Bernhard Hohmann Papers: Finding Aid mssHohmann

Kelly Kress
The Huntington Library
July 2022
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191

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.)


Germany 1933-1946

Box 1

Personal 1939-1946

Scope and Contents

Personal photographs of Bernhard Hohmann, Irmgard Hohmann, and family in Germany; family histories; and Irmgard Hohmann's account of the couple's departure from Peenemünde in 1945. Also includes a file of documents related to Bernhard Hohmann's wartime work and postings, as well as receipts and other ephemera from that time, and a 35mm film evidently shot from or of the Heinkel He 46 aircraft.
Box 2

Flying 1933-1934

Scope and Contents

Manuals and photographs, primarily related to gliders but also includes some planes; and two Dreieckrechner navigation instruments with manual.
Box 3

Maps and negatives 1936-1946

Scope and Contents

Flight related negatives taken by Bernhard Hohmann between 1936 and 1944, and flight maps of Germany and France from 1939.

United States space program 1947-1984

Box 4

Personal 1947-1984

Scope and Contents

Photographs and memorabilia related to Hohmann's life and career in the United States, including business cards, certificates of appreciation, stickers, IDs, and other ephemera. Photographs are of Hohmann in the office, at home, and at various sites.
Box 5

Gemini and Mercury programs 1961-1966

Scope and Contents

Images used in a presentation about pilot safety for the Mercury program; Hohmann's notes about engine and flight testing for the Gemini program; internal reports for Mercury and Gemini programs regarding performance, pilot safety, and human physiological response; press release photographs from Aerospace Corporation and NASA; and printed space program ephemera including publications and flyers.
Box 6

Publications and map 1961-1966

Scope and Contents

Articles about space program milestones and achievements, both in popular magazines and newspapers and trade publications. Also includes a Mercury test flight map.
Box 7

Newspapers 1961-1963

Scope and Contents

Full issues of newspapers featuring articles about space flights, including the Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, and Palisadian Post.
Roll 1

Titan posters approximately 1960

Scope and Contents

Posters depicting the Titan rocket launch vehicle and underground launch complex.
Roll 2

Gemini program silkscreened logo poster approximately 1960

Scope and Contents

Numbered poster of Gemini logo produced by Aerospace Corporation.