K.T. Keller Papers
Director, Office of Guided Missiles, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1950-53.
The papers of K.T. Keller primarily relate to his service as the Chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine and as the Director of the Office of Guided Missiles under the Secretary of Defense. The bulk of the documents consist of correspondence between Keller and his colleagues regarding the progress of the programs under his directorship, and also correspondence with other parties with interests in Keller's projects. The collection includes numerous newspaper clippings, magazine articles, itineraries, and a small number of maps, photographs, charts, and reports to the President, the National War College, and various officials.
Size: Less than one half of one linear foot (approximately 800
Most of the documents contained in the papers of K.T. Keller are correspondence between Keller and his colleagues during his service as Chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine (1947) and as the Director of the Office of Guided Missiles under the Secretary of Defense (1950-1953). The collection was created from Keller's personal office file and was originally intended to include only the papers regarding the Guided Missiles Program. However, the decision was made by Keller, while gathering documents on the Guided Missile Program, to also include in the collection the papers regarding his chairmanship of the Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine. The collection contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, maps, charts, photographs, handwritten notes, and reports. The papers are in one series and arranged alphabetically.
Most of the documents concerning the Guided Missile Program are in the form of letters to and from Keller, yet these letters reveal little information about the program itself. Information on the program can primarily be found in the reports written by Keller to the President after the first year of his directorship and again in a final report as the experimental phase of the program came to a close and Keller's position as director was no longer necessary. In the first year report, Keller explains how he approached the assignment, his short and long-term plans, current cost of the program, future budget recommendations, and the specifications and progress made on each missile. The final report of the Guided Missile Program, made in 1953, outlines the current testing results of each missile and recommendations by Keller on the future of the Guided Missile Program. Both a handwritten and a final draft of Keller's presentation before the National War College on the progress of the Guided Missile Program in 1952 are also in the collection. Other items in the collection regarding the Guided Missile Program include: a limited number of photographs, magazine articles on missiles and the missile program, newspaper clippings on the program and Keller's involvement, a map of the Los Angeles area that highlights sights pertinent to the program, and numerous letters from leaders of the aviation and scientific communities to Keller requesting various kinds of involvement in the Missile Program.
In regards to Keller's Chairmanship of the Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine, the collection contains a magazine article and several newspaper clippings that outline the state of the Merchant Marine and its deterioration after World War II, and the appointment of Keller as Chairman. There is no complete information on Keller's actions during his tenure as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee, but an extensive final report (127 pages) outlines the committee's discoveries and recommendations to the President regarding the future of the Merchant Marine. There are also many letters to Keller by Naval officers and civilians with an interest in the Merchant Marine reflecting their opinions on the committee's final report.
A particular weakness of the collection lies in the gaps in information regarding Keller's time with the Guided Missile Program. This can be attributed to the secrecy surrounding the project; most of the pertinent documentation was not included among Keller's papers.
Other relevant materials at the Truman Library include the Records of the President's Advisory Committee on the Merchant Marine (Record Group 220) and documents in the Harry S. Truman Papers concerning Keller (in particular, in Official File 1285-EE, President's Personal File 739, and the Secretary's Office File of the Post-Presidential Papers).
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