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Ralph Willis Goddard Papers

Identifier: University Archives Formerly Ms 112

Scope and Content

Ralph Willis Goddard's papers are comprised solely of personal and professional documents. Documents generated by Goddard in his capacity as Dean of Engineering at NMCA & MA are found in the records of the Deans of Engineering. Information on KOB and Goddard's role in its pioneering work is contained in the KOB series of Engineering Department files.

Papers contained in this collection date from 1893 patent applications belonging to Goddard's father-in-law until 1968 correspondence of Goddard's widow. One segment, the chronological files is a year by year arrangement of clippings, magazine articles and memorabilia. These items, including dance programs, commencement programs and motion picture operator's licenses document events in Goddard's personal life. This segment, acquired from Earl Goddard was arranged chronologically when obtained by RGHC and has been retained in that order. Besides Goddard's graduation programs and Junior Promenade booklet, this section contains newspaper clippings about Goddard's boating mishaps. There is also a pamphlet describing the Omaha Tornado of March 1913 and a special edition of the Daily Bee (March 25, 1913) detailing the same event which occurred while Goddard was teaching at the University of Nebraska. Of greater importance to Goddard's professional development are an annotated copy of Radio Communication Laws of the U.S. and the International Radio-Telegraphic Convention (July 27, 1914, edition), a February 1920 issue of The Wireless Age containing a Goddard article, a copy of Commercial and Government Radio Stations of the United States (June 30, 1922, edition) and Elements of the Automatic Telephone System (February 1922).

After Goddard came to New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, the chronological files include memorabilia from that institution. Besides commencement programs, these items include broadsides announcing popular lectures on radio given by Goddard. Also included in the chronological files are issues of the Round-Up, speeches delivered by Goddard at campus functions, a typescript of an air course given in 1925 and a 1925 calendar noted with references to KOB. Among the items reflecting Goddard's work are an Introduction to Line Radio Communication (1923) plus Instructions for Building a Radio Communications, written by Goddard and issued by the NMCA and MA Agricultural Extension Service in November, 1923. Additional Goddard information appears in the March 1927 issue of Professional Engineer. News about Goddard's activities with the campus Radio Club appears in the Radio Amateur News folder.

Correspondence of a personal nature, (1917-1928), especially fond letters from former students have been removed from the engineering department files and integrated with Goddard's private papers. Another activity in which Goddard devoted much personal time was his service on the Las Cruces School Board. Since Goddard was President of the School Board at the time Las Cruces Union High School was built, a substantial part of this collection is concerned with this building program. Along with the blueprints and construction specifications for this project, this section also includes a "Tabulation of 1927 Budgets for School Maintenance in New Mexico," assorted New Mexico School Codes, and a copy of Alamogordo High School rules. Of particular value to the historian are several documents pertaining to the segregation of Las Cruces schools in 1925.

Various Goddard writings, both published and in manuscript form are contained in the literary productions segment. One such manuscript describes tests run on an engine developed by Almer Blazer at NMCAandMA in 1920-21. Being very active in professional circles, Goddard carried on extensive correspondence with various individuals, social clubs and professional societies. The most extensive correspondence concerns affairs of the American Association of Engineers, of which Goddard served as an official of the Southwestern Chapter. Material from S.P.E.E. (The Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education provides information on the methods employed in engineering instruction during the 1920's.

The Frances M. Goddard series contains chronological files following Ralph Goddard's death in 1929, continuing with information concerning the dedication of Goddard Hall in 1934. Also contained in this series are Frances Goddards diaries, 1904-1968. The years missing from the diary portion are 1912-1915 and 1919-1929. All years between 1934-1968 are represented in the diaries.

Finally, there are over 500 negatives and photographic prints contained in the collection. Most of these pictures show family members and record summer vacations. But several photographs record radio equipment, particularly the trailer Goddard used to transport equipment to and from broadcasts.


  • 1893-1968 (bulk 1904-1929)

Language of Materials


Access and Use Restrictions

This material may be examined by researchers under supervised conditions in the Search Room.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with copyright and other applicable statutes.

The copyrights possessed in this collection have not been transferred to New Mexico State University.

