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George M. Low papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Personal and Biographical Papers (Boxes 1-3)

RPI Student Papers (Boxes 4-7)

Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory Papers (Boxes 7-12)

NASA Papers (Boxes 13-138)

Later NASA Papers (Boxes 138-143)

Personal RPI Presidential Papers (Boxes 143-148)

Library (Boxes 152-164 and shelved volumes)

Artifacts (Boxes 165-172)

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George M. Low papers, 1930-1984

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Collection Overview

Title: George M. Low papers, 1930-1984Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Low, George M. (1926-1984)

Extent: 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)

Languages: English, Russian

Collection processed by: Sylvia B. Kennick

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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.

Biographical Note

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.

Administrative Information

Repository: Institute Archives and Special Collections

Access Restrictions: Several items removed and restricted to viewing under the strict supervision of an Archivist.

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.

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

Processing Information: The George M. Low papers were processed in 1987 and a guide was published in 1988. In 2012 the collection was entered into the Archon database resulting in full search capabilities. The original guide can still be accessed as a pdf by clicking Published Collection Guide on the previous introductory page under Scope and Contents or please contact the Institute Archives and Special Collections.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Personal and Biographical Papers (Boxes 1-3), 1930-1984],
[Series II: RPI Student Papers (Boxes 4-7), 1943-1950],
[Series III: Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory Papers (Boxes 7-12), 1950-1959],
[Series IV: NASA Papers (Boxes 13-138), 1946-1982],
[Series V: Later NASA Papers (Boxes 138-143), 1976-1984],
[Series VI: Personal RPI Presidential Papers (Boxes 143-148), 1976-1984],
[Series VII: Library (Boxes 152-164 and shelved volumes)],
[Series VIII: Artifacts (Boxes 165-172)],

Series I: Personal and Biographical Papers (Boxes 1-3), 1930-1984Add to your cart.
This series contains biographical materials collected by the RPI Archives and GML, and a small array of personal papers. The personal materials, which provide brief glimpses of GML's homelife, friendships and extra-career interests, include correspondence files, and miscellaneous papers. Correspondence files contain letters from friends and colleagues, including individuals who knew the Low family in Austria. Among the alphabetically arranged miscellaneous materials are files pertaining to GML's hobbies, such as scuba diving and running, and correspondence and notes regarding his job search in 1975-1976. Additional correspondence relating to GML's job search may be found in NASA Sensitive Chronoligal Files and Personal Notes.
Subseries A: Biographical MaterialsAdd to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Biographical Data From RPI Archives Drop File, 1976-1982Add to your cart.
Biographies, publication list, speech reprints, pamphlets,programs and clippings regarding GML's work at NASA and RPI, includes a letter from Robert Gilruth regarding GML (1979) and GML's 1983 Japan Technical Study Tour report.
Folder 2: Biographical Sketches, 1961-1984Add to your cart.
Some annotated by GML
Folder 3: Who's Who and Other Collected Biographies, 1964-1984Add to your cart.
Entries for various Who's Who and other biographical publications, includes opinion booklets which GML filled out for the Columbia University Leadership Program.
Folder 4: Collected Clippings, 1943-1984Add to your cart.
Documents GML's activities at NASA and RPI, awards he received, committees on which he served, his marriage, family, and friends.
Folder 5: NASA Press Releases on Promotions, 1964-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 6: World Book Science Service Article, 1968Add to your cart.
Copies of William Barry Furlong's "Assignment: Fix the Apollo," includes a copy annotated by GML.
Folder 7: World Book Science Service Article, PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Includes photographs of GML with his family, working at NASA, and jogging.
Subseries B: CorrespondenceAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Personal Correspondence, 1979-1984, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Personal Correspondence, 1961-1978Add to your cart.
Congratulations, thank you's, invitations, nominations, letters of recommendation, etc. to and from family, friends, NASA colleagues, members of the RPI community, and state and local offices.
Folder 3: Sensitive Personal Correspondence, 1979Add to your cart.
Regarding financial matters
Folder 4: Get Well Cards, Feb.-July 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Get Well Cards, Nov.-Dec. 1975Add to your cart.
Received from colleagues at NASA and RPI, and from the committees on which GML served.
Folder 6: Correspondence With RPI Archives, 1983-1984Add to your cart.
Regarding storage and donation of GML's personal papers.
Subseries C: Miscellaneous PapersAdd to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Drivers License and Registration, 1964-1973Add to your cart.
Primarily Texas and Virginia driving tests.
Folder 8: Evelyn Wood Reading Course, 1961Add to your cart.
Course materials, GML class notes and exercises.
Folder 9: Job Offers, 1976-1984Add to your cart.
Correspondence and notes regarding offers from institutions, committees and boards.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Job Search, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Job Search, March 1976, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Job Search, April 1975-February 1976Add to your cart.
Correspondence and notes from GML's discussions with friends, colleagues in industry, and executive recruiting firms; also includes collected materials on job searching, address lists and resumes.
Folder 4: Job Search, Garrett Corp., 1976Add to your cart.
Correspondence, notes and collected materials regarding job options at the Corp., also includes notes listing the pros and cons of RPI and Garrett positions.
Folder 5: Passports, 1966-1982Add to your cart.
Applications and passports.
Folder 6: Photograph, circa 1930Add to your cart.
GML as a child, taken in Austria.
Folder 7: RPI Automobiles, 1976-1984Add to your cart.
Correspondence and financial materials regarding insurance, parking, maintenance and accidents.
Folder 8: Rensselaer Sports Car Association, 1981-1984Add to your cart.
Walking and biking log, and correspondence regarding running races.
Folder 9: Running and Exercise, 1981-1984Add to your cart.
Walking and biking log, and correspondence regarding running races.
Folder 10: Scuba Diving Course, 1970Add to your cart.
Class notes.
Folder 11: Travel, Miscellaneous, 1973-1984Add to your cart.
Correspondence and miscellaneous papers regarding vacations and travel discounts.
Folder 12: Miscellaneous Papers, 1980-1983, undatedAdd to your cart.
Collected clippings, materials regarding voting, etc..

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Personal and Biographical Papers (Boxes 1-3), 1930-1984],
[Series II: RPI Student Papers (Boxes 4-7), 1943-1950],
[Series III: Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory Papers (Boxes 7-12), 1950-1959],
[Series IV: NASA Papers (Boxes 13-138), 1946-1982],
[Series V: Later NASA Papers (Boxes 138-143), 1976-1984],
[Series VI: Personal RPI Presidential Papers (Boxes 143-148), 1976-1984],
[Series VII: Library (Boxes 152-164 and shelved volumes)],
[Series VIII: Artifacts (Boxes 165-172)],

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