William J. Alford, Jr., Papers
Scope and Content
The collection contains NACA and NASA research memoranda and reports, publication drafts, research notes and patent details for the variable-sweep wing design, correspondence, award certificates, AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics) conference programs, and personnel file papers pertaining to William J. Alford's career as an aeronautical engineer. Also included are a Langley working paper, with associated variable-sweep research notes and patent details, and a detailed schematic drawing, of "the variable sweep wing configuration tested in the high-speed 7- by 10- foot tunnel." These materials date from 1951 to 1988.
Some related materials may appear in separate folders. For example, awards and correspondence are also included in the biographical and career information file. Additionally, some personnel file papers, especially many of those in the biographical and career information file, contain photocopies in the place of the original documents.
- 1951 - 1988
- Alford, William J., Jr., 1924-2010 (Person)
- Polhamus, Edward C. (Edward Charles), 1923-2001 (Person)
Language of Materials
The materials in the collection are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.
Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.
William J. Alford, Jr. (1924-2010) graduated from Granby High School in 1942. During World War II, he served in the United States Marine Corps as a dive-bomber pilot. In June 1949, Alford graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. He continued graduate work in Aerospace Engineering at VPI from 1959-1960. He worked as an engineer at NACA-NASA Langley (1949-1980), served as head of the Advanced Transport Technology Program (1970-1975), and held the position of manager of the Energy Efficient Transport Office (1976-1979). Alford also served as the head of the Advanced Military Technology Office (1979-1980). Alford and Edward C. Polhamus own the patent for the Variable Sweep Wing Configuration (1962).
0.6 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)
Spanning from 1951-1988, the William J. Alford, Jr., Papers contains NACA and NASA research memoranda and reports; publication drafts; a Langley working paper with associated research notes and patent details; correspondence; award certificates; AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics) conference programs; and personnel papers pertaining to William J. Alford's career as an aeronautical engineer. A detailed schematic drawing of "the variable sweep wing configuration tested in the high-speed 7- by 10- foot tunnel" is also included.
The collection is arranged into two series.
Series I: Papers, arranged by material type, contains papers that date from 1958 to 1988. This series includes award certificates, correspondence, personnel file papers, conference programs, and research notes and material related to the variable-sweep wing patent. Some papers relating to Alford's career had been previously arranged; these materials and their ordering are maintained in the "Biographical and Career Information" file.
Series II: Publications, arranged chronologically, comprises NACA, NASA, RAND, United States Air Force Project RAND, NATO Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development, and NASP publications. These documents range from 1951 to 1987. NACA and NASA publications form the majority of this series. Most publications list Alford as an author.
Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated to Special Collections and University Archives in 1987.
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the William J. Alford, Jr., Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).
The processing, arrangement, and description of the William J. Alford, Jr., Papers was completed in April 2013.
- William J. Alford, Jr., Papers, 1951-1988
- Alexandra Dowrey, Graduate Assistant, and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
- 2013 (CC0 1.0)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2020-08-17: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
- 2021-08-25: Miles Abernethy removed double commas; LM Rozema made minor updates to notes.
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
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