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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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University Library receives grant to process Tombaugh papers

The New Mexico State University Library has been awarded $10,000 by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) to process and preserve the unpublished papers of the late Clyde W. Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto.


ding will help the university make this large and valuable research collection, estimated at more than 150 cubic feet of materials, accessible to researchers. Grant funds will be used to purchase archival supplies needed to specially house the papers and to pay for temporary staff participating in the arrangement and description of the materials. The principal investigator for the project is Archives and Manuscripts Librarian Marah deMeule.

The Tombaugh family donated the papers to the Library's Rio Grande Historical Collections earlier this year. The papers span Tombaugh's entire life. Included are materials illustrating his childhood on a Kansas farm, when he developed an early interest in astronomy. They trace his employment at Lowell Observatory, where he discovered the planet Pluto, his participation in the development of rocketry at White Sands Missile Range, and his research and teaching in planetary astronomy at New Mexico State University.

The papers are significant not only for their documentation of Tombaugh's life and work, but also for their evidence of the history of astronomy and related sciences.

Through its Center for History of Physics, the AIP preserves and makes available to researchers materials documenting the history of physics, astronomy and related disciplines. The center also provides grants to help other organizations collect and maintain valuable primary source materials.

For more information or to make a donation to continue the preservation of this collection, contact deMeule at (505) 646-4726 or email marahde@lib.edu .