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Human Space Flight Collection

Information on the Human Space Flight Collection at the UHCL Archives and Special Collections; created by Erin Henry and Matthew M. Peek

Project Introduction

Female NASA Johnson Space Center Personnel Outreach Project

By Matthew M. Peek, Associate Director

University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives and Special Collections

January 2023

The University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives and Special Collections plans to expand its ability to meet current and future research into the world of human space flight history and the Johnson Space Center. Some of the most critical conducted today social history research relates to women and minorities working at NASA [Footnote 1] and Johnson Space Center. UHCL Archives currently has a limited number of archival collections for female Johnson Space Center personnel, despite the great number of female staff members, engineers, and scientists who provided significant contributions to the daily operations of Johnson Space Center. Many of the women worked and contributed in support roles—such as secretaries and astronaut family support—that can provide unique views of NASA JSC’s history and operations, and key insights missing from existing scientific and technical accounts of human space flight history.

Beginning in 2022, the UHCL Archives will be endeavoring to identify the names of female JSC personnel, and reaching out to inquire if the individuals are interested in contributing their stories for long-term preservation.

Participation with UHCL Archives on this project may include:

  • Writing own work/service history from the women's time at NASA JSC and donate them to the UHCL Archives
    • We have had several women ask if they can write their own work/service history from their time at NASA JSC
    • We will be creating a JSC Women's History Collection to house these self-created histories.
    • These are your words, and you can include whatever you want at whatever level of detail you wish.
    • We are looking to document the women's own NASA JSC and professional career history. We have a few general tips for general structure on writing these histories.
  • Donate personal work papers from women’s careers at NASA to UHCL Archives
    • Collections will be stored in a collection bearing the women's names with their own collection number within the Human Space Flight Collection.
  • Conducting oral history interviews with JSC History Division
    • We are compiling names of women willing to be interviewed, and forwarding them to the JSC History Division to be considered for the JSC Oral History Project.
    • Funding and the availability of staff to do the interviews is a factor here. UHCL Archives is not doing the interviews ourselves currently.
  • Participating in public history programs/talks on women in NASA at UHCL’s campus or in local communities
    • We are taking down names and contact information. Once we get enough, we will be working with our partners to try planning public programs and invite women to be involved as they wish or are able. 

THIS PROJECT HAS NO TIME DEADLINE. We will continue to do this project for many years to come. We do not have a deadline on you contributing to this project. You can chose to participate whenever you wish, or whenever you may be personally ready to do so.

Beginning this endeavor, the UHCL Archives are researching past issues of the Space News Roundup (SNR) JSC newspaper/newsletter, noting names of women featured for their work or program support at JSC. All levels of JSC personnel are desired as part of this effort, from secretaries to mathematicians to food scientists—any female JSC employee who is willing to participate, the UHCL Archives is eager to communicate with these persons. UHCL Archives is starting this project with a names listed beginning in 1973, following the end of the Apollo Program. The Archives is specifically interested in documenting this post-Apollo period, where increasing numbers of women began employment at JSC as result of federal employment legislation and major social changes increasing equality of women in the United States.

                                                  NASA photograph: Barbara Morgan Learns About Spacesuit Gloves (undated image).

                            Official NASA photograph of Barbara Morgan learning about spacesuit gloves at NASA (undated) [Footnote 2]

Our list includes the role or department in which the individual worked, as published in the Space News Roundup, and the year indicated in the publication. While not exhaustive, the list will grow as the Archives continues investigating JSC records noting former female personnel. We wanted to show these women by locating and listing their names--rather than a general call for any interested former JSC female personnel to contact us--that we are interested in their specific histories and stories. We are open to any former female JSC personnel being recommended by former NASA personnel to add to our outreach list below if they are willing to contribute and work with UHCL Archives.

It is unknown if these named individuals are still living or not at the time of this project, which is why the UHCL Archives needs help from the NASA Alumni League, Johnson Space Center Chapter; former NASA personnel; and the families of former JSC female personnel, in gaining their contact information in order for us to reach out to them. Should the individuals have personal papers that they may consider donating, these papers may be considered for addition to the UHCL Archives and Special Collection’s Human Space Flight Collection (see below description of the collection).

UHCL Archives will partner with programs and students at the University of Houston-Clear Lake to offer students projects to research and identify female JSC personnel for the Archives to contact, to write biographies of them for use in history outreach about JSC, and to help arrange and describe these women's archival collections. We wish to make this project an all-encompassing recognition of the dedication, work, challenges, and strength of the women who served the United States' human space flight program even while it was still called "manned space flight."

[1] The use of the name “National Aeronautics and Space Administration” and “NASA” in this project description does not necessarily constitute NASA’s support or approval of this project.

