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Jet Propulsion Laboratory Archives: Slice of History

Guide for accessing all types of materials in the JPL Archives.

On this page, the JPL Archivists share historical photos from the JPL Archives. The JPL Archives' mission is to document the rich organizational, mission, and cultural histories of the institution by identifying, collecting, preserving, and making available primary source materials that have value for research by users at JPL/Caltech/NASA and the wider public.

The content presented here should be viewed in the context of the time period. Our intent is to present the history of JPL in a factual manner that uses primary resources and historical context. We recognize that some information or images do not reflect the current values, policies, and mission of JPL.

Slice of History

May 2024

P-661A

1956’s annual Spring Dance was held on 12 May at the Pasadena Elks Club, a change in venue to accommodate the overwhelming response of a growing staff. Dan Stewer and his Society Orchestra, “whose smooth music proved so popular at the [previous] JPL Christmas Dance,” was secured to play for dancing. The Elks Club ballroom had just recently been enlarged to provide more space for dancing, which meant Stewer and his Orchestra were able to take over the dance floor alongside JPLers, as depicted in this photo.

JPL’s dances were sponsored by the JPL Employees Recreation Club (ERC), which consisted of twenty representatives at the time of this event. Tickets, which cost $1.50 each or $3 per couple, could be purchased directly from these representatives or through Personnel Services in Building 47. As Lab-Oratory says, “Come to the Spring Dance – make up a party and bring your friends. You will all have a good time – that’s for sure!” CL#23-6586

Access Previous Historical Photos of the Month

Each below photo will link to the full size image on Pub-Lib. In the upper right hand corner, click on the three dots, then click on Details to see the full caption of each image. 

For more previous photos, please click here

P-38669B

On 11 July 1991, JPLers eagerly clustered outside of the Photolab to take turns peering into handmade tubes, sextants, and solar glasses to view a picture-perfect partial solar eclipse. This solar event was seen throughout 90% of Los Angeles, with exceptions to coastal areas where fog and haze obscured the view. Excited “ohs” and “ahs” echoed across the Lab while JPLers came together to enjoy the small, greenish eclipse pictured below. A special guest appearance was made by a red-tailed hawk which glided down from the mountains and perched itself atop a tree outside of Building 180. Eclipses are known for causing confusion among birds, animals, and day-blooming flowers. The hawk settled in the tree for the duration of the eclipse - curiously keeping one eye on eclipse-viewing JPLers and one eye to the sky.  CL#24-1055

P-38671

On 11 July 1991, JPLers eagerly clustered outside of the Photolab to take turns peering into handmade tubes, sextants, and solar glasses to view a picture-perfect partial solar eclipse. This solar event was seen throughout 90% of Los Angeles, with exceptions to coastal areas where fog and haze obscured the view. Excited “ohs” and “ahs” echoed across the Lab while JPLers came together to enjoy the small, greenish eclipse pictured below. A special guest appearance was made by a red-tailed hawk which glided down from the mountains and perched itself atop a tree outside of Building 180. Eclipses are known for causing confusion among birds, animals, and day-blooming flowers. The hawk settled in the tree for the duration of the eclipse - curiously keeping one eye on eclipse-viewing JPLers and one eye to the sky.  CL#24-1055

P-38670B

On 11 July 1991, JPLers eagerly clustered outside of the Photolab to take turns peering into handmade tubes, sextants, and solar glasses to view a picture-perfect partial solar eclipse. This solar event was seen throughout 90% of Los Angeles, with exceptions to coastal areas where fog and haze obscured the view. Excited “ohs” and “ahs” echoed across the Lab while JPLers came together to enjoy the small, greenish eclipse pictured below. A special guest appearance was made by a red-tailed hawk which glided down from the mountains and perched itself atop a tree outside of Building 180. Eclipses are known for causing confusion among birds, animals, and day-blooming flowers. The hawk settled in the tree for the duration of the eclipse - curiously keeping one eye on eclipse-viewing JPLers and one eye to the sky.  CL#24-1055

P-38670A

On 11 July 1991, JPLers eagerly clustered outside of the Photolab to take turns peering into handmade tubes, sextants, and solar glasses to view a picture-perfect partial solar eclipse. This solar event was seen throughout 90% of Los Angeles, with exceptions to coastal areas where fog and haze obscured the view. Excited “ohs” and “ahs” echoed across the Lab while JPLers came together to enjoy the small, greenish eclipse pictured below. A special guest appearance was made by a red-tailed hawk which glided down from the mountains and perched itself atop a tree outside of Building 180. Eclipses are known for causing confusion among birds, animals, and day-blooming flowers. The hawk settled in the tree for the duration of the eclipse - curiously keeping one eye on eclipse-viewing JPLers and one eye to the sky.  CL#24-1055

P-520A

An example of JPL’s historical and ongoing approach to public health, these photos document an on-Lab X-Ray clinic that was hosted in conjunction with the Pasadena Tuberculosis Association. This mobile X-Ray unit was stationed “immediately east of the JPL First Aid Room” all day on 27 July 1955, when these photos were taken. JPLers were invited to  “use this opportunity to obtain a chest x-ray on Laboratory time,” and encouraged to perform annual chest x-rays as a preventative health measure.

This became an annual health checkpoint for JPL during the 1950s, and staff would line up to take advantage. In this photo (left to right) Sylvia Granath, Ed Quick, Marie Mandroian, Dee Campbell, Ed Hane, and Russell Waldo climb the “stairway to health” and wait their turns. According to the August 1955 issue of Lab-Oratory, “[l]ast year, 437 JPL [staff] took advantage of this Laboratory service, showing an increased interest this year in preventative personal health.” CL#22-6272

P-520B

An example of JPL’s historical and ongoing approach to public health, these photos document an on-Lab X-Ray clinic that was hosted in conjunction with the Pasadena Tuberculosis Association. This mobile X-Ray unit was stationed “immediately east of the JPL First Aid Room” all day on 27 July 1955, when these photos were taken. JPLers were invited to  “use this opportunity to obtain a chest x-ray on Laboratory time,” and encouraged to perform annual chest x-rays as a preventative health measure.

This became an annual health checkpoint for JPL during the 1950s, and staff would line up to take advantage. In this photo (left to right) Sylvia Granath, Ed Quick, Marie Mandroian, Dee Campbell, Ed Hane, and Russell Waldo climb the “stairway to health” and wait their turns. According to the August 1955 issue of Lab-Oratory, “[l]ast year, 437 JPL [staff] took advantage of this Laboratory service, showing an increased interest this year in preventative personal health.” CL#22-6272

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