A Guide to the Michael Collins Collection: James Dean Resource Material 1961-88 Collins, Michael: James Dean Resource Material, Collection. Ms2003-061

A Guide to the Michael Collins Collection: James Dean Resource Material 1961-88

A Collection in
the Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2003-061


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2004 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Clayton McGahee Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Accession number
Michael Collins Collection: James Dean Resource Material 1961-88
Physical Characteristics
7 boxes (1 oversize), 68 folders, 2.5 cu. ft.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Michael Collins Collection: James Dean Resource Material, Ms2003-061, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Michael Collins Collection: James Dean Resource Material was donated to the Special Collections on May 1, 2003.

Biographical/Historical Information

Michael Collins was born in Rome, Italy on October 31, 1930. He graduated from Saint Albans School in Washington, D.C. before attending West Point Military Academy, where he obtained a bachelor of science degree in 1952. Preceding his affiliation with NASA, Collins served as a fighter pilot and an experimental test pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center, where he logged more than 4200 hours flight time.

In 1963, Collins enrolled in the newly established Aerospace Pilot School, thereafter becoming one of the first groups of astronauts selected by NASA. Collins served as a member of the backup crew for the Gemini 7 mission and as pilot of NASA's Gemini 10 mission, during which he set a world altitude record and became the nation's third spacewalker, completing two extravehicular activities (EVAs).

Due to the rotational basis on which astronauts were assigned to Apollo missions, Collins was originally scheduled to be a member of the Apollo 8 flight crew. His need for back surgery, however, forced his re- assignment to a later mission. The postponement placed Collins on the prime crew of Apollo 11 (launched July 16, 1969), the first manned mission to land on the lunar surface. As the mission's command module pilot, Collins orbited the moon while Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin descended to the moon's surface.

Collins resigned from NASA in 1970 and served as assistant secretary of state for public affairs before becoming the first director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in April 1971. Collins served on the board of numerous organizations and corporations throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He became vice-president of field operations for the Vought Corporation in 1980, then resigned to head his own consulting firm, Michael Collins Associates, in 1985. He retired from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of major general in 1982.

Collins' awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the Collier, Harmon and Goddard trophies; the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Distinguished Flying Cross and many others. He has received awards from eleven other countries and honorary degrees from six colleges and universities.

Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, James Dean attended the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, Massachusetts before eventually playing a key role in the creation of the NASA art program. He became the NASA director of films, publications and television, then founding director of the Fine Arts Program at NASA from 1961-1974, after which serving as the Curator of Art at the National Air and Space Museum. James Dean currently resides in northern Virginia.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of reference material NASA artist James Dean used in producing the artwork for Michael Collins' book Liftoff: The Story of America's Adventure in Space. The bulk of the contents include NASA file photos, files from the twelve Gemini missions, the majority of Apollo missions (mostly XI), the Spacelab project, the Hubble telescope, space shuttle missions, the Challenger accident, and many other NASA related subjects. Also included are photos from the Project Mercury missions, images of NASA aircraft, NASA promotional material, and photos of U.S. officials and NASA personnel. An original rough draft copy of Liftoff, divided by chapter, is included.


This collection is arranged according to subject matter.

