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Frank J. Malina Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Malina, Frank J.
Title: Frank J. Malina Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1953-1971
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet
Abstract: Papers of the aeronautical engineer and artist. Collection includes exhibition notices and published material by and about Malina.
Language: Bulk in English, a few articles in French.
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Frank Malina (1912-1981) was an American aeronautical engineer and kinetic artist. Born in Brenham, Texas to parents of Czechoslovakian extraction (both musicians), Malina was for many years a scientist and directed American rocket research and UNESCO projects. In 1950 he learned the basics of oil painting from Reginald Weston and began to experiment, eventually leaving his UNESCO work to devote himself entirely to the pursuit of art. An early explorer in the field of digital art and the use of computers to create art, he developed the Lumidyne and Reflectodyne techniques which allowed him to essentially paint with light.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Frank J. Malina Papers consist of a subject file of exhibit notices and a collection of published material (articles and clippings by and about Malina). Articles by Malina contains reprints from Leonardo, Science Journal, Astronautica Acta, New Scientist and Spaceflight as well as several typescript articles. Topics covered reflect Malina's careers in both science and art: the Lunar International Laboratory, reminiscences on the beginnings of the GALCIT rocket research program at Cal Tech, the Lumidyne system, "Reflections on the difference between science and art," and "Comments on digital fine art produced by computers."

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Arrangement of the Collection

Exhibit notices are arranged chronologically. Clippings are subdivided by type and then arranged chronologically. Articles by Malina are arranged chronologically.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Malina, Frank J.

Corporate Bodies

Daniel Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory -- History.


Aerospace engineering -- History.
Art, Modern -- 20th century.
Digital art.
Kinetic art.
Light in art.
Rocketry -- History.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Exhibition catalogs.


Aerospace engineers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Frank J. Malina Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: circa 1967
Revision history: 26 Jan 2010 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Published material
Box 1 Articles about 1954-1967 (2 folders)
Box 1 Articles by 1964-1971, undated
Box 1 Newspaper clippings about 1955, 1959, 1967, undated
Subject files
Box 1 Exhibit notices 1953-1955, 1961, 1966

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