Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Warren Alfred Stark (1928-2011) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Elizabeth (Mary) Adele Stark and Peter Joseph Stark. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Pratt Institute in 1949 and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New York University in 1956. During the Korean War, Stark was stationed with the 1st Ordnance Guided Missile Support Battalion at White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, where he worked on the development and testing of the V-2 rocket and other guided missile programs as part of a group of engineers colloquially referred to as "Broomstick Scientists." Following his military service, Stark spent the rest of his career working in the aerospace industry for Reaction Motors, Thiokol Chemical, Grumman Aerospace Corporation, Allied-Signal/Bendix, and General Electric's Astro-Space Division, retiring in 1995. He married Jean Anne Baldwin Stark (1928-1999), with whom he had two children, Lisa Stark Walsh and Peter Stark. He later married Carmela Stark.
Consists of correspondence, photographs, newspapers, and ephemera belonging to missile researcher Warren Alfred Stark that document his time in the United States Army at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico, including detials on the Terrier Missile Program, during the Korean War and the early years of the Cold War. The majority of the collection consists of correspondence between Warren Stark and Jean Anne Baldwin Stark (1928-1999), his girlfriend and later wife, and other family members and close friends.
The correspondence includes letters from Warren Stark to Jean Stark, mostly from White Sands, New Mexico, with others from Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he completed basic training, and the William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where he was briefly hospitalized due to a ruptured appendix. There are also letters from Jean to Warren Stark as well as letters to Warreb and Jean from various family members and friends.
While the correspondence also pertains to personal matters, Warren Stark's letters provide detailed descriptions of his experiences at White Sands Proving Grounds during his service in the 1st Ordnance Guided Missile Support Battalion, whose members were colloquially referred to as "Broomstick Scientists." This group comprised men with advanced education in science and engineering who were drafted by the United States Army and assigned to work on the development and testing of V-2 rockets and other missiles. Stark's letters discuss the grounds of the military base, security precautions, his daily routine, the command structure, missile tests being conducted, and technical matters related to engineering and rocketry. In one long letter, dated March 8th, 1951, he provides sketches of the base and describes a V-2 rocket launch he observed. The correspondence also provides insights into Warren and Jean Stark's relationship via discussions of wedding planning, health matters, family disputes, religion, and other topics.
Many of the letters, especially those from Warren Stark, include numerous enclosures such as newspaper and magazine clippings, Catholic devotional booklets, lists, and other ephemera, and there are also several issues of the White Sands Missile Range's newspaper, Wind and Sand. The collection also includes several dozen photographs, a few of which depict V-2 and other rocket launches at White Sands Proving Grounds, though the majority document the Armed Forces Day Parade in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on May 17th, 1952. There is also one 1947 photograph of Stark's class at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, with surnames written on the back.
Materials are grouped by type/genre based on how the materials arrived to the library from the dealer.
Purchased from William Reese Company in 2021 (AM 2022-008) and 2022 (AM 2023-079).
For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.
Baseline processing of this collection was completed by Kelly Bolding in August 2021. Finding aid writing by Kelly Bolding in August 2021. Additional processing and revision of the finding aid was completed by Faith Charlton in February 2023, incorporating description provided by the dealer.
No materials were separated from the collection during 2021 processing. A sleeve of 5 acetate photograph negatives that were damaged beyond repair were removed from the collection during 2023 processing.
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Kelly Bolding and Faith Charlton
- Finding Aid Date
- Baseline processing of this collection (AM 2022-008) was sponsored by the Delafield Fund.
- Access Restrictions
Open for research.
- Use Restrictions
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The letter containing drawings of the military base is filed first.Physical Description
Primarily includes letters from Warren to Jean as well as a fair number from Jean to Warren. There are also some family letters and letters from various correspondents to both Warren and Jean.Physical Description