Interested in Cold War history?
A new batch of materials from Alamance County Public Libraries (ACPL) is now online at DigitalNC. The materials, which include several publicity scrapbooks, three photo albums, and a collection of loose photographs, detail the Western Electric Company’s involvement in the US Army’s Nike Missile Program during the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout that period, the Western Electric Company manufactured guidance equipment for the Nike missiles, which were part of a large anti-ICBM defense network then under development by the US Military. The company operated a major manufacturing facility in Burlington, NC, a plant that features heavily in the ACPL materials. In 2016, the old plant was officially listed as part of the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service.
The scrapbooks were donated to ACPL by longtime Western Electric employee Raymond Donnell (1921-2002) and include a wealth of press clippings, memos, and photographs concerning the Tarheel Army Missile Plant in Burlington, NC and Western Electric’s missile-related activities in general. Many of the clippings relate to the political battles surrounding the Nike Program and the program’s effects on Burlington and the surrounding area.
The photographic materials relate both to Western Electric’s production of missile guidance equipment and the US Military’s use of it. Many of the photographs provide views of the working environment at the Tarheel Army Missile Plant during 1953, while the three albums detail various tests at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and facilities at the Kwajalein Pacific Missile Test Range.
The newly digitized materials are an addition to the considerable amount of ACPL materials already online at DigitalNC. Visit ACPL’s DigitalNC partner page here or head to their website for more information.