This collection includes material pertaining to U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Also included is information about the history of the National Reconnaissance Office. The collection includes information about the Corona program which was a series of American strategic reconnaissance satellites and the OXCART, an aircraft designed and built for reconnaissance. The manuscripts and drafts were created by Donald Welzenbach. The correspondence and notes with individuals in the field were used by Donald Welzenbach, the donor.
Donald E. Welzenbach graduated from Saint Ambrose College in the class of 1956. He retired from the Central Intelligence Agency after serving for almost 30 years as a historian. He had “tickets for all the super-secret” projects of the CIA during his service in Washington, D.C., and compiled a history of the U-2 spy plane program under Bill Casey, the director of the CIA. This history was published in 1998 along with Gregory W. Pedlow, a professional historian who graduated from the Johns Hopkins University, under the title CIA and the U2 Program, 1954-1974. Welzenbach’s book was one of the most authoritative sources on the CIA’s programs of reconnaissance. Welzenbach’s and Pedlow’s book covers the history of these reconnaissance programs, called Manned Overhead Reconnaissance Program (MORP), from its beginnings in the 50’s until the events of the 70’s. Donald Welzenbach’s research focused on the development of these programs during the tense atmosphere of the Cold War. The study has been cited by many new texts that deal with the CIA, most notably Philip Taubman’s book Secret Empire.