Science and Technology Manuscript Guide
This guide describes the scientific and technological manuscript collections in the Special Collections, University Libraries at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech. Special Collections contains approximately 4500 cubic feet of manuscript material (the personal papers of individuals and families, and the records of businesses and organizations) spanning the years from the fifteenth century to the present, with the greatest concentration of material in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Notable scientific and technological collections include the papers of Christopher C. Kraft, former director of the Johnson Space Center; the papers of Samuel Herrick, founder of the field of astrodynamics; the papers of John Parsons, the father of numerical control, or the application of computer technology to manufacturing; the papers of Carl George Krieger, a pioneer in the development of the high-compression tractor; the papers of John Landis, dealing with the development of nuclear reactor technology at Babcock and Wilcox; the papers of Walter Lobo, dealing with petroleum refining technology at the M.W. Kellogg Company; and the archival records of the Virginia Academy of Science and the Virginia Junior Academy of Science.
Special Collections contains the Archives of American Aerospace Exploration (AAAE), which seeks to collect personal papers documenting early aeronautical and space history in the United States. In addition to the Kraft, Herrick, and Parsons collections mentioned above, the AAAE also includes the papers of John V. Becker, George William Christopher, Evert B. Clark, John D. Clark, Michael Collins, Blake W. Corson, Jr., John E. Duberg, G. Graham Duce, Robert R. Gilruth, Melvin N. Gough, Henry J. Kelley, F. Edward McLean, Thornton L. Page, Otis J. Parker, W. Dale Parker, Edward C. Polhamus, James R. Randolph, Hartley Soule, John W. Townsend, Jr., and Marjorie Rhodes Townsend.
The historical records of Virginia Tech, which form the nucleus of the University Archives, are also housed in the Special Collections but are not described in this guide. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. Those groups of records in the University Archives that have significant amounts of scientific or technological documentation on persons, places, and events outside of Virginia Tech are included in the guide. Thus, for example, the records of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, which deal with farm conditions in the state, are described here, as are the records of the Agricultural Engineering Department dealing with rural electrification and irrigation projects in the state.
The entries are arranged in alphabetical order. Each entry contains a biographical or organizational history (when available) and a description of the materials in the collection. The size of each collection is given in cubic feet (abbreviated "cu. ft."), with 0.1 cu. ft. the smallest designation used. Each collection has a manuscript number associated with it (for example, Ms94-001) as it's permanent identifying number. Patrons requesting collections should refer to the manuscript number and the collection title.
The Special Collections is located on the first floor of Newman Library at Virginia Tech. Please refer to the visitor information page for hours and directions. Researchers interested in obtaining more information about any of the collections described below are invited to inquire in person or to contact:
Special Collections Online Reference, or (540) 231-6308 or
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001
For a list of available collections please go to the Guide to the Science and Technology research materials
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