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Doug Burton Papers

Identifier: Ms-2020-001

Scope and Content

This collection contains trip handouts, three books, the Pratt report of the trip, Moscow Olympics souvenirs, "The Truth" Russian newspaper, brochures and maps, a hotel card, "Love an Engineer" button, a Russian receipt, and digital copies of photos, letters, and Doug Burton's diary.


  • 1962, 1977-1979
  • Majority of material found within ( 1978-1979)

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: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Administrative History

John Lee Pratt (an industrialist who provided financial support for Virginia Tech as early as 1957) died in 1975, leaving in his will approximately $12 million for Virginia Tech, half to be used to support programs within the College of Engineering. In his will, Pratt specified that the funds had to be put towards the support of research and scholarships. It was decided that the Pratt funds were going to be put towards four distinct programs: one half towards a scholarship program, one fourth towards a graduate fellowship program, one eighth used for the funding of international travel for facility, and the remaining one eighth for a study abroad program for undergraduate students. One of those study abroad trips was one taken from March 16 to March 30 in 1979 to the USSR, and documented in Doug Burton’s diary, as seen in this collection.

Biographical Note

Thomas Douglas (Doug) Burton graduated from Virginia Tech in 1980 with a B.S. in electrical engineering. While a student, Burton was one of about 30 students and professors to visit the USSR and Finland in the Spring of 1979 as part of a study abroad trip for the Virginia Tech College of Engineering. Following graduation, Burton joined Bell Telephone Labs and earned a master's at Cal Tech. He later worked for GE, Otis Elevators, and other companies, before returning to Blacksburg, Virginia, to join Luna Technologies and Luna Innovations in 2001. He retired in January 2019.


1.4 Cubic Feet (1 box)


This collection contains Doug Burton's papers and memorabilia from a Pratt-funded Virginia Tech engineering trip to the USSR and Finland taken in March 1979. It primarily consists of VT trip handouts, maps, a newspaper, Moscow Olympics souvenirs, some books, and a transcript of Doug Burton's diary.


This collection is arranged by type.

Source of Acquisition

The Doug Burton Papers were donated to Special Collections and University Archives in July 2019.

Existence and Location of Copies

Much of this collection has been digitized and is available online.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Doug Burton Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 ( work/public-domain/cc0/).

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Doug Burton Papers commenced and completed in January 2020.

Doug Burton Papers, 1962, 1977-1979
Clare Carter, Student Worker, and LM Rozema, Archivist
2020 (CC0 1.0)
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US