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United States Correspondence: New York, 1950-1953

 File — Box: 2, Object: 2
Identifier: DR 194

Scope and Content note

From the Collection:

This particular collection refers to a promotional strategy implemented by the Hayden Planetarium. In 1949, in order to increase publicity for their space exhibit “Conquest of Space”, the Hayden Planetarium set up an “interplanetary-tour reservations desk” that would take reservations for the first trips into space. The museum promised that the collected names would be turned over to the first organization actually planning interplanetary travel. In addition to the desk at the planetarium, interplanetary reservation blanks were printed in major publications worldwide. Between 1950-1953 hundreds of letters were sent in response to the advertisements from all over the United States and the world. Due to the heavy influx of letters from enthusiastic, future space travelers, there is a need to keep these reservations organized if interplanetary space travel does become a reality in the future. Therefore, the letters that were sent to the planetarium have been arranged in this collection and described in the finding aid to assist anyone one who wishes to locate names or reservations in the future. Examples of these letters can be viewed the following sites: •

This site is home to the museum’s special exhibit “Beyond Planet Earth”, a temporary exhibition that ran from November 19, 2011 - August 12, 2012. The exhibit was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of space flight. The exhibit explored many aspects of space including asteroids, the Space Race, returning to the moon, traveling to mars and space tourism. •

This Flickr site hosts a digitized sample of the letters available in the collection. Some of the more interesting letters were uploaded to the site for anyone who is interested in viewing them. Items were uploaded December 2011. The physical collection also contains printed copies of those letters which were digitized along with the original letter. The collection contains hundreds of letters from people residing within the United States as well as internationally. Countries present in the collection include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Wales, and Yugoslavia. There is also a folder that contains letters with unidentifiable origins. Another folder contains reservations from the Rochester Public Library’s “The Universe Unlimited Science Fiction Book Club”.

This collection also contains other printed materials related to the Hayden Planetarium. Materials include the Planetarium Annual report from 1949-1950, an original “Time Schedule” card which was sent to those who wrote the planetarium, and also a list of media outlets listed in the letters.


  • 1950-1953


Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.


From the Collection: 1 Linear Foot (4 boxes)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420