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Addition, Nancy Grace Roman Papers, 1934-2006.

Description of Collection


American Institute of Physics. Center for History of Physics.

College Park, MD 20740

Papers created by

Nancy Grace Roman

Size of collection

1.75 linear feet
1 records box, 1 manuscript box, 1 half manuscript box

Short description of collection

This collection includes correspondence, research notes and observations, course materials and reprints of articles authored by Nancy Grace Roman.

Language(s) of collection


Accession number

AR 2006-696, AR 2007-744

Biographical note

Nancy Grace Roman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on May 16, 1925. She received her B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1946 and her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1949.

After receiving her Ph.D., Nancy Grace Roman remained at the University of Chicago as a research associate, and later, as an assistant professor. In 1955 she took a position as an astronomer with the Radio Astronomy Branch of the Naval Research Laboratory. She was the head of the Microwave Spectroscopy Section when, in 1959, she left NRL to become the head of the observational astronomical program at NASA. Dr. Roman remained at NASA, serving as Chief of the Astronomy and Relativity Programs in the Office of Space Sciences from 1960, until her retirement in 1979.

The high-ranking position Nancy Grace Roman held, at a time when it was unusual for women to have such responsibility, is a strong indication of her knowledge and abilities. Because of her achievements in a field dominated by men, Dr. Roman has become a role model for young women.

Scope and Contents of Collection

This addition to the papers of Nancy Grace Roman include correspondence about her career, and correspondence relating to her work with the American Institute of Physics. The bulk of the correspondence is comprised of annual Christmas letters to her friends and family. These letters provide a review of Roman's activities from the previous year, her travel and research projects, and her thoughts on the passing year.

Also included in this collection are the following: Roman's notebooks containing research notes and data from her astronomical observations; course materials from her years at the University of Chicago; reprints of articles and NASA reports authored by Roman; personal accounting books from her days at Swarthmore College; engagement books and calendars; and materials from her childhood, including photographs, early essays, poetry, artwork, and arithmetic assignments.

Restrictions on Use and Access

Open to approved researchers without restrictions. Use of primary source material in the Niels Bohr Library requires prior approval through an Application for Access, which includes a statement of research purpose and the names and addresses of two scholars as references. Access applications can be obtained by contacting the Library (telephone 301-209-3177; or e-mail The application can also be printed from our website.

The scholar pledges not to quote from, cite, or reproduce by any means this material except with the written permission of the Institute.

Selected Search Terms

These papers have been indexed in the International Catalog of Sources for History of Physics and Allied Sciences (ICOS) using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.


Roman, Nancy Grace, 1925-


Naval Research Laboratory (U.S.)
Swarthmore College.
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Allegheny Observatory.
University of Chicago.

Subject terms

Astronomical observations.
Women in astronomy.

Genre terms


Organization and Arrangement of Collection

Organized into the following series:

  • I. Correspondence
  • II. Notebooks
  • III. Lecture notes
  • IV. Reprints and articles
  • V. Personal materials

This collection is arranged chronologically within each series.

Material Separated from Collection

The following books were included in the original donation, and have been removed to the public books stacks of the Niels Bohr Library:

