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Bilstein (Roger E.) Personal Papers
SDASM.SC.10227  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection contains primarily photographs of a wide range of aircraft, locations, and people; there are also papers authored by Dr. Bilstein and others on aviation history; finally, there are audio cassette tapes of interviews with aviation-related people, including Werner von Braun. The folders are in the order developed by Dr. Bilstein. 
Background
Roger E. Bilstein was born in 1937 in Hyannis, Nebraska to Richard and Opal (Gubser) Bilstein. He attended Doane College, a small liberal arts school in the eastern part of the state. He participated in American University’s Washington Semester Program, specializing in political science and foreign policy, and received the B.A. in European history from Doane in 1959. At Ohio State University, he took an M.A. in United States History in 1960, and completed his Ph.D. in 1965, specializing in Twentieth Century American History and International Relations. As a graduate student, he was named as Mershon Fellow in National Security Policy Studies. His doctoral dissertation, on the evolution and impact of American aviation technology during the 1920s, established a theme of future writing and research. In 1964, he married Linda Zufall; their family includes two children and one grandchild. Dr. Bilstein taught at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater (1965-1972) and became a co-founder of the American Studies Program there. On leave during 1970-72, he served as Principal Investigator for the NASA Saturn Launch Vehicle History Project at Marshall Space Flight Center. From 1972-74, he held a joint appointment with the Institute of Aviation and the Department of History at the University of Illinois-Urbana. In 1974, the University of Houston organized the Clear Lake complex as a suburban, upper-division campus that enrolled only juniors, seniors, and graduate students at the M.A. level. Dr. Bilstein joined UH-Clear Lake as a member of the Charter Faculty in the summer of 1974. He taught undergraduate courses on American history since 1919, history of technology, warfare and international relations, and aerospace history. Graduate seminars focused on sequential decades of American history from the 1920s to the present, as well as seminars on World War II, aerospace technology and culture, the modern west, and other subjects. He retired from Clear Lake in 2000 as Professor of History-Emeritus, and continues to research and write at his home in the Hill Country west of Austin, Texas. He also lectures on aviation history and serves as a consultant for museums and historical exhibits. Professional activities have included dozens of conference papers in the U.S. and in Europe, including the former Soviet Union, the Deutsches Museum, the Swiss Transport Museum, the Rolls-Royce Trust, and others; numerous papers and book chapters in both American and foreign publications; and numerous entries in encyclopedias and reference works like Encarta / Microsoft and the Encyclopedia Britannica. Other activities include work as a museum consultant as well as memberships on editorial advisory boards such as the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Magazine, service on the USAF Museum advisory board, and similar roles. Dr. Bilstein has been the recipient of various grants and awards, including regional awards from the Aviation and Space Writers Association, and national recognition for historical research from groups such as the National Space Club, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Historical Association, and the Rotary National Stellar Awards Committee. He was appointed as the Charles Lindbergh Professor of Aerospace History at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian (1992-93), and was visiting Professor of History at the Air War College, U.S. Air Force (1995-96). Dr. Bilstein is the author Stages to Saturn, the official NASA history of the lunar launch vehicles (AIAA manuscript award, 1979; re-printed 1996); Flight in America: from the Wrights to the Astronauts (now in its 3rd edition, 2001); The Enterprise of Flight: The American Aviation and Aerospace Industry (cited by the American Library Association as an “outstanding academic book” in its 1996 edition; re-published in 2001); author or co-author of five additional books and monographs. His most recent book is, Testing Aircraft, Exploring Space: An Illustrated History of NACA and NASA (2003).
Extent
2.5 Cubic Feet The collection contains primarily photographs of a wide range of aircraft, locations, and people; there are also papers authored by Dr. Bilstein and others on aviation history; finally, there are audio cassette tapes of interviews with aviation-related people, including Werner von Braun. The folders are in the order developed by Dr. Bilstein. 
 The collection consists of five (5) archival flip-top boxes, four measure 7” x 12-1/2” x 10-1/2”, and one measures 5” x 12-1/2” x 10-1/2”. The collection consists of five (5) archival flip-top boxes, four measure 7” x 12-1/2” x 10-1/2”, and one measures 5” x 12-1/2” x 10-1/2”.
Restrictions
The collection is open to research. Some restrictions may apply.