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Drexel Alumnus to Donate Work Files of Harry C. Rippel to University Archives

February 3, 2017

In January 2017, the Drexel University Archives started reviewing a donation in progress from Richard Rippel, a Drexel University alumnus.

Mr. Rippel has shared the work files of his father - Harry Conrad Rippel, himself a graduate of Drexel and an engineer at the Franklin Institute Research Laboratories who worked on everything from heart implants to the Apollo 11 rocket transporter to the Hubble space telescope. Richard Rippel intends to donate his father's collection to the University.

A close-up photo of a man working on a large machine
Harry Rippel adjusts a piece of equipment.

The material, totaling six cubic feet, includes notebooks, technical reports, diagrams, professional journals, correspondence, photographs, and event programs that Harry Rippel composed and collected from 1959 to 1970 during his time at the Franklin Institute Research Laboratories. The collection also includes several framed diplomas, certificates, awards, a set of drafting tools, and various other items that offer a unique view into the life and work of a Drexel graduate and his contribution to science.

About Harry C. Rippel

Harry Conrad Rippel was born in 1926 and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He served as a private first class in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946 in the European Theater and was awarded the Bronze Star for Heroism for his work as a weapons platoon runner in battles in both Germany and France.

After returning home from the war, Rippel went on to study mechanical engineering at what was then called the Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University), completing a bachelor's degree in 1952 and a master's degree in 1957.

Rippel worked as a principal engineer at the Franklin Institute's Research Laboratories in Philadelphia for over 30 years (1952 to 1984), before he moved on to work as a consultant for government and industry.

He and his wife, Dorothy, were married for 55 years before his death in 2004 from a rare form of eye cancer. They are survived by two children - Richard and Linda -- two grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.