Bruce C. Murray Collection, 1975-1982

Murray, Bruce C.,. 1931-


0.75 cubic ft (56 folders).
Organized into three series: Subject Files, Senior Staff Memoranda, and Speech Material.
The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, notes, speech transcripts, photographs, and copies of newspaper and journal articles relating to JPL Director Bruce Murray. Some of the material was apparently collected by Frank J. Colella, JPL Public Affairs Officer. During processing the collection has been divided into three series: Subject Files, Senior Staff Memoranda, and Speech Material.
Subject Files (folders 1-19). The subject files are composed of memoranda, correspondence, photographs, and copies of newspaper articles involving the Office of the Director during Murray's time as Lab Director. The subject files are arranged chronologically by subject.
Included in the Subject Files is a folder involving the Memorandum of Understanding between NASA and Caltech regarding JPL, revised in 1978. Included are two annotated versions of the memorandum, reflecting concerns with JPL looking elsewhere than NASA for work.
A 1968 memorandum of understanding between NASA and Caltech expanded JPL's role in transferring space technology and engaging in non-NASA work. Specific guidelines for work with non-NASA sponsors were agreed to in 1975. The December 1978 memorandum of understanding affirmed JPL as the principal NASA center for solar system exploration, and, more importantly, broadened JPL's scope in non-space endeavors, including energy and defense work.
A meeting agenda of the JPL Advisory Council for April 9-10, 1981 provides a good background of Murray's attempts to revitalize the deep space exploration program beginning in late 1980. The JPL Advisory Council was created shortly after Murray became JPL Director. It replaced and expanded a previous visiting committee. Membership was intended to balance between Caltech Trustees, senior Caltech faculty and "prestigious 'wise persons' unaffiliated with Caltech." Upon Murray's resignation as JPL Director, it was decided that the JPL Advisory Committee would be disbanded.
Included is a detailed chronology of contacts made between Murray and various individuals involved with Congress, NASA, the aerospace industry, and the Office of Management and Budget. These documents are located in the JPL Advisory Council folder.
Also of note are folders concerning Murray's retirement from the Lab in 1982. Included are notes regarding a short humorous skit, organized by Roger Bourke, and arranged by various JPL personnel. The play, "King Bruce and the Seven Years War" was a thinly disguised depiction of various events that occurred while Murray was at the helm of JPL, transposed to a medieval setting. The events depicted "King Bruce" of "Jetland" and included easily identifiable characters as "Sir Jack" (Jack James) and "Lady Victoria" (Vicki Melikan), and objects, such as the "Holy Grail" (SETI). Included in the collection are several memoranda and rough drafts of material. The final draft of the skit is not included.
Senior Staff Memoranda (folders 20-22). The Senior Staff was composed of individuals comprising the upper management functions of the Laboratory. The Senior Staff originally included the Director, Deputy Director, and their immediate staffs, as well as the Assistant Laboratory Directors and their Deputies, Project Managers, and Managers of Technical and Business Administration Divisions. The exact number and composition of the Senior Staff varied.
The materials in the series primarily include memoranda, either addressed directly to the Senior Staff or forwarded to the Senior Staff. Also included are remarks and testimony to Congressional committees and subcommittees, and standard practice and policy statements. An "Administrative Data Directory," dated August 1981, compiled by D. E. Wallis. The Administrative Data Directory contained descriptions of datasets that were part of the JPL Institutional Database.
Speech Material (folders 23-53). Included are rough drafts, unedited transcripts, and edited transcripts of Murray's "State of the Lab" talks, "Mid-Year Report" talks and periodic talks to management personnel. The State of the Lab talks, although present in the JPL History Collection, have been retained in this collection since the material includes rough drafts of speeches, with editing remarks throughout several speeches. Murray used the talks to alert management personnel about new directives and organizations, such as the Advisory Committee for Women, unveiled during the December 14, 1976 talk. Murray also attempted to answer questions, such as at the August 6, 1976 talk, where there were questions about the reorganization that Murray had instituted earlier. Probably the biggest revelation Murray made at a State of the Lab talk was his resignation on the April 2, 1982, effective June 30, 1982.
Also included are transcripts of selected off-Lab speeches that Murray delivered, including the Caltech Commencement Address in June 1979. There are a few speeches delivered by others that are also represented in the collection.
Three folders contain documents that are stamped or marked "JPL Discreet." The original positions of JPL Discreet material in the collection have been marked with separation sheets. The material has been moved to a box at the end of the collection.
Bruce C. Murray was born November 30, 1931, in New York City. He earned a doctorate in Geology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955, and served as a geologist for Standard Oil from 1955-58. After serving as a Geophysicist for the U.S. Air Force, Murray joined the Caltech faculty as a Research Fellow of Planetary Science and Geology in 1960. Murray became a full Professor of Planetary Science and Geology at Caltech in 1969.
Dr. Murray was a member of the Mars Television Teams on Mariners 4, 6, 7 and 9, and was the Television Team leader for the Mariner 10 flyby of Venus and Mercury. He was named Director of JPL on June 23, 1975, officially succeeding William H. Pickering on April 1, 1976.
During his administration at JPL, the Voyager spacecraft were launched and reached Jupiter and Saturn, Seasat was launched, and the Galileo and Magellan programs were approved by Congress. Murray advocated several ambitious planetary missions, which he called "Purple Pigeons," such as a Jupiter Orbiter Probe, a Venus Orbital Imaging Radar, a Mars rover mission, a Lunar Polar Orbiter and a Comet Halley rendezvous. Murray also advocated the preliminary study of an interstellar probe. Most of these missions were ultimately cancelled due to lack of funding or support. Beginning in the mid-1970s, programs at JPL were increasingly concentrated in non-space related projects involving energy and defense work.
Dr. Murray resigned as Lab Director in June 1982. He has remained active in space research. In 1979 he was a co-founder of The Planetary Society, and he became the Society's President on the death of Carl Sagan in 1997. He was a member of the scientific teams of the Russian Phobos '88 mission, the Russian Mars 96 and the U.S. Mars Global Surveyor missions, and the U.S. New Millennium Mars Microprobe Team. He has published over 120 scientific papers and authored or co-authored six books.
Records must be reviewed and cleared before foreign release. Box 3 includes "JPL Discreet" records. Discreet records are not available to the public. JPL Employees and Contractors should see the Discreet Information policy in the DMIE database.
Finding aid available in the Archives; folder level control.

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