How did you get started?
Don: As a child of 8 I watched Alan Shepard launched into space on his suborbital flight. The idea of a man sitting on top of a big rocket both terrified and thrilled me. I wanted to be an astronaut. I began collecting whatever I could about the space program and still have everything I collected. For years, we've scoured used bookstores across the country for books for our personal collection. As we replaced volumes with first editions or signed copies, we had an excess of books. I suspect it's really a familiar story with booksellers. We decided to open shop!
Tamara: My father and uncle worked with NASA in the early days—in fact even before NASA was formed. Dad was an engineer with the von Braun team in Huntsville, Alabama, at the Redstone Arsenal. He worked on the Jupiter, Redstone, Saturn V, Skylab, space shuttle and concluded his work with the International Space Station. I grew up surrounded by kids of NASA engineers. It was so common, it didn't seem like a big deal. Included in our personal collection are a few items inherited from Dad and Uncle Bob.
If you weren't selling books, what would you be doing?
Tamara: [laughs] We also raise three kids, a dog, and two bookstore cats, Aslan and Misty. You can see Misty in the photo—Aslan refused to sit for an appearance.
Don: I continue to teach at Anderson University in the area of Communication. I also manage to produce a few television programs and videotapes each year.
Name 5 people, living or dead, you would invite to a dinner party.
Tamara: Jesus comes to mind. How about C.S. Lewis? Don, you'd probably invite Neil Armstrong!
Don: Neil would be great. I don't know if he'd come though. [smiles] Perhaps Jim Irwin (Apollo 15 lunar module pilot), Helen Keller, and perhaps Al Einstein. I couldn't limit it to five.
What was your best book find, for price or personal reasons?
Don: My best book find relates to having the sense to keep the first volume of the "Apollo Spacecraft Chronology" published by NASA in the late 1960s. It sold for $2.50 and now goes for over $100. I should have bought 50 copies!
Who is your favorite astronaut?
Tamara: [warning glance to Don] Don't touch this one.
Don: Whichever one(s) is in space at the moment.
Do you have a favorite movie or TV show about space or space exploration?
Don: I really appreciate Ron Howard's Apollo 13. It speaks to baby boomers like me, to parents with children, and perhaps for the first time in a feature film, captures the look and feel of spaceflight, particularly zero-G. I only wish Jack Swigert could have been portrayed more accurately as the excellent Command Module pilot he was.
Contact Donald and Tamara Boggs:
2223 East Ninth Street
Anderson, IN 46012
Specialties: Space exploration, hypersonic and supersonic flight, astronaut biographies