These records document the administration and scientific programs of SAO under the leadership of Field, 1973-1983, and Shapiro, 1983-1987. A small amount of material was created during Whipple's tenure as director. The records consist of correspondence, memoranda, proposals, reports, budgets, publications, and related materials documenting the research activities of SAO divisions of Atomic and Molecular Physics, High Energy Astrophysics, Optical and Infrared Astronomy, Planetary Sciences, Radio and Geoastronomy, Solar and Stellar Physics, and Theoretical Astrophysics; the development and operation of the multiple-mirror telescope; the research program of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (before 1981, the Mount Hopkins Observatory); the Satellite Tracking Program, including its evolution from Baker-Nunn cameras to laser-ranging systems, and its termination in 1983; SAO research programs in hydrogen masers, submillimeter wavelength interferometers, and infrared telescopes; the development of the Langley-Abbot Solar Research Program; relations with Harvard University, and SAO's role as a member of the Center for Astrophysics; the establishment of the SAO visiting scientist and post-doctoral fellowship programs; SAO involvement in site testing for an observatory on Mt. Graham, Arizona; a proposed Institute for X-Ray Astronomy at SAO; and budgets, facilities, information management, publication programs, and other administrative matters.
Also included is incoming and outgoing correspondence of Field and Shapiro with professional colleagues, staff of SAO and the Harvard College Observatory, students, and the general public concerning scientific research, professional affairs, administrative issues, and requests for information.