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Karl D. Wood papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSF 464

Scope and Contents

The Karl D. Wood papers document the teaching and aeronautical engineering career of Karl D. Wood. Types of materials include: correspondence, calendar notations, miscellaneous papers and newspaper clippings.


  • 1935 - 1967
  • Majority of material found within 1942 - 1946


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Biographical Information

Karl Dawson Wood was born in Forest Glen, Maryland September 27, 1898. He received his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science from Cornell in 1922 and 1926 and his Ph.D. from University of Michigan in 1995. From 1918 to 1920, Wood was Assistant Mechanical Engineer with the United States Bureau of Standards in Washington, D. C. In 1920 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University. During this time he was a part-time consultant for the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation at San Diego and spent a year and a half in California, chiefly as supervisor of aerodynamic work on the wind tunnel at the California Institute of Technology.

Karl D. Wood was the founder of three aeronautical engineering programs: Cornell (1929-1937), Purdue (1937-1944) and Colorado (1944-1963). Prior to 1936 Professor Wood used vacation periods to acquire practical experience and was engaged during this period as consultant for the Bell Telephone Laboratories, the Morse Chain Company, the Atmospheric Nitrogen Corporation and the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. He was a renowned teacher and Wood continued to teach long after his retirement, into the 1980s.

Some of his publications and texts include: Technical Aerodynamics; the two-volume Aerospace Vehicle Design; twelve editions of Aircraft Design with key delineation of "Airplane Design"; and finally Spacecraft Design. Wood was a technical editor of the aeronautical engineering series of college text books published by the Prentiss Hall Company. He was actively consulted on missile design and supersonic transports. He was one of the first engineers to predict the key role that helicopters play in today's mass transportation. His Airplane Design book is still used by experimental airplane builders. He published extensively, but much of the material was confidential. In his nineties, he was a state-ranked tennis player.

Karl Dawson Wood died April 19, 1995.


0.363 Cubic Feet (One letter-size full-width manuscript box)


The original order of the material has been maintained. 

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Dr. Robert M. Wood, son of Karl D. Wood, on December 15, 2004.

Related Materials

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes.
Karl D. Wood 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 2011-07-14.

Revision Statements

  • 2012-10-17: Revised 10/17/2012
  • 2020-03-16: Collection description updated to new standards by Mary A. Sego.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States