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Warren Alfred Stark and Jean Baldwin Stark Correspondence, 1948-1957
Collection Description & Creator Information
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.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
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.
Baseline processing of this collection (AM 2022-008) was sponsored by the Delafield Fund.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
Open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to Special Collections Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
- Credit this material:
Warren Alfred Stark and Jean Baldwin Stark Correspondence; Warren Alfred Stark Papers, C1679, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Storage Note:
- ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1-2