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Finding Aid for the Paul B. MacCready Papers ca. 1931-2002
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Arriving on December 30th 2003, the collection documents most aspects of MacCready's career and many features of his individual character. Constituted within the papers is a diverse array of documents, media, objects, manuscripts and printed material; awards; videos and film; photographs and slides, diaries and notebooks; memorabilia, biographical material and ephemera. While the collection spans over seventy years (ca. 1930-2002), the bulk of material dates from the mid 1960s to the mid '90s. Especially prevalent within the collection are papers and ephemera from 1977 to 1985 during which time MacCready was working on his Gossamers and interest in human-powered flight was at its peak.
Paul B. MacCready, Jr. (September 29, 1925 - August 28, 2007) was an American aeronautical engineer, entrepreneur and inventor. He was the founder of Meteorology Research, Inc., and AeroVironment. He was the designer of the human-powered aircrafts Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross, both winning the Kremer prize, respectively in 1977 and 1979. To top off his successes, MacCready's Bionic Bat - an aircraft that used human power not only to power the aircraft directly, but to store energy in a battery - won yet another two Kremer Prize for human-powered air speed. In addition to these achievements, MacCready designed and produced the Gossamer Penguin, the first airplane to be completely solar powered. He also created the Solar Challenger, a similar aircraft used to spark the public imagination concerning the possibilities of solar power. Yet MacCready was not limited to the development of exceptional flying machines. His interest in the environment and technology led him to construct other kinds of innovative machinery. Notably, in 1987 he helped build the solar powered Sunraycer which won the World Solar Challenge race across Australia. In collaboration with General Motors, he developed the aerodynamically efficient electric powered car, called Impact. Paul MacCready was the recipient of many awards. Amongst the countless honorary degrees, prizes, medals and decorations, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers named him "Engineer of the Century" in 1978 and bestowed upon him the Ralph Coats Roe Medal in 1998 for bettering the public's appreciation of engineering. In 1981 he was named the "Inventor of the Year" and in 1982 he received the prestigious Lindbergh Award. He received the Howard Hughes Memorial Award for lifetime achievement (1999) and the Design News Special Achievement Award. In 1999 he was included in Time magazine's "The Century's Greatest Minds" and also inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame. He received the Guggenheim medal in 1987, the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award in 1978, the AIAA Reed Aeronautical Award in 1979 and many other accolades. The Smithsonian National Air Space Museum displays five vehicles designed by Paul MacCready.
56.5 linear feet (113 archival boxes)
Copyright may not have been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Caltech Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and, unless explicitly stated otherwise, is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
The collection is open for research. Researchers must apply in writing for access.