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Paul E. Stanley papers

Identifier: MSF 50

Scope and Contents

The Paul E. Stanley papers document the earliest years of the School of Aeronautics and the planning that went into creating the school. Other material among the papers pertain to the early years of the Purdue Airport and Division of Engineering Sciences. Neil Armstrong was a student of Stanley's, and there are clippings, front pages of newspapers, reports, an invitation sent by Armstrong to Stanley for his homecoming celebrating in Wapakoneta, Ohio, along with other pre and post-Apollo 11 items.

The papers contain numerous photographs from the early years of the Purdue Aeronautical Engineering labs, the Purdue Airport, staff, students from the Inter-American Aviation Training Program, and other photos of planes and pilots that Stanley had collected. The papers hold valuable planning documents and reports for the School of Aeronautical Engineering, including research material, curriculum charts and planning documents, floor plans and sketches for the addition of labs at the airport and elsewhere, and the specifications for complete construction of the Aeronautical Engineering Laboratory, Purdue University Airport, prepared by Walter Scholer and Associates, Architects, Lafayette, Indiana. There is also a wealth of pamphlets, brochures, bulletins and other such items from the earliest years of the Air Transportation Program, Aeronautical Engineering School and Engineering Sciences.

Types of materials include: annual reports, booklets, brochures, bulletins, clippings, correspondence, floor plans, negatives, pamphlets, photographs, planning drawings, publicity, records, reports, sketches, and specifications.


  • 1909 - 1972
  • Majority of material found within 1947 - 1969


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of material in this collection are in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Paul E. Stanley graduated from Manchester College in 1930 and received his master's degree and doctorate from Ohio State University in 1933 and 1938 respectively. From 1936 - 1943 he served on the physics staff at Wheaton College, at which time he also served as Coordinator for the Civilian Pilot Training Program. He later served as Director of Ground School at Purdue University's Navy War Training Service(WTS) Program. Stanley joined the combined Mechanical Engineering – Aeronautics School on January 1, 1945, as an instructor. He was promoted to assistant professor on July 1, 1945 and became a member of both the Air Transportation and Aeronautical Engineering staffs. He taught courses in air transportation, fluid mechanics, and stability and control.

Paul Stanley, along with Elmer Bruhn and Joseph Liston were instrumental in founding the Purdue University School of Aeronautics. They consulted leaders in industry to formulate curricula and laboratories. With Bruhn as head, the School of Aeronautical Engineering held its first registration in the fall of 1945, with 239 students enrolled. Two years later, after veterans had time to return, 736 students were enrolled in the School of Aeronautical Engineering. During the period 1946-1950, Stanley acted as an assistant administrator for the School, particularly the Air Transportation Division. He later served as interim head from 1964-1965. In 1965 he began a one year leave to study bioengineering. His work in this area dealt with various aspects of instrumentation and hospital safety and led to the formation of a Biomedical Engineering Center at Purdue in 1973. He served as the acting director, until a permanent director was hired in 1974.

Stanley retired from Purdue in 1976 after 30 years of service. He passed away on May 16, 1983.


3.72 Cubic Feet (Six letter-size full-width manuscript boxes, one letter-size half-width box, one legal-size full-width box, and two flat boxes)


The collections consists of seven series.
  1. School of Aeronautics reports and records
  2. Pamphlets, brochures, bulletins, and miscellaneous items
  3. Photographs and negatives
  4. Aeronautics, Astronautics, and Purdue journals and publications
  5. Articles related to moon landing
  6. Clippings and newspapers
  7. Floor plans and related documents

Acquisition Information

The papers were transferred by the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics to Purdue University Archives and Special Collections on January 17, 1977.

Related Materials

MSF 477, Harold M. DeGroff, Jr. papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

MSA 257, Joseph P. Minton collection of Purdue Aeronautics Corporation and Purdue Airlines Inc. historical material, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

MSP 23, Emilio Salazar papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

MSO 1, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes. Photographs have been placed in polyester sleeves.  All newsprint has been photocopied and in most cases original newspaper clippings have been discarded. Some clippings containing images of people or color graphics, or front pages of newspapers, have been preserved for display purposes, with photocopies made available for research. Oversized newspapers have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes.
Paul E. Stanley papers
Under Review
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2015-07-25.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States