[Reber in 1988]
Reber in 1988. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber in 1912]
Reber in 1912. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber in front of U Tasmania telescope, 1986]
Reber in front of U Tasmania telescope, 1986. (Image courtesy "The Mercury", Hobart, Tasmania)



[Reber's antenna in Wheaton, IL]
Reber's antenna in Wheaton IL. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber chart recordings 1943]
Reber chart recordings, 1943. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber in 1970]
Reber in 1970. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber at telescope in Green Bank, 1960]
Reber at telescope in Green Bank, 1960. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber Telescope in Green Bank, 1984]
Reber Telescope in Green Bank, 1984. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber during Attu, Alaska, solar eclipse expedition, 1950]
Reber during Attu, Alaska, solar eclipse expedition, 1950. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber at telescope crank in Green Bank, 1988]
Reber at the Reber telscope crank in Green Bank, 1988. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber at receiver]
Reber at his receiver. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber at the reconstructed Jansky antenna, 1995]
Reber at the reconstructed Jansky antenna, 1995. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber's house in Bothwell, Tasmania]
Reber's house in Bothwell, Tasmania, 2003. (Image courtesy of Dave McConnell)



[Reber's house in Bothwell, Tasmania]
Reber's house in Bothwell, Tasmania, 2003. (Image courtesy of Dave McConnell)



[Reber and Arthur C. Clarke, 1969]
Reber and Arthur C. Clarke, 1969. (Image courtesy of John Kraus estate)



[Reber's telescope in Maui, Hawaii, 1952]
Reber's telescope in Maui, Hawaii, 1952. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber in 1937]
Reber in 1937. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber in 1988 at OSU]
Reber lectures at Ohio State Univ., Feb. 1988. (Photo by John Kraus, courtesy of John Kraus estate.)



[Reber receiving 1931 ham radio award]
Reber (far right) receiving ham radio award, December 1931. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber unpacking equipment in Green Bank, 1995]
Reber unpacking equipment in Green Bank, 1995. (NRAO/AUI/NSF image)



[Reber with Big Ear at OSU, 1962]
Reber at "Big Ear," Ohio State's radio telescope, 1962. (Image courtesy of Kraus estate)



[Reber's 144m wavelength array in Tasmania]
Reber's 144m wavelength array in Tasmania. (Image courtesy of Reber estate)



[Reber pulling wire]
Reber pulling wire in Tasmania. (Image courtesy of Reber estate)



[Reber in his electric car]
Reber in his electric car, Pixie. (Image courtesy of Reber estate)




Finding Aid to the Papers of Grote Reber, 1910-1999

Contents:

Location of collection: National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Archives, 520 Edgemont Rd., Charlottesville, VA. Phone: 1-434-296-0203, email: archivist at nrao.edu

Title and dates of the collection: Papers of Grote Reber, 1910-1999

Size of the collection: approx. 35 linear ft (October 2004 figure includes both processed and unprocessed materials in Charlottesville, VA; it does not include unprocessed materials still in Tasmania)

Papers/Records created by: Reber, Grote (1911-2002)

Short description of collection: These papers document the career, research, and personal life of Grote Reber, who designed and built the worldís first radio telescope in 1937, and established radio astronomy as a key sub-discipline of astronomy. His interest and research in radio astronomy and in other fields, including archeology, botany, electronics, and meteorology, continued nearly until the time of his death in 2002. The papers consist of correspondence, technical and research materials on radio astronomy and a wide variety of other topics, manuscripts and published papers, speeches, ham radio materials, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, and other miscellaneous materials.

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Selected search terms:

  • Reber, Grote, 1911-2002
  • Radio astronomy - History
  • Radio telescopes
  • Research Corporation
  • National Radio Astronomy Observatory (U.S.)
  • Atmospherics
  • Meteorology
  • Ionosphere
  • Archaeology - Australia
  • Beans
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Biography: Grote Reber was born in Chicago, Illinois on 22 December 1911, and grew up in Wheaton, a suburb of Chicago. His father, Schuyler Colefax Reber (1867-1933), was a lawyer and part owner of a canning factory, and his mother, Harriet Grote Reber (1871-1945) had been a teacher before her marriage. When he was 16, Reber received his amateur radio license, W9GFZ; the license was signed by then Secretary of the Interior, Herbert Hoover. He graduated from Armour Institute of Technology (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) in 1933 with a degree in electrical engineering, and between 1933 and 1947 held a series of jobs with Chicago companies, including General Household Utilities, Stewart-Warner Corporation, and the Research Foundation of the Armour Institute of Technology.

Reber had read about Karl Jansky's 1933 detection of cosmic radio emission, and tried unsuccessfully to interest astronomers at University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory and at other observatories and universities in further research in the area. Finally, he said, "I consulted with myself and decided to build a dish." He took the summer of 1937 off from his job with Stewart-Warner, and, using his own funds, designed and built a 32-ft parabolic transit dish in the vacant lot next to his mother's house, and then designed and built a series of sensitive radio receivers to place at the focal point of his dish. Since automobile ignition noise interfered with his observations, Reber worked only at night, and recorded by hand the minute-by-minute readings from his output meter. He continued at his job in Chicago during the day, and slept for a few hours each evening. He detected galactic radio noise in 1939, made the first maps of radio emission from the galaxy, and detected solar radio emission in 1943.

The astronomical community was initially skeptical about his work, and the editor of The Astrophysical Journal was hesitant to publish the results. Reber claimed, "The astronomers of the time didn't know anything about radio or electronics, and the radio engineers didn't know anything about astronomy. They thought the whole affair was at best a mistake, and at worst a hoax." Finally, after several astronomers visited his Wheaton installation, they were convinced of the soundness of his work, and his initial papers on "Cosmic Noise" were published almost simultaneously in The Astrophysical Journal and the Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers.

In 1947 Reber accepted a position with the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., where he was to set up a radio program at the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory. He sold the Wheaton dish and all his instrumentation to the government, and it was all moved to the NBS facility at Sterling, Virginia. Reber was soon frustrated by working as part of a government bureaucracy, by the lack of support for building a large radio telescope, and by the growing influence of McCarthyism. He was interested in the sea interferometry techniques being used by Australian radio astronomers, and, in 1951, abandoned his dish and the National Bureau of Standards, and went to Hawaii to work independently. From 1951 to 1954 he worked on Mt. Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii, building a rotating antenna. His observations were hampered by ionospheric refraction and terrestrial interference, so he got useful data for only a few strong radio sources. Because of his observing problems, he studied the ionosphere, and published important papers on the ionosphere and the atmosphere, as well as a paper on the age of lava flows.

Reber was always eager to investigate new questions, and in July 1954 he wrote, "As you probably guessed, now that I am beginning to understand the phenomena available here at Kole Kole [Hawaii], I am beginning to lose interest in the situation and am anxious to get on with the next experiment." He moved from Hawaii to Tasmania in 1954, primarily because he expected the ionospheric transparency associated with the south magnetic pole would provide observing opportunities not available elsewhere. He concentrated on long wavelengths, and designed and built several arrays to study Galactic radio emission and absorption.

Reber had a keen interest in political and social issues, and was particularly concerned with the management of U.S. scientific research, arguing against the funding of big science and large radio telescope projects. He questioned the "big-bang" universe, and argued vigorously against it until his death. Throughout his life he was interested in a wide variety of non-astronomy topics, and he did research and published papers in archaeology, meteorology, and botany. He was concerned about population growth and preservation of natural resources, and he designed and built his own energy-efficient house and his own electric car. He kept meticulous records on everything: how far he walked each day, postmark and receipt date for all received mail, how long light bulbs in his house lasted, which foot parrots held berries in while eating. He collected old broadcast radios, vacuum tubes, and early electronic equipment.

With the exception of his time at National Bureau of Standards, Reber worked independently, and continued with his own research even during a few brief honorary appointments at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Ohio State University, and Australiaís Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Between 1951 and 1980 he received financial support from the The Research Corporation, whose grant administratorsí remarkable flexibility allowed Reber to conduct research in his own non-traditional ways. His technical skills, his imagination and curiosity, his stubborn persistence and disregard for conventional methods and opinions, led him to investigate topics ignored by others. Reber built the world's first radio telescope, was the world's first radio astronomer, and for almost ten years was the only person in the world devoting significant research time to radio astronomy. Reber's pioneering work was ultimately recognized by the professional astronomy community. He received the Franklin Instituteís Cresson Prize, an honorary Doctor of Science from Ohio State University, the American Astronomical Societyís Russell Lecture Prize, the Bruce Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Associated Universities Inc. Jansky Lectureship, and the Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Although he made trips to the U.S., including one in 1959-1960 to reconstruct his Wheaton dish at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia, Reber continued to live in Tasmania after moving there in 1954. He applied for Australian citizenship, which was granted, but he never followed through with the final formalities, so remained a U.S. citizen. He died in Tasmania on 20 December 2002, two days before his 91st birthday.

[Biographical note written by Ellen N. Bouton, with advice and assistance from Kenneth I. Kellermann. For a more detailed biography of Reber, see K.I. Kellermann: "Grote Reber (1911-2002)" Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 116, 703-711, 2004.]

