
International Council of Scientific Unions. Committee on Space Research. United States Academy  Search this
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)  Search this
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.). Space Sciences Board. International Relations Committee  Search this
Project Hermes  Search this
United Nations. Committe on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space  Search this
United States. National Committee for the International Geophysical Year  Search this
United States. National Committee for the International Geophysical Year. Earth Satellite Program. Technical Panel  Search this
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Von Braun, Wernher, 1912-1977  Search this
Extent:
6.54 Cubic feet (6 records center boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Notes
Programs
Photographs
Publications
Correspondence
Clippings
Date:
circa 1930s-1980
Summary:
This collection consists of six feet of material documenting Porter's many scientific contributions. The following types of material are included: photographs, lecture notes, correspondence, trip notes, newspaper clippings, symposium programs, papers, and periodicals, circa 1930s-1980s.
Scope and Content:
The Richard Porter Collection reflects Porter's career as an electrical engineer, rocketry expert, and a corporate manager and consultant. Almost the entirety of this collection consists of materials related to his professional work. This includes correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, reports, notes, speeches, photographs, brochures, pamphlets, programs, magazines, newsletters, papers, articles, newspaper clippings, miscellaneous materials (directories, mailing lists, transcript, etc.), as well as a scrapbook. It is worth singling out a few of the aforementioned materials for their particular historical significance pertaining to the development of rocketry and space exploration. Some of the correspondence, memoranda and notes reveal the inner workings of Operation Paperclip: the U.S. plan to seek out, debrief, recruit and evacuate German rocket scientists from war-torn Germany to America. Additionally, other examples of correspondence and notes give candid appraisals of some key figures in the aerospace field, as well as to illustrate exchanges between Porter and such scientific luminaries as Carl Sagan, Wernher von Braun, Simon Ramo, Holger Toftoy, Fred Durant III, Edith Goddard and Clyde Tombaugh.

The Porter Collection is arranged both chronologically and alphabetically. Correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, notes, notebooks, speeches, photographs, brochures, pamphlets, programs, magazines, journals, articles, newspaper clippings and miscellaneous materials are organized by the former method. Reports are arranged alphabetically by organizational name while newsletters and papers are grouped alphabetically by title and then chronologically.

The reader should note that the Porter Collection was exposed to a fire in Porter's office sometime during the late 1970s. The fire, along with the subsequent dousing of water from the firefighters, destroyed much of this collection. All that remained are the materials described here. While the surviving materials generally suffered only minor damage (mainly to their original folders), scorch marks can be occasionally observed on some correspondence, speeches, reports, etc.. More serious problems exist with seven folders containing photographs. For conservation purposes, they have been separated from the rest of the photographs in this collection and are currently unavailable to researchers.
Arrangement:
The Porter Collection is arranged both chronologically and alphabetically. Correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes, notes, notebooks, speeches, photographs, brochures, pamphlets, programs, magazines, journals, articles, newspaper clippings and miscellaneous materials are organized by the former method. Reports are arranged alphabetically by organizational name while newsletters and papers are grouped alphabetically by title.
Biographical/Historical note:
As an established authority on rockets, GE placed Porter in overall charge of the company's guided missiles department in 1953. By the mid-1950s, his great knowledge in this field also lead to a position as head of a panel of scientists tasked with developing a U.S. space program in time for the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58. On February 1, 1958, Porter was given the honor of announcing to reporters that the U.S. had launched its first satellite, Explorer 1, the previous night. The booster employed for this endeavor, an Army Jupiter-C, was designed and built mainly by the German rocket scientists (including their leader, Wernher von Braun) Porter helped to bring to America thirteen years earlier. By this time, GE assigned him as a company-wide consultant. Besides serving as leader of the U.S. IGY effort, he also served on many other boards and panels such as the International Relations Committee of the Space Sciences Board, U.S. National Academy of Science, the U.S. Academy in the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and the U.S. delegation for the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. During his long career in engineering and aerospace development, Porter was also the recipient of numerous honors and awards. These included the Coffin Award, Goddard Award and the Scientific Achievement Award given by Yale University.

Aside from his career, Porter had a busy personal life. In 1946, he married Edith Wharton Kelly. The couple had two daughters and a son. Porter enjoyed horticulture -- especially growing orchids, as well as skiing and playing the clarinet. He died on October 6, 1996 at the age of 83.
General note:
Dr. Porter had a fire that destroyed most of his papers. These six boxes are all that remain.
Provenance:
Susan Porter Beffel and Thomas Andrew Porter, Gift, 1997, 1997-0037, NASM
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
Topic:
V-2 rocket  Search this
Launch complexes (Astronautics) -- White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico  Search this
Astronautics and state  Search this
Astronautics  Search this
Periodicals  Search this
Rockets (Aeronautics)  Search this
Rocketry  Search this
Genre/Form:
Notes
Programs
Photographs
Publications
Correspondence
Clippings
Identifier:
NASM.1997.0037
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-1997-0037
Online Media:

Space Astronomy Oral History Project

Creator:
DeVorkin, David H., 1944-  Search this
Names:
National Air and Space Museum (U.S.). Division of Space History  Search this
Space Astronomy Oral History Project (SAOHP) (U.S.)  Search this
Aaron, Jules  Search this
Baum, William  Search this
Behring, William  Search this
Bergstralh, Jay T.  Search this
Bleach, Richard  Search this
Brunk, William Edward, 1928-  Search this
Code, Arthur D.  Search this
Connor, Jerry  Search this
DeVorkin, David H., 1944-  Search this
Drake, Frank D.  Search this
Fastie, William  Search this
Fraser, Lorence  Search this
Friedman, Herbert  Search this
Frier, Phyllis  Search this
Frosch, Robert  Search this
Gianoplis, George  Search this
Gold, Thomas  Search this
Goldberg, Leo  Search this
Harwit, Martin, 1931-  Search this
Hibbs, Albert R.  Search this
Hinners, Noel W.  Search this
Hinteregger, Hans H.  Search this
Johnson, Charles Yothers, 1920-  Search this
Johnson, Francis  Search this
Jursa, Adolph S.  Search this
Kondracki, Henry  Search this
Krause, Ernst H.  Search this
Neugebauer, G. (Gerry)  Search this
Neupert, Werner  Search this
Newburn, R. L. (Ray L.)  Search this
Newkirk, Gordon Allen, 1928-  Search this
Ney, Edward  Search this
Nier, Alfred  Search this
O'Dell, Charles  Search this
Pickering, William  Search this
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Purcell, J. DeWitt (James DeWitt), 1912-1986  Search this
Rense, William  Search this
Roberts, Walter  Search this
Roman, Nancy Grace, 1925-  Search this
Rosen, Milton W.  Search this
Scheiderman, Dan  Search this
Schorn, Ronald  Search this
Schwarzschild, Martin  Search this
Silberstein, Richard  Search this
Simpson, John A. (John Alexander), 1916-  Search this
Spencer, Nelson  Search this
Spitzer, Lyman, 1914-  Search this
Strand, K. Aage (Kaj Aage), 1907-  Search this
Strong, John  Search this
Tape, Gerald  Search this
Tombaugh, Clyde William, 1906-  Search this
Tousey, Richard, 1908-1997  Search this
Tycz, Mona  Search this
Van Allen, James Alfred, 1914-  Search this
Wasserburg, Gerald  Search this
Webb, James E. (James Edwin), 1906-  Search this
Westphal, James  Search this
Whitsett, Charles  Search this
Wilshusen, Fred  Search this
Withbroe, G. L. (George L.)  Search this
Extent:
3.59 Cubic feet (19 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Transcripts
Date:
1981-1991
Summary:
The collection consists of the transcripts for the Space Astronomy Oral History Project (SAOHP), which examined the early use of rockets and satellites to study the upper atmosphere and space for the period 1946 through the early 1960s. This project constitutes one of several oral history projects conducted within the Department of Space History, NASM. The principal investigator for the SAOHP was David H. DeVorkin, and the interview set contains 225 hours of interviews with 56 individuals. The central thread of this collection is how the availability of new technologies for research, first the rocket and later satellites, helped to create a new social matrix for research. The following were interviewed: Jules Aaron; Ball Brothers; William Baum, William Behring; Jay Bergstrahl; Richard Bleach; William Brunk; Arthur Code; Jerry Conner; Frank Drake; William Fastie; Lorence Fraser; Herbert Friedman; Phyllis Frier; Robert Frosch; George Gianoplis; Thomas Gold; Leo Goldberg; Martin Harwit; Ralph Havens; Albert Hibbs; Noel Hinners; Hans Hinteregger; Charles Johnson; Francis Johnson; Adolph Jursa; Henry Kondracki; Ernst Krause; Alfred Nier; Gerry Neugebauer; Werner Neupert; Ray Newburn; Gordon Newkirk; Edward Ney; Charles O'Dell; William Pickering; Richard Porter; James Purcell; William Rense;Walter Roberts; Nancy Roman; Milton Rosen; Dan Scheiderman; Ronald Schorn; Martin Schwarzschild; Richard Silberstein; John Simpson; Lyman Spitzer; Kaj Strand; Nelson Spencer; John Strong; Gerald Tape; Clyde Tombaugh; Richard Tousey; Mona Tycz; James Van Allen; Gerald Wasserburg; James Webb; James Westphal; Charles Whitsett; Fred Wilshusen; and George Withbroe.
Scope and Contents:
Audio cassettes and transcipts.
Arrangement:
The Space Astronomy Oral History Project interviews are arranged alphabetically by interviewee.
Historical Note:
This collection contains the interviews for the Space Astronomy Oral History Project. These interviews explore the early use of rockets and satellites over the period 1946 through the early 1960s to investigate the upper atmosphere and space. This project constitutes one of several oral history projects conducted within the National Air and Space Museum's (NASM) Department of Space History. The principal interviewer for this project was David H. DeVorkin and the interview set consists of 225 hours of interviews with 67 individuals. Please note that there are a few instances where audio cassette tapes of the interview subjects exist but without written transcripts while there are also a few cases of existing transcripts of the interviews without any audio cassette tapes. The following were interviewed for this project: Jules Aaron; Frank Bateson; William Alvin Baum; William Behring; Jay Thor Bergstrahl; Richard Bleach; William E. Brunk; Arthur Dodd Code; Jerry Conner; Fred Dolder; Frank Donald Drake; William G. Fastie; Lorence Fraser; Phyllis Freier; Herbert Friedman; Robert Frosch; Reuben H. Gablehouse; R.A.Gaiser; George Gianopolis; Thomas Gold; Leo Goldberg; Martin Otto Harwit; Ralph Havens; Albert Roach Hibbs; Noel Hinners; Hans Erich Hinteregger; Charles Yothers Johnson; Francis S. Johnson; Adolph Simon Jursa; Jerome Kohl; Henry Kondracki; Ernst Henry Krause; R.C. Mercure; Alfred O. Neir; Gerry Neugebauer; Werner Neupert; Ray Leon Newburn; Gordon Allen Newkirk; Edward P. Ney; Charles Robert O'Dell; William Hayward Pickering; Richard W. Porter; James D. Purcell; William A. Rense; Walter Orr Roberts; Nancy Grace Roman; Milton W. Rosen; Dan Schneiderman; Ronald A. Schorn; Martin Schwarzschild; Richard Silberstein; John Simpson; Nelson W. Spencer; Lyman Spitzer, Jr.; Kaj Strand; John Strong; Gerald Tape; Clyde William Tombaugh; Richard Tousey; Mona Tycz; James Van Allen; Gerald Joseph Wasserburg; James Edwin Webb; James A. Westphal; Charles Edward Whitsett; Fred Wilshusen and George Withbroe.
Provenance:
Space History, NASM, Transfer, 1999, 1999-0034, Varies
Restrictions:
The audio cassette tapes of these interviews have yet to be remastered and, due to their fragility, are unavailable to researchers. Transcripts are available to researchers though, there are restrictions placed on a number of them. A NASM staff member will advice the patron which transcripts are available for copying or viewing and how to order copies of transcripts and/or CDs.
Rights:
Permissions Requests
Topic:
Rockets (Aeronautics)  Search this
Atmosphere, Upper -- Rocket observations  Search this
Astronomy  Search this
Astronautics  Search this
Artificial satellites  Search this
Genre/Form:
Transcripts
Citation:
Space Astronomy Oral History Project, Acc. 1994-0034, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.1999.0034
See more items in:
Space Astronomy Oral History Project
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-1999-0034
Online Media:

