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Ralph H. Upson papers

Identifier: 387

Scope and Content

This collection contains clippings from newspapers, as well as articles and papers, mostly regarding flight. Some of them are written by Upson, while some are reprints from other journals. There is also extensive correspondence, with some letters from the Wright brothers. The collection also contains correspondence and articles and reports on flight, especially balloon flight. One such article is entitledTechnical Importance of Balloon Races, was written by Upson. There is also a paper by Upson regarding the history of balloon racing, as well as other academic papers. There is a balloon flight log, and information regarding travel. One picture titled “Balloon Picnic” Detroit to Sandusky, August 13, 1923 is located in the oversize collection.


  • 1944-1956

Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote Ralph H. Upson should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Ralph H. Upson 1888-1968

Ralph H. Upson was born in New York in 1888. He graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, with a M.E. degree in 1910, and an honorary A.E. degree in 1931. He also studied at the University of Michigan. In 1913, Upson co-piloted a balloon from Paris, France to northern England to win the James Gordon Bennett International Balloon Race.

Upson was a professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota from 1946-1956. In 1956, Upson moved to Seattle to conduct atmosphere studies for the Boeing Company's X-20 Dyna Soar manned orbital space vehicle. He retired in 1965.

Upson was honored by several aeronautical societies including the Royal Aeronautical Society in London and was a holder of the Wright Brothers Medal of the Society of Automotive Engineers. He served as a consultant to the Navy and aircraft manufacturers including the Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company, the Autogiro Company of America and the Stout Skycraft Corporation.

Upson passed away in Seattle, Washington on August 13, 1968.


1.25 Linear Feet (1 oversize picture)


This collection contains the papers of Ralph H. Upson, professor of aerodynamics in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Minnesota from 1946-1956.

Other finding aid available

A finding aid with a contents list is available in University Archives

Source of acquisition

This collection was received from Ralph Upson on June 26, 1956.

Related Material

Jean Felix Piccard papers. University of Minnesota Archives

Piccard Balloon Collection. University of Minnesota Libraries, Special Collections and Rare Books

Ralph H. Upson papers, 1944-1956
University Archives staff
June 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area