Skip to main content

Preliminary planning and designs for stations, From 1956

 File — Box: 10, Folder: 2
Identifier: Folder 2

Scope and Contents

From the Series:

This addition to the J. Allen Hynek Papers fills seven boxes and spans the years 1925 to 1982, with the majority of the material dating from the late 1950s to early 1960s. The bulk of the addition consists of biographical materials (most dated earlier than in the original series), records of projects Hynek worked on, and UFO sighting reports. Biographical material includes press releases, clippings, publications and notes. The newspaper clippings span the years 1956 to 1958 during which Hynek and his colleagues at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory were often cited in news reports on Sputnik and subsequent satellites, as well as the Satellite Tracking Program. Of special note within the biographical materials are several issues of the literary magazine of Crane Technical High School, which contain short stories written by Hynek. Reprints and publications folders include articles from the years 1935 to 1978 including Hynek’s 1935 dissertation: “A quantitative study of certain phases of F-type spectra.” There are also reprints of articles from 1953 to 1955 in which Hynek is acknowledged or thanked, as well as a folder documenting Hynek’s travels and schedule during the years 1958-1960 reflects his role in promoting the satellite tracking program and involvement in various projects. Subject files consist of six folders in the subject files that briefly cover a few of Hynek’s research areas. During the years following the launchings of the first artificial earth satellites, Hynek collected teletype news reports released by the Soviet news agency TASS. These are arranged chronologically and by topic. IGY-STP (International Geophysical Year - Satellite Tracking Program) files are divided into three groups: the first section contains general information, correspondence, memos, and press releases regarding STP and the IGY generally. The second section consists of materials relating to the satellite tracking stations: the design of the stations and the telescope cameras, the costs for materials and personnel, and photographs of the stations and the equipment. Of special interest is the folder of Hynek’s trip reports, which appear to be transcriptions of audio tapes documenting Hynek’s experience traveling to prospective sites around the world (including Iran, Curacao, and Spain) in an effort to establish tracking stations. The last section of STP-related material concerns the Moonwatch division and includes a newsletter for Moonwatch participants as well as a manuscript “A Moonwatcher’s Manual,” written by Hynek. Project Stargazer materials provide additional documentation of Hynek’s balloon-based astronomy program. This includes three folders of correspondence spanning the dates 1959 to 1966, arranged chronologically. There is also a folder of many photographs, negatives, and contact sheets (both B&W and color images) of the successful launching of the Stargazer balloon in China Lake, California in 1962, in which pilot Joseph Kittinger and astronomer William C. White rose to an altitude of 82,200 feet. Image orthicon materials include general information on the image orthicon technology used at both the New Mexico observatory and the Dearborn Observatory in Evanston. There are several folders of photographs taken with the image orthicon enabled telescopes of specific events and also general or unidentified images. UFO files are organized alphabetically by folder and chronologically within the folder. This material pertains to Hynek’s investigations of UFO phenomena, dating from 1959 to 1971. The first four folders contain correspondence from people reporting UFO sightings as well as a number of letters from school children wanting more information about UFOs in general. The next several folders contain newspaper clippings and publications related to UFO sightings and investigation as well as a small number of photographs of popular depictions of aliens and UFOs. The next thirty-three folders document individual sighting reports and investigations, and are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the person reporting the sighting or the location of the sighting. These folders contain correspondence (mostly with William Powers, Hynek’s associate, or with Hynek), sight reports (hand-written notations of what the person saw), calculations, typed reports (mostly by William Powers). [Note: For William Powers, see also Faculty Biographical Files, Archives Room 110.] Some of the reports were written for or published in Project Blue Book (the U.S. Military’s files on UFOs). The last two folders contain negatives and photographs of purported UFOs, usually sent to Hynek in letters reporting a sighting or obtained from witnesses of investigated sightings. The materials relating to Hynek’s establishment of the two New Mexico Observatories, Organ Pass and Corralitos, include correspondence between staff based in New Mexico and Dearborn Observatory administration in Evanston, photographs of both observatories, and documents pertaining to the transfer of ownership of the Corralitos Observatory to Hynek’s non-profit group, CARA. The final section of the addition contains miscellaneous Photographs and negatives collected by Hynek, arranged chronologically. They include photographs of colleagues at a colloquium, portraits of visiting professors, pictures of observatory equipment, and unidentified astronomical photographs taken through telescopes.


  • From 1956


Conditions governing access



From the Collection: 14.00 Boxes

Language of Materials

From the Series: English

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US