National Air and Space Museum Archives

Arthur C. Clarke Collection of Sri Lanka

Collection ID:
Clarke, Arthur C., Sir (Arthur Charles), 1917-2008
bulk 1950-2008
Majority of materials in
; some material in
Physical Description:
95.02 Cubic feet
188 legal size boxes; 5 15 x 12 x 3 flat boxes; 1 16 x 20 x 3 flat box; 4 12 x 8 x 5 shoeboxes
88.55 Linear feet
Sir Arthur C. Clarke is one of the preeminent science-fiction writers of the 20th century.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Contains personal and business correspondence, manuscripts of most of Clarke's fiction works in various draft states, short stories, articles, addresses, speeches, movie outlines, Apollo 11 broadcast material, datebooks & notebooks, reference materials, business cards of visitors & contacts, photos & slides. There is some material by people other than the creator such as manuscripts and film/TV scripts.
This collection also includes audio-visual material. Please contact the Media Archivist for access.

Series were based on the creator's original arrangement of material.
Arranged into 7 Series:
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Original Writing
2.1: "Clarkives"
2.2: Non-"Clarkives"
2.3: Articles, Short Stories
2.4: Lectures, Speeches
Series 3: Media & Publicity
Series 4: Awards & Tributes
Series 5: Manuscripts written by others relating to Clarke's Literary Works
Series 6: Miscellaneous
Series 7: Images
7.1: Photos
7.2: Slide Albums

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Born on December 16, 1917, in Minehead, England, Arthur Charles Clarke became obsessed with science fiction and astronomy at a young age. He was the eldest of four children born into a farming family, however he would become, with his brother Fred Clarke acting as a business associate, one of the leading names in science fiction.
During World War II Clarke served as a radar instructor and in his free time became one of the early members of the British Interplanetary Society. In 1945, Clarke made one of his earliest predictions (he called them "extrapolations") when he came up with the idea of communication satellites. He became known for this uncanny prescience which is seen in so much of his work.
In 1948 Clarke graduated from King's College, London with honors in math and physics. By 1951, Clarke had gained respect as both a fiction and non-fiction writer with
Interplanetary Flight
Prelude to Space
, respectively.
In 1956, Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, where he could indulge a new obsession - skin diving. He remained in Sri Lanka for the rest of his life, creating a diving company and funding many science education programs in the country.
Perhaps Clarke's most recognizable feat came when he was able to work with Stanley Kubrick over a course of 4 years in order to create the book and film
2001: A Space Odyssey
which was loosely based on the earlier Clarke story "The Sentinel."
Clarke accomplished an amazing amount of writing, speaking tours, TV appearances and humanitarian work despite suffering from post-polio syndrome for decades. He won numerous awards, mostly for his science fiction but also for popularizing science. He was knighted in 1998. He died, age 90, March 19, 2008.

Tyler Love
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Arthur C. Clarke Trust, gift, 2014
Processing Information
When appropriate, the processing archivist added a description beneath the file unit title.
This collection was received at the National Air and Space Museum from Sri Lanka on 16 Dec 2015 at NASM, Arthur Clarke's 98th birthday.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access.
Conditions Governing Use
Preferred Citation
Arthur C. Clarke Collection of Sri Lanka, Acc. 2015-0010, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Underwater archaeology -- 1960's Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
nonfiction novels Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interplanetary voyages Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artificial satellites Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manned space flight Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Apollo 11 Flight Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Astronautics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Science fiction Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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