George M. Low papers, 1930-1984
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Brief Description:

Published Collection Guide

The George M. Low papers (1987-12) are composed of manuscripts, books and artifacts documenting the personal and professional activities of George M. Low (GML), an influential aeronautics and aerospace engineer, federal agency manager, and university president. The collection briefly documents GML's education at RPI and his early professional experience at NACA's Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory. Although GML's work at NASA in the 1950s and early 1960s is not significantly documented here, the collection reflects in detail three of his later positions at the agency. These prove to be key positions in relation to the development and fulfillment of NASA's objectives, and the George M. Low Papers provide fascinating glimpses into the inner workings of the agency at a time of enormous productivity and change. The collection also contains personal papers from GML's creative tenure as RPI's 14th President.

Held at:
Institute Archives and Special Collections
Phone: 518 276 8340
Email: lib-archives [at]
Created by: Low, George M. (1926-1984)
Volume: 76.0 Cubic Feet
Arrangement: The collection is divided into eight series. Series I. Personal and Biographical Papers (Boxes 1-3); Series II. RPI Student Papers (Boxes 4-7); Series III. Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory Papers (Boxes 7-12); Series IV. NASA Papers (Boxes 13-138); Series V. Later NASA Papers (Boxes 138-143); Series VI. Personal RPI Presidential Papers (Boxes 143-148); Series VII. Library (Boxes 152-164 and shelved volumes); Series VIII. Artifacts (Boxes 165-172)
Biographical Note for Low, George M. (1926-1984) : George Wilhelm Low was born near Vienna, Austria in 1926. At the age of sixteen the Low family emigrated to the United States. In 1943 Low entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute but one year later serves in the U.S. Army. In 1948 Low receives a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering at RPI and acquires a position at General Dynamics in Fort Worth, TX. In 1950 Low receives a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from RPI. In 1958 NASA is established and Low becomes Chief  of Manned Space Flight in Washington, D.C. For the next thirteen years Low is professionally involved with NASA, first as Chief of Manned Space Flight, then Assistant Director for Manned Space Flight Programs; later named Director of Spacecraft and Flight Missions. In 1963 Low becomes Deputy Director of the Office of Manned Space Flight; later becomes Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight. By 1969 Low is appointed Deputy Administrator of NASA. In 1976 Low becomes the 14th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While President Low establishes the Center for Interactive Computer Graphics, the Center for Manufacturing Productivity and Technology Transfers, and  establishes the Incubator Program and Center for Integrated Electronics. Low dies in 1984.
Access Restrictions: Several items removed and restricted to viewing under the strict supervision of an Archivist.
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Russian [rus]
Related Materials:

The following repositories house files created by GML which supplement the George M. Low Papers:

1. Federal Records Center, Suitland, MD; Volume: 8 cubic feet. Files at the Center contain correspondence and subject files created by GML during his early years with NASA.  Included are outgoing and incoming correspondence (1958-1961), and subject files (1959-1963) containing clippings, releases, photographs and contractor documentation pertaining primarily to Project Mercury.

2. NASA History Office, Washington, DC; Volume: approximately 16 cubic feet. The bulk of the GML papers at the History Office is composed of subject files which GML created during his tenure as Deputy and Acting Administrator.  Included are files on administrative issues, other agencies, programs and projects, etc.  The History Office has also collected speeches and photographs from GML's NACA and NASA career, and a portion of their NASA Administrator's chronological file  contains GML correspondence from 1971 to 1975.

3. NASA History Office, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; Volume: 2 boxes. Apollo historical files at the JSC History Office include Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager memoranda, 1967-1969.  These appear to be copies of GML's Apollo Notes to Dr. Gilruth.

PreferredCitation: George M. Low papers, 1987-12. Institute Archives and Special Collections, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.