Newspaper Coverage of “One Giant Leap for Mankind”

“I was worried that the moon might be too soft and that he would sink in too deeply,” Viola Armstrong, Neil Armstrong’s mother.

“Neil Steps on the Moon,” Wapakoneta Daily News (Wapakoneta, Ohio), July 21, 1969

This mother’s heartfelt concern appears in a newspaper from Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio. The Library of Congress does not usually collect newspapers from such a small town, but we wanted the Wapakoneta Daily News for its unique coverage of a local boy walking on the moon. This issue is one of many thousands of newspapers in their original paper format contained in the Serial and Government Publications Division’s Historic Events Newspaper Collection. These newspapers document seminal events from the War of 1812 to the present.

Collection coverage of the American space program abounds from Alan Shepard, the first American to travel into space in May 1961, to the final space shuttle mission in July 2011, with tremendous triumph and tragedy in between.

Alan Shepard in space: “Man What a Flight,” Titusville Star-Advocate (Titusville, FL), May 5, 1961


“He Did It! Glenn Travels in Best Circles; Kennedy to Meet Him at Cape,” The Miami Herald, Feb. 21, 1962



“Deaths of 3 Apollo Astronauts Severe Blow to Moon Program,” The Evening Sun (Baltimore, MD), Jan. 28, 1967




“Viking Robot Sets Down Safely on Mars and Sends Back Pictures of Rocky Plain,” The New York Times, July 21, 1976


Teacher and astronaut Christa McAuliffe’s hometown newspaper’s coverage of the Challenger disaster: “City, NASA Look for Answers,” Concord Monitor (Concord, NH), Jan. 29, 1986

“‘…Once Again, Godspeed, John Glenn:’ Hero Oldest Ever to Fly into Space,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX), Oct. 30, 1998













“Tragedy over Texas: Disaster in the Sky: A Nation Mourns,” Tyler Courier-Times-Telegraph (Tyler, TX), Feb. 2, 2003


“Shuttle Legacy: A Tribute to 30 Years of the NASA Space Shuttle Program,” Florida Today (Melbourne, FL), April 10, 2011










The newspapers in the Historic Events Newspaper Collection have come to the Library of Congress through donations, purchases, and copyright deposits. They are stored in archival folders or boxes and, due to their fragile condition, are mainly utilized in Library of Congress exhibits, but may be available to researchers under special circumstances. Researchers are more likely to examine our more encompassing microfilm collections, volumes of bound newspapers, and newspaper databases accessible on-site.



Our most recent donation to the collection was only one month ago, on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. Two brothers, George and Peter Damon, donated the newspapers and magazines that their father, Evmenios P. Damon, collected in the 1960s. These include newspapers covering space exploration milestones and newspapers and magazines focusing on the John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinations. Evmenios Damon was Chief, Mission Operations Computing Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and his sons worked at Goddard, as well. Newspaper Section Head Georgia Higley and I were pleased to accept their donation on behalf of the Library.

From left: Georgia Higley, Arlene Balkansky, Peter Damon, and George Damon with some of the newspapers and magazines the brothers donated to the Historic Events Newspaper Collection. Photo by Kelly Abell

Do you have historic newspapers you wish to donate to the Library of Congress? Please describe them in this Donations/Gifts of Library Materials form so our division can consider whether they could be added to our collection.

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