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Hohmann (Bernhard) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement

  • Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
    Title: Bernhard Hohmann papers
    Identifier/Call Number: mssHohmann
    Physical Description: 13.3 Linear Feet (7 boxes and 2 tubes)
    Date (inclusive): 1933-1984
    Abstract: Materials related to the life and career of Bernhard Hohmann, a German aircraft engineer, test pilot, and space program director who emigrated to the United States after World War II and worked in the aviation and aerospace industry. Materials date from his time in Germany encompassing 1933 to 1946, through his work with the United States space program from 1956 to 1970.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English and German.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    NOT AVAILABLE: Box 5: 35mm film unavailable until reformatted.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Bernhard Hohmann papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Simon Johnston and Ros Cross, May 2022.

    Biographical / Historical

    Bernhard Hohmann was born in Germany in 1916. He was a glider pilot and engineer, and joined the Luftwaffe as a test pilot during World War II. Hohmann was stationed at the Peenemünde Army Research Center where he made test flights of the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, a rocket powered fighter aircraft. After the war, Hohmann surrendered to Allied forces and by 1947 was working at Wright Field, now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio. Hohmann became Chief of the Flight Development section before leaving in 1957 to take a job with the Aerospace Corporation, in El Segundo, California. Hohmann worked extensively with the Mercury and Gemini space programs, particularly on astronaut flight safety. Hohmann was married to Irmgard Kaufmann Hohmann, who joined him in the United States while he was at Wright Field. The Hohmanns lived in Pacific Palisades, California, and had no children. Bernhard Hohmann died in 1984.

    Scope and Contents

    Collection includes items related to Hohmann's life and career in Germany and the United States. German materials include photographs and publications from his pre-war work as a glider pilot, wartime documents and correspondence related to his postings and employment, flight maps, manuals, and ephemera. There are also many personal photographs, a Hohmann family history, and a photo-illustrated account of Bernhard and Irmgard's dangerous departure from Peenemünde in 1945, created by Irmgard Hohmann. United States space program materials include Hohmann's notes about flight testing, lecture materials, internal reports, press release photos, a test flight map, printed ephemera, and newspaper articles. There is also some personal material related to Hohmann's work and membership in professional organizations, personal photographs of Bernhard and Irmgard, and memorabilia.

    Processing Information

    Processed at the time of accessioning by Kelly Kress in July 2022. Materials were organized into binders by donor. Most binders were left intact; a few were disassembled and materials foldered.


    Organized in the following series:
    • Series 1. Germany, 1933-1946
    • Series 2. United States space program, 1956-1984

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Aerospace industries -- United States -- History -- 20th century
    Aerospace engineering -- Germany
    Aerospace engineering -- United States
    Air pilots, Military -- Germany
    Airplanes, Military
    Brain drain -- Germany -- History -- 20th century
    Gliders (Aeronautics) -- History
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Technology
    Peenemünde (Germany) -- History
    Manuals (instructional manuals)
    Project Gemini (U.S.)
    Project Mercury (U.S.)