Guide to the Edward S. Forman papers

Dylan J. McDonald
Center for Sacramento History
551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd.
Sacramento, California 95811-0229
Phone: (916) 808-7072
Fax: (916) 264-7582
Email: csh@cityofsacramento.org
URL: http://www.centerforsacramentohistory.org/
© 2013
Center for Sacramento History. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Edward S. Forman papers

Collection number: MS0042

Center for Sacramento History

Sacramento, CA
Processed by:
Dylan J. McDonald
Date Completed:
2005-10
Encoded by:
Sean Heyliger
© 2013 Center for Sacramento History. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Edward S. Forman papers
Dates: 1909-1972
Collection number: MS0042
Creator: Forman, Edward S.
Collection Size: 2.5 linear feet (3 boxes + 5 films + 1 oversized drawer)
Repository: Center for Sacramento History
Sacramento, California 95811-0229
Abstract: The collection is 2.5 linear feet in size and contains correspondence, publications, news clippings, black and white photographs, 16mm film, a scrapbook, and artifacts relating to the professional career of engineer Edward S. Forman. Divided into six series, the collection is organized chronologically within subject file folders. Forman worked at Cal Tech, Hughes Aircraft, and Lockheed. He was one of the founders of Aerojet Engineering Corporation.
Physical location: 4G1, 28H11, 35H5, MC 11:13
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights

All requests to publish or quote from private collections held by the Center for Sacramento History (CSH) must be submitted in writing to csh@cityofsacramento.org. Permission for publication is given on behalf of CSH as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the patron. No permission is necessary to publish or quote from public records.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item and/or item number], [box and folder number], Edward S. Forman papers, MS0042, Center for Sacramento History.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Lynn Forman Maginnis, daughter of Edward S. Forman, to the Center for Sacramento History in August 2005 (Accession #2005/060).

Processing Information

Processed in September 2005 by Dylan J. McDonald. Finding aid prepared in October 2005 by Dylan J. McDonald.

Biography / Administrative History

Edward Seymour Forman was born in Gillespie, Illinois on December 3, 1912. His father was an electrical engineer and moved the family west during Forman’s adolescence. An avid science fiction reader, Forman dreamed of flying and space travel. At age 15, Forman began with a friend, John W. Parsons, to research rocketry and conduct experiments. In 1928 they began testing in an area behind Devils Gate Dam in Arroyo Seco, near Pasadena, California.
After graduating from the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), Forman continued his rocket experiments with Parsons. Working on both solid and liquid rocket systems proved costly, prompting them to approach Cal Tech in 1934 for technical and financial support. Originally turned down, later they established a relationship with Frank J. Malina who assisted with the design and machining of parts at Cal Tech. They developed and fired their first liquid rocket in October 1936. Hoping to attract additional financial support, Forman and Parsons published newspaper and magazine accounts of their work. Eventually Forman was hired by Cal Tech to design and manage the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a 3 ½ acre off-campus testing facility. JPL received federal funds to test both liquid and solid rockets. Instrumental in the design and development of JATO (jet assisted take-off) rocket boosters for military planes, Forman and five others at JPL founded Aerojet Engineering Corporation in 1942. After three years as a vice president and production manager at Aerojet, Forman left the company and over the next few years worked various engineering positions. In 1949 he began at Hughes Aircraft, which eventually took him to Tucson, Arizona. Forman then transferred to Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in 1958, working for a time at the Santa Cruz Test Base.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is 2.5 linear feet in size and contains correspondence, publications, news clippings, black and white photographs, 16mm film, a scrapbook, and artifacts relating to the professional career of engineer Edward S. Forman. Divided into six series, the collection is organized chronologically within subject file folders.
Series 1 include biographical information about Forman’s early rocket experiments from newspaper and magazine articles, many found in a scrapbook. Of note are the photographs of early launch attempts with John Parsons, and their original rocket test stand motor.
Series 2 contains documents and publications during Forman’s time with Cal Tech, the GLACIT Program, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory building JATOs. This series contains several films which show the test firing of various rockets and the take-offs of planes aided by JATOs (see Appendix A).
Series 3 has numerous photographs and reports produced by Aerojet Engineering Corporation during their research and development of various rockets for the U.S. military. Of note is a piece of an airplane wing from a fatal JATO experiment. The wing is annotated by Forman, describing the incident (see Appendix B).
Series 4 deals with an explosives company Forman helped found, Vulcan Powder Company.
Series 5 and 6 include employee newsletters and photographs from Hughes Aircraft and Lockheed.