Contents List

Michael Collins Collection: James Dean Resource Material 1961-88
  • Project Mercury 1961-86
    • Box-folder 1-1
      Early spacecraft concepts leading to Project Mercury design 1961-62
    • Box-folder 1-2
      Redstone and Little Joe Rockets 1961
    • Box-folder 1-3
      Project Mercury control diagrams, photos, illustrations 1961-62
    • Box-folder 1-4
      Project Mercury technical specifications, photos, and Dean illustrations 1961-86, n.d.
    • Box-folder 1-5
      Project Mercury recovery methods, Dean illustrations 1961-86
    • Box-folder 1-6
      Centrifuge and Van Allen Belt, diagrams and descriptions 1968, n.d.
    • Box-folder 1-7
      Comparison photographs between the Mercury and Gemini modules 1962
  • Project Gemini 1963-85
    • Box-Folder 1-8
      Gemini IV 1965
    • Box-folder 1-9
      Gemini IX 1966
    • Box-folder 1-10
      Gemini X 1966
    • Box-folder 1-11
      Space Gun - Gemini X 1966
    • Box-folder 1-12
      Gemini XI crew (Gordon, Conrad) 1965-73
    • Box-folder 1-13
      Interior photos and diagrams of Gemini module 1966-85
    • Box-folder 1-14
      Exterior images of the Gemini module 1965-78
    • Box-folder 1-15
      Gemini patches (photocopies) and Dean illustrations 1966-71
    • Box-folder 1-16
      Space Suit (Mercury, Gemini, Apollo) 1963-85
    • Box-folder 2-17
      Gemini ejection seats 1963-66
    • Box-folder 2-18
      Gemini technical specifications, articles, charts 1965
    • Box-folder 2-19
      "Angry Alligator" 1966
    • Box-folder 2-20
      Agena Target Vehicle 1966
    • Box-folder 2-21
      Titan II rocket 1966
    • Box-folder 2-22
      Gemini paraglider system n.d.
    • Box-folder 2-23
      Dean final illustrations of Gemini module n.d.
  • Project Apollo 1964-85, n.d.
    • Box-folder 2-24
      Charts and diagrams of the Apollo module and missions 1967-85
    • Box-folder 2-25
      Apollo Lunar Module 1966-72
    • Box-folder 2-26
      Apollo Command Module 1969-72
    • Box-folder 2-27
      Images taken on the moon, diagrams 1968-74
    • Box-folder 2-28
      Apollo-Saturn Rocket, diagrams and images 1967-71
    • Box-folder 2-29
      Photos of the Apollo 11 crew 1969
    • Box-folder 2-30
      Apollo 11 training photos 1969
    • Box-folder 3-31
      Ranger spacecraft (Apollo) 1964-68
    • Box-folder 3-32
      Apollo diagrams, photos, Dean illustrations 1966-72
    • Box-folder 3-33
      Apollo-Soyuz test project 1975
    • Box-folder 3-34
      Charts of Apollo lunar landing flight techniques, Dean illustrations n.d.
  • Skylab 1969-85, n.d.
    • Box-folder 3-35
      Skylab (1 of 2) 1969-85
    • Box-folder 3-36
      Skylab (2 of 2) 1969-85
    • Box-folder 3-37
      Manned maneuvering unit 1982-84
    • Box-folder 3-38
      Spacelab promotional manuals (Spacelab 1-3) n.d.
  • Space Station 1970-87, n.d.
    • Box-folder 3-39
      Space station 1970-82
    • Box-folder 4-40
      Concept designs for space shuttle 1970-71
    • Box-folder 4-41
      Space shuttle - technical specifications 1971-87
    • Box-folder 4-42
      Space shuttle images (Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger) 1974-85
    • Box-folder 4-43
      Images and depictions of space shuttle interior and cockpit 1975-80
    • Box-folder 4-44
      Illustrations and clip art of space shuttle 1978-82
    • Box-folder 4-45
      Promotional material related to space shuttle 1981-86
    • Box-folder 4-46
      Hubble telescope 1984
    • Box-folder 4-47
      Promotional material related to space station 1987
    • Box-folder 4-48
      Space shuttle manual n.d.
  • Planets and the Sun 1972-86
    • Box-folder 5-49
      Planets 1972-85
    • Box-folder 5-50
      Images of the sun 1973-74
    • Box-folder 5-51
      Mars 1976-86
    • Box-folder 5-52
      Saturn 1981-83
  • Liftoff Chapters - James Dean Copy 1987, n.d.
    • Box-folder 5-53
      Liftoff - Chapter 1 n.d.
    • Box-folder 5-54
      Liftoff - Chapter 2 n.d.
    • Box-folder 5-55
      Liftoff - Chapter 3 n.d.
    • Box-folder 5-56
      Liftoff - Chapter 4 n.d.
    • Box-folder 5-57
      Liftoff - Chapter 5 n.d.
    • Box-folder 5-58
      Liftoff - Chapter 6 1987, n.d.
  • Miscellaneous 1963-88
    • Box-folder 6-59
      Images of aircraft (NASA, U.S. Military) 1963-79
    • Box-folder 6-60
      Photos of various U.S. officials and NASA personnel 1967-74
    • Box-folder 6-61
      Artistic depictions of potential NASA projects and various spacecraft; Dean illustrations 1970-88
    • Box-folder 6-62
      NASA promotional material (extra copies) 1981, n.d.
    • Box-folder 6-63
      Challenger accident 1982-86
    • Box-folder 6-64
      NASA publications 1983-88
    • Box-folder 6-65
      Magazines 1984-88
    • Box-folder 6-66
      Notes related to Michael Collins book "Liftoff" 1988
    • Box-folder 6-67
      Wiley Post n.d.
    • Box-folder 6-68
      Charts used in the Skylab 3 mission n.d.
    • Box 7
      Oversize Material 1984-86, n.d.

      Oversize Dean illustrations, promotional material, posters, Apollo and Soyuz diagrams, and a 1984 space shuttle calendar.