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Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio 
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
I'm not sure if this is the place to do it, but I'd like to point out that in the photo section the other engineer with whom RAH is pictured at the NAES c.1943 is Henry Sang, Heinlein's boss and my dad. I'd love it if future editions could credit him since he is also mentioned several times in the book. (I also have a copy of that photograph.)


Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:35 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Lyre wrote:
I'm not sure if this is the place to do it, but I'd like to point out that in the photo section the other engineer with whom RAH is pictured at the NAES c.1943 is Henry Sang, Heinlein's boss and my dad. I'd love it if future editions could credit him since he is also mentioned several times in the book. (I also have a copy of that photograph.)

Thank you very, very much for that ID. I've marked my desk copy of the bio to correct the caption if it gets to a second edition.

I wonder if you have clear photos of him and/or him and Grace Dugan Sang you would be willing to post if I can find a place to host it? I thought of Facebook, then I thought the Prize Trust might be willing to put up a lower-case facebook on its site, since there were dozens of photos of friends, familiy, and associates that couldn't make it into the biography.


Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:40 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Thanks Bill, I'll look and see if I have photos of that era ... I think there were some taken either by Bob (as my parents knew him) or Leslyn at their house. BTW I am really enjoying the book which I bought today ... it's great to be able to put stories I heard as a child into perspective (I came MUCH later) and it's a revelation to know that my father's letters to RAH are over at UCSC in their archives, I assume. (It will be interesting to hear my mother's opinion of the book, as she is still very much alive at 90 ... and I can ask her about photos.)

If it's okay I'll friend you on FB (since I check that often) and you can keep me updated as to whether you have any use for photos ... my last name is Sang. ;)


Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:34 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Lyre wrote:
Thanks Bill, I'll look and see if I have photos of that era ... I think there were some taken either by Bob (as my parents knew him) or Leslyn at their house. BTW I am really enjoying the book which I bought today ... it's great to be able to put stories I heard as a child into perspective (I came MUCH later) and it's a revelation to know that my father's letters to RAH are over at UCSC in their archives, I assume. (It will be interesting to hear my mother's opinion of the book, as she is still very much alive at 90 ... and I can ask her about photos.)

If it's okay I'll friend you on FB (since I check that often) and you can keep me updated as to whether you have any use for photos ... my last name is Sang. ;)

My goodness! At the Heinlein Centennial I was able to "interview" Dorothy Martin Heinlein, RAH's sister-in-law, aet. 92. What a privilege it would be to speak with Cats Sang! Would you miind asking if she would be receptive? I would greatly appreciate it.

You know, there is one point at which her input into the situation was pivotal -- she recommended Dr. Fink to Robert and Leslyn when Leslyn's alcoholism began to surface in 1947.

Certainly, Friend request on Facebook. I do tend to put any activity about the bio or about the Virginia Edition on my FB newsfeed. But you should also bookmark http://www.whpattersonjr.com, as the author site has its own blog and permanent links to reviews and such (plus a link here).

There are a couple of very short quotes from at least one Henry Sang letter in the postwar part of the book (around p. 440, I believe). There weren't many of his letters in the Archive -- and I cannot offhand remember any from Cats Sang. After they moved to Fallbrook in 1946 (I believe) communication slowed down.


Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:00 am
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Earl Wells left a comment in the author site's blog which asked for more errors to be corrected:

"Bill, congratulations on the publication of volume one. I’m ready for volume two whenever you and Tor are!

Here’s a correction — minor, but Heinlein-related:

On page 497, note 28, you say that Heinlein told the story of the courageous hobo in Swope Park in his 1976 GOH speech; actually, he told that story in his 1961 GOH speech (see Requiem, pp. 178-180 of the hardcover, pp. 237-9 of the paperback).

I think this is interesting because the 1961 speech was relatively close in time to Starship Troopers & Stranger in a Strange Land, which had themes akin to what Heinlein felt was the meaning of the anecdote."


Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:23 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
I haven't read as far as Earl Wells' comments, but recall that Heinlein also recounted the Swope Park tramp story in the 1973 graduation speech to the midshipmen. You might have been thinking of that date.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:16 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
JamesGifford wrote:
I haven't read as far as Earl Wells' comments, but recall that Heinlein also recounted the Swope Park tramp story in the 1973 graduation speech to the midshipmen. You might have been thinking of that date.

I think you mean the Forrestal Lecture? It was given in April, so just less than 2 months before graduation, which always takes place in the first week in June -- "June Week."

I just checked the transcription of the 1976 GOH speech on Requiem, and he didn't mention the Swope Park incident there -- even though he talked a fair amount about growing up in KC.


Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:43 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
I left my copy of the book behind at a friend's house last weekend; here are some notes about Robert Alden Cornog, based on page numbers from the Google Books version of Learning Curve.

P. 167:

At the Denver Athletic Club in 1934, Heinlein was judging a fencing match, not a chess game; Cornog had lost a chess game and wandered over to watch the fencing. Cornog was not a physics student, but had graduated with an engineering degree and was working on Boulder Dam (Hoover Dam). Eventually, in 1935, he would apply to graduate study in physics at Berkeley.

I don't know just when Cornog joined the American Interplanetary Society/American Rocket Society (name change came in April 1934) but it was prior to Heinlein's letter to Campbell mentioning Cornog on 20 Jan 1940. Heinlein had been a member since 1931, the year after AIS was founded. I conjecture that Heinlein may have persuaded Cornog to join after they met and found a mutual interest in rocketry and SF.

p. 276:

"before Cornog was called to Washington, D. C., to consult on something or other hush-hush."