Arrangement

Series 1. Personal Series 2. Cal Tech – Jet Propulsion Laboratory Series 3. Aerojet Engineering Incorporated Series 4. Vulcan Powder Company Series 5. Hughes Aircraft Company Series 6. Lockheed Missiles and Space Company Series 7. Films

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Forman, Edward S.
Aerojet-General Corporation
Hughes Aircraft Company--History
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (U.S.)--History
Lockheed Missiles and Space Company
Vulcan Powder Company


Collection Contents

 

Series 1. Personal

Physical Description: 13 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Personal series include biographical information about Forman’s early rocket experiments from newspaper and magazine articles, many found in a scrapbook. Of note are the photographs of early launch attempts with John Parsons, and their original rocket test stand motor.
Box 1:1

Biography and resume 1958-1969

Box 1:2

Correspondence 1938-1953

Box 1:3

News clippings – career 1938-1970

Box 1:4

News clippings – general 1909-1972

Box 4G1 Drawer J

Photographs undated

Box 1:6

Publications 1948-1970

Box 1:7

Rocket loans 1938-1971

Box 3

Scrapbook – cover board undated

Box 1:8

Scrapbook (photocopy) 1938-1956

Box 1:9

Scrapbook – articles 1938-1940

Box 1:10

Scrapbook – correspondence 1939-1942

Box 1:11

Scrapbook – news clippings 1938-1942

Box 1:12

Scrapbook – newsletters and bulletins 1939-1956

Box 1:13

Scrapbook – photographs 1938

 

Series 2. Cal Tech – Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Physical Description: 5 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

The Cal Tech – Jet Propulsion Laboratory series contains documents and publications during Forman’s time with Cal Tech, the GLACIT Program, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory building JATOs.
Box 1:14

Correspondence 1966-1969

Box 1:15

Documents 1940-1942

Box 1:17

Publications 1940-1968

Box 1:18

Reports 1938-1941

 

Series 3. Aerojet Engineering Incorporated

Physical Description: 14 folders + 1 artifact

Series Scope and Content Summary

The Aerojet Engineering Incorporated series has numerous photographs and reports produced by Aerojet Engineering Corporation during their research and development of various rockets for the U.S. military. Of note is a piece of an airplane wing from a fatal JATO experiment. The wing is annotated by Forman, describing the incident.
Box 1:18

Reports 1938-1941

Box 1:19

Correspondence 1942-1957

Box 1:20

Lectures 1942-1943

Box 2:21

Lectures – Aerojet Training Program May 1943

Box 2:22

Legal and financial 1942-1943

Box 4G1 Drawer J

Photographs 1941-1968

Box 2:24

Publications 1945

Box 2:25-30

Reports 1942-1944

Box 2:31

Research 1941-1943

Box 2:32

Travel 1943-1944

Box 3

Artifact, "A PIECE OF BELLY CENTER SECTION FROM INTERSTATE AIRPLANE DAMAGED BY 2 AEROJET UNITS 8AS1000 THAT SLIPPED OUT OF THE MOUNTING RACKS. ONE UNIT IMBEDDING ITSELF IN THE GASOLINE TANK, THE OTHER UNIT GOING THRU THE PROPELLER AND FLYING THRU A HANGAR 125 YARDS AWAY. ONE PROPELLER TIP SHATTERED THE RIGHT LEG OF NAVY INSPECTOR KLEIN. NO OTHERS WERE INJURED. THIS WAS THE FIRST ACCIDENT TO OCCUR WHERE AEROJET UNITS WERE INVOLVED. ACCIDENT OCCURRED 6 P.M. NOV. 1, 1943. ED. S. FORMAN P.S. MR. KLEIN DIED AT 4:00 A.M. THE FOLLOWING MORNING. 1943

Box 3

Test motor stand circa 1938

 

Series 4. Vulcan Powder Company

Physical Description: 3 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

The Vulcan Powder Company series includes article of incorporation, correspondence and a proposal to create the explosives company Vulcan Powder Company.
Box 2:33

Articles of incorporation and minutes 1946

Box 2:34

Correspondence 1946-1947

Box 2:35

Proposal circa 1946

 

Series 5. Hughes Aircraft Company

Physical Description: 3 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

The Hughes Aircraft Company series include employee newsletters and photographs from the Hughes Aircraft Company.
Box 2:36

Documents 1954

Box 4G1 Drawer J

Photographs 1950-1955

Box 2:38

Publications 1952-1955

 

Series 6. Lockheed Missiles and Space Company

Physical Description: 2 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

The Lockheed Missiles and Space Company series include employee newsletters and photographs from the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company.
Box 4G1 Drawer J

Photographs circa 1960

Box 2:40

Publications 1968

 

Series 7. Films

Physical Description: 5 films

Series Scope and Content Summary

Five films documenting the Cal Tech-Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1940s. Films include: “The Jet Propulsion Research Project,” 1942; “Flight Test of the Ercoupe Airplane without and with Auxiliary Jet Propulsion at March Field, CA – August 6-23, 1941”; “Flight Test of the Ercoupe Airplane without and with Auxiliary Jet Propulsion at March Field, CA – August 6-23, 1941”; JATO Historical Footage, ca. 1941;
Box 35H5

"The Jet Propulsion Research Project" 1942

Box 35H5

"Flight Test of the Ercoupe Airplane without and with Auxiliary Jet Propulsion at March Field, CA – August 6-23, 1941" 1941-08-06

Box 35H5

"Flight Test of the Ercoupe Airplane without and with Auxiliary Jet Propulsion at March Field, CA – August 6-23, 1941" 1941-08-06

Box 35H5

JATO Historical footage circa 1941

Box 35H5

JATO Historical footage circa 1941