Jack N. James Collection, 1945-1986

James, Jack N. 1920-2001


9.9. cubic ft (1,977 folders).
Document type, subject and memo number.
The collection consists mainly of memoranda, handwritten notes, diagrams, letters, charts, reports, publications, contracts, design specifications and other miscellaneous material. The collection pertains primarily to James' career with JPL during the time period 1958 to 1986.
Of note in the document collection are correspondence and spacecraft specifications pertaining to Mariner 2 and 4 - the Venus and Mars missions. The collection also includes 2 color photographs of the Mariner 2 spacecraft and its launch. Some of the letters are James' correspondence with NASA, the Pentagon and the U.S. Military Joint Chiefs of Staff. The memoranda in this collection are administrative working memoranda written by James and his assistants R.V. Meghreblian and C.H. Terhune, when he was the Assistant Lab Director (ALD) for JPL.
The collection is arranged in 1,977 file folders. The collection's originator, Jack James, had previously filed materials in separate file folders, grouped them and specifically labeled them by document type, subject matter and memorandum number. The original order has been retained, although internal evidence in the files indicates the collection was originally a part of a numeric-filing scheme, here incomplete.
Most of the acronyms used are defined in Part L of Abbreviations and Acronyms Guide, JPL 1030-30 Rev. A, May 1980, Martha Martinez, editor. A copy is available in the Archives.
Jack Norval James was born November 22, 1920 in Dallas, Texas. He was married to Ruth Florence Shockly of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and had 3 sons and 1 daughter. He graduated from Sunset High School, Dallas, Texas in 1937. He later graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas in 1942 and from Union College, Schenectady, New York with a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1949. He also attended the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California in 1951.
Prior to working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), James, as a student, worked as a surveyor for the City of Dallas in 1940 and also as a roustabout for the Atlantic Refining Company from 1941 - 1942. James saw active duty in the U.S. Navy from June 1943 to April 1946. During that period, he was trained in radar at Bowdoin College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Bell Laboratories. He was a radar instructor at Princeton and Pacific Fleet Schools and served as Radar Maintenance Officer aboard Landing Ship Tanks (LST) and the battleship South Dakota. He was employed as a Research Engineer from 1945 to 1950 at RCA and General Electric in Schenectady, New York. At General Electric, from 1946 to 1949, he worked on the Hermes Ordnance project, working mainly on rocket motors, radar command and tracking systems for the V-2 rocket.
On March 17, 1950, James began his association with JPL as a Research Engineer in the Telemetering Division. He developed both ground and flight radar equipment for the Corporal missile system, the nation's first guided ballistic missile, and was responsible for key field operations and tracking stations on the Explorer 1 and Pioneer 4 Projects. He served as Deputy Director for the U.S. Army's Sergeant Project, a solid propellant surface-to-surface ballistic guided missile. In 1961 James was named Project Manager of the Mariner Venus Project, which resulted in the world's first successful planetary mission when Mariner 2 flew by Venus on December 14, 1962. He was named Project Manager for the Mariner Mars Project, which resulted in the first successful Mars mission when Mariner 4 encountered that planet on July 14, 1965. In December 1964, he became the Deputy Assistant Lab Director (ALD) for Lunar and Planetary Programs; Acting ALD for Lunar and Planetary Programs in March 1965; Deputy ALD for Lunar and Planetary Programs in December 1966 and ALD of Technical Divisions in October 1967.
In mid-April 1972, James stopped working for medical reasons, returned on September 25, 1973 on a part time basis and obtained several ad hoc assignments. In 1978, he became the ALD for Technology and Space Program Development and in September 1980, he formed the Applied Technology Development Office and became the ALD of that division. On October 9, 1985, James requested employment phase out and proposed to become head of the DCP Engineering Office on January 1, 1986. On May 1, 1986 he began working part time and retired from JPL on January 1, 1987.
James was a member of Sigma Tau, Sigma Xi, AIAA and IEEE. He was the recipient of the Astronautics Engineer Award presented by the National Rocket Club in 1963, the NASA Public Service Award and was co-recipient of the 1963 Louis W. Hill Space Transportation Award. In 1965 James was awarded the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement medal by President Lyndon B. Johnson at a White House ceremony for managing the Mariners to Venus and Mars. He has received the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from Southern Methodist University. In 1967 James was co-recipient of the Stuart Ballantine Medal presented by the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia.
Records must be reviewed and cleared before foreign release.
JPL Discreet documents are located at the end of the collection with the folders specifically marked "JPL Discreet". 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.

Related Resources

Folder listing available online. PDF file -- 345K.: https://pub-lib.jpl.nasa.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-571/JPL119
View this description in WorldCat: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/733100098