Preliminary Guide to the Malcolm L. Stitch Papers

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Stitch, Malcolm L.
Malcolm L. Stitch papers
Date [inclusive]
20.5 Linear feet 21 boxes.
Location Note
(MASC staff use - MS 1996-22: 2-15-14-3, MS 1996-28: 2-13-30-4, MS 1996-39: 2-13-28-6, MS 1996-41: 2-10-7-2, MS 1997-36: 2-5-28-1, MS 1997-39: 2-9-10-6.)
Materials are in English.

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Biographical Note

Malcolm L. Stitch (1923-1991) worked as a physicist on the development of laser technology from the 1950s through the 1980s. Stitch earned his PdD from Columbia University in 1948. Initially, Stitch worked for Hughes Aircraft at their laboratories in Malibu and Culver City, California. Stitch's work in Southern California was important to the development of laser guided weapons. By the 1970s, Stitch worked for Exxon Research and Technology Laboratories in Richland, Washington developming lasers used in the separation of urnaium. Beginning in 1983, Stitch worked as a Senior Technical Advisor for Rockwell International's operation at Hanford to develop an atomic vapor laser isotope separation sytem (AVLIS). By 1987, Stitch worked with Westinghouse (also at Hanford) on a molecular laser isotope separation system (MLIS) as late as 1990.

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Scope and Content

This collection consists primarily of materials related to Malcolm Stitch's research and development of laser technology, particularly in regards to his work on a laser isotope separation (LIS) system at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The purpose of the LIS was to separate weapons-grade plutonium from reactor-grade plutonium. This collection contains proposals, planning documents, progress reports, sketches, presentations, memos, correspondence, and notes for the development of an LIS by Rockwell International and Westinghouse in conjunction with the Department of Energy. These materials provide information about the development of nuclear power systems in the 1980s, as well as the development of weapons systems during the same time period. The collection also contains Stitch's early work with lasers in the 1950s and 1960s with the Hughes Aircraft Company, including corresondence and proposals for the application of lasers in measuring distance.

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Organization of Collection

This is an unprocessed collection. It has not been arranged.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries 2013
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610


This collection is open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Ron Kathren has transferred all rights he owns to the collection, however, Kathren's rights to the collection have not been documented.

Custodial History note

The collection was transferred to Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections from the Washington State University - Tri-Cities library by Harvey Gover, Assistant Campus Librarian, who received the materials from Ron Kathren.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the Washington State University Libraries by Ron Kathren, Professor Emeritus of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Washington State University, in 1996 and 1997 (MS 1996-22, MS 1996-28, MS 1996-39, MS 1996-41, MS 1997-36, and MS 1997-39).

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rockwell Hanford Operations. Research and Engineering. Research Department.
  • Westinghouse Hanford Company.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Hanford site (Wash.)


  • Lasers in isotope separation
  • Nuclear power plants--Designs and plans--Archives

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