No error. For your information, Cornog went to work on subsurface warfare and magnetic mines for the Navy at this time.


p. 359: "They had not heard from Cornog since the start of the war."

In 1942, Cornog left his Navy work to collaborate with Robert R. Wilson at Princeton on uranium isotope separation. In early 1943, Wilson and Cornog organized the disassembly and shipment of the Harvard cyclotron to a secret destination. In the spring, Cornog and his wife drove west to begin life at Los Alamos.

Heinlein received a brief letter from Cornog, dated 8 April 1943, with no return address.

"Have definite date on my calendar, for us to see you both when things quiet down-- For the nonce it's completely impossible to visit or be visited-- I'm in a 'deep, dark void.' Will let you know when things change--"

[Cornog to Heinlein, 8 April 1943, file CORR306-6.pdf, p. 72]

p. 377 Cornog worked for Northrop Aircraft, not Northrup (Sarah Northrup, Jack Parsons's girlfriend, may lend confusion here).

To the list of Cornog's "dazzling ideas" at Northrop you could add nuclear-powered rockets and nuclear-powered aircraft. Ask me for citations if you need them.

p. 387 and thereabouts: While Heinlein was writing to Jerry Voorhis and stirring up other political connections, Cornog was writing to Rep. Thomas Martin of Iowa, his old track-and-field coach. An unsigned copy of his letter is in Heinlein's files. I presume these letters are a result of their Santa Fe dinner, where they and other Los Alamos scientists discussed plans to influence atomic policy.

I wrote in my article for Eric Picholle's book:
Quote:
By now Thomas Martin, Cornog's former track and field coach in Iowa City, had become a Representative in the U.S. Congress. Cornog sent him a letter, mentioning his work in the creation of weapons at Los Alamos, and urging international control of atomic weapons.

"No one feels more strongly than I the undesirability of giving up a big piece of our sovereignty. Yet all the alternatives that I've heard about are worse. I don't want to live in any underground cities. I don't want to have to spend the rest of my life devising bigger and better ways of killing people, and end up by having half the United States devastated by the next Pearl Harbor. "

Arguing that effective defense against atomic attack was impractical, Cornog concluded: "Well, I seem to be getting worked up-- I can't help but feel, however, that developing atomic bombs was easy-- that you boys in Congress have the really tough job-- that the decisions that you make in the next few months may have a profound an effect on the future of our country as those made during the founding."

[Cornog to Thomas Martin, 26 September 1945, Heinlein Archives file COR220-1.pdf, p.108-110]

Hit me up for the full text of the letter if you need it.


note on p. 525: Pendle's words about Cornog are "He met Parsons through their mutual friend, Robert Heinlein, whom Cornog originally knew from a nudist colony in Denver in the 1930s." This can be construed to mean that Pendle thinks they initially met there, but it doesn't exactly say so. I think this comes from Brad Branson and Susan Pile's interview with Cornog, which I haven't seen.

Hope these notes are helpful.


Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:47 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Bill Higgins -- a wonderful cornucopia of facts. You know, for the last couple of years (since Denver, at least) I have been sending people your way when Cornog's name comes up, but I didn't realize the depth and detail of the material you've been developing. You know, Cornog really deserves a biography, and you are the man to write it.

In my research, Cornog kind of falls off Heinlein's radar in the 1960's, until Heinlein refers to him as a "former friend." Have you been able to develop any factual information about this rift? It wasn't covered in Cornog's oral history at all. I was hoping the new material Pendle developed from interviews with Cornog's relatives might shed some light on this -- and of course he might have more information on this point, but it didn't bear on his own topic. Haven't had occasion to contact him since he asked me for information several years ago (which he then completely misrepresented in Strange Angel)


Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:47 am
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
BillPatterson wrote:
Bill Higgins -- a wonderful cornucopia of facts. You know, for the last couple of years (since Denver, at least) I have been sending people your way when Cornog's name comes up, but I didn't realize the depth and detail of the material you've been developing.

This is my own fault. Though Solution non Satisfaisante has been out since Februrary, I have been slow in doing a final edit on the English version of my article. It's not quite in the form I'd like. Will pass it along soon.

The article is about 6000 words on Cornog's biography, and (since the book is about Heinlein) about 3000 words on Cornog's involvement in Heinlein's writings-- characters based on him, ideas he contributed to stories, technical consultation, etc.

BillPatterson wrote:
You know, Cornog really deserves a biography, and you are the man to write it.

You are very kind. I am skeptical that a book about him could find a publisher. Nevertheless, I should publish an article or two in English. And there are obvious ways to improve what I've already written with further research.

BillPatterson wrote:
In my research, Cornog kind of falls off Heinlein's radar in the 1960's, until Heinlein refers to him as a "former friend." Have you been able to develop any factual information about this rift? It wasn't covered in Cornog's oral history at all.

Only that Donald Kingsbury told me about a rift between them. He became friendly with Cornog and corresponded with him about the economics of spaceflight, dedicating a novel to him.

I see that cutting off friendships, even long-established ones, was something Heinlein did surprisingly often.

Where does he refer to Cornog as a "former friend?"


Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:25 pm
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