Biographical material is substantial. Whittle's career in the RAF is documentedby academic notebooks from his years at RAF College Cranwell, RAF College Henlowand the University of Cambridge; two of his flying log books, the earliercovering his flight cadet training at Cranwell, the other containing entries,1928-1946; Whittle's own accounts of personal experiences such as the 'crazyflying' display at Hendon, and papers detailing a number of his proposedinventions. There is an assemblage of material relating to the history of theturbo-jet including papers and articles by Whittle and a visitors' book forPower Jets Ltd. A large series of diaries and pages of typewritten diaryentries spans the years 1927 to 1991. For the years covering the work on thejet engine and the turbo-drill there are, in many places, long and detailedentries concerning technical matters, meetings and foreign trips. There ispersonal correspondence, 1946-1989, with friends such as Sir RolfDudley-Williams and R.G. Voysey and authors of books and articles on thehistory of aviation, the jet engine etc. Whittle's sporadic involvement inpolitical affairs is also documented by papers, including drafts of articlesand speeches relating to his chairmanship of the Migration Council and publicaddresses at the 1955 (Exeter) and 1964 (Smethwick) General Elections.
Research and Development papers document Whittle's work on the development ofthe jet engine, his later interests in jet propulsion and jet-powered flight,and the work on the turbo-drill for the oil industry. A series ofcorrespondence and papers, including copies of notes of interviews and meetingsetc, reports and technical papers, reflects the day to day involvement ofWhittle in the jet engine project from the formation of Power Jets Ltd to thenationalisation of the company. The financial affairs of Power Jets Ltd andthe relations between various prominent individuals and companies collaboratingin the work are also covered. There is also a series of notebooks in Whittle'shand, 1939-1950, with graphs, calculations and experimental results. Thepapers concerning his later jet interests are diverse and cover his work forBOAC (1948-1952); a patent infringement case in which he provided expertevidence in support of the defendants, Rolls-Royce Ltd; the problems of 'jetnoise'; supersonic aircraft; and a brief consultancy position. A number of hisnotebooks and sketchbooks, 1973-1993, relate to both jet-powered flight and theturbo-drill. The turbo-drill papers document the various stages of Whittle'sinvolvement: with the Shell Group, Bristol Siddeley Engines and the periodfollowing Rolls-Royce's takeover of Bristol Siddeley. There are also smallgroups of papers relating to Whittle's analysis of possible German submarinedevelopment in 1943 and his NAVAIR Research Professorship, 1977-1979.
Whittle's publications are documented by a chronological sequence of drafts forpublications and editorial correspondence, 1932-1992. Included is a draft ofan early paper on Whittle's turbo-jet idea, dated to 1931 or 1932, entitled'The Case for the Gas Turbine'. Lectures and broadcasts material covers theperiod 1943-1987. The jet engine is the chief topic of the lectures, but somerelate to the oil industry and supersonic flight. Drafts and notes forlectures include those for his Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on the oilindustry, 1954. Broadcasting material is slight but includes correspondenceand papers concerning a BBC television programme Jet Propelled, 1966, in whichWhittle appeared. Documentation of visits and conferences dates fromWhittle's USA visit in 1942 to view American progress on jet propulsion. Thereare many reports covering his travels while working for BOAC; these give hisviews on various aspects of civil aviation, including the possibilities for the'Comet' airliner. He toured the USA on a number of other occasions before hisemigration; one of these, in 1974-1975, allowed Whittle to promote Concorde anddiscuss the possibility of advanced supersonic travel. Societies andorganisations material reflects Whittle's associations chiefly withengineering, scientific and learned societies and organisations in the field ofaviation, all in Britain or the USA, including the Royal Society, the RAFTechnical College and the International Aerospace Hall of Fame.
Whittle's correspondence principally consists of an alphabetical sequence ofcorrespondence with individuals and organisations including M.L. Bramson, LordDacre, S.G. Hooker, A. Pouring and the Royal Air Force Museum Hendon, and achronological sequence of miscellaneous correspondence covering manyprofessional and personal matters 1946-1994. There is also correspondence withinventors who sought Whittle's advice or support, and a small number of 'cranks'letters (Whittle's designation).