Biographical Sketch

Ralph Willis Goddard was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, April 20, 1887. His parents were Frederic Emmons Goddard and Kate Perry Woodbury Goddard. Frederic E. Goddard was born in Worcester, Mass., Feb. 6, 1853 and was married August 24, 1876.

Kate P. Woodbury was the daughter of Moses Gushman Woodbury. He was born in 1816. Kate was one of seven children. Her mother was Mary Eliza Hayden.

Frederic E. Goddard was the son of Emmons A. Goddard and Mary Georgia Muzzy Goddard, the oldest of five sons. Descendants of both the Goddard and the Woodbury families, came from England.

Goddard graduated from English High School, in Worcester, Massachusetts, June 21, 1907. Four years later he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and received his professional degree from his Alma Mater in 1929. At this commencement, his thesis was the "Development of the Southwest's Broadcasting Station KOB."

Following his graduation in 1911 he took a position as estimator on building construction for Gascoigne and Shattuck, Boston, Mass., 1911-1913. He was instructor in electrical engineering at the University of Nebraska, 1912-1914 and then professor of electrical engineering at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. In 1920 he was made dean of the engineering school, director of the Engineering Experiment station, and Director of KOB. He was listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in Engineering.

He was accidently electrocuted New Years Eve, 1929 while making adjustments in the transmitter generating room of KOB. The actual cause of the accident was never learned. It is thought that he must have accidently come in contact with the transmitter's high voltage, killing him instantly.

Goddard first became interested in radio while cruising on the Atlantic coast while still in College. He was familiar with, and appreciated, the great service of the Navy in sending out weather signals to ships.

During the rebellion in Mexico in 1914 he assisted the United States Army in solving communications problems along the border. He was civilian director of instruction in electricity for the training detachment of the United States Army at State College during the first World War. He resumed his regular teaching duties in 1919. Later he received a Reserve Commission in the signal corps of the U. S. Army.

He followed radio broadcast activity, with great interest following the invention of the radio phone during the war and shortly after the signing of the Armistice in 1918 began working on his own station.

Goddard designed and built the equipment for his first broadcast station. The transmitter was powered by a small gasoline engine.

In 1919 the government granted a license to station 5XD which Goddard had built and which was later developed into KOB, the Voice of the Great Southwest.

With comparatively meager appropriations, that New Mexico gave to the project, he designed and built the largest College Station in the world, a station which ranked at that time with the 13 largest in the United States of any classification. With the college workshop and student help he developed a set up if built by private capital, would have cost many times the amount of the state's investment. Many of the devices used at KOB were his own designs, some of them have been adopted by other stations.

From his first little broadcasting station he saw it develop into one with a power of 10,000 watts, and just before his death had obtained permission to double this power.

Besides his work at the College he had a laboratory in the basement of his home and he had set up two large radio towers to support his antenna. In those very early days, his neighbors and friends came to listen, with earphones to a voice speaking from the mainland in California to Catalina Island; the first human voice he was able to pick up. He did no sending at his home, but did a great deal of experimenting on the receiving end.

He was equably able as an educator and a scientist. Besides his accomplishments in radio he built up the school of engineering which he headed. Many are the engineers, who owe much of their success, to the excellence of the courses, the soundness of instruction and the personal inspiration of Dean Goddard.

He had many affiliations; he was a member of the radio committee of the Land Grant College Association; secretary of the Association of College and University Broadcasting Stations; member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; The American Institute of Electrical Engineers; American Association of Engineers; Institute of Radio Engineers; The National Electrical Association; the New Mexico Utilities Association; the New Mexico Educational Association; the Society for Promotion of Engineering Education; Captain in the Reserve Signal Corps; and President of the Las Cruces Union High School board.

Dean Goddard was a Rotarian, a Mason, a Knight Templer and a member of Balud Aboyat Shrine of Albuquerque, N.M.

Ralph W. Goddard married Frances M. Gascoigne, of Worcester Mass., August 14, 1911. She was the daughter of Joseph Gascoigne and Selina Powell Gascoigne. She was born in Byfield in Northampton Shire, England and came to New England in February of 1894. She grew to womanhood in Worcester, Mass.

The Goddard's had four sons; Kenneth Ralph, Raymond Frances; Earl Goscoigne and Roy Franklin. At the time of Mr. Goddard's death the boys were ten, twelve, fourteen and seventeen.

In 1934 the college dedicated the Engineering building to his memory and it is called Goddard Hall.

At those ceremonies, a member who was on his faculty paid him the honor of saying, "Dean Goddard was essentially a builder, and everything to which he turned his great heart and busy hands, soon took concrete form." His closing quotation was most fitting for the man he eulogized; "His life was gentle, and the elements, so mixed in him, that nature might stand up and say to all the World; 'This Was a Man.'"

Frances M. Goddard was born in Byfield, Northhamptonshire, England, October 5, 1888, daughter of Josephine Gascoigne and Selina Powell Gascoigne. Mrs. Goddard left England, Jan. 24, 1894, with her parents, three bothers and a sister, docking in Boston two weeks later. A younger sister and brother were born in Worcester.

She received her education in Worcester schools and later when living in Mesilla Park enrolled at different times in various classes in New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. She was always interested in music and studied both piano and voice and started choir singing at the age of 14 which she continued until late in her life.

She married Ralph Willis Goddard, August 14, 1911 in Worcester, Mass. In 1914 the couple came to New Mexico and made their home in Mesilla Park.

Kenneth Ralph Goddard was born July 10, 1912 in Quincy, Mass. Raymond F. on May 10, 1915; Earl Gascoigne on November 10, 1917 and Roy Franklin on June 27, 1919. All born in Mesilla Park, N.M.

Besides caring for her home and children she always had a keen interest in community affairs. She joined the Progress Club of State College when it was organized in 1914 and has been made an honorary life member of the club. She had more than 40 years of service in federated Woman's club work, at the local, district, state and national level. She was president of the N.M.F.W. clubs from 1937-1941, while serving the GFWC as Director from New Mexico.

During World War II she served Dona Ana County as Home Service Chairman for the American Red Cross for nearly two years. Her four sons, three officers in the army and one in the navy, were all serving their country at the same time.

She was a member of Easter Star, H.H. Brooks Extension Club, Dona Ana Republican Woman's Club; the National Club of Past States President's of GFWC; past president of the Southern New Mexico Motion Picture Council; formerly active in PTA; Life member Progress Club; active member of the Presbyterian church and one time Director of the Las Cruces Pan American Round Table. As a PART member she attended meetings of the Pan American Alliance in Mexico and South America.

In 1950 she was candidate for County Superintendent of Schools for the Republican party.

In the spring of 1956 Mrs. Goddard was elected as New Mexico Mother of the year by the Club Women of N. M. being nominated by her own State College club and winning the state finals. She represented N. M. in New York City at the American Mothers Committee Incorporated conference in May when they met to choose the National mother. The following year she joined a group in Williamburg and Jamestown for a Mother's reunion.

Mrs. Goddard worked part time as correspondent and feature writer for the Las Cruces Citizen and the El Paso Herald Post.

Mrs. Goddard maintained a home for her four sons who all finished N. M. A & M and later went on to other schools for further education. They are all married and she has ten grandchildren. Kenneth is a consultant engineer and a member of the firm of Thomas Hutton and Associates; Savannah, Ga., architects and engineers. Raymond F. Goddard, Vocational supervisor of the large state hospital in San Antonio, Texas. His home is in San Antonio. Earl G. Goddard, senior research engineer in the radio systems laboratory of the engineering division of Stanford Research Institute; Menlo Park, California. His home is in Palo Alto. Dr. Roy F. Goddard, Director of the Pediatric Research at the Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research and a member of the Clinical staff, Albuquerque, N.M.


10 Linear Feet


Personal and professional papers of the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts Dean of Engineering and founder of radio station KOB. An early radio pioneer, Goddard's life is documented by chronologically arranged files, correspondence and photographs. In addition to literary productions and documents pertaining to the professional and civic organizations to which Goddard belonged, this collection also contains materials concerning the building of the Las Cruces Union High School. This collection has been transferred to the Hobson-Huntsinger University Archives at New Mexico State University.


