Organized Collections

National Academy of Engineering (NAE): Establishment & Early Work, 1965-1970

[The following collection note is adapted from The National Academy of Engineering: The First Ten Years (NAE, 1976)]

The idea of a National Academy of Engineering was suggested in the late 1950s to the Engineers Joint Council (EJC). When the EJC presented the suggestion to individuals in government, however, it was rejected on the grounds that the formation of such an academy would drive a wedge between science and engineering to the detriment of both. In early 1960, J. Herbert Hollomon suggested, independently, that a national academy of engineering be established—a recommendation which was reported in Science. After discussion with Hollomon, Harold K. Work, then Director of the Engineering Foundation in New York, presented the idea to the Foundation’s Research Procedure Committee. Acting on the recommendation of that group, the Foundation’s Executive Committee in mid-June 1960 authorized a feasibility study of a national academy of engineering. There was strong feeling that the EJC should also be involved, and discussion between the two organizations was initiated.

In August 1960 the EJC formed a committee to study the pros and cons of establishing an engineering academy, either as part of the National Academy of Sciences or as a separate institution. The EJC asked the Engineering Foundation for Work’s services as Executive Secretary of this exploratory committee, and for supporting funds.

It was decided early on that any exploration with respect to a national engineering organization should include the NAS, because the objectives of both the NAS and an engineering academy were considered to be similar. Consequently, the NAS was invited to participate in the exploratory committee’s discussions. Thus, the committee included representatives of the NAS and its operating arm, the National Research Council, as well as the EJC (which took lead responsibility for the endeavor), the Engineering Foundation, and the Engineers Council for Professional Development.


At its meeting of 20 September 1961, the exploratory committee voted in favor of establishing a national academy of engineering. The specific recommendations were that: 1) A National Academy of Engineering be established in cooperation with the NAS; 2) The initial membership and the constitution and bylaws be subject to approval by the NAS Council and the Board of the EJC; and 3) A 12-member committee be formed to explore the founding of a National Academy of Engineering.

A second study was then initiated, for which a special committee of the NAS was appointed to work with the EJC committee. The EJC committee was charged with developing a proposal for the establishment of an engineering organization representative of the engineering profession, while the NAS committee was requested to consider how the proposed engineering unit could be integrated in the NAS in a manner satisfactory to the engineers and consistent with the principles of the NAS.

On 20 February 1963 the EJC transmitted its proposal to the NAS committee, recommending that a national academy of engineering similar in character and complementary to the NAS be established within the NAS framework, with all decisions regarding the proposed academy being ratified by the NAS Council. The NAS membership gave its approval at their Annual Meeting in April.

Upon the recommendation of the EJC, NAS President Frederick Seitz in March 1964 appointed a “Committee of Twenty-Five” to establish an NAE. Seitz offered a plan whereby the new academy would be established under the NAS charter, allowing the NAE to select its own members, officers, and governing council; establish its own bylaws; use existing NAS facilities; and issue reports in its own name. The NAS membership voted in support of the plan, and on 5 December 1964 the Council of the NAS approved the Articles of Organization of the National Academy of Engineering, thus bringing the NAE into being.

Span dates: 1958-1976

Bulk dates: 1961-1970

Volume: 3.75 linear feet

Provenance: Files of Harold K. Work, NAE Secretary

Series 1: NAE Activities. Series contains records documenting the early (i.e., 1965-1970) activities of NAE committees, or NAE involvement in NAS-NRC committee work. Materials include correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, membership records, records of funding activities, and other documents.

Commission on Scientific & Technical Communication: NAS-NAE: Proposed

Plan for Establishing Joint Commission on Scientific & Technical Information: 1969
Proposal: 1970
General: 1969-1970

Committee for Merging Activities of Commission on Engineering Education (COEE) with NAE: 1967
Committee on Administration: 1967-1968
Committee on Control of Wastes on Air Water & Land: Ad hoc

Membership: 1966
Reports: 1966
General: 1967
General: 1966

Committee on Development Planning: Ad hoc

Areas of Interest: Environment: 1969-1970
Areas of Interest: Transportation: 1969-1970
Report & Analysis of Development Planning Survey: Aug 1969
General: 1969

Committee on Engineering Foundation: Ad hoc: 1966-1967
Committee on Mine Rescue & Survival Techniques

Activities Summaries: 1969
Areas of Investigation: 1969-1970
Contract: 1969-1970
Membership: 1969-1970
Reports: Final: 1970
Reports: Final: Background Material: 1969-1970
Reports: Final: General: 1969-1970
Reports: Interim: 1969
Reports: Interim: Background Material: 1969-1970
Reports: Interim: General: 1969-1970
Reports: Quarterly: 1969-1970
General: 1968-1970

Committee on NAE Seal: Ad hoc

Designs: Proposed: 1965
General: 1965-1966

Committee on National Institute of Building Science: Ad hoc

Background: 1968
Meeting: Notes: 19 Jun 1968
Meeting: Proceedings: 19 Jun 1968
Meeting: General: 19 Jun 1968
General: 1968

Committee on National Materials Advisory Board (NMAB): Ad hoc: 1968-1969
Committee on Non-Rail Transit Vehicles

Beginning of Program: 1966
Conference: 27 Jul 1967
Funding: 1967-1968
Meetings: 1967
Membership: 1967
Progress Reports to HUD: 1968
Proposal: 1966
Report: Transmittal: 1968
General: 1966-1968

Committee on Proceedings [of NAE]: Ad hoc

Survey on Need for PNAE: 1967
General: 1966-1967

Committee on Rapid Excavation Techniques

Contract: 1966-1968
Membership: 1967
Reports: Final: Approval & Transmittal: 1968-1969
Reports: Interim: 1967
General: 1966-1969

Committee on Science Engineering & Regional Development: NAS-NAE

Contract & Proposal: 1966-1967
Membership: 1967-1968
General: 1966-1969

Committee on Scientific & Technical Communication (SATCOM)

Funding: 1966-1969
Meetings: 1968
Membership: 1966-1969
Report: Comments & Distribution: 1968-1970
General: 1965-1969

Committee on Scientific & Technologic Base of Puerto Rico’s Economy

Contract: 1966-1967
General: 1965-1967

Committee on Technology Assessment

Beginning of Program: 1967-1968
Contract: 1968
History: 1968
Membership: 1968-1969
Panels: Subsonic Aircraft Noise: 1968
Pilot Assessment Studies: 1967-1968
Progress Reports: 1968-1969
Proposal: 1968
Summary Report on Technology Assessment: 1968
General: 1968-1970

Committee on Telecommunications

Subcontracts: Georgia Institute of Technology & U of Georgia: 1970
Subcontracts: Nashville & Davidson: 1970

Committee to Prepare Essay on Criteria of Excellence of Engineer: Ad hoc: 1965-1967

Conference on Cost of Health Care Facilities
Beginning of Program: 1967
Correspondence with Participants: 1967-1968
Funding: 1967-1968
Panels: Construction Factors: Proceedings: 5 Dec 1967
Panels: Construction Factors: General: 1967-1968
Panels: Design Consideration: Proceedings: 5 Dec 1967
Panels: Design Consideration: General: 1967-1968
Panels: Planning & Programming Factors: Proceedings: 5 Dec 1967
Panels: Planning & Programming Factors: General: 1967-1968
Panels: General: 1967-1968
Planning Meeting: 31 May 1967
Proceedings: 6 Dec 1967
Roster of Speakers Participants & Observers: 1967
Steering Committee: Meeting: Proceedings: 7 Sept 1967
Steering Committee: Meeting: Proceedings: 6 Sept 1967
Steering Committee: General: 1967-1968
General: 1967-1968

Conference on Summer Employment of Engineering Students

Program & Proceedings: 1965
General: 1965-1966

Discussion Group on NASA Technology Utilization Program: 1966-1967
Fellowship Program Committee: 1965-1966
Issues of Interest to NAE: Environmental Pollution: 1965-1966
Issues of Interest to NAE: Patent Policy: 1965-1966
Joint NAE-Commission on Engineering Education (COEE) Committee

Meeting: Apr 1966
General: 1966-1967

Meeting to Discuss Study of Field Engineering Staff of Dept of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

Proceedings: May 1967
Report: 1967
General: 1967

NAE-NSF Liaison Committee: 1965-1966
NAS Office of Documentation: Ad hoc Committee on Copyright Law Revision: 1965
Planning Committee: 1965-1970
Voice of America Committee

Letters of Acknowledgement to Contributors to World of Engineer Program: 1968
Meetings: 29 Apr 1966
Membership: 1965-1968
General: 1965-1969
General: 1965-1968

Series 2: NAE Funding Records: Series contains correspondence, proposals, contracts and other records documenting the financial support of NAE activities for the period 1965-1969.
Aeronautics & Space Engineering Board (ASEB): Contract & Proposal: 1967-1968
Committee Advisory to HUD (Housing & Urban Development): Proposal: 1969
Commission on Engineering Education (COEE)

Funding: Transfer to NAE: 1968
Summer Study on Computer Software: Proposal: 1968
General: 1968

Committee on Earthquake Engineering: Proposals: 1966-1968
Committee on Engineering Education
Committee on Computer Sciences in Electrical Engineering (COSINE): Proposal: 1968

Continuing Support: 1967-1968

Committee on Interplay of Engineering with Biology & Medicine

Contract & Proposal: 1967-1969
Subcontracts: 1968
General: 1968-1969

Committee on Ocean Engineering: Proposal & Contract: 1965-1969
Committee on Public Engineering Policy (COPEP)

NASA Support: Proposal: Draft: 1968
Review of Engineering Needs of US: Funding: 1967-1969
Seminars: Creativity in Engineering: Proposal: 1969
Use of NAE Funds: 1967-1968
General: 1968-1969

Committee on Telecommunications

Contracts: HUD (Housing & Urban Development): 1968
Contracts: Office of Emergency Preparedness: 1968
Contracts: Office of Telecommunications Management: 1968
Contracts: General: 1968
Panel on Urban Communications: Proposal: 1969

Committee on Urban Technology: Contract & Proposal: 1967-1968
Committees on Pollution Abatement & Control

Air Quality Management: Contract & Proposal: 1968
Noise: Contract & Proposal: 1967-1968
Solid Wastes Management: Contract & Proposal: 1966-1968
Water Quality Management: Contract & Proposal: 1968-1969

Conferences: Helicopter & Subsonic V/STOL Aircraft Noise: Proposal: 1968
Contracts: Listing: Sept 1967
Environmental Studies Board

Studies: Effects of Contaminants in Atmosphere [Carbon Monoxide Toxicity]: Funding: 1967-1968
General: 1968-1969

Finance Committee: Membership: 1969
Fund Authorization Report: Jun 1969
NAS-NAE Committee Advisory to Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA): Proposals: 1966-1969
NAS-NAE Committee on North American Datum: Ad hoc: Funding: 1968
NAS-NAE Panels Advisory to NBS (National Bureau of Standards): Proposals: 1968
Request for Proposal: Ambulance Design Criteria: 1968
US National Committee on Engineering in Medicine & Biology

General Operational Funding: 1966-1969
Meetings: Funding: 1964-1969

Workshop: Engineering Systems in City: Funding: 1969
Series 3: NAE Establishment. Series contains chronologically arranged correspondence documenting the conception and establishment of the National Academy of Engineering.
NAE Establishment: Correspondence

Oct-Dec 1964
Jun-Sept 1964
Mar-May 1964
Jan-Feb 1964
Sept-Dec 1963
May-Aug 1963
Jan-Apr 1963
Jan-Dec 1962
May-Dec 1961
Apr 1961
Mar 1961
Jan-Feb 1961
1959-1960

Series 4: Files of Harold K. Work. Series consists of correspondence and other files of Harold K. Work documenting his work in the establishment of NAE and his service on the Engineering Foundation/Engineers Joint Council Exploratory Committee on NAE (1960-1964) and the NAS Committee of Twenty-five on an NAE (1964-1965). Series reflects Work’s arrangement of files according to stages of NAE start-up.
Comments on Establishment of NAE: ca 1961
Engineering Foundation: Budget for Study on Establishing NAE: 1960-1964
Exploratory Committee on NAE: Meetings: 1961-1963
NAE: Press Coverage: 1962-1964
Report to EJC Concerning NAE: 17 Nov 1961
Recommendations to EJC Committee Relative to Report on Need for NAE: 15 Aug 1961
Exploratory Committee on NAE: Progress Reports: 1961
Review of Existing Foreign Academies of Engineering & Academies of Science: 1961
EJC Exploratory Committee on NAE: Membership: 1961
Planning [Background] Papers for Exploratory Committee: 1961
Reponses to “Question of Establishing NAE”: 1961
Draft of Proposal for Establishment of NAE: Sept 1962
EJC Exploratory Committee on NAE: Progress Reports: 1962
Proposal for Establishment of NAE: Nov 1962
Proposal for Establishment of NAE: Apr 1963
Charter Members of NAE: Proposed: Dec 1962
Correspondence re NAE & Future Goals of Engineering: 1963-1964
NAE Opening Ceremony: Proposed: 1963
NAE Charter Constitution Bylaws: Draft: Nov 1963
EJC & NAS Exploratory Committees on NAE: Membership: 1963
Proposal for Establishment of NAE: Nov 1963
NAE Organizing Members: Proposed: 1963
NAE Articles of Organization: Correspondence: 1964
NAE Articles of Organization: Draft: Oct 1964
NAE Membership Qualifications: Proposed: 1964
Committee of Twenty-Five on NAE: Subcommittee on Distribution of Membership: 1964
Committee of Twenty-Five on NAE: Meetings: Agenda: 1 Oct 1964
Committee of Twenty-Five on NAE: Meetings: Minutes: 1 Oct 1964
Committee of Twenty-Five on NAE: Meetings: Agenda: 27 Apr 1964
Committee of Twenty-Five on NAE: Meetings: Minutes: 27 Apr 1964
Committee of Twenty-Five on NAE: Meetings: Presentation by NAS President Seitz: 27 Apr 1964
Committee of Twenty-Five on NAE: Membership: May 1964
EJC Seminar on National Engineering Problems: 1964
Work H K: NAE Correspondence: 1965-1968
Work H K: Speeches & Articles: Establishment of NAE: 1965
Work H K: Speeches & Articles: NAE: Purposes Program & Probable Effect on Future of Engineering Profession: 1967
Work H K: Speeches & Articles: NAE Represents 100 Year Evolution: 1965
Work H K: Speeches & Articles: Question of Establishing NAE: 1960
Work H K: Speeches & Articles: What is Being Done about NAE: 1962
Work H K: Speeches & Articles: General: 1958-1962
Work H K: General: 1965-1976

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