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James R. Maris papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 478

Scope and Contents

The James R. Maris papers document aspects of the Department of Aviation Technology's administration and teaching. Papers include a 1973 department administrative procedures manual; Professor Maris' course outlines, lectures and notes for Aviation Technology 358, Aviation History class, including lecture overheads which provide historical aircraft images, publications and handbooks on aviation careers, records of Purdue's Aviation Technology Flying Club, including meeting minutes, reports, constitution, elections, scrapbook (1971-1973) and membership files, 1990-1994; a 1944 declassified maintenance manual (stamped "Aretz Flying Service, Lafayette, IN") for Army aircraft PT 19, 23, 26. Also includes over five hundred slides documenting Dr. Maris' work on experimental aircraft including the construction of a Starduster and Ultra Lites (1970-1982).


  • 1944 - 1994
  • Majority of material found within 1992 - 1993


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

The 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

James R. Maris was born September 13, 1919 in Lafayette, Colorado to Foster Melvin Maris and Elizabeth Osborn Maris. He was married on January 16, 1943, in Montgomery, Alabama, to S. Lucille Carr. They had four daughters, Cathy, Nancy, Susan and Vickie.

Maris was a professor of aviation technology and was instrumental in the organization and development of the Department of Aviation Technology at Purdue University. He served as department head from 1955 through 1982 and then held a position as assistant to the dean in the School of Technology where he retired in 1984. Purdue is noted for establishing new standards of aviation education by developing two-year associate degrees and four-year bachelor’s degrees in aviation maintenance, aviation electronics, and flight during this time. Maris was also involved in the founding of the University Aviation Association.

Mr. Maris served in the Army Air Corps and later, the Air Force. He flew numerous planes, but spent the majority of his flying hours piloting B-24 bombers in World War II. He and his crew flew 30 missions out of Wembley, England. His second mission was D-Day. He was called back to active duty for the Korean War and retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1979, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He was a member and elder emeritus of First Christian Church Disciples of Christ, where he was active in many roles. He was also a member of the Reserve Officers Association, Alpha Eta Rho, Experimental Aircraft Association and Purdue University Retirees. He volunteered many hours for the Church Women United Food Pantry and the Purdue Visitors' Center and gave tours of the airport to school children and Purdue visitors.

His hobbies included building planes and a car, attending air shows, public speaking about World War II, photography, creative writing, poetry writing, and volunteering.

Professor Maris died January 9, 2008 in Lafayette, Indiana.


1.768 Cubic Feet (Two letter-size full-width manuscript boxes and one cubic foot box)


The papers are organized into four series.
  1. Scrapbook
  2. Slides
  3. Handbooks, Guides, Directories, Administrative Procedures and Lecture Material
  4. Aviation Technology Flying Club

Technical Access Information

Series two contains slides, which require special equipment to view. Contact Purdue University Archives and Special Collections if interested in using this material.

Custodial History

The papers were originally donated by the Maris family to Professor Thomas Carmey, Department of Aviation Technology, Purdue University. The papers were later transferred by Carney to Purdue University Archives and Special Collection on October 18, 2012.

Acquisition Information

The papers were transferred by Professor Thomas Carney to Purdue University Archives and Special Collection on October 18, 2012.

Separated Materials

Twenty-nine books that were donated with the papers have been cataloged, with a special note that they were a gift of the Maris Family. The publication dates range from 1942-2003.

Processing Information

Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained. All materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes for preservation purposes.

Twenty-nine books which were a part of James Maris' library and donated with the papers have been separated out and catalogued as part of the Purdue Archives' special collection books. This notation appears as part of the catalog record for the books: "Copy in Special Collections is a gift of the family of James R. Maris. Copy in Special Collections relates to MSF 478 - the James R. Maris papers."
James R. Maris papers
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 2015-08-10.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States