This collection was compiled from many different acquisitions. Besides the material acquired from Earl Goddard, much of the collection was taken from files transferred to the University Archives by the Engineering Department.
  1. RG78-10 Gift of Earl Goddard
  2. RG79-109 Gift of Earl Goddard
  3. RG80-112 Gift of Earl Goddard
  4. RG80-118 Gift of Earl Goddard
  5. RG87-130 Gift of Earl Goddard
  6. RG87-131 Gift of Roy Goddard
The following acquisitions were transferred from the Department of Engineering to the University Archives:
  1. A1 Goddard Office Files. (1 transfile, 1 carton, 1 small box), 1922-1928
  2. A6 General Engineering files
  3. A7 General Engineering files
  4. A11 General Engineering files
  5. A12 General Engineering files
  6. A18 Early Goddard material prior to 1918
  7. A19 Goddard's engineering files, 1921-1922
  8. A20-23 General Engineering files
  9. A28-30 General Engineering files
  10. A33-39 General Engineering files

Related Material

Robert W. Stewart Papers, Ms 114 SC Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library Alfred Norton Goldsmith, Radio Telephony, (NY, The Wireless Press, 1918) Autographed by Goddard. (In Special Collections), TK6550 G593 Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library Series II of the Records of the Deans of Engineering, Hobson-Huntsinger University Archives, New Mexico State University covers Goddard's tenure (1921-1929) as Dean of Engineering. There are approximately 25 boxes of this material.

Another series of the Engineering Records in the University Archives is devoted to the radio station KOB.

Additional university related material might be found in the papers of H. L. Kent, H. M. Milton and C. B. Jett. Photographs of the campus and college activities are available in the University Archives Photographs Collection.

A brief biography of R. W. Goddard appeared in Professional Engineer, 12 (March 1927), p. 28-29. This same issue also contains information on the New Mexico State College chapter of A. A. E. winning a membership contest and reports of the 1927 visit of A. A. E. President C. J. Ulrich to the Las Cruces campus.

For a full length biography of Goddard's life, see Ann M. Velia's DOB, Goddard's Magic Mast: Fifty Years of Pioneering Broadcasting published in Las Cruces by the New Mexico State University Press in 1972.

Separated Material

Some material has been relocated. See list of Relocation Materials


High School Building, Portales, New Mexico
Transferred to Acquisitions:
Rubber: Its History and Development
Transferred to Special Collections:
1. Southwest Review
  1. October 18, 1924
  2. October 25, 1924 (2)
  3. 2. Long Beach Oil District Map
  4. 3. The Rio Grand Farmer
  5. June 11, 1925
  6. August 27, 1925 (2)
  7. October 9, 1924
Transferred to Serials:
1. The Index: An Analysis of Current Agricultural Conditions
  1. July 1925
  2. September 1925
  3. December 1925
  4. January 1926
  5. February 1926
  6. March 1926
  7. April 1926
  8. May 1926
  9. 2. Tucson Chapter American Association of Engineers Bulletin
  10. November 1922
  11. December 1922
  12. January 1923
  13. 3. McGraw-Hill Book Notes
  14. October 1925
  15. February 1926
  16. May 1926
  17. October 1926
  18. 4. American Society for Testing Materials Bulletin
  19. November 30, 1925
  20. July 1926
  21. 5. University News
  22. October 1919
  23. September 1921 (2)
  24. November 1921 (2)
  25. 6. Engineer's Edition, UNM Weekly
  26. March 18, 1921
  27. December 1922


Contact Information

  1. Archives and Special Collections
  2. New Mexico State University Library
  3. P.O. Box 30006
  4. Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-8006
  5. Phone: (505) 646-3839
  6. Fax: (505) 646-7477
  7. Email:
  8. URL:


Processing Information

This collection has been transferred to the Hobson-Huntsinger University Archives at New Mexico State University.
Register of the Ralph Willis Goddard Papers, 1893-1968 (bulk 1904-1929)
Edited Full Draft
Processed by Merleen Dibert, revised by Marah deMeule and Christine Moreland-Bruhnke
© 2001
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//New Mexico State University::Archives and Special Collections//TEXT (US::NmLcU::Ms 112::Ralph Willis Goddard Papers)//EN" "nmlcu1ms112.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository