George Edward Pendray


George Edward Pendray
G E Pendray.jpg
G.E. Pendray with rocket fueling device (1932)
Born(1901-05-19)May 19, 1901
DiedSeptember 15, 1987 (1987-09-16) (aged 86)
Occupationpublic relations counsel, author, rocketeer, business executive
Known forpublic relations, "time capsule"
Spouse(s)Leatrice M. Gregory
Parent(s)John Hall Pendray / Louisa (Wolfe)
Westinghouse "time capsule" (1939)

George Edward Pendray (May 19, 1901 – September 15, 1987) was an American public relations counselor, author, foundation executive, and an early advocate of rockets and spaceflight. He was associated with Robert H. Goddard and helped organize the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He conceived the idea of a "time capsule" sealed container to preserve current everyday items for future historians and implemented his concept at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Pendray co-founded the American Interplanetary Society.

Early life

Pendray was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to John Hall Pendray and his wife, Louisa Wolfe.[1] He grew up in Niobrara County, Wyoming and attended the University of Wyoming, graduating in 1924.[1][2] He then went to Columbia University, where he received his Master of Arts degree in 1925.[2] Two years later, he married Leatrice M. Gregory. They had three daughters: Guenever, Elaine, and Lynette.[1]

Middle life

Pendray became an editor at the New York Herald-Tribune after completing his graduate work at Columbia University. He remained at the Tribune for seven years. A science fiction enthusiast, he worked as a science editor for Literary Digest from 1932 to 1936.[1] He was next hired at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company as assistant to the president.[3] One of his responsibilities was public relations in advance of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Pendray created what he called a "time capsule", to preserve everyday items in a sealed container for future historians.[4] He also created the word "laundromat" (then a Westinghouse washing machine; now a word for any self-service laundry facility) for Westinghouse.[5]


Pendray's primary employment was in public relations; however, he always was interested in rocketry. He was an early experimenter with liquid propulsion rockets. Pendray was a contemporary of the rocket expert Robert H. Goddard.[2]

Pendray and his associates worked on the beginnings of rocket development and technology, which led to his co-founding of the American Interplanetary Society (which was renamed the American Rocket Society) in 1934. This organization is now the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and awards the "G. Edward Pendray Award" in recognition of his achievements.[2]

Later life

Pendray helped develop the Guggenheim Jet Propulsion Center at the California Institute of Technology and the Guggenheim Laboratories at Princeton University. He also assisted in developing the Guggenheim Institute of Flight Structures at Columbia University. In 1958 he was a consultant to the Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration of the United States House of Representatives. Pendray helped in the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.[1]

Personal life

Leatrice May Gregory (1905-1971), Pendray's first wife, was born in Colorado City, Texas, and graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1927, where she met Pendray. She was a syndicated newspaper columnist, from 1929 to 1944, and a partner with her husband in a public relations firm, Pendray & Company, from 1945 to 1970.[6] In 1930 she was one of the twelve founders of the American Interplanetary Society and participated in its rocket experiments.[7][8] The successor of that early organization is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which awards a Leatrice Gregory Pendray Scholarship to women undergraduates in science and engineering programs.[9] A daughter, Guenever Lee Knapp (1932-1978), was one of the geologists who tested lunar samples at Princeton University.[10][11]

Pendray's first wife died of cancer 1971.[2] He married Annice Dean Crema, a widow with two daughters, the following year. She had worked for the public schools of Absecon, New Jersey, as a music supervisor, before retiring.[1][12] A resident of Jamesburg, New Jersey, Pendray died in Cranbury, New Jersey in 1987 at the age of 86.[1][13] Surviving were his second wife, two daughters, two step-daughters, a brother, two sisters, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.[14]



Pendray went to various colleges and universities.[1]


"Gawain Edwards" as depicted in Wonder Stories in 1931

Pendray sometimes used the pen name "Gawain Edwards"; however, he usually wrote under his own name. He wrote articles and fiction for many magazines. Amazing Stories praised Edward's The Earth Tube as "vividly and plausibly written," recommending it "to all lovers of scientific fiction".[15]

  • The Earth Tube, 1929
  • A Rescue From Jupiter, 1932
  • Men, Mirrors and Stars, 1935
  • Book of Record of the Time Capsule, 1938
  • City Noise, 1940; with Esther Goddard
  • The Coming Age of Rocket Power, 1945
  • Rocket Development 1948; co-editors Robert Goddard and Esther Goddard.
  • The Guggenheim Medalists, 1964
  • The Papers of Robert H. Goddard, 3 volumes, 1970; co-edited with Esther Goddard.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Who Was Who in America, Vol 9
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Princeton University Library - G. Edward Pendray Papers, 1829-1981 (bulk 1923-1971)". Archived from the original on 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2008-06-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Onion 2016, p. 85.
  4. ^ Staff writer (March 8, 1945). "Rocket Power". The Montclair Times. Montclair, New Jersey – via open access.
  5. ^ "A way with words". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. October 17, 1999. p. 33 – via open access.
  6. ^ "Leatrice Pendray, Former Columnist (obituary)". The Central New Jersey Home News. New Brunswick, New Jersey. 7 October 1971.
  7. ^ Winter, Frank H. (1983). "Chapter 6. The American Rocket Society". Prelude to the space age. Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 73. doi:10.5479/sil.176965.39088000767079.
  8. ^ Cook, Winifred I. (6 April 1969). "Rossmoor Couple Helped Launch Rocket Program". The Central New Jersey Home News. New Brunswick, New Jersey. p. 38.
  9. ^ "Scholarships & Graduate Awards". American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  10. ^ Collins, Tutty (20 July 1969). "Rocket Pioneers Watch Moon Landing From Lusk". Casper Star-Tribune. Casper, Wyoming. p. 19.
  11. ^ "Guenever Knapp, 46, of Montgomery (obituary)". The Central New Jersey Home News. New Brunswick, New Jersey. 23 December 1978. p. 11.
  12. ^ Warren, Virginia Lee (31 March 1973). "Wedding bells still ring for the elderly". The Morning News. Wilmington, Delaware. New York Times News Service. p. 42.
  13. ^ Neuffer, Elizabeth. "G. E. Pendray, 86, rocket proponent", The New York Times, September 20, 1987. Accessed January 30, 2013. "G. Edward Pendray, a proponent of the peaceful uses of rocket power and space flight since the 1930s, died of complications from Parkinson's disease Tuesday. He was 86 years old and lived in Jamesburg, N.J."
  14. ^ "Obituaries / G. Edward Pendray, 86, expert on science and public relations". The Central New Jersey Home News. New Brunswick, New Jersey. September 10, 1987 – via open access.
  15. ^ "In The Realm of Books", Amazing Stories, December 1929, p.862


  • Who Was Who in America, Vol. 9 (1985–1989), p. 280. Chicago: Marquis, "Pendray, George Edward"
  • New York Times Biographical Service, September 1987, p. 958
  • Contemporary Authors, vol. 123 (1988), p. 299
  • Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993), p. 919-920
  • Collier's magazine, September 7, 1946, p. 89
  • Onion, Rebecca (2016). Innocent Experiments. University of North Carolina Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-469629483.

External links