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Collection Overview

Creator:
Stark, Warren Alfred, 1928-2011
Title:
Warren Alfred Stark Papers
Repository:
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/pz50h561j
Dates:
1947-1957 (mostly 1950-1952)
Size:
5 linear feet and 7 boxes
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001615 to B-001618, P-000162
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-2
Language:
English

Abstract

Consists of correspondence, photographs, newspapers, and ephemera belonging to missile researcher Warren Alfred Stark that document his time in the United States Army at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico during the Korean War and the early years of the Cold War. The majority of the collection consists of correspondence between Warren Stark and Jean Anne Baldwin Stark (1928-1999), his girlfriend and later wife, and other family members and close friends.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of correspondence, photographs, newspapers, and ephemera belonging to missile researcher Warren Alfred Stark that document his time in the United States Army at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico, including detials on the Terrier Missile Program, during the Korean War and the early years of the Cold War. The majority of the collection consists of correspondence between Warren Stark and Jean Anne Baldwin Stark (1928-1999), his girlfriend and later wife, and other family members and close friends.

The correspondence includes letters from Warren Stark to Jean Stark, mostly from White Sands, New Mexico, with others from Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he completed basic training, and the William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where he was briefly hospitalized due to a ruptured appendix. There are also letters from Jean to Warren Stark as well as letters to Warreb and Jean from various family members and friends.

While the correspondence also pertains to personal matters, Warren Stark's letters provide detailed descriptions of his experiences at White Sands Proving Grounds during his service in the 1st Ordnance Guided Missile Support Battalion, whose members were colloquially referred to as "Broomstick Scientists." This group comprised men with advanced education in science and engineering who were drafted by the United States Army and assigned to work on the development and testing of V-2 rockets and other missiles. Stark's letters discuss the grounds of the military base, security precautions, his daily routine, the command structure, missile tests being conducted, and technical matters related to engineering and rocketry. In one long letter, dated March 8th, 1951, he provides sketches of the base and describes a V-2 rocket launch he observed. The correspondence also provides insights into Warren and Jean Stark's relationship via discussions of wedding planning, health matters, family disputes, religion, and other topics.

Many of the letters, especially those from Warren Stark, include numerous enclosures such as newspaper and magazine clippings, Catholic devotional booklets, lists, and other ephemera, and there are also several issues of the White Sands Missile Range's newspaper, Wind and Sand. The collection also includes several dozen photographs, a few of which depict V-2 and other rocket launches at White Sands Proving Grounds, though the majority document the Armed Forces Day Parade in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on May 17th, 1952. There is also one 1947 photograph of Stark's class at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, with surnames written on the back.

Arrangement

Materials are grouped by type/genre based on how the materials arrived to the library from the dealer.

Collection Creator Biography:

Stark

Warren Alfred Stark (1928-2011) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Elizabeth (Mary) Adele Stark and Peter Joseph Stark. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Pratt Institute in 1949 and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New York University in 1956. During the Korean War, Stark was stationed with the 1st Ordnance Guided Missile Support Battalion at White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, where he worked on the development and testing of the V-2 rocket and other guided missile programs as part of a group of engineers colloquially referred to as "Broomstick Scientists." Following his military service, Stark spent the rest of his career working in the aerospace industry for Reaction Motors, Thiokol Chemical, Grumman Aerospace Corporation, Allied-Signal/Bendix, and General Electric's Astro-Space Division, retiring in 1995. He married Jean Anne Baldwin Stark (1928-1999), with whom he had two children, Lisa Stark Walsh and Peter Stark. He later married Carmela Stark.

Collection History

Acquisition:

Purchased from William Reese Company in 2021 (AM 2022-008) and 2022 (AM 2023-079).

Appraisal

No materials were separated from the collection during 2021 processing. A sleeve of 5 acetate photograph negatives that were damaged beyond repair were removed from the collection during 2023 processing.

Sponsorship:

Baseline processing of this collection (AM 2022-008) was sponsored by the Delafield Fund.

Processing Information

Baseline processing of this collection was completed by Kelly Bolding in August 2021. Finding aid writing by Kelly Bolding in August 2021. Additional processing and revision of the finding aid was completed by Faith Charlton in February 2023, incorporating description provided by the dealer.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Warren Alfred Stark Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/pz50h561j
Location:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001615 to B-001618, P-000162
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-2