Monday, 18 April 2011

Old paper is exciting

Is there any reason why I should be inordinately excited about receiving bundles of paper from the Kennedy and Nixon Presidential libraries? Given the fact that I'm funding my own PhD while attempting to run my own micro-business on the side, the chances of a trip to Boston or the Los Angeles environs this year are somewhere between exceedingly slim and nil. So, the last few weeks has involved a large degree of online searching plus liaison with the archive researchers at the above institutions to dig out some useful research material (with its attendant vast photocopying bill) from Kennedy and Nixon's 1960 campaign files.

The task now is to analyse the papers to see if a) there was more than a hair's breadth of difference between the proposed space policies of these two doughty Cold War campaigners during the campaign; b) to see if the papers offer any likely pointers to how Nixon may have acted on NASA and the manned space programme had he won in 1960; and c) if there are any indications in the papers on how highly Kennedy rated space as an agenda item for his 1961 policy making before he moved into the White House. 

Plenty then to get my teeth into over the next couple of months.  

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