The Archives Reference Collection in the NASA Ames History Office
provides a sampling of materials that span the history of the Center from its origins in
December 1939 through 2005. This collection presents the best general overview of the
activities, people, research and development, and organization of the NASA Ames Research
Center. Emphasized are photographs, news clippings, brochures, and administrative reports
that provide the level of detail needed to answer a query about some subject in Ames
The Ames Aeronautical Laboratory was the second laboratory of the National Advisory
Committee on Aeronautics (NACA). It was located in Mountain View, California, adjacent to
the Naval Air Station at Moffett Field. Construction began on December 20, 1939, starting
with the flight research building, various wind tunnels, technical services facilities, and
an administration building. The center was christened Ames Aeronautical Laboratory to honor
Dr. Joseph Sweetman Ames, the chairman of NACA from 1927 to 1939 and a staunch advocate for
basic scientific research and the responsibility of the federal government in training
people for it. Responsibility for organizing the center rested with Smith J. DeFrance, who
served as Center Director from 1940 to 1965, and Jack Parsons, who served as his assistant
director for those years. DeFrance attracted to Ames some the brightest aeronautical
engineers, encouraged them to build test facilities to prove their ideas, and then gave them
freedom to pursue useful and exciting work.
Number of containers: 3 filing cabinets
Volume: approximately 30 cubic feet
Copyright does not apply to United States government records. For non-government
material, researcher must contact the original creator.
Collection is open for research.