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Harrison H. Schmitt Papers

Identifier: MSS-370-BC

Scope and Content

The processed collection includes 3 series: NASA, Legislative; Photographs. (Collection located in overflow shelving: B3-18A, sections 7-11.)

The NASA series contain a variety of personal and professional material from Schmitt’s tenure in the Apollo Program. Schmitt joined NASA as one of a few astronauts with a scientific background therefore the material in this series documents this historic event. Official transcripts, technical reports, maps, photographs and personal papers comprise the bulk of the series.

There are eight subseries that organize the material. The documents in the first three subseries are technical in nature. The remaining five subseries contain more personal material about Schmitt’s experience as an Apollo astronaut.

Subseries descriptions:
  1. I. Apollo Program – This subseries relates to the development and execution of the Apollo missions. Subjects include mission operations directorates, lunar communication plans, NASA committee meetings and contractors. The material is specific to administrative planning and addresses general mission operations. Most of the documents were distributed department wide from 1964-1986.
  2. II. Flight Operations – Flight Ops include spaceflight technology, mission procedures and astronaut training material. The subseries is organized into three sections to address the major aspects of flight ops. The Apollo Mission Techniques section highlights the flight operation plans of specific missions. The Command Service Module section includes Earth to moon flight procedures, crew training and air-to-ground transcripts. The Lunar Module section contains information about transportation methods used on the lunar surface.
  3. III. Science – This subseries focuses on the development and application of lunar and space science. There are three main sections that comprise the subseries, general science, lunar mapping and energy. Science, General includes lunar research, experiment methods and instrument design. Science, Lunar Mapping contains lunar maps and other spatial analysis from the USGS and NASA. Science, Energy contains documents from NASA’s energy research and development program post Apollo.
  4. IV. Lectures and Testimonies - This subseries includes records from Schmitt’s speaking engagements during his career in the Apollo Program. The lectures and testimonies were given at various academic and private institutions and ranged from topics of lunar geology to energy development.
  5. V. Conferences and Workshops – This subseries contains materials from various conferences and workshops Schmitt attended while working as a scientist astronaut. The subseries includes records and transcripts from a number of historic meetings such as the Fairchild Conference and Woods Hole Meeting.
  6. VI. Writings – Writings contains personal and professional papers related to Apollo 17. Writings include Schmitt’s notes from his Apollo mission as well as scientific publications. There are also a number of unpublished chapters about his personal experiences leading up to the lunar mission.
  7. VII. Correspondence – This subseries includes professional and personal correspondence related to Schmitt’s career as an astronaut. Contributors include public supporters, professional societies, universities and family members.
  8. VIII. Memorabilia – Press and Memorabilia contains magazine articles, press clippings, awards and other objects that pay tribute to Schmitt’s contribution to the Apollo mission. Original poems, music compositions and drawings are just a few of the items stored in this subseries.
The Legislative series contains professional and personal materials from Schmitt’s tenure as U.S. Senator from New Mexico, (1976-1982). Documents pertaining to his legislative activities make up the bulk of the series and include correspondence with colleagues and constituents, speeches, statements, press releases, administrative materials, and background research and clippings related to legislation.

The series contains substantial material on federal legislative issues with which Schmitt was actively involved. Major topics include energy policy, science, technology, space exploration, immigration reform, deregulation of various industries, and Native American programs and policy. Legislative issues directly impacting New Mexico are also documented in this series. Native American education, the Navajo-Hopi land dispute, mining, WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant), wilderness areas, low-income housing, services for senior citizens, and the promotion of business, science, and technology in the state are particularly noteworthy.

Photographs include original prints, negatives, slides and transparencies from Harrison H. Schmitt’s career as Apollo Astronaut and U.S. Senator. The series is divided into four subseries: Senate, Senatorial Campaign, Apollo Astronaut and NASA. The first three subseries contain an assortment of personal and “official" Senate photographs with written descriptions. The NASA section includes government issued photographs, negatives and slides from the Apollo Program. This section documents astronaut training, mission operations, instrument diagrams and the lunar surface. Most of these as well as additional NASA images are available for download from the following websites: Lunar and Planetary Institute, NSSDC Photo Gallery, and Project Apollo Archive.


  • 1937-1986
  • Majority of material found in 1964-1982


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Harrison H. Schmitt was born July 3, 1935 in Santa Rita New Mexico. He went to public school in Silver City, NM, received his B.S. Degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1957, he studied at the University of Oslo as a Fulbright fellow in 1957-1958, and earned his Doctorate in Geology from Harvard University in 1964. He spent a year working on space related projects for the USGS in Flagstaff, AZ after graduation.

In 1965, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration selected Dr. Schmitt to serve as a scientist-astronaut for the Apollo program. He was the lunar module pilot of Apollo 17, landing on the moon in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow in 1972. He was the only scientist and the last man to step on the moon.

Schmitt was appointed NASA Assistant Administrator for Energy Programs in May 1974, resigning the position in August 1975 to return to New Mexico and run as a Republican for U.S. Senate. Schmitt won the election, defeating the incumbent Joseph Montoya. He served one term, losing his bid for reelection to then state Attorney General, Jeff Bingaman. Schmitt served on the Appropriations Committee; Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; and the Select Committee on Intelligence. He later served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the President’s Commission on Ethics Law Reform, the Army Science Board, as Co-Chairman of the International Observer Group for the 1992 Romanian elections, and as Vice Chairman of the U.S. delegation to the 1992 World Administrative Radio Conference in Spain. He is on the Maguire Energy Institute’s Board of Advisors, and served as co-chair of NASA’s Human Planetary Landing Systems Capabilities Road-mapping effort in 2004-05. Harrison Schmitt became Chairman of the NASA Advisory Council in November 2005, and served until October 2008. He is the author of Return to the Moon (Springer-Praxis, 2006) that describes a private enterprise approach to providing lunar helium-3 fusion energy resources for use on Earth. Harrison Schmitt has received many honors and awards . He currently resides in Albuquerque, NM.

Sources: AmericasUncommonSense website

"Senator Harrison Schmitt Biographical Sketch" printed document.


92 boxes (92.2 cu. ft.) plus 1 oversize folder (Collection located in overflow shelving: B3-18A, sections 7-11.)

Language of Materials



The collection documents Harrison H. Schmitt’s career as NASA astronaut in the Apollo Program and as United States Senator from New Mexico (1976-1982). Correspondence, reports, maps, photographs, research files, press releases, speeches, and photographs comprise the bulk of the collection.


NASA Series - 8 subseries: Apollo Program; Flight Operations: (Apollo Mission Techniques; Command Service Module; Lunar Module); Science (General; Lunar Mapping; Energy); Lectures and Testimonies; Conferences and Workshops; Writings; Correspondence; Memorabilia

Legislative Series - Alphabetical by subject

Photographs - 4 subseries: Senate, Senatorial Campaign, Apollo Astronaut and NASA

Related Archival Material

Harrison Schmitt Photograph Collection. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Processing Information

Processed boxes located in Overflow Shelves: B3-18A, sections 7-11. Unprocessed series include Campaign, Post-Senate, Audio/Video.
Finding Aid of the Harrison H. Schmitt papers, 1937-1986
© 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131