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John W. Coleman papers, 1948-2006

Accession: 2464-76Identifier: 2464-76-II.

Part of collection: RCA Camden records (2464-76)


  • Creation: 1948-2006

Biographical Note

John W. Coleman was born in New York City in 1929. He earned his Bachelors degree from Howard University, his Masters degree from the University of Illinois, and his PhD in Molecular Physics from the University of Pennsylvania. Coleman worked for RCA in Camden, New Jersey as a physicist and Engineering Leader from 1958 until 1969. While at RCA, Coleman worked on projects that focused on improving the electron microscope.

After leaving RCA in 1969, Coleman began working for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a staff physicist in 1972 and then a research scientist at the Plasma Fusion Center in 1981. During his time at MIT, Coleman led research projects on both the Tara Tandem Mirror and nuclear energy. After working at MIT for 20 years, in 1995 Coleman became the Science Director for Solar Now, Inc., a non-profit that operates a set of solar photovoltaic panels at Beverly High School in Massachusetts. Coleman authored over ninety papers and held nine patents. He died in 2006.

Scope and Content

The John W. Coleman papers are composed of reports, photographs, diagrams, and correspondence related to his work on electron microscopes at RCA and Tara Tandem fusion experiments at MIT. The papers also include materials relating to nuclear fusion, ephemera from the Plasma Fusion Center at MIT, and a number of John W. Coleman's patents. Along with newspaper clippings and publications about scientific instruments, the papers also include information related to the Beverly High School Solar Photovoltaic Project in Massachusetts.

General Physical Description (AVD portion only)

(AVD portion only) 113 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. and larger. 24 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 37 photographic prints : 4 x 6 in. and smaller. 21 photographic prints : color ; 8 x 10 and larger. 5 photographic prints : color ; 5 x 7 in. 6 photographic prints : color ; 4 x 6 in. and smaller. 1 photographic transparency : color ; 9 x 12 in. 6 glass plate negatives : b&w ; 3 x 4 in. 1 photographic plastic slide : b&w ; 3 x 4 in. 28 photographic slides : b&w ; 35 mm. 1 photographic CD. 1 business card. Paper documents. 2 photographic negatives : b&w ; 35 mm. 27 photographic negatives : b&w ; 4 x 6 in. 3 photographic negatives : b&w ; 120. 7 photographic negatives : color ; 8 x 10 in. and larger.


Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.


From the Collection: 6.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Additional Description

Access Restrictions

This collection contains material from the Manuscripts and Archives Department (M&A) and the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department (AVD). Box prefixes indicate which department holds an individual file or item.

Films and negatives are housed in cold storage and must reacclimate prior to viewing (Film Cans 1-15 and Box AVD-NG1). Please contact the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department at least 48 hours in advance of research visit.

Records subject to 25-year time seal.


Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.


Coleman's daughter Melissa Birtwell donated the papers to the David Sarnoff Library in 2006-2007.

Processing Notes

Processed by Ashley Giordano, 2015.

Related Names



Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA