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Ralph Belknap Baldwin papers

Identifier: RHC-07

Collection Description

Includes technical correspondence, primarily astronomical; correspondence concerning the publication of the book, "The Deadly Fuze" articles, general correspondence, speeches, copies of personal papers and an autobiography called "The Life of Ralph Baldwin" for which supplements were added annually.


  • Creation: 1936-2007


Access to Materials

Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Publication Rights

For information on copyright or permissions for this collection, contact Grand Valley State University Special Collections.


Ralph Baldwin was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan. While working as a part-time planetarium lecturer, he developed an interest in lunar topography. During World War II, Ralph Baldwin was a senior physicist in the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where he helped develop the radio proximity fuze, a crucial secret weapon of the war. His work on the project earned him the Presidential Certificate of Merit, among other honors. During the 1940s he formulated the principles of current lunar geology. His first book The Face of the Moon (1949) was the generating force behind modern research in both terrestrial impact craters and lunar surface features. He is highly regarded in the scientific community even though his primary employment was, for many years, as an officer and then president of a manufacturing company, the Oliver Machinery Company in Grand Rapids. He was a past-president of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America.


10.5 Linear feet (48 boxes, 1 volume)

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Ralph Baldwin on August 23, 1989 with periodic additions.

Related Material

The collection was divided by Baldwin, and copies sent to the Bentley Library at the University of Michigan; University of Michigan Physics and Astronomy Library, Ann Arbor; Don Wilhelms, science historian in San Francisco; and the Library of the Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland.

"The Deadly Fuze" video cassette is located in the WGVU video collection.

Ralph Belknap Baldwin papers, RHC-07
Special Collections & University Archives
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Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States