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Accession history: In 1982, at the request of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Director Morton S. Roberts, Margaret B. Weems, NRAO Technical Publications, wrote to Grote Reber inquiring about Reberís interest in depositing his research equipment and documentation with NRAO in Green Bank, WV. There was apparently no further correspondence at that time. In 1989, Kenneth I. Kellerman, NRAO Senior Scientist, visited Reber in Tasmania, Australia, and suggested Reber transfer his materials to NRAO for safekeeping. Reber wrote to Kellermann on 23 August 1993, offering to donate his materials to NRAO; following discussions with NRAO Director Paul Vanden Bout, Kellermann wrote back to Reber on 9 September 1993 accepting the donation. After lengthy negotiations between Reber, Kellermann, and the shipping agents, 98 packing crates of books, journals, papers, correspondence, artifacts, and equipment were shipped from Tasmania in July 1994, and arrived at the NRAO site in Green Bank WV in autumn of 1994. Over the next several months, an initial rough inventory and sort of the material was done by Kellerman and several members of the NRAO staff, primarily Hein Hvatum, Fred Crews, George Grove, and Carl Chestnut. On 24 May 1995, Reber arrived in Green Bank, and spent the next several weeks helping with the sorting of materials and equipment, and sharing stories and information about them.

On 6 June 1999 Reber wrote to the Director, Radio Observatory, Green Bank, WV, suggesting he send his remaining artifacts to Green Bank, and requesting payment of shipping costs, his travel, the wages of assistant, contingency funds ($2K), and the refurbishment of the small Reber Building adjacent to the reconstructed Reber telescope in Green Bank. Unfortunately, this letter was addressed to Green Bank and was ignored by the local Green Bank staff. On 28 September 1999 Reber wrote again, this time to NRAO Director Paul Vanden Bout in Charlottesville VA, inquiring about his previous letter. On 11 November 1999, Kellermann responded to Reber, agreeing in principle but suggesting a delay in shipment until the new Science Center, planned for construction in Green Bank, was completed, since that was where the artifacts would be housed. There was no further correspondence on this topic, no material was shipped, and Reber died in December 2002.

On April 3 and 4, 2003, Dave Jauncey, Tasso Tzioumis, and Dave McConnell, all from the Australia Telescope National Facility, Esko Valtaoa, visiting radio astronomer from Finland, Martin George, from the Queen Victoria Museum, and Dale Blanchard, executor of Reber's estate inventoried all of the materials in Reber's house. In September 2003, Kellermann and Australian radio astronomer David Jauncey met with Dale Blanchard, executor of Reber's estate, to discuss plans for commemorating Reber's life and work. Kellermann and Jauncey then visited the Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston, Tasmania, to inspect the remaining materials, now stored at QVM. Although Reber's correspondence with NRAO in 1999 indicated he had only equipment and artifacts to ship, materials at QVM included a quantity of papers, manuscripts, and correspondence equal to or greater than what had been shipped to NRAO in 1994. It is expected that equipment and artifacts which relate primarily to Reber's activities in Tasmania will remain in Australia where they will be on display at the QVM and at Parkes. In April 2004, Kellermann, Jauncey, and Martin George, astronomer, historian, planetarium director and QVM Acting Director, spent four days sorting the materials at QVM and creating a very preliminary inventory. Also in April 2004, Reber's papers, publications, and correspondence received at NRAO in 1994 were transferred to to NRAOís new Archives in Charlottesville VA, and processing of the collection was begun. Artifacts and equipment received in 1994 will remain in Green Bank WV, and many items are on display or will be used in future displays at the Green Bank Science Center.

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Access to collection: No restrictions. The Archives are open part-time; contact the Archivist for appointment.

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Restrictions on use of collection: No restrictions on Reberís papers. Related materials, primarily photocopies from other sources, gathered by Kenneth I. Kellermann during his research on Reber are available for reading, but may not be copied, as ownership and copyright rests with other institutions.

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Processing notes: This collection was processed by Ellen N. Bouton and Evelyn Braintwain, with assistance from Kenneth I. Kellermann. Selected correspondence, papers, and data extracted from material received in Green Bank in 1994 was arranged chronologically by Kellermann in 2003; some staples and paper clips were removed. Arrangement, description, indexing, foldering and boxing of this material was begun in April 2004 by Bouton; further processing, including digitization of photographs, was continued by Braintwain beginning in August 2005. Remaining paper clips and staples were removed during processing.

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Scope and Contents of Collection

Processed material has been indexed, but container lists will not be created until all material is processed. Descriptions of material in the collection, both processed and unprocessed, are provided in the interim. Contact the Archives for more detailed information.

Correspondence Series: With the exceptions noted below, this series currently includes the bulk of Reberís correspondence from 1924 until 1969. For his handwritten notes, diagrams, calculations, and data, Reber frequently used the backs of letters written to him, sometimes apparently unsolicited mail but also letters from equipment manufacturers regarding items he had either ordered or inquired about. He occasionally used the backs of carbon copies of his own letters as well. Thus, researchers using the correspondence may also wish to examine Reberís papers from the appropriate time period to see if there is any relevant correspondence on the verso of the papers. Additionally, Reber occasionally used the backs of similar letters to him for his own carbon copies. Letters are often annotated with notes about postmark and receipt dates, with receipt dates of items requested, or with notes about enclosures.

Staples or clips attaching handwritten notes and other materials to letters have been removed and the material filed with the letters. When they have been retained, any photographs, drawings, reprints, or other materials sent to Reber have been filed with the relevant letters.

