OHS is happy to welcome this lovely signed photograph of Jim Lovell into our photographic collection. [
Jim Lovell photograph recently acquired by the Ohio Historical Society
So why is OHS interested in a photograph of Jim Lovell? On March 25, 1928, James Arthur Lovell was born to Czech parents in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child, Lovell admits that he had a fondness for rocketry and spent time putting together models. The family eventually moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the future astronaut became an Eagle Scout and graduated from high school. In 1952, Lovell graduated from the naval academy, enrolled in the US Navy, and married Marilyn Gerlach. Jim and Marilyn now have four children and ten grandchildren. Though Lovell had a very active career with NASA, one particular mission is brought to mind at the mention of his name: Apollo 13. On April 13, 1970, while the Apollo rocket was in transit to the moon a mechanical malfunction in the oxygen system left the three astronauts with two hours of stored oxygen. Through the diligent, quick work of the NASA engineers and the crew, they were able to bring all three men back to Earth safely. What could have been a national tragedy became a moment of heroism. While Lovell never got a chance to take a single step on the moon, his career as an astronaut is remembered and even immortalized in the 1995 film, Apollo 13. OHS collected this photograph to represent Jim Lovell’s story, an Ohioan’s story, for future generations.
Fun Fact: Photographs signed by Jim Lovell after the Apollo 13 mission would often include the words “Houston We Have a Problem” leading our curators to believe that this photograph was signed prior to lift off.