  • Challenge of the Universe (Hynek and Anderson), 1962
  • Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 267, Nos. 1-4 (ed. Dyson and Lamb), 1999
  • She Does Math! Real Life Problems from Women on the Job (ed. Marla Parker), 1995
  • Les Spectres de Astres dans L'ultraviolet Lointain - Les Congrs et Colloques de L'universit de Lige, Volume 20, 1960
  • International Astronomical Union, International Scientific Radio Union - Paris Symposium on Radio Astronomy (ed. Ronald Bracewell), 1958
  • Astronomy in Space (Newell, Smith, Roman, and Mueller) - NASA Scientific and Technival Publications, 1967
  • International Astronomical Union - Symposium no. IV - Radio Astronomy (ed. H.C. Van de Hulst), 1957
  • Radio Astronomy (by Bernard Lovell and J.A. Clegg), 1952
  • Radio Astronomy (by J.L. Pawsey and R.N. Bracewell) - part of International Monographs on Radio - 1955
  • Wanderers in the Sky: The Motions of Planets and Space Probes - part of Macmillan's Sky and Telescope Library of Astronomy (ed. By Thornton Page and Lou Williams Page), 1965
  • Principles of Stellar Dynamics (S. Chandrasekhar), 1942
  • Astronomy (Robert H. Baker), 1938
  • Statistical Astronomy (Robert J. Trumpler and Harold F. Weaver), 1953
  • Spectra of Long-Period Variable Stars (Paul W. Merrill), 1940
  • Stellar Evolution: proceedings of an international conference, 1963, sponsored by the Institute for Space Studies of the Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA (ed. R.F. Stein and A.G.W. Cameron), 1966
  • An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure (S. Chandrasekhar), 1939
  • Seeing Stars (W.B. White), 1935
  • Handbook of the Heavens (ed. Hubert J. Bernhard, Dorothy A. Bennett, Hugh S. Rice, foreword by Harlow Shapley), 1935
  • International Astronomical Union, Colloquium No. 7 - Proper Motions (ed. W.J. Luyten), 1970
  • The Nature of Light and Color in the Open Air (M. Minnaert), 1954

Provenance and Acquisition Information

Donated to the Niels Bohr Library and Archives inApril and August 2006.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Melanie J. Brown in January 2007.

Preferred Citation of Collection

Cite as: Box [number], Folder [number], Addition, Nancy Grace Roman Papers, 1934-2006. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library, College Park, MD 20740, USA.

Related Collections

Nancy Grace Roman Papers, 1931-1993 (bulk 1950-1980)

Administrative Information


Finding Aid to the Addition, Nancy Grace Roman Papers 1934-2006


American Institute of Physics. Center for History of Physics.

One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740

March 1, 2007

Encoding Information

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD 2002 by Melanie J. Brown in DATE. Any revisions made to this finding aid occurred as part of the editing and encoding process.

Series I: Correspondence

Box 1 Folder 1 Family correspondence, 1941-1976; undated
Folder 2 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1942
Folder 3 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1942-1949
Folder 4 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1943
Folder 5 Correspondence, 1945-2006
Folder 6 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1949
Folder 7 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1950-1951
Folder 8 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1951
Folder 9 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1952-1954
Folder 10 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1952-1953
Folder 11 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1954-1958
Folder 12 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1954
Folder 13 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1955
Folder 14 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1955
Folder 15 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1956-1967
Folder 16 Correspondence from Nancy Grace Roman to parents, 1961-1966
Folder 17 Christmas letters, 1962-2005

Series II: Notebooks

Box 1 Folder 18 Photometry notes, undated
Folder 19 Observation logbook, 1948-1950
Folder 20 Observation logbook, 1951
Folder 21 Observation logbook, titled "Photometry", 1951
Folder 22 Observation logbook, 1952-1953
Folder 23 Observation logbook, 1953-1955

Series III: Lecture notes

Box 1 Folder 24 Lecture notes and course materials, University of Chicago, 1952; undated

Series IV: Publications

Box 1 Folder 25 NASA publications, undated
Box 2 Folder 1 Articles authored by Nancy Grace Roman, undated
Folder 2 "Sky and Telescope" magazine , 1948
Folder 3 "Sky and Telescope" magazine, 1951
Folder 4 Articles authored by Nancy Grace Roman, 1955-1969
Folder 5 Articles authored by Nancy Grace Roman, 1970-1999
Folder 6 NASA Final Report - Life cycle cost comparison of four space technologies for crustal motion measurement, 1984
Folder 7 Report of the Space Telescope Science Program Implementation Committee, 1985
Folder 8 NASA Technical Report - Aspect determination for AXAF, 1985

Series V: Personal materials

Box 2 Folder 9 Photographs, undated
Folder 10 Childhood poetry, artwork and schoolwork, 1934-1935
Box 3 Folder 1 Personal accounting logbook, 1942-1948
Folder 2 Personal accounting logbook, 1960-1976
Folder 3 Engagement books and calendars, 1964-1994
Folder 4 Swarthmore reunion materials - class of 1946, 1971-2001
Folder 5 Engagement books and calendars, 1997-2005