Correspondence related to some significant groupings of material has been kept with that material in either the Notes and Papers series or the Publications series. For example, the several letters relating to the 1947 move of Reberís equipment from Wheaton IL to Sterling VA have been filed in the Antenna series with the notes, paper, contracts, etc related to that move. Correspondence, either between Reber and the editors or between Reber and his co-authors, related to the drafts, editing, and publishing process of Reberís publications, has been filed with the particular publication in the Publications series. However, correspondence related to Reberís various rejected submissions has been retained with the General Correspondence series.

All other correspondence has been divided into three units:

  • Research Corporation Correspondence Unit: Currently this unit includes correspondence from 14 February 1954 through 21 April 1967. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber; J. William Hinkley, President; Charles H. Schauer, Director of the Grants Program and later Vice President; Alfred Kelleher, Field Representative in California and later Division of Grants in New York; Hal H. Ramsey, Field Representative in California; Isabelle Goldfischer, Kelleherís secretary in New York; and Jennie Ewanoski, Schauerís Administrative Assistant. Much of this correspondence includes informal personal exchanges in addition to the particular topic(s) of the letter. Size: 355 items, 0.5 linear feet

    • Miscellaneous Research Corporation Material Sub-unit: one folder containing photocopies of material related to Reberís long relationship with the Research Corporation; these photocopies were made by K.I. Kellermann during a visit to the Research Corporation archives on 19 February 2004. This sub-unit material covers the period 1947-1987 and includes copies of correspondence between Reber and the Research Corporation that predate material in Reberís own correspondence files currently in Charlottesville, copies of correspondence related to Reberís work between the Research Corporation and other persons, a review of Reberís relationship with the Research Corporation between 1950 and 1957 attributed to Charles H. Schauer, and a section about Reber from Schauerís summary of his years at Research Corporation written on his retirement. Size: 37 items.

  • Family Correspondence Unit: Correspondence between Reber and family members, primarily his brother Schuyler (1914-1989) and Schuylerís wife, Jean. This unit currently covers the period 1923-1966, although the bulk of the correspondence covers 1952-1960. Size: approx. 112 items, 0.5 linear feet.

  • General Correspondence Unit: Includes all correspondence on all topics not included in the units listed above. Extensive correspondence related to the shipment of 98 cases of equipment and papers to NRAO in 1994 is included in this unit. Correspondence related to Reber's receipt of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Bruce Medal, the Royal Astronomical Society's Jackson-Gwilt Medal, and the Russell Lectureship is included. The Bruce Medal is on public display at the Du Page County Illinois Historical Museum. This unit currently covers the period 1934-1996. Size: 1.5 linear feet.

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Notes & Papers Series: This series contains Reberís own notes, drawings, photographs, diagrams, observational data, and calculations, as well as meeting programs, reprints and newspaper clippings, amateur radio materials, and other miscellaneous retained materials. Design and construction notes, drawings, and related correspondence for the Wheaton antenna, as well as its reconstruction in Sterling VA and Green Bank WV, are included in Antennas series. Reberís own publications, along with drafts thereof, are part of the Publications series. However, materials related to his presentations at meetings for which there were no published proceedings, including the December 1953 AAAS Section D Symposium on Radio Astronomy and the January 1954 Radio Astronomy Conference held at Carnegie Institution in Washington DC, are filed in this series. Correspondence related to some significant groupings of material has been kept with the material. This series includes all materials and correspondence related to Reberís receipt of the Franklin Instituteís Elliott Cresson Medal in 1963; the medal is on public display at the Du Page County Illinois Historical Museum. This series currently covers the period 1920-1966. Size: 1.5 linear feet + one drop front box, 28.5" x 22.5"

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Photographs Series: This series currently contains photos and negatives of:

  • Reberís ham radio equipment and setup
  • Wheaton antenna and components thereof
  • Old radio equipment
  • Reber's antenna at National Bureau of Standards, Sterling, Virginia
  • Wurzburg antennas at National Bureau of Standards, Sterling, Virginia
  • Reber's rotating antenna on Haleakala, Hawaii
  • Attu, Alaska, solar eclipse expedition
  • Other radio antennas
  • Reber
  • Reber's family
  • Miscellaneous photos taken in Tasmania
Photos used in Reberís published papers are filed with the appropriate publication in the Publications series. This series currently covers approx. 1910-1960, and is sorted but unindexed. Some photos have been digitized. Size: 1.0 linear feet.

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Reber Publications Series: This series includes Reberís publications in books, journals, and published conference proceedings. It includes drafts, final versions, proofs, cuts from journals, and reprints. If neither journal cuts nor reprints are available, we have retained a photocopy of the article, Correspondence, either between Reber and the editors or between Reber and his co-authors, related to the drafts, editing, and publishing process has been filed with the relevant publication. However, correspondence related to Reberís various rejected submissions has been retained with the General Correspondence series. Materials related to his presentations at meetings for which there were no published proceedings, including the December 1953 AAAS Section D Symposium on Radio Astronomy and the January 1954 Radio Astronomy Conference held at Carnegie Institution in Washington DC, are filed in the Notes and Papers series. This series includes 86 publications and covers the period 1935-2000. Size: 1.0 linear feet. For a bibliographic listing of Reber's publications, click here.

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Collected Publications: This series includes publicatons received by Reber from individuals, institutions, and corporations, as well as items collected by him. Material includes journal cuts, photostats, reprints, preprints, reports, and newspaper clippings. Although some materials were requested by Reber, there are many for which it is unclear whether they were received unsolicited or were received in response to his requests. Others, such as the newspaper clippings and journal cuts, were clearly collected by Reber. Reber collected and grouped these materials in large manilla envelopes; the envelopes have been discarded, but his original groupings have been retained, and his handwritten labeling on the envelopes have been used as the folder titles. Letters requesting reprints and Reber's handwritten notes have been retained with the appropriate group. Preservation photocopies have been made of the newspaper clippings. This series has been divided into three units. Reprints of Reber's own publications are included in the Publications Series.

  • Reprints, Reports, and Theses Unit: This unit includes reprints, reports, and theses received by Reber from individuals from 1935 through 1966. Reber arranged the reprints by country, with several additional topical categories; his original arrangement of reprints has been maintained. Some folders contain photos of various telescopes, as well as Reberís related notes and papers. The reprints are from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Holland, India, Japan, and the United States. Reber's topical categories in the unit are CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, Radio Astronomy Reprints, and Miscellaneous Reprints. This unit also includes miscellaneous reports and theses received by Reber which he did not file in his geographical or topical categories. Size: 5.5 linear feet.

  • Corporate and Institutional Publications Unit: This unit includes annual reports, proceedings, bulletins, etc., published between 1951 and 1966, received by Reber from corporations and institutions, including The Research Corporation, The Hawaiian Academy of Science, and others. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Miscellaneous Collected Publications Unit: This unit contains journal cuts, photostats, reprints, preprints, reports, and newspaper clippings collected by Reber. Materials are dated 1933 through 1949. Journal cuts are from Sky and Telescope, IAU Quarterly Bulletin on Solar Activity, Electronics, Radio News, The Observatory, Nature, Astrophysical Journal, Popular Astronomy, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Philosophical Magazine, Science, Popular Mechanics, NBS reports, NRL reports, and various other journals. Some of the collection includes mention of Reber; most are topics of interest to him. Size: 1.25 linear feet.

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Antennas Series: This series includes materials on antennas and antenna arrays built by Reber, as well as materials related to Reberís studies of antennas and arrays. For material on the various areas of research for which Reber used the antennas, see the Radio Astronomy Series.

  • Antenna Array Study Unit: This unit includes detailed calculations and graphs made by Reber and P. T. Miller between 1953 and 1958 in response to a paper entitled "A Current Distribution for Broadside Arrays Which Optimizes the Relationship between Beam Width and Side-Lobe Level" by C. L. Dolph, published in Proceedings of the IRE, vol. 34, no. 6, p. 335 (1946). Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Dennistoun Antenna Installation Unit: This unit includes Reberís information concerning his installation of an antenna array of 192 dipoles at Dennistoun, Tasmania. Folder titles used are the titles from Reberís manila envelopes. The material includes notes, correspondence, receipts, work orders, contracts, drawings, graphs, and brochures from 7 April 1953 through 21 November 1966. The results of Reberís research were published in his 1968 papers "Atmospheric Pressure Oscillations in Tasmania" and "Cosmic Static at 144 Meters Wavelength." Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • German Knickebein and Wurzburg Antennas Unit: This series includes correspondence, notes, photos, reports, journal cuts, and maps related to Reberís search from 1945 through 1950 for World War II German Knickebein and Wurzburg antennas. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Kempton Antenna Installation Unit: This unit includes Reberís information concerning his installation of horizontal dipole antennas at Kempton, Tasmania. Folder titles used are the titles from Reberís manila envelopes. The material includes notes, diagrams, graphs, charts, drawings, correspondence, data books, log books, and photographs from 24 April 1956 through 7 July 1959. The results of Reberís research were published in the following papers: 1956 "Cosmic Radio-Frequency Radiation Near One Megacycle" (1956); "Between the Atmospherics" (1958); 1960 "Cosmic Static at Kilometer Wavelengths" (1960). Size: 1.0 linear feet.