[2] [National Aeronautics and Space Agency, “Barbara Morgan Learns About Spacesuit Gloves,” University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives Exhibits, accessed January 12, 2023,

List of Identified JSC Female Personnel and JSC Units

If you are one of these women or know one of these women, please contact the Associate Director for the UHCL Archives and Special Collections, either by email at or by phone at 281-283-3962.

This is not an exhaustive list, and will continue to be added to. When names on this list have been contacted or information about their circumstance is learned, UHCL Archives staff will remove the names from this list. Remember, the information is taken as presented in the Johnson Space Center internal newsletter Space News Roundup, which sometimes only gave limited information assuming other JSC personnel would know the abbreviations or programs meanings.

New Names Added March 31, 2023

  • Luella Avery, Secretary to E&D Experiment Systems Division chief Dean F. Grimm (SNR Issue 5/21/1976)
  • Marilyn Bockting, Assistant to the Manager of the Program Administrative Office. She was one of the first women to move from secretarial work to management at JSC (SNR Issue 5/9/1975). Outstanding Secretary Award named in her honor. Bockting died in September 1985, but UHCL Archives looking for family contact to see if they have papers.
  • Cheryl Bouillion, Secretary to George Abbey, Director of Flight Operations (SNR Issue 8/19/1977)
  • LaRue Wilson Burbank, Mathematician (SNR Issue 5/7/1976)
  • Nellie Carr, Lead Payload Officer on Shuttle STS-31 that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990.
  • Betty C. Cornett, Secretary, Apollo Spacecraft Program Office Manager under Glynn S. Lunney (SNR Issue 11/7/1975)
  • Eleanor Der Bing, EEO Counselor (SNR Issue 6/20/1975) [Has done an oral history interview for Rice University, but we are still interested in reaching out to document more of her experiences]
  • Phoncille DeVore, Administrative assistant to the Associate Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, later retiring in 1981 as Employee Development Specialist after 25 years of service. DeVore gave the Space News Roundup its name for a contest (SNR Issue 7/3/1975)
  • Betty Sue Feddersen, Secretary to Space Shuttle Program Management Integration manager Harold E. Gartrell (SNR Issue 1/16/1976)
  • Kathryn Forsyth, [position not named] Mission Operations Branch of Flight Control Division (SNR Issue 8/19/1977)
  • Patricia R. Garza, Secretary, Lead Office Assistant of the Administrative Center, Payload Operations Division. Personal Secretary to Division Chief Charles S. Harlan. Worked in Vehicle System Support Room for Data Support during the Gemini 8 mission (SNR Issue 10/28/1977)
  • Fran Gentry, Private Secretary to Harold Stall, Public Affairs Officer (SNR Issue (8/15/1975)
  • Lottie Greenwood, Branch Secretary of the Ground Data Systems Division, Systems Engineering Branch (SNR Issue 3/26/1976)
  • Susan Gregory, Secretary to Orbit Project Office Manager Aaron Cohen (SNR Issue 4/9/1976)
  • Melba Henderson, Chief of Correspondence, Program Operations Office (SNR Issue 1/17/1975)
  • Estelle T. Herbert, Secretary to the Chief, Tracking & Communications Development Division (SNR Issue 8/5/1977)
  • Joyce Seriale-Grush, hired into the Propulsion and Power Division. She worked as a Subsystem Manager for the Space Shuttle APU, and later chief engineer for the Shuttle.

Feel free to email or call the UHCL Archives with names of other female JSC personnel you know or worked with, that you think would be worth talking with or having experiences that would benefit from historical documentation.

Information on Human Space Flight Collection

The Human Space Flight (HSF) Collection was initiated as a collecting focus for the UHCL Archives following its receiving custody of the JSC History Collection in 2001. The goal of the HSF Collection is to collect original archival materials and personal papers from individuals involved in the space industry, from individuals who worked and researched in the field of human space flight, or those individuals who work for NASA at the Johnson Space Center or for any of its contractors during any given time period. Although the UHCL Archives will consider accepting materials from individuals who primarily worked for NASA or other human space flight organization outside of the state of Texas, focus will be given to collecting papers from those who spent time working at Johnson Space Center. Also, papers from individuals who worked in connection with missions and projects that ultimately were hosted at JSC will also be considered for the collection on a case-by-case basis.

Personal papers offer insight into the history and operation of human space flight that otherwise may be lost by relying only on official administrative records. They reveal professional interests and opinions that frequently clarify matters mentioned in official records. Personal viewpoints expressed in personal correspondence and documentation resulting from service may provide a better basis for understanding a given program, decision-making process, or scientific development. Any documents to be considered for addition to the HSF Collection must document the personal side of the donor or individual represented in the collection, in terms of their activity within NASA, the Johnson Space Center, NASA contractors, or other programs and projects related to the support human space flight.

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