Featured Bookseller: Donald and Tamara Boggs



Donald and Tamara BoggsTamara, a writer and homemaker, and Donald, who recently returned from visiting the Brazilian rocket launch complex, Barreira do Inferno, own and run the exceptional Boggs SpaceBooks, dedicated to books on exploring space, astronauts, hypersonic and supersonic flights, and more. Tamara shares, "In between raising children and packaging books, I've been writing for the past several years. I've written an allegorical fantasy novel which is still looking for a publisher. I've recently completed a devotional essay book for parents that will be available for purchase Spring 2001. I love to garden, both vegetable and flower. Right now it's red raspberry season (Yum!)." Of his experiences traveling, Don says, "I've traveled to about 50 different countries around the world, primarily producing videos and have had some incredible experiences as a result. It's a joy to ship books overseas to countries I've been fortunate to visit. Unfortunately, we've had no buyers yet in Masailand (Tanzania and Kenya) or Egypt. We have shipped to over 15 countries on 5 continents."

q & a

Nick Proach models: Mercury Atlas, Mercury spacecraft, and Mercury Redstone 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:
Boggs SpaceBooks
2223 East Ninth Street
Anderson, IN 46012
Phone/Fax: 765-649-3211
E-mail: [email protected]
Specialties: Space exploration, hypersonic and supersonic flight, astronaut biographies


Collecting Books in the Area of Space Exploration—For centuries, human beings have looked to the sky and wondered about the lights they have seen there. Even today, our understanding of the heavens is rather modest. But, we have at least escaped the atmosphere of our earth and have traveled to its natural satellite, the moon, even if this is only a tiny fraction of what lies beyond....[More]


History of Manned Spaceflight The History of Manned Space Flight by David Baker - This is the most comprehensive history of space exploration ever published. Oversized, heavy, and authoritative, it is the "bible" of the history of space exploration and should be in every collection.

A Man on the Moon A Man on the Moon; The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin - Clearly the best summary of Project Apollo. Chaikin interviewed every living Apollo astronaut in writing this clear and excellent account of the lunar landing program. Recently issued with hundreds of stunning color photographs.

First on the Moon First on the Moon; A Voyage with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edward E. Aldrin, Jr. by Gene Farmer and Dora Jane Hamblin - The closest thing we have to a first hand account of the Apollo 11 flight. Truly captures the flavor of the time and is told with enthusiasm.

This New Ocean This New Ocean by Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., James M. Grimwood, and Charles C. Alexander - NASA Special Publication (SP) 4201. The official NASA history of Project Mercury, not to be confused with the 1998 William Burrows book by the same title. This is a fine academic work filled with details not to be found elsewhere. For the serious collector or space buff.

Wernher von Braun: Crusader For Space: A Bibliographical MemoirWernher von Braun: Crusader For Space: A Bibliographical Memoir and Wernher von Braun: Crusader For Space: An Illustrated Memoir by Ernst Stuhlinger and Frederick Ordway - A great work on von Braun who led the engineers in developing the V-2 rocket in Nazi Germany and later the Saturn V in the U.S. If a criticism can be leveled, it's that the books sidestep the issue of von Braun's responsibilities in the Mittelwerk and Dora work camp areas where slave labor was used to build V-2s.

Relics of the Space Race Relics of the Space Race by Russell Still - The bible for space collectibles. One half history, one half reference material for collectibles including autographs, philatelics, patches, badges & passes, flown currency, medallions, books, and magazines. Includes a complete Autopen guide to every flown pre-Shuttle astronaut. Appendices summarize every astronaut and mission (right down to the flight directors and CapComs). Don't invest any money in space collectibles without having this book in your library.