Weitekamp, Margaret A. 1971–

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Weitekamp, Margaret A. 1971–

PERSONAL:

Born 1971. Education: University of Pittsburgh, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1993; Cornell University, M.A., 1996, Ph.D., 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, Division of Space History, MRC 311, P.O. Box 37012, Independence Ave., Washington, DC 20013-7012; fax: 202-786-2947. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Curator and academic. Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY, assistant professor of women's studies, 2001-04; Smithsonian Institution National Air & Science Museum, Washington, DC, curator, 2004—. Mellon fellow in the humanities, 1993-94; American Historical Association/NASA aerospace history fellow, 1997-98.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Aviation/Space Writers Award, Smithsonian Institution National Air & Science Museum, 2002; Eugene M. Emme Award, American Astronautical Society, 2004, for astronautical literature, for Right Stuff, Wrong Sex.

WRITINGS:

Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America's First Women in Space Program, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:

Margaret A. Weitekamp is a curator and academic. After completing a Ph.D. at Cornell University, Weitekamp served as an assistant professor of women's studies at Hobart and William Smith Col- leges from 2001 until 2004. At that point she became a curator of the social and cultural dimensions of spaceflight collection at the Smithsonian Institution National Air & Science Museum.

Weitekamp published her first book, Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America's First Women in Space Program, in 2004. The account highlights the discrimination faced by the thirteen women who trained to be astronauts in the early days of space travel before they were abruptly halted by sexist administrative policy.

Sarah Eppler Janda, writing on H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, commented that Weitekamp "makes use of an impressive number of archival collections in addition to oral interviews with participants in the program. While her work is not the first to point out the gendered fault lines within the space program and social attitudes toward women pilots and astronauts, it is the only comprehensive analysis of the failure of the Woman in Space program." Janda found the prose to be "clear" and noted that the "engaging style of story-telling" helps to make the book an "enjoyable read." Eve Lichtgarn, writing in the Space Review, remarked that the author "is particularly qualified to explain the tension of gender politics in the US/Soviet space race. As a storyteller, she is savvy enough to follow the money as it leads to the apogees and perigees of the quest." Lichtgarn noted that "while there is no doubt that Weitekamp is an advocate of women's rights, she is a level-headed advocate. Her judiciousness is most evident in her handling of Jerrie Cobb," adding that she "sees the big picture as well as the fine detail. Leave it to Weitekamp to put Jerrie Cobb's 1962 testimony before a congressional subcommittee on science and astronautics in perspective." Lichtgarn concluded that the book "will have you thinking on all sorts of levels."

Nina C. Ayoub, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, recalled that "Weitekamp details the grueling regimen" the female pilots endured in the astronaut training in Albuquerque's Lovelace Clinic. Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, reviewing the book in the Historian, mentioned that "Weitekamp's vivid writing brings to life the texture of American life" at this time. Kevles observed that "her book differs from those that preceded it because of her exhaustive investigation into Cochran's dealings, which she traces through papers in the Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson presidential libraries." Amy E. Foster, writing in History: Review of New Books, found that the author "offers the best, most balanced treatment available about the thirteen Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees." Continuing, Foster remarked that "although an academic, Weitekamp has written a widely accessible book for a general audience. Her study, however, makes an equally valuable contribution to U.S. space history and women's history."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, April 1, 2006, Robert D. Dean, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America's First Women in Space Program, p. 521.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, May 1, 2005, M.H. Chaplin, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex, p. 1611.

Chronicle of Higher Education, January 21, 2005, Nina C. Ayoub, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex.

Historian, September 22, 2006, Bettyann Holtzmann Kevles, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex, p. 605.

History: Review of New Books, spring, 2005, Amy E. Foster, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex, p. 99.

Isis, December 1, 2005, Bayla Singer, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex, p. 677.

Journal of American History, December 1, 2005, Deborah G. Douglas, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex, p. 1050.

Journal of Military History, July 1, 2006, Elizabeth Lutes Hillman, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex, p. 882.

SciTech Book News, March 1, 2006, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex.

Space Review, June 19, 2006, Eve Lichtgarn, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex.

Women: A Cultural Review, December 1, 2006, Emily Jeremiah, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex, p. 408.

Women's Studies, March 1, 2005, Ray Decker, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex, p. 218.

ONLINE

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (June 1, 2005), Sarah Eppler Janda, review of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex.

Smithsonian Institution National Air & Science Museum Web site,http://www.nasm.si.edu/ (May 19, 2008), author profile.