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The papers of Dr. James A. Van Allen, 1914-, comprise a diverse and rich record of one of the leading scientists in the early exploration and study of the upper atmosphere, the near-Earth space environment, and the solar system using rocket propelled vehicles. The papers span fifty years and provide ample documentation of his central participation in this signal scientific achievement of the 20th century. In addition to detailing Van Allen's productive research career, these records illuminate broader themes in the evolution of science after World War II.