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Rudolf Hermann Collection

Identifier: MC-112

Scope and Contents

Subjects covered within this collection include wind tunnel testing, early German rocket science history, and UAH Research Institute history.


  • Creation: 1930 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by archives staff members.

Conditions Governing Use

This material may be protected under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) which governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. You may use the digitized material for private study, scholarship, or research. Though the University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections has physical ownership of the material in its collections, in some cases we may not own the copyright to the material. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our collections.

Biographical / Historical

Rudolf Hermann was born in Leipzig, Germany, and he studied at the University of Leipzig and at the Aachen Institute of Technology. He first started working with wind tunnels in 1934 when Professor Carl Wieselsberger engaged him to work at Aachen on development of a supersonic wind tunnel. On January 6, 1936, Dr. Wernher von Braun visited Dr. Hermann to arrange for use of the Aachen supersonic wind tunnel for Army problems. On April 1, 1937, Dr. Hermann became Director of the Supersonic Wind Tunnel at the Army installation at Peenemünde. Results from the Aachen and Peenemünde wind tunnels were crucial in achieving aerodynamic stability for the A-4 rocket, later designated as the V-2. The Allied air raid on Peenemünde on August 17, 1943 accelerated plans to build a Mach 10 “hypersonic” wind tunnel facility; Dr. Hermann served as the director of this new facility.

As World War II drew to a close in Europe, Dr. Hermann and his associates ignored Hitler’s destruction orders and preserved their wind tunnel documents and components, which were then acquired by the advancing American forces. After being brought to the United States through Operation Paperclip, Dr. Hermann became a consultant to the Air Force at its Wright Field in November 1945. In 1951, he was named a professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. In 1962, Dr. Hermann became the first Director of the Research Institute at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a position he held until he retired in 1970.¹

¹Lundquist, Charles A. and Anne M. Coleman. "Rudolf Hermann, Wind Tunnels and Aerodynamics," 2006 57th IAC, Valencia, Spain (2-6 October 2006).


22 Linear feet (28 boxes and 1 oversize.)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Rudolf Hermann, Charles Lundquist, 2018.

Existence and Location of Copies

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, and competing priorities. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Anne Coleman, Charles Lundquist
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections Repository

M. Louis Salmon Library
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899 Alabama 35899 United States of America