Bright Ideas
from the National Archives for NHD 1999

Resources at
NARA's Southeast Region (Atlanta)

Early Developments in Aviation

Wright Brothers' Test Flights:
The records available at NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta include handwritten and typewritten press reports created by Messrs. Newton, the New York Herald; Hoster, the New York American; Macgowan, the London Daily Mail; Harr, Colliers Weekly; and Salley, the Norfolk Landmark. The press reports cover a number of test flights conducted in May, 1908 and in some instances, provide specific mechanical and avionic information. Additionally, the reports provide an insight to the actual test flights, noting time-distance intervals, speed, and flight course. (Record Group 27 - Weather Bureau)

Coal Gasification Projects

The North Alabama Coal to Methanol Project:
The project was rooted in several Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) projects dating back to the 1970's. The Office of Agriculture and Chemical Development began a project to produce ammonia from coal shortly after the oil supply/price disruptions of 1973. The Office of Power had also undertaken several studies of energy industrial parks built around coal gasification. With the second oil price/supply disruption in 1979, TVA began the Project whose objective was to design, construct, and operate a commercial synthetic fuels plant in the Tennessee Valley in an environmentally acceptable manner. The resulting energy product was envisioned as a replacement for costly imported oil, using a secure domestic coal based alternative. Related records are available at NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta (Record Group 142 - Tennessee Valley Authority).

Medical Experiments on Human Subjects

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study:
This study began in 1929 as a cooperative study involving the Public Health Service, the Julius Rosenwald Fund, and the state and local health departments in six southern states. It evolved into a study of possible differences in the effects of the disease on African-Americans and Caucasians. During the study, a number of African-Americans in Tuskegee, Alabama who were infected with syphilis were left untreated but were observed, studied, and compared to a control group which did not have the disease. The study continued until the 1970's when its existence was revealed to the public, resulting in hearings conducted by Congress and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare on the ethics of medical experiments on human subjects. Related records are available at NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta (Record Group 442 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NOTE: Records identifying individual patients are restricted.)

Flight and Aeronautical Research in Outer Space

Records of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, 1954-1991:
The records available at NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta relate to research and development of various NASA projects, including Apollo 13, NOVA, NERVA, Saturn Rocket, and SKYLAB; the work of NASA boards and the work of Wernher Von Braun. An example of records in this collection is the history of NASA's involvement in solar energy, partly as an outgrowth of its work on space vehicles. (Record Group 255 - National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NOTE: Access to some files or portions of documents may be restricted because of national security classification.)

Atomic Energy Programs

Records of the Atomic Energy Commission, Oak Ridge Operations Office:
This series of records available at NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta contains information on reactor programs, isotope production, aircraft nuclear propulsion programs, and other development programs. The series includes records from or information relating to Area Offices, Operations Offices, Laboratories, and contractors throughout the nation-wide Atomic Energy Commission complex, especially the Union Carbide Corporation and the United Nuclear Corporation. (Record Group 326 - Atomic Energy Commission)

Air Quality Projects

Records of the Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC:
This is a series of air quality modeling reports applicable to the assessment and impact of hazardous air pollutants. The reports available at NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta contain studies, architectural and engineering drawings and maps used as models for documenting various types of hazardous air pollutants. Included in the reports are levels of toxic materials emitted from fuels, crushed stone, and municipal sewage sludge such as coal, lead, zinc, copper, sulfur, arsenic, trichloroethylene, and mercury. (Record Group 412 - Environmental Protection Agency)

Watershed and Flood Control Programs

Records of the Cumberland River Project, Wolf Creek Dam:
As part of a nation-wide program for watershed and flood control, the Cumberland River Project was initiated in the 1940's. The Project consisted of the planning, development, and construction of a series of dams along the Cumberland River. This series available at the National Archives NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta provides geological, hydrological, and engineering data related to Wolf Creek Dam. (Record Group 77 - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Additional information about the Record Groups held by NARA's Southeast Region in Atlanta that contain materials related to Science Technology and Invention is available.

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