  • Rotating Antenna at Haleakala, Hawaii Unit: This unit includes correspondence from 6 August 1951 through 8 September 1958 and notes and papers from 19 October 1949 through 30 August 1958. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber, R. J. Grenier, Harry E. Murray, Frank W. Hustace, Charles Penhallow, and Neil K. Kietrich. The correspondence covers information about the site for the rotating antenna and inquiries about photographs taken of the antenna after it was damaged in an ice storm. The notes and papers include Reberís plans and drawings, as well as various information regarding the rotating antenna. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

    • Haleakala Antenna Financial Records Sub-unit: This sub-unit includes receipts, invoices, correspondence, notes, trip expenses, bank statements, cancelled checks, and Reberís expense synopsis from 1951, 1955, 1957 through 1958 for his Haleakala antenna project. Reberís original arrangement of the materials has been retained. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Sea Interferometry Unit: This unit includes correspondence from 17 January 1950 through 15 May 1958. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber, J.G. Bolton, J.L. Pawsey, G. Stanley, J.H. Piddington, and R.H. Simpson. Also included are Reberís notes and papers, collected reprints, Pilot Charts of the North Pacific Ocean 1951, Sea and Swell Charts of the North Pacific Ocean 1941, and a book entitled Wind Waves at Sea - Breakers and Surf by Bigelow and Edmondson. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Steerable Antennas Unit: This unit includes notes, charts, graphs, some correspondence, and calculations by P. T. Miller from 1952 through 1954. Detailed notes from the front of Reberís manila envelopes were photocopied and inserted in the front of each folder. All items are filed according to Reberís original arrangement. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Tasmanian Arrays - Equipment and Supplies Unit: This unit includes notes, charts, diagrams, brochures, catalogs, graphs, calculations, price lists, price quotes, packing lists, instruction booklets, newspaper clippings, purchase orders, and correspondence about RF tuners, phasing systems, filters, recorders, line transformers, wiring, antenna couplers and signal generators, vibration dampers, tree bicycle, borax, and porcelain insulators, from 12 April 1953 through 11 March 1967. All the equipment and supplies were used to prepare or enhance Reberís antenna arrays in Tasmania. Folder titles used are the titles from Reberís manila envelopes. All items are filed according to Reberís original arrangement. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Wheaton Antenna Unit: This unit includes financial records, design and construction notes, drawings, and correspondence related to the building and operation of the Wheaton antenna, as well as later moves of the antenna to and reconstructions in Sterling VA and Green Bank WV.

    • Wheaton Antenna Construction Sub-unit: This sub-unit includes detailed records on the purchase and cost of materials for the Wheaton antenna from 1937 through 1947. Included are Reberís lists of purchased materials and his notes; receipts; and some correspondence. Reberís original arrangement of the collection has been retained. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

    • Wheaton Antenna in Sterling, Virginia Sub-unit: This sub-unit includes materials related to the reconstruction of Reberís Wheaton antenna at the National Bureau of Standards facility in Sterling, Virginia.

    • Wheaton Antenna in Green Bank, West Virginia Sub-unit: This subunit includes materials related to the reconstruction of Reberís Wheaton antenna at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank, West Virginia. Reconstruction took place in 1959-1960.

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Antique Radios Series: This series includes materials related to Reber's interest in antique radios and radio parts. The series is divided into two units:

  • Antique Radio Correspondence: This unit includes correspondence from 8 October 1958 through 29 March 1966. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber; Leslie A. Galloway; Clifford A. and Emily Kunz; Bruce Kelley, Secretary of the Antique Wireless Association; Joseph J. Simpson; Bob Farmer; the Rembler Company; and Walter Roberts. The correspondence covers Reberís interest in The Antique Wireless Associationís publication The Old Timerís Bulletin, and in obtaining past issues of Radio and Radio News, as well as correspondence about antique radios and radio parts: infradyne receivers, infradyne amplifiers, radio tubes, and transformers. A portion of the correspondence is in response to Reberís 21 February 1959 letter to the IRE entitled "Negative Feedback of a Third of a Century Ago." Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Antique Radio Notes and Papers: This unit includes information about The Antique Wireless Association, Reberís Antique Wireless Membership Certificate of September 1963, and scattered issues of The Old Timer's Bulletin from 1960 through 1966. Published in the issues are a letter from Reber, mention of his relocation to Australia, announcement of his receipt of the Ellott Cressan medal, and reproduction of a portion of "Early Radio Astronomy at Wheaton, Illinois." A folder of miscellaneous items includes notes, diagrams, charts, graphs, photos of old radios, and one letter from H. Earl Thompson to GR dated 8/21/1956 regarding GRís purchase of a grebe receiver. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

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Archaeology/Anthropology Series: This series includes correspondence from 23 March 1960 through 18 April 1967. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber, Milton Trautman of Isotopes, Inc., T. A. Rafter and H.S. Jansen of the Institute of Nuclear Science in New Zealand, Harold W. Krueger of Geochron Laboratories, Rhys Jones, Alice Bermingham of the Institute of Applied Science of Victoria, and Kunihiko Kigoshi of Gakushuin University. The correspondence covers Reber's archaeological work in Tasmania: the carbon dating of charcoal fragments taken from South Arm,Hobart; West Point; Grandfather's Beach, Cape Sorell, Macquire Harbour; Arthur River; Woolnorth Point. It also includes notes on kitchen middens, as well as three aerial photos. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

