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Arthur L. Klein Papers

Identifier: 10015-MS

Scope and Content

The Arthur L. Klein Papers (1928-1974) represent a small collection divided between correspondence, teaching files, technical material relating to wind tunnels and airplane design, and personal data. Researchers should also consult the following related collections: the Papers of Theodore von Kármán; the oral histories of Arthur L. Klein and other participants in GALCIT; the Caltech Historical Files under Aeronautics and Arthur L. Klein; and the Archives' Image Archive.


  • 1928-1974



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Biographical Sketch

Arthur L. Klein (1898-1983) was born in Los Angeles and educated in local schools. In 1916 he entered Throop College, the predecessor of Caltech. There he acquired the nickname "Maj," from his tenure as a cadet major. After beginning his studies in mechanical engineering, he changed to physics to work under Robert A. Millikan and earned his bachelor's degree in 1921 and his PhD in 1925. Thereafter hired by Millikan as a research fellow in physics, Klein soon became involved in the activities of the new Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at Caltech, familiarly known as GALCIT. He became assistant professor of aeronautics at Caltech in 1929 and full professor in 1954.

The history of GALCIT and its relationship to the birth and development of the aerospace industry in Southern California are well documented. Theodore von Kármán, the brilliant Hungarian-born engineer and aerodynamicist, was appointed the lab's first director in 1930. Maj Klein became a member of the original GALCIT team, along with Clark B. Millikan, Arthur Raymond, the mathematician Harry Bateman, and a bit later, Ernest E. Sechler. Klein designed much of the lab's new wind tunnel, which went into operation in 1929, and was responsible for many aspects of the design and testing of important aircraft, including Douglas's revolutionary DC-3. In 1932 Klein began consulting for Douglas Aircraft and by 1937 he was spending half his time there and half at Caltech. He retired from Caltech in 1968.


1.5 linear feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Papers of Arthur L. Klein, 1928-1974
Processed by The Archives staff; machine-readable finding aid created by James Ryan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections Repository

1200 East California Blvd.
MC B215-74
Pasadena California 91125 United States of America
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