Frank H. Winter

From The Space Library

Jump to: navigation, search
Frank H. Winter
Frank Winter circa 2013
Birth Name Frank H. Winter
Birth Date 1942
Birth Place London England
Occupation Historian, Author, Museum Curator (ret.)
Nationality USA
Notable Works Prelude to the Space Age, Comet Watch, The First Golden Age of Rocketry, 100 Years of Flight, Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1

Frank H. Winter is the retired Curator of Rocketry of the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.


Early Life

Winter was born in London, England, in 1942 and emigrated with his family to the U.S. at the age of nine then became an American citizen in 1960. He attended public schools in New York City and later, in Los Angeles, and from 1964-1968 served in the U.S. Air Force, primarily as a military journalist. (During 1966-1968, he had been assigned to Torrejon Air Force Base, Spain, as well as at another installation also in Spain, as the feature editor of Air Force base newspapers.)

In 1966, while still serving with the military, he won the Robert H. Goddard Essay Award sponsored by the National Space Club and was especially flown to Washington, D.C. to receive the award in a special ceremony in which the Vice-President of the United States, then Hubert H. Humphrey, and other notables were present. Meanwhile, he continued his avocation of research and writing upon the history of rocketry space flight.

Upon discharge from the Air Force, Winter resumed his education by attending night school and earned a B.A. Cum Laude in History from the University of Maryland.

Smithsonian NASM

Winter joined the staff of the National Air and Space Museum in 1970, initially as a Historical Research Clerk, and in 1980 became the Historian of the Astronautics Department. (However, soon after discharge from the Air Force, he had already worked in the Museum as a temporary employee from 1968 to 1969.) In 1984, he was named the Curator of Rocketry of what is now called the Space History Division.


In addition to numerous articles and historical papers, Winter is the author of several books, including: Prelude to the Space Age: The Rocket Societies 1924-1940 (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983); Comet Watch: The Return of Halley’s Comet (Lerner Publications, 1986); The First Golden Age of Rocketry: Congreve and Hale Rockets of the Nineteenth Century (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991); and Rockets into Space (Harvard University Press, 1991). He also co-authored, with Frank R. van der Linden, 100 Years of Flight: A Chronicle of Aerospace History 1903-2003 (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2003), and, with van der Linden and Dominick Pisano, Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 — Breaking the Sound Barrier (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2006). The 100 Years of Flight book is based upon the monthly “Out of the Past” column, started in 1972 in the journal Aerospace America and presently co-edited by F. R. van der Linden.

Space Library Papers


In 1966, Winter won the Goddard Essay Award. In 1970, Winter had won a second Goddard Essay Award and was later presented the first American Astronautical Society’s Goddard Memorial Lecture Medal for which he was bestowed with a medal. From 1971, he began regularly presenting scholarly historical papers on the history of rocketry at International Astronautical Federation (IAF) congresses, International Congresses of the History of Science, and other forums.

Winter is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, as well as a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, the History Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society.

In 2002, in collaboration with Kerrie Dougherty, Curator, Space Technology, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia, Winter won an International Partnership Among Museums (IPAM) scholarship of the American Association of Museums. This was a cultural exchange in which he conducted research in Australia during January-February 2003, with additional related research visits to Laos and Thailand, in work towards the Powerhouse exhibit, “Fire Dragons: 1,000 Years of Rocketry in Asia.”

In 2010 Winter won the First Prize in the Boeing Griffith Observer Science Writing Contest (sponsored by Boeing Company and the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles), for the article "Garrett Serviss, the Would-be-astronaut Who Helped Start the Space Age."


In 1978, Winter married Fe Dulce Kuizon Rosal, the daughter of Judge Avelino Salvame Rosal of the Court of First Instance of Southern Leyte, Philippines, and Mayor Justina Kuizon Rosal of Bato, Leyte, Philippines, and have two children, Ronald Roy Winter and Elaine Roxane Winter. Mr. and Mrs. Winter currently reside in Burke, Virginia.

Later Life

In August 2007, Winter retired from the Smithsonian Institution after 39 years of service. He is presently a free-lance writer and museum consultant. A complete bibliography can be found on the web site:

Books by Frank Winter