Frank and Ora Lee Marble Oral History Interview with Shirley Cohen
An interview in one session, October 22, 1997, with Frank E. Marble, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, Emeritus, and his wife, Oral Lee Marble, concerning Tsien Hsue-shen [Qian Xuesen]. Tsien earned his PhD in aeronautics at Caltech in 1939 and in 1950 was the Robert H. Goddard Professor of Jet Propulsion. The interview begins with the cancellation of Tsien’s security clearance in 1950 for involvement with the Communist Party and chronicles events leading to his deportation order and eventual departure for China in 1955 with his family. The Marbles’ relationship with the Tsiens lapses but contact is reestablished in 1982, as Frank and Oral Lee Marble spend several months in China in 1982; details of that trip. Subsequent trip back to China by the Marbles in 1991-1992 finds Tsien’s health failing. Founding of library in Tsien’s honor; Marble succeeds in returning Tsien’s papers—which he has kept personally—to China. The interview includes personal reminiscences on the Tsien family, including Jiang Ying, Tsien’s wife, a musician and opera singer, and Tsien Yucon, his son, who earned a master’s degree at Caltech.