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- Physical Description:
This collection consists of speeches, papers, notes, newspaper articles and records on Elms' career, including the following areas: Transportation System Center; Electronics Research Center; Manned Space Station; Space Shuttle; Space Systems Committee; Gemini Mission Review Board; and Hearings on space topics.
Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
In 1989, Mr. Elms donated this material to the National Air and Space Museum's Department of Space History in conjunction with his interview for the Glennen-Webb-Seamans oral history project. The collection was transferred to the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Archives in 1993. The Elms Collection consists of speeches, papers, notes, newspaper articles and congressional hearings. Some of the subjects covered in the collection are: Transportation Systems Center, Electronics Research Center, Space Station Program, Space Shuttle, Space Systems Committee, and Gemini Mission Review Board.
The collection is arranged into two series and within each series chronologically. In the first series, the researcher will find correspondence, congressional hearings and speeches. Series II contains miscellaneous newspaper clippings and oversize materials. The original folder titles were inconsistent, sometimes containing only acronyms and/or abbreviations. For the sake of clarity, acronyms and abbreviations have been spelled out, and the project archivist has preceded each of the original folder titles with a subject heading, project designation and/or agency title.
James Elms (1916-1993) began his aerospace career at Consolidated Vultee in 1940 as a junior stress analyst. During WWII, he served with the US Army Air Forces at Wright Field (later Wright-Patterson AFB) where he developed a cartridge positioner which prevented turret guns from jamming. After the war he received his Bachelor of Science in Physics from the California Institute of Technology and his Master of Arts Degree from the University of California. He worked for North American Aviation as manager of the Armament Systems Department, Autonetics Division. There, he was responsible for research, development, and design of fire control, radar and allied systems. Upon leaving North American, he became the manager of the Avionics Department for the Denver Division of the Martin Company, where he was responsible for design and development of guidance, flight control, and other electronic and electrical systems for the Titan Missile. In September of 1960 Mr. Elms joined the Ford Motor Company, Aeroneutronics Division, after a brief stint at the Crosley Division of AVCO. While at Ford, Elms was recruited to join the senior staff of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, eventually becoming Deputy Director. During the 1960s, Elms held a variety of other administrative positions at NASA, including Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. After his service there, Elms became the Director of NASA's Electronics Research Center (ERC). The ERC was slated to be closed at the end of 1970. Elms was able to rally support for the ERC and get the majority of his directorate transferred to the US Department of Transportation as the Transportation Systems Center. This initiative saved many jobs and allowed important government research to continue. Upon leaving official government service, Mr. Elms continued to work as a consultant for government and private industry. James C. Elms passed away on May 7, 1993.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
James C. Elms, gift, 1993, 1993-0047, NASM
The researcher may also want to review Mr. Elms's interview found in the NASM Archives Glennen-Webb-Seamans Project Interviews Collection, Accession Number 1999-0036.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
No restrictions on access
James C. Elms Collection, Acc. 1993-0047, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151