Scope and Content
Title: Papers of Arthur L. Klein,
Date (inclusive): 1928-1974
Klein, Arthur L.
Extent: Linear feet: 1.5
California Institute of Technology. Archives.
Pasadena, California 91125
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All
requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing
to the Head of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the
California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not
intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item, Box and file number], Papers of Arthur L. Klein, Archives,
California Institute of Technology.
Arthur L. Klein (1898-1983) was born in Los Angeles and educated in local schools. In
1916 he entered Throop College, the predecessor of Caltech. There he acquired the
nickname "Maj," from his tenure as a cadet major. After beginning his studies in
mechanical engineering, he changed to physics to work under Robert A. Millikan and earned
his bachelor's degree in 1921 and his PhD in 1925. Thereafter hired by Millikan as a
research fellow in physics, Klein soon became involved in the activities of the new
Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at Caltech, familiarly known as GALCIT. He became
assistant professor of aeronautics at Caltech in 1929 and full professor in 1954.
The history of GALCIT and its relationship to the birth and development of the aerospace
industry in Southern California are well documented. Theodore von Kármán, the brilliant
Hungarian-born engineer and aerodynamicist, was appointed the lab's first director in
1930. Maj Klein became a member of the original GALCIT team, along with Clark B.
Millikan, Arthur Raymond, the mathematician Harry Bateman, and a bit later, Ernest E.
Sechler. Klein designed much of the lab's new wind tunnel, which went into operation in
1929, and was responsible for many aspects of the design and testing of important
aircraft, including Douglas's revolutionary DC-3. In 1932 Klein began consulting for
Douglas Aircraft and by 1937 he was spending half his time there and half at Caltech. He
retired from Caltech in 1968.
Scope and Content
The Papers of Arthur L. Klein (1928-1974) represent a small collection divided between
correspondence, teaching files, technical material relating to wind tunnels and airplane
design, and personal data. Researchers should also consult the following related
collections: the Papers of Theodore von Kármán; the oral histories of Arthur L. Klein and
other participants in GALCIT; the Caltech Historical Files under Aeronautics and Arthur
L. Klein; and the Archives' photo database, PhotoNet (available online at