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