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Ellen Hippeli Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP002182
The Ellen Hippeli Papers include awards and commendations, clippings, correspondence, military records, and photographs. The records document the trajectory of her career and her military assignments, but do not include records related to her specific research.

Important Subjects: Air Force Special Weapons Center (U.S.) Nevada Test Site (Nev.) Society of Women Engineers United States. Air Force. United States--Armed Forces--Women. Women engineers Women in engineering

Series I: Papers, 1922-2007 Correspondence and records related to Hippeli’s education, military service, and involvement in volunteer organizations.

Series II: Photographs, 1922-1990s Photographs taken during Hippeli’s childhood through her retirement.

Series III: Artifacts, 1932-1973 Scrapbooks Hippeli created to document her early career and travels, a high school diploma, military medals, and a Squadron Officers School pennant.

Dates

  • 1922 - 2007

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

No personal data found in the papers may be used.

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

5.2 Linear Feet (2 MB, 3 OS)

Abstract

Ellen Hippeli taught high school mathematics for nearly a decade and had just received her masters degree in education when, in 1952, she left her civilian career to join the United States Air Force. Following basic training, she was sent to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and in 1955 earned a bachelors degree in physics, specializing in nuclear engineering effects. Hippeli spent several years at the USAF Special Weapons Center, where she tested the effects of nuclear radiation on humans. She was also sent to Washington D.C. to assist in planning South Pacific nuclear testing projects. In the late 1960s she studied the effects of radiation on electrical equipment and weapons systems at the Nevada Test Site, where she was the first female program director. Hippeli received the Joint Services Commendation Medal for her work at the Nevada Test Site and the Air Force Commendation with First Oak Leave Cluster. She retired from the Air Force in 1973, having reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

The Ellen Hippeli Papers include awards and commendations, clippings, correspondence, military records, and photographs. The records document the trajectory of her career and her military assignments, but do not include records related to her specific research.

History

Ellen Hippeli was born October 18, 1922 in Hartford, Connecticut. Following her graduation in 1939 in Bristol, Connecticut, she attended the Teachers College of Connecticut, from which she received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1943. She taught mathematics at Freshman High School in Bristol until 1952. During the summers she worked as a Girl Scouts leader at camps around the country. In 1952, shortly after receiving a Master of Education degree from Hillyer College, Hippeli left her teaching career to join the United States Air Force.

After completing basic training, Hippeli was sent to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In 1955 she earned a bachelor’s degree in physics, specializing in nuclear engineering effects. She graduated from the Squadron Officer School in 1956. Hippeli spent five years assigned to projects at the Special Weapons Center in Albuquerque, where she tested the effects of nuclear weapons on humans. She was also sent to Washington D.C. to assist in planning South Pacific nuclear testing projects. In the late 1960s she studied the effects of radiation on electrical equipment and weapons systems at the Nevada Test Site, where she was the first female program director, and at the Norton Air Force Base in California. During her service, Hippeli received the Joint Services Commendation Medal for her work at the Nevada Test Site and the Air Force Commendation with First Oak Leave Cluster. She retired from the Air Force in 1973, having reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After returning to civilian life she became a manager at Mountain States Bell Telephone and later at the Hanford Westinghouse Fast Flux Reactor facility. She retired from Westinghouse in September 1979.

Hippeli joined the Society of Women Engineers in 1965 and was a charter member of the Central New Mexico Section. She was actively involved in the section’s outreach activities to young women, and was named a Fellow of SWE in 1998. Hippeli was also active in the Air Force Women Officer Associates and the Retired Officers Association, served as the president of the local chapter of Quota International, and was actively involved in her church. Hippeli passed away on September 27, 2006.

Arrangement

Arranged in three series – Series I (Box 1), Series II (Box 2) and Series III (Boxes 3- 5). Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically by calendar year.

Acquisition

The Ellen Hippeli Papers were deposited at the Reuther Library on September 13, 2010 by family friend Margaret Magee.

Related Materials

Reuther Library Collections: American Society of Women Engineers and Architects Records, Society of Women Engineers National Records, SWE: Emma Barth Diaries, 1939-1975 (SWE member), SWE Oral History Collection (interviews with SWE pioneers and members), Ada Pressman Papers (past president of SWE), International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists Records (founded by SWE), and SWE Detroit Records (SWE section)

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Troy Eller-English on April 1, 2011.
Title
Guide to the Ellen Hippeli Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Troy Eller-English.
Date
2011-04-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA