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Sir Arthur C. Clarke is one of the preeminent science-fiction writers of the 20th century.

Biographical / Historical

Born on December 16, 1917, in Minehead, England, Arthur Charles Clarke became obsessed with science fiction and astronomy at a young age. He was the eldest of four children born into a farming family, however he would become, with his brother Fred Clarke acting as a business associate, one of the leading names in science fiction. During World War II Clarke served as a radar instructor and in his free time became one of the early members of the British Interplanetary Society. In 1945, Clarke made one of his earliest predictions (he called them "extrapolations") when he came up with the idea of communication satellites. He became known for this uncanny prescience which is seen in so much of his work. In 1948 Clarke graduated from King's College, London with honors in math and physics. By 1951, Clarke had gained respect as both a fiction and non-fiction writer with Interplanetary Flight and Prelude to Space, respectively. In 1956, Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, where he could indulge a new obsession - skin diving. He remained in Sri Lanka for the rest of his life, creating a diving company and funding many science education programs in the country. Perhaps Clarke's most recognizable feat came when he was able to work with Stanley Kubrick over a course of 4 years in order to create the book and film 2001: A Space Odyssey which was loosely based on the earlier Clarke story "The Sentinel." Clarke accomplished an amazing amount of writing, speaking tours, TV appearances and humanitarian work despite suffering from post-polio syndrome for decades. He won numerous awards, mostly for his science fiction but also for popularizing science. He was knighted in 1998. He died, age 90, March 19, 2008.




Clarke, Arthur C., Sir (Arthur Charles), 1917-2008



bulk 1950-2008


Arthur C. Clarke Trust, gift, 2014


88.55 Linear feet

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Scope and Contents

Contains personal and business correspondence, manuscripts of most of Clarke's fiction works in various draft states, short stories, articles, addresses, speeches, movie outlines, Apollo 11 broadcast material, datebooks & notebooks, reference materials, business cards of visitors & contacts, photos & slides. There is some material by people other than the creator such as manuscripts and film/TV scripts. This collection also includes audio-visual material. Please contact the Media Archivist for access.

Arrangement note

Series were based on the creator's original arrangement of material. Arranged into 7 Series: Series 1: Correspondence Series 2: Original Writing 2.1: "Clarkives" 2.2: Non-"Clarkives" 2.3: Articles, Short Stories 2.4: Lectures, Speeches Series 3: Media & Publicity Series 4: Awards & Tributes Series 5: Manuscripts written by others relating to Clarke's Literary Works Series 6: Miscellaneous Series 7: Images 7.1: Photos 7.2: Slide Albums


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Arthur C. Clarke Collection of Sri Lanka, Acc. 2015-0010, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.


Underwater archaeology -- 1960's

nonfiction novels

Interplanetary voyages

Artificial satellites

Manned space flight

Apollo 11 Flight


Science fiction


Collection descriptions

Archival materials