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Atmospheric Pressure Oscillations series: This series includes material on Reber's research on atmospheric pressure oscillations over the period 1953-1966, and has been divided into two units:

  • Atmospheric Pressure Oscillations at Haleakala Unit: This unit includes correspondence, papers, and charts from 9 July 1957 through 7 February 1966. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber, Robert L. Pyle, Bernhard Haurwitz, and P. T. Miller. The material covers Reberís research at Haleakala in preparation for his 1959 paper, Atmospheric Pressure Oscillations Atop Haleakala, and later correspondence regarding it. Materials specifically related to the paper's editorial and publication process are filed in the Publications Series. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Atmospheric Pressure Oscillations in Tasmania Unit: This unit includes data, calculations, charts, graphs, barograms, and notes from 1953 through 1967. The material covers Reberís research at Tasmania in preparation for his 1967 paper, Atmospheric Pressure Oscillations in Tasmania. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

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Botany Series: This series includes materials on Reber's discussions of and experiments with Hawaiian beans, scarlet runner beans, boweiea volubles, flinders island vine, smilax, magdalen, dioscorea villosa, brodiaea volubilis, dioscorea cotonfolia, dioscorea sylvatica, asparagus asprogoides, vigna beans, pineapple, marrawah vines, as well as scarlet gum, divaricuta, and willow trees. Dried vines retained by Reber have been discarded. The series is divided into two units:

  • Botany Correspondence: This unit includes correspondence from 17 April 1959 through 20 April 1966. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber, Walter E. Jett, William Guild, C.V.J. Mason, M.H. Bennett, Bruce Holloway, J.P.A. Ridout, T.A. Davis, Noel Roberts, D. Martin, H. Walter, Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew, J. A. Hogan, E.A. Cornish, Dr. Schhlieben, M.H.R. Shipp, J.W. Wishart, John D. Kraus, Percy C. Everett and Otto H. Frankel. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Botany Notes and Papers: This unit includes research notes, photocopied journal articles, reprints, newsletters, charts and graphs. Some of the photocopied journal articles are dated 1865, 1881, and 1915, but most materials are from 1959 through 14 March 1967. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

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Cosmic Ray Series: This series covers Reberís study of cosmic rays from 1957 through 1966, and includes maps, reprints, data, notes, and other materials. Reberís original arrangement of materials has been retained. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

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Data Log Book Series: This series includes Reberís data log books from 1939 through 1948. Folder titles used are the spine titles from Reberís original three-ring binders. The material covers his research on antenna theory and calculations; 480 mc; tube amplifiers; lighthouse tubes; hemisphere antenna data and parts; 160 mc; and sunspot observations. Included are charts, graphs, notes, and some related correspondence. Size: 2.5 linear feet.

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Ham Radio Series: This series includes correspondence, papers, notes, newspaper clippings,log files, received QSL cards, and other miscellaneous items related to Reber's involvement with ham radio from 1928-1935. Size: 0.5 linear feet, plus 3 boxes, 12" x 7.75" x 5.5", containing received QSL cards.

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Hawaiian Lava Flows and Geology Series: This series includes correspondence, papers, and notes from 3 February 1950 through 7 March 1962. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber; Alexander Spoehr and Kenneth P. Emory of the Bishop Museum; H. R. Crane of the University of Michagan; W. F. Libby of the University of Chicago; Henry L. Kraybill of Yale University; J. Lawrence Kulp of Columbia University; David T. Fleming; Daok C. Cox of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association; Harold S. Palmer; and Howard A. Powers and Robert W. Carpenter of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The material covers Reber's work on several sites in Hawaii: the carbon dating of lava flows, tree moulds, and cinder cones. It also includes maps, as well as notes and information about earthquakes. Size : 0.5 linear feet.

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Ionosphere Series: This series contains information from 1941 through 1957 about Reberís ionosphere research. Included in the series are charts, graphs, notes, data, National Bureau of Standards publications, and some correspondence. Reber received his data from Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, Hawaii, Oceania, and North, South, and Central America. The series has been divided into units.

  • Critical Frequency Survey Unit: This unit includes charts and graphs from 1944 through 1955, as well as one letter from Reber to Rudy Yoshida. Size: 0.5 linear feet

