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Frank E. Marble Papers

Identifier: 10281-MS

Scope and Contents

The Frank E. Marble papers illustrate Marble's contributions to the field of aeronautics and mechanical engineering, and consist of correspondence, research notes, notebooks, and writings. The papers begin at his early career at the Case School for Applied Science and National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, but mostly comprise of his work at Caltech.


  • 1928-2007, bulk 1946-1995


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Some files are confidential and will remain closed for an indefinite period. Researchers may request information about closed files. Contact the archives for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright may 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

Frank Earl Marble was born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 21, 1918. He earned both his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1940), and M.S. in Applied Mathematics (1942) from the Case School of Applied Science. In 1946, after earning a pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Research Council, he and his wife Ora Lee moved to Pasadena to pursue his PhD in Aeronautics and Mathematics at Caltech. Despite his original intention of staying at Caltech for two years, Marble remained as faculty until his retirement in 1989. After his retirement, his research continued while holding the status of Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor, Emeritus until his passing in 2014.

Marble's career in mechanical engineering and jet propulsion spanned for over fifty years. During WWII, he worked with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), where he managed projects to address engine cooling issues for the Martin Marauder B-26 bomber and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. After earning his PhD in 1948, Marble joined the GALCIT faculty, where he made pioneering contributions to his field in the areas of combustion in jet propulsion systems and propagation of acoustic flames. During his time at Caltech, Marble worked with Caltech notables Theodore von Karman, William Duncan Rannie, and Hsue-Shen Tsien (Qian Xuesen). He also served as an elected member in the National Academy of Engineering, and in 1989 was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

The Caltech Archives was able to interview Frank Marble twice, one of those interviews included his wife Ora Lee. For access to the transcripts available through the Caltech Oral Histories see: 1995 oral history interview with Frank Marble and 1997 oral history interview including Ora Lee.


15.4 linear feet (37 boxes)

Language of Materials



Frank Earl Marble (1918-2014) earned his PhD from Caltech in 1948, and remained as GALCIT faculty and active in his research at Caltech for over fifty years. The Frank E. Marble papers illustrate Marble's contributions to the field of aeronautics and mechanical engineering, and consist of correspondence, research notes, notebooks, and writings.


The Frank E. Marble Papers are housed in 37 archival boxes. The papers are divided into five series, with four series containing subseries: 1. Correspondence and Personal/Biographical; 2. Research Notes and Calculations; 3. Writings and Talks; 4. California Institute of Technology; 5. Photographs and Slides

Series 1: Correspondence and Personal/Biographical has been divided into four subseries. Subseries 1: People and Institutions contains correspondence files with various individuals and institutions, according to original/alphabetical order. Marble’s files were either separated by last name or university/institution name. Subseries 2: Subject/Topical are also in alphabetical order and include various files organized by subject or topic including journals, committees, recommendations, and general unsorted correspondence. Subseries 3: Miscellaneous Chronological contains portions that were labeled Frank Marble correspondence and are in original and chronological order. Subseries 4: Personal/Biographical contains news clippings and other personal materials.

Series 2: Research Notes and Calculations has been divided into two subseries. Subseries 1: Case School for Applied Science and National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) contains notes from his undergraduate and graduate thesis, and also technical notes from NACA, organized into chronological order. Subseries 2: California Institute of Technology (Caltech) contains PhD drafts, notebooks, and various notes and calculations organized in chronological order.

Series 3: Writings and Talks is divided into two subseries. Subseries 1: Writings and Publications contains mathematical reviews, journal article drafts, reports, and publications, arranged in chronological order. Subseries 2: Talks contains notes from conferences and lectures arranged in chronological order.

Series 4: Caltech is divided into two subseries. Subseries 1: Teaching Lecture Notes and Resources contains teaching materials such as lecture notes and class outlines in chronological order. It also contains various published resources. Subseries 2: Administrative and Associate Files contains Marble’s assorted administrative files and files that belonged to or are associated with his Caltech associates, such as Theodore von Karman, William Duncan Rannie, and Dorothy Eckerman.

Series 5: Photographs and Slides contain photographs of Frank Marble, GALCIT students and faculty, and photographic slides from lectures, and are arranged in chronological order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Frank E. Marble papers were transferred to the archives from Marble's office in the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT) in 2015.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Penelope Neder-Muro and Mariella Soprano from May to August 2016. Materials were removed from file folders and manila envelopes and were replaced with acid-free folders. The original order of materials was kept when available. Some correspondence were placed in chronological or alphabetical order, depending on the record creator's order. Photographs and slides were sleeved in appropriate preservation enclosures. Various metal fasteners were removed and replaced with archival plastic clips.

In 2022, the H.S. Tsien papers were separated into its own collection, located in this repository as the Qian Xuesen Papers.

Finding Aid for the Frank Earl Marble Papers, 1928-2007, bulk 1946-1995
Penelope Neder
2016, 2023
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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