Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Opinions & Advice
  Help sorting through a JPL employee's estate

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Help sorting through a JPL employee's estate
publius
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Luna City, Luna
Registered: Oct 2013

posted 12-16-2013 10:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for publius     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm a space nut, and everyone I know knows that. (I even appeared in a film on the subject!) As a result, things tend to come to me. But I'm beginning to appreciate the meaning of the phrase "an embarrassment of riches".

I was recently given eight boxes of material, mostly papers, from the estate of a gentleman who worked at JPL from the 1960s into the 1980s. There is just about everything here: newspaper clippings, internal newsletters, NASA Public Affairs prints of spacecraft, mission stickers, contractor publications…

I'm not certain in my mind what I want to do with the stuff. Some of it I'm sure to keep, some I may discard (old issues of Aviation Week & Space Technology, for example), some I may try to sell. What I want to do here is to post descriptions of some of this stuff, and some photos where appropriate, to get an idea of what may be significant, or rare, or high-valued, and what is a dime a dozen.

"Interim photomaps" of the moons of Saturn from the Voyager missions? The complete kit of materials (including invitation) supplied by Rockwell to invited guests at the STS-4 landing? A manuscript page of something called the "Gospel According to St Berkeley", announcing that "the IRS has cooled down"? As a world coin collector I'm familiar with the concept of "scarce but not rare", things which are so obscure there's no demand for them.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2631
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 12-16-2013 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The newspaper clippings and Aviation Weeks could probably be discarded (or recycled....) The prints of spacecraft and interim photomaps and mission stickers will have some interest, particularly if you try and sell them as a lot rather than individually. The internal newsletters may also have some interest, depending on what's on the cover.

Jay Gallentine
Member

Posts: 266
From: Shorewood, MN, USA
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 12-26-2013 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by publius:
I was recently given eight boxes of material, mostly papers, from the estate of a gentleman who worked at JPL from the 1960s into the 1980s.
What you have sounds like it would definitely be of interest to someone like myself.

If you have contractor information about such projects as Viking, more specifically TRW's Viking Biology Instrument, I'd sure like to take a look at what you've got.

Also, you mention the Gospel According to St. Berkeley. Would be nice to see material on that as well. The odd title relates to Berkeley providing an instrument for Mariner 6 and 7 called the Infrared Spectrometer, or IRS. It worked optimally at very low temperatures. All of this might perhaps help to explain what you've seen. I would be interested in hearing about anything you have regarding Berkeley's relationship with JPL and Mariner 6-7.

Please feel free to contact me! Thanks.

moorouge
Member

Posts: 1900
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 12-27-2013 02:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
The newspaper clippings and Aviation Weeks could probably be discarded (or recycled....)

Have to disagree. Contemporary newspaper and magazines are a great source of information that is often discarded when later 'official histories' are written. A lot of facts that are 'off the beaten track' are contained in them that colour the more human nature of spaceflight.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4870
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 12-27-2013 04:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Try to sell something made out of a paper, a book or a magazine. If it's not something unique, limited edition, signed (preferable by dead people), trash is the only destination. I don't like saying/writing that but in view of postal rates, just forget the idea of selling them. Even charitable organization or libraries don't want them (personal experience- even if you give them out for free). It saddens me but that's a reality.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1820
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 12-27-2013 07:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Disagree. I have bought old Aviation Week magazines for personal and research use. They may not bring much money but they can be invaluable sources of information.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2631
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 12-27-2013 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, but (usually) newspapers and magazines are available at the library - or on the internet - which is my point. In my opinion, no sense of keeping them if they can be retrieved elsewhere.

Much as it's a great anecdote that McNair's mother, until the day she died, believed Ron had somehow survived and was waiting to be rescued, I know that's available both online and through the New York Times archives, no need for me to keep a copy of the actual article.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-27-2013 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It should be pointed out that there are collectors (albeit less today than in years past) who collect newspaper clippings. cS member Joe Lennox comes to mind.

But the value of any one (or even collection) of newspaper and magazine clippings — or even intact publications — is rapidly declining as online archives become more ubiquitous.

Gonzo
Member

Posts: 510
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 12-27-2013 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to agree with Robert and the others. Having the article does make a difference. What's stored in the archives is just the information. Not the article. For example, you can go the archives of the New York Times and read what they had to say at the time for the Apollo 11 landing. Having an original print copy in your hand is an entirely different matter.

While I agree that their value is diminishing because of all the electronic archives, the rarity of those copies that have survived makes them valuable. Even today.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-27-2013 12:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't misunderstand me though, the market for vintage newspapers and magazines (and their clippings) is limited and growing more so by each passing year.

Besides their being supplanted by digital archives, the acid content in the paper means that they have a limited lifespan regardless of how well you care for them. The National Archives estimates that newsprint from the 1960s has a shelf life of about 100 years under the most ideal conditions before it will begin to degrade due its own composition.

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 765
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 12-27-2013 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many years ago, I attended a swap meet organized by the Space Unit of the ATA/APS (philatelic societies). A dealer had neatly mounted copies of newspapers from the 60s covering the Gemini missions in oversize art portfolio binders. I bought a couple, but haven't looked at them since. They may have degraded some, but I like owning them and other vintage magazines/literature from that period as physical mementos of an era in spaceflight.

This may sound old-fashioned, but when I go to see exhibits at the NY Public Library of old illuminated texts or manuscripts, nothing beats a computer or digital entry of an author's writings or an historic event than actual newsprint. Must be those journalism classes I took in college, pre-Apple PCs

publius
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Luna City, Luna
Registered: Oct 2013

posted 12-27-2013 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for publius     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I shall begin posting photos and descriptions shortly. I will mention, given the discussion of the value (if any) of old periodicals, that one item is a JPL internal newsletter, I think celebrating the 25th anniversary of EXPLORER 1, which reproduces a number of newspaper clippings from 1958 discussing the role of JPL in America's first satellite. So that's something out of the ordinary for 'paper'.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement