16 linear feet
The AURA record group provides a record of an important aspect of the development of modern science, the growth of cooperative scientific associations, and the beginnings of government support for basic research in the post-war period. In addition, the records include much information related to the University of Michigan Astronomy Department and observatories, since several faculty members, including Robert R. McMath, Leo Goldberg, and Orren C. Mohler, have been involved in the growth of AURA. The record group also provides a detailed history of the development of AURA itself, and the observatories at Kitt Peak and at Cerro Tololo, where it touches on scientific and political developments in Chile during the 1960s and 1970s.
The AURA record group includes files collected by three University of Michigan Astronomy Department faculty members who were active in the organization. Robert R. McMath, chairman of the Advisory Panel for the National Astronomical Observatory, first President of AURA, and Chairman of the Board of AURA, was responsible for most of the material dated before his death in 1962. Leo Goldberg, a consultant to the Advisory Panel, is responsible for a correspondence file related to the work of the panel. This file partially duplicates McMath's correspondence file. On the death of McMath, Orren C. Mohler assumed the duties of University of Michigan representative on the AURA Board of Directors and continued to add to the record group. Some of the material dated before McMath's death and all material after that date was collected by Mohler.
The collection includes seven major types of records: historical/informational materials; correspondence; minutes/reports; governance records including papers of the board of directors and the executive committee; committee and subcommittee files; financial/funding records; files about the Kitt Peak and Cerro Tololo observatories; and miscellaneous which includes a few folders of photographs. Correspondence is divided into three groups according to the originators of the files. Within each group some correspondence is arranged chronologically and some by correspondent, but there is considerable overlap between the two sequences. Reports, minutes, and financial records are arranged chronologically.