James Hart Wyld Collection
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Wyld, James Hart.
bulk 1930-1939
Physical Description:
0.5 Cubic feet
2 Boxes
A collection of items attributed to rocket pioneer James Hart Wyld dating from the 1930s and 1940s. The collection consists of two boxes, with one containing notes and prints attributed to Wyld and the other containing original negatives.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of approximately 140 black-and-white negatives (28 35mm strips of 8 frames each, seven 35mm strips of 2 frames each, and six 3.5 x 6 inch sheets), predominantly taken by James H. Wyld, of American Rocket Society meets and rocket tests and an Elmira, New York, glider meet, and images taken by Wyld on various trips around the New York City area and elsewhere. Buildings, engineering projects, and landscapes pictured include the Lincoln Tunnel and the Triborough Bridge (under construction), the Empire State Building, Central Park, Gilgo Beach and Long Beach (Long Island), Port Washington, Fire Island, the 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, the Vanderbilt Cup races in Mineola, New Rochelle, Cornwall, and the Catskills, all in New York. Also included are images taken in Princeton, New Jersey; Connecticut; Mount Washington, New Hampshire; and Massillon, Ohio. Individuals pictured include Frank Harrison, Albert Rice, and Bill Baum. The collection also consists of Wyld's personal papers including a diary covering the period of February 1931 to May 1936; a 1932 scientific notebook; two photographs of rocket test activities; a post card addressed to Wyld from "John" (possibly John Shesta) referencing a postponement; a portraint of James Wyld; handwritten report, "An Automatic Thrust and Mixture Control for Rocket Motors," 1946.an envelope full of information relating to a court case involving the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; a Princeton University Alumni Lectures pamphlet entitled America's Problem of National Defense by Professor Harold Sprout; five newspaper clippings related to rockets; an undated letter, missing the first page, to Wyld from Bernard E. "Ben" Smith regarding rocket testing; two letters, dating from 1938-1939, from Wyld to "John" (possibly John Shesta) regarding rocket testing; a report entitled Long Range Rocket, Section II (Propellant Systems) by Dr. Paul F. Winternitz, Director of Laboratories, Reaction Motors, Inc.; "Proposal for Unguided Liquid-Propellant Rocket Projectile" by an unknown author, possibly Wyld; two drawings of rockets; three pages of notes handwritten by Wyld, and a letter from Albert M. Paquin to the American Rocket Society, with handwritten comment attached, regarding financial assistance from the Society for rocket research. In addition, the collection contains a memo to Wyld regarding Reaction Motors, Inc. stock prices; and Wyld's handwritten notes and drawings entitled, "The Design of Streamline Hulls and Fins for Rockets," "The Nature of Rocket Flight" (noted as draft of Chapter IV of Introduction to Rocketry), "Pumping Mechanism" (appears to be missing pages), "Superchargine Airplane with Oxygen," and six additional pages of miscellaneous notes and drawings. Some pages of the notes have been initialled and noted by Shesta and Lawrence.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Rocket pioneer James Hart Wyld was born in 1913 and received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University in 1935. He joined the American Interplanetary Society (later the American Rocket Society) in 1931. In the late nineteen thirties, Wyld developed and tested the first modern liquid-propellant rocket motors. In 1941 he, along with John Shesta, Lovell Lawrence, Jr., and Hugh Franklin Pierce, formed Reaction Motors, Inc. (RMI), the first US rocket propulsion company.

Kate Igoe and Jessamyn Lloyd, 2006; Isaac Middleton, 2019
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Anne W. Blizard, Gift, 2005, NASM.2005.0051

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access.
Preferred Citation
James Hart Wyld Collection, Accession 2005-0051, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
The American Rocket Society's Rocket Test Stand No. 2 is featured in negatives present in this collection. More information concerning this artifact can be found at American Rocket Society's Rocket Test Stand No. 2.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Rocketry Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Astronautics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rocket engines Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rockets (Aeronautics) -- Performance Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Negatives Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Rocket Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151