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Nancy Grace Roman addition to papers, 1935-2010

Description of Collection


American Institute of Physics. Niels Bohr Library & Archives.

Papers created by

Roman, Nancy Grace, 1925-

Size of collection

3 linear feet
1 flat manuscript box
1 manuscript box

Short description of collection

This collection contains additions to the larger collection of Nancy Grace Roman's donated items. Contents include calendars, personal and work-related correspondences, some short, creative works, and a scrapbook.

Language(s) of collection


Collection number:


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. Her work at NASA was so influential that she became known as the mother of the Hubble Space Telescope.

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. Nancy Grace Roman passed away in December 2018.

Scope and Contents of Collection

The majority of this collection is made up of Nancy Grace Roman’s personal papers, being correspondence to her parents and acquaintances, and creative works such as scrapbooks and original written materials. There are also some business-related correspondences and calendars. These are organized in folders and arranged by subject and date.

Restrictions on Use and Access

Researchers must have an approved access application on file in order to access archival materials. .

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, Irwin, 1893-1976
Roman, Nancy Grace, 1925-


United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Subject terms

Radio astronomy.
Telescopes. Design and construction.
Women in astronomy.

Genre terms


Organization and Arrangement of Collection

Arranged into two series.

  • Series I: Nancy Grace Roman correspondence
    • Subseries IA: Personal correspondence with parents and others
    • Subseries IB: Business-related correspondence
  • Series II: Creative works and miscellaneous
    • Subseries IIA: Miscellaneous
    • Subseries IIB: Creative works

Provenance and Acquisition Information

Donated by Nancy Grace Roman during her visit to NBLA in 2014.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sam Holland in 2019.

Some items in collection are brittle and need to be handled with caution. Some items may need to be digitized in the future. Three images were also found in the collection and were given to the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives for proper handling.

Preferred Citation of Collection

Box [number], Folder [number], Nancy Grace Roman addition to papers, 1935-2010. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, College Park, MD 20740, USA.

Administrative Information


Finding Aid to the Nancy Grace Roman addition to papers, 1935-2010


American Institute of Physics Niels Bohr Library & Archives

One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740


Encoding Information

Machine-readable finding aid encoded by Sam Holland in 2019. Any revisions made to this finding aid occurred as part of the editing and encoding process.

Series I- Nancy Grace Roman correspondence

Subseries I A- Personal correspondence with parents and others

Box 1 Folder 1 Personal correspondence, 1935-1965
Folder 2 Personal correspondence, 1943-1949
Folder 3 Personal correspondence, 1942
Folder 4 Personal correspondence (set aside for preservation purposes), 1942-1953
Folder 5 Personal correspondence, 1943
Folder 6 Personal correspondence, 1944
Folder 7 Personal correspondence, 1945
Folder 8 Personal correspondence, 1946
Folder 9 Personal correspondence, 1947
Folder 10 Personal correspondence, 1948
Folder 11 Personal correspondence, 1949
Folder 12 Personal correspondence, 1950
Folder 13 Personal correspondence, 1951
Folder 14 Personal correspondence, 1952
Folder 15 Personal correspondence, 1952-1969
Folder 16 Personal correspondence, 1953
Folder 17 Personal correspondence, 1954
Folder 18 Personal correspondence, 1964-1966
Folder 19 Personal correspondence, undated

Subseries I B- Business-related correspondence

Box 1 Folder 20 Miscellaneous business-related correspondence, 1950-2003
Folder 21 Miscellaneous business-related correspondence, 1980

Series II- Creative works and miscellaneous

Subseries II A- Miscellaneous

Box 1 Folder 22 Application for financial support to the Office of Naval Research, 1951
Folder 23 Swarthmore College Bulletin featuring Roman quote, 1976
Folder 24 Pocketbook calendars, 1999-2010

Subseries II B- Creative works

Box 1 Folder 25 Poetry, plays, and short stories, undated
Box 2 Folder 1 Scrapbook, undated