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Image Gallery:
Highlights of the Fall 1999 Superior Galleries' Space Memorabilia Auction

von Braun Hand-Edited Speech

2368. Wernher von Braun "B" Autograph

On a 16pp. typed draft of a speech he would present to the National Life Insurance Co, Montpelier, Vermont, October 11, 1960. He has notated in pencil on the top of the first page: "Bonnie - Please put on speech writer as amended - "B" 10-3". The speech begins About a month ago, when I first started preparing this talk, I was plagued by a very nagging questions. I kept asking myself: On Tuesday, October 11, when I speak in Montpelier, Vermont, will the Russians have succeeded in putting a human being into space before this country?". The answer, as you can well understand, had some bearing on what I would say to you today. Well, of course, you know the answer: (If they did) I can only offer my very honest and sincere congratulations on a most noteworthy and historical achievement. But I must add: I wish our own Americans had made it first. I should also like to add this: We will be there before very long. (if they didn't) They haven't yet, and neither have we...". The speech goes on and the draft contains major handwritten notations in von Braun's own hand. What is very noteworthy is the opening paragraphs in which he discusses a man in space. Even at the end of 1960, he felt the Russians putting a man in space was imminent and he had to make allowances for it in an October 1960 speech. The speech has a large section of handwritten notations devoted to the Saturn program. He also discusses the practical applications of satellites - communications and weather forecasting as well as much, much more. This is not a boilerplate speech, but an important prophetic document from America's primary space visionary. It will be an important addition to any space collection.


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