Bulletin # 19
July 27, 2005
This is the nineteenth bulletin on progress by the Comsat Legacy Foundation.
A series of meetings of Comsat Legacy officers with Paul Weeks. who is currently providing us with legal advice, has resulted in the conclusion that the need for continuing the Comsat legacy work in a separate incorporated entity is rapidly fading and that we should explore merging with the Comara organization. A first exploratory meeting with Comara is scheduled for August 2 and will keep you advised of progress. Those of you who have made contributions of various kinds to Comsat Legacy are assured that, in any actions we may take with respect to our assets, we will seek to meet your expectations.
Johns Hopkins has drafted a Finders Aid for the Comsat collection and we are currently assembling comments on it. This should be issued soon and appear on at least two web sites opening the collection to access by researchers. Last week, we delivered nine more boxes to JHU for a total of 65. This should be our last major delivery. In a separate activity, GWU has informed us that the 33 boxes of Charyk papers which they have had for the last 17 years were, in fact, processed and that they would issue a Finders Aid for researchers on the same schedule as JHU for the COMSAT collection.
Additional requests for the Early Bird and Marisat DVDs are still coming in and we have distributed about 70 discs so far. I have sent a copy of the Early Bird disc to Walter Cronkite with a request for any advice or assistance he might choose to offer with respect to the possible creation of a video documentary.
Walt McKee and I will be visiting Clarksburg next month to inventory artifacts. As of now, we see our collection in two categories, items which may be accepted for museum display and memorabilia which should be distributed to interested Comsat veterans. Our two most valuable artifacts in dollar terms are the oil portraits of Leo Welch and John Harper. As some of you know, these two gentlemen, both former Comsat chairmen were, prior to coming to Comsat, Chairmen of Standard Oil of New Jersey and ALCOA, respectively. Thanks to an initiative by Edward J. (Jay) Martin Jr., we have located possible sites for their disposition, a Standard Oil exhibit at the University of Texas, Austin and the Heinz Center in Pittsburgh which has a special gallery on Western Pennsylvania history including ALCOA artifacts. Such dispositions, in my view, would be far superior to simply placing them in the JHU archives.
The National Capital Park and Planning Commission has, by a six to one vote, rejected the proposal to preserve the Clarksburg building. Whether the idea put forward by County Executive Duncan that the developer be required to provide space for a COMSAT memorial has any future remains to be seen.
We have inquired of JHU whether a student stipend would provide enough encouragement for a graduate student to undertake a historical study of Comsat under the guidance of a suitable professor but have had no response as yet. In the meantime, David Whalen, whom I have mentioned to you in the past, has announced that he has now begun work on the writing of a definitive history of Comsat. He expects it to take about two years and already has 30 boxes of reference materials he has gathered on his own in addition to what will be available at the JHU and GWU archives. He will also be seeking interviews with some Comsat veterans.
Edward J. Martin
7122 Plantation Lane
Rockville, MD 20852
Telephone: (301) 770-0984
Fax: (301) 881-5726