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Harold M. DeGroff, Jr. papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSF 477

Scope and Contents

The Harold M. DeGroff, Jr. papers document aspects of the career of longtime Purdue University faculty member and former Dean of Purdue's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics from 1955-1963, during the height of the "space race." Some of the featured items in the collection are a letter of recommendation for assignment to the Naval V-12 College of Training Program and a notice of separation from the United States Naval Service. 

Items pertaining to DeGroff's Purdue career include his initial letter of interest in a Purdue faculty position, Purdue University oath or affirmation, letter of recommendation for acting Head of School of Aeronautics and vitae. Also included is a signed letter to DeGroff from his former student, Neil Armstrong. Miscellaneous items include an autographed photograph of DeGroff with former congressman Earl F. Landgrebe, a certificate declaring DeGroff an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a copy of DeGroff's obituary.

Types of materials include: a certificate, clippings, correspondence, miscellaneous materials and photographs. 


  • 1943 - 2010
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1951 - 1968


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 or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Harold Miller DeGroff was born May 10, 1920 to Harold and Marjorie (Lantz) DeGroff in Troy, Ohio. He was married to Sarah (Sally) Meek DeGroff for more than 54 years.

A former naval officer, he took full advantage of the G.I. bill to attend Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and California Institute of Technology, where he earned his doctorate in aeronautics and mathematics.

A longtime Purdue University faculty member, he was dean of Purdue's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics from 1955-1963 during the height of the "space race," counting Neil Armstrong and other renowned NASA astronauts as his students. He also served on the faculty of Purdue's Krannert School of Management, was president of Midwest Applied Science Corporation, a pioneer tenant of Purdue Research Park, and served as vice president of Design and Manufacturing Corporation in Connersville, Indiana.

An endowed scholarship was established at Purdue in his name for students in management or aeronautical engineering who are earning a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

DeGroff was an avid student of history, music and art and an active civic volunteer. He and Sally were dedicated members of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, which named him a lifetime member in 2008. He was particularly fond and supportive of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and followed the glaucoma research being conducted by the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology with great interest and gratitude.


0.20 Cubic Feet


The papers are organized into four series. The material is in chronological order within each series.
  1. Navy Career
  2. Purdue Career
  3. Clippings
  4. Miscellaneous Materials

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics by Joe DeGroff (Harold DeGroff's son) on November 18, 2010. The collection was then transferred to Purdue University Archives and Special Collections by Aero Development officer, Rita Baines on October 8, 2012.

Acquisition Information

The collection was transferred to Purdue University Archives and Special Collections by Aero Development officer, Rita Baines on October 8, 2012.

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. All newsprint has been photocopied for research purposes, and original newspaper clippings have been retained for display purposes. Polyester sleeves were used where warranted.
Harold M. DeGroff, Jr. 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 2012-12-10.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States