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Qian Xuesen Papers

Identifier: QianX

Scope and Contents

Throughout the collection, and other collections in the Caltech Archives, Qian Xuesen is referred to as H.S. Tsien or Tsien. The Qian papers contain administrative files, correspondence, and research performed during Qian's time at Caltech.


  • 1946-1954


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Please contact the Archives to view the collection in the Archives reading room. The collection has not been digitized.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

Qian Xuesen (Tsien Hsue-shen) arrived at Caltech in 1936 as a grad student of Theodore von Kármán, earning his PhD in 1939 in aeronautics. With Frank Malina, he was involved with the Suicide Squad, whose research secured military funding to establish the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He was hired at Caltech as the Robert H. Goddard Professor of Jet Propulsion in 1949. After accusations of communist party affiliation, which resulted in house arrest and losing his U.S. government security clearance, he left the United States for China in 1955.


1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials




The Qian papers were kept in mostly original order, which is alphabetical order by folder title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Qian papers were included with the Frank E. Marble papers donation. They were discovered while processing the Marble papers.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2016 with the Frank E. Marble papers, originally listed as boxes 37-39. The Archives decided in an effort to increase discoverability and to highlight individual provenance, the Qian portion was separated into its own collection in 2022.

Guide to the Qian Xuesen Papers
Also known as Hsue-Shen Tsien Papers
Penelope Neder-Muro
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

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