  • foF2 Unit: This unit includes charts, graphs, and prints of ionograms from 1944 through 1964. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Ionosphere Research - General Unit: This unit includes charts, graphs, notes, and ionograms from 1946 through 1957. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • National Bureau of Standards Publications Unit: This unit includes NBS publications from 1940 through 1957. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Sporadic E Unit: This unit includes charts and graphs from 1951 through 1952. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Spread F Unit: This unit includes correspondence from 3 September 1953 through 4 June 1958 related to Reber's research on Spread F in Hawaii, Dakar, Rarotonga, and Buenos Aires. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber; J.C.W. Scott of the Defence Research Board in Ottawa, Canada; Captaine Halley of the Service de Prevision Ionospherique Militaire in France; R.W.H. Wright of University College in Nigeria; Harry Wells of the U.S. National Bureau of Standards; W.B. Chadwick of the Carnegie Institute Department of Terrestrial Magnetism; Syun-Ichi Akasofu of the Geophysical Institute of Japan; and Harold D. Babcock of Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories. Also included in this unit are Reber's notes and data related to his Spread F research from 1938-1960. Reber received his data from sources in Akita, Baton Rogue, Bombay, Buenos Aires, Campbell Island, Capetown, Christchurch, Coca, Dakar, Delhi, Falkland Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Huancayo, Ibadan, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Madras, Portage la Prarie, Port Lockroy, Rarotonga, San Francisco, San Juan, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Tokyo, Townsville, Trinidad, Triuchirapalli, Wakkanai, Washington, Watheroo, Winnipeg, and Yamagawa. Size: 2.0 linear feet.

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Radio Astronomy Series: This series includes materials related to Reber's research in radio astronomy. For material on design and construction of various antennas and antenna arrays built by Reber, see the Antennas Series.

  • 21 cm Development Unit: This unit includes correspondence from 17 November 1945 through 9 August 1950. Primary correspondents are Grote Reber; Sperry Gyroscope, Inc.; General Electric Products, Inc.; General Electric Company; Machlett Laboratories; and Eitel McCullough, Inc. Also included are two folders with various materials: Reberís notes, diagrams, and graphs from 1942 through 1951; collected reprints; journal cuts; and manufacturersí brochures about diodes, triodes, tubes, and a voltmeter, relating to Reberís development of equipment to detect the 21 cm hydrogen line. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Hectometer Cosmic Static Unit: This unit contains charts, graphs, and correspondence from 8 August 1960 through 8 June 1962. The correspondents are Reber, J. L Pawsey, Bart J. Bok, and Bengt Westerlund. (The front of the original folder containing the material reads: "Data at 19.7 mc taken by Charlie Higgins using Shainís cross in region of south galactic pole August 1960. These results appeared as a small map in paper entitled 'Hectometer Cosmic Static' Trans. IEEE 1964") Size: 0.5 linear feet.

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Oral History Interview: Transcription of an oral history interview conducted on 19 October 1985 by Alberta Adamson, Wheaton History Center; transcribed at National Radio Astronomy Observatory by Sheila Marks with assistance from K.I. Kellermann and help from Jeff Reber (nephew of Grote) on spelling of some proper nouns. Owning repository: Wheaton History Center, 660 North Main St., Wheaton IL 60189, USA. Interview covers Reber's family history, his childhood and youth in Wheaton, and some of his early work in radio astronomy. 13 pages.

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Unprocessed materials, held in the NRAO Archives, Charlottesville VA

  • Biographical materials - notes: This series includes obituaries, biographical information, articles about Reber, etc. The majority of the material in this series was collected by K.I. Kellermann.

  • Certificates, diplomas, etc.

  • Mementos and souvenirs

  • Meteorological materials: materials related to Reberís meteorological studies in Hawaii and Tasmania

  • Newspaper and magazine clippings collected by Reber

  • Radio equipment catalogs

  • Speeches: Talks presented at conferences, public talks to a variety of groups, and acceptance speeches for awards

  • Miscellaneous materials

    • Unprocessed papers and correspondence: In addition to materials listed above, there are 2 file cabinets containing ~12 linear feet of unprocessed papers and correspondence. Work continues on processing these materials.

    • Additional material not created or collected by Reber, held in Charlottesville: Kenneth I. Kellermann's photographs of Reber; Kellermann's correspondence with him, including correspondence with Reber and others between 1981 and 1999 about shipment of Reber materials to NRAO in Green Bank WV; Kellermann's notes and materials from his visits to the DuPage County [Illinois] Historical Museum and the Wheaton [Illinois] History Center in September 1999.

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Unprocessed Materials Still in Tasmania

Materials in Tasmania include papers and correspondence, as well as radio and electronic equipment, Reber's electric car, books, journals, and personal effects. The papers and correspondence are not currently accessible, and no specifics on size of the collection are available at this time.

  • Correspondence: Approximately 1955 through 2002, covering both professional and personal topics.

  • Papers: Approximately 1960s through 2002. Topics include meteorological records, energy-efficient houses and Reber's construction of his own house, solar heating and energy, hydroelectric power, electric cars and Reber's construction of his car, ham radio materials, ionospheric materials, materials and notes on aging, materials on Reber's Australian citizenship application, materials on Reber's disagreements with and studies of the National Science Foundation grant and proposal process, archeology, beans and twining plants, financial material, photographs, brochures and catalogs.

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Modified on Wednesday, 29-Mar-2017 08:47:44 EDT by Ellen Bouton, Archivist (Questions or feedback)