Hoover Acquires Samuel Kelly Papers

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Hoover Institution Archives has acquired the papers of Samuel Kelly, an electronic engineer involved in commercial negotiations and sales of US technology to the USSR in the 1970s and 1980s. This collection throws light on how such negotiations were conducted and the national security issues involved from the point of view of the business executive, in this case Kelly, representing International Instruments and Electronics. Kelly wrote up reports on his meetings with Soviet officials at trade conventions and the Soviet consulate in San Francisco; together with photographs, correspondence, notes, and various souvenirs, the collection is a window into, among other things, Soviet attempts to gain access to Western technology and goods, and US attempts to ensure security and technological superiority in relation to the Soviet Union.

The Kelly papers join the Arthur Hyatt papers, with their correspondence, printed matter, and miscellany relating to the postwar computer industry in the Soviet Union as signal collections relating to US-to-USSR technology transfer in the 1970s and 1980s. These papers also supplement numerous “citizen diplomacy” collections in the Archives that document all manner of grassroots organizations trying to bridge the US-USSR gap with goodwill, exchanges, and technological innovations.