Correspondence, War Department credentials for Porter to travel to European Theater of Operations

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1945
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 1: Correspondence
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref10

Device Applications of Cryogenics - Part I - Superconducting Electronics, contract no. NOOO14-70-C-0133, R.A.I., Inc.

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1971 July
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref100

Report of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board Ad Hoc Committee on Advanced Composites Technology, Scientific Advisory Board, U.S. Air Force

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1976 September
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref101

Report of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board Ad Hoc Committee on Aeronomy, Scientific Advisory Board, U.S. Air Force

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1977 May
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref102

Systems Engineering AviaonicsFacility (SEAFAC) - Status Report, U.S. Air Force, SEAFAC

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 7
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1977 December
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref103

USAF Summary, U.S. Air Force

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1978 February
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref104

Report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Special Capabilities, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense, RD 263/9

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1955 August
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref105

A Comparison of the United States and Soviet Space Programs, Porter and Sheldon

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 9, Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1965 June
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref106

Magnetic Resonance Gyroscope - A Brief Description and Status Report, The Singer Company, Kearfott Division

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1976 September 8
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref107

Report of European Trip, [Porter's fact-finding tour of guided missile development in Europe

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1954 November
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 4: Reports
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref108

Porter's, Yale University, Engineering Principles, E.E. 103

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1934-1935
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 5: Notes and Notebooks
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref109

Correspondence

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1945-1946
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 1: Correspondence
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref11

Porter's, Yale University, Physics 100, Leigh Page, lecturer

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1935-1936
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 5: Notes and Notebooks
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref110

Compiled by Harold Luskin from lectures given by F.H. Clauser, Douglas Aircraft Company, April 8, 1944

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 5: Notes and Notebooks
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref111

Porter and his fact-finding mission to Germany [Operation Paperclip]

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 11, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1945
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 5: Notes and Notebooks
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref112

Porter and his fact-finding mission to Germany [Operation Paperclip]

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 11, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1945
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 5: Notes and Notebooks
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref113

Porter's

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 11, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1974-1978
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 5: Notes and Notebooks
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref114

Written by Porter on a variety of scientific matters

Collection Creator:
Porter, Richard W. (Richard William), 1913-1996  Search this
Container:
Box 11, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1977-1978
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
See more items in:
Richard Porter Papers
Richard Porter Papers / Series 5: Notes and Notebooks
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1997-0037-ref115

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