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Dr. John Keto Papers

Identifier: MS-118

Scope and Contents

The collection primary reflects the time Dr. Keto spent with the United States Air Force, his bionic research, as well as his interest in scientific research as the university level. The collection is arranged into six series.

Series I. Advancements in Aerospace Technology, consists of correspondence, pamphlets and papers concerning advancing technology in the years 1954 to 1966. The material deals mainly with progressing technology in the aerospace field emphasizing the military applications of high technology.

Series II. United States Air Force, deals with the historical aspects of the United States Air Force, both in the technical sense and in the strictly military aspect. The series consists of pamphlets, research papers and published documents covering the years 1959 to 1977, although the majority of the material concerns the early and mid-1960s.

Series III. Bionics, concerns the field of bionics with emphasis on its military application although much of the material deals with pure research in the field of bionics. Covering the time span from 1960 to 1967, with material ranging from correspondence to published documents, this series also contains articles and papers on the subject authored by Dr. Keto. A large percentage of the series deals with the Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development (AGARD) of which Dr. Keto was associated.

Series IV. Cox Memorial Coronary Heart Institute, contains material related to the institute located in Dayton, Ohio. The series consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, a paper dealing with the use of computers in the treatment of coronary patients, and a 1963 report of the Institute. The series covers the years from 1963-1965.

Series V. Education in Scientific and Technical Disciplines, consists of various reports, brochures, correspondence, pamphlets and information packets dealing with education in the scientific and technical disciplines. The material mainly concerns programs designed to enhance the degree of cooperation between the Air Force's technical schools and public institutions. Papers dealing with the Dayton Miami Valley Consortium are included in this series, as is material concerning the establishment of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. A large segment of the material also deals with the Ohio Research and Development Foundation (ORDF), which works to enhance the teaching of science in Ohio schools. Also included are several ORDF Executive Committee reports during the period Dr. Keto was a member of the committee.

Series VI. Research and Development in the Military, also contains some materials that pertain to work in various public and private institutions. The series consists of correspondence, reports, symposium papers and numerous published documents concerning Research and Development in the physical sciences, emphasizing its application to military uses. Covering the years from 1955 to 1965, the materials also deal with methods to improve management techniques in areas of Research and Development.


  • Creation: 1951-1981


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

John E. Keto was born on June 9, 1909 in Maynard, Massachusetts. He received a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1932. From the same university, he later earned a graduate degree in physics. During graduate school, Keto found work in Cincinnati, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan, working for the Detroit Edison Company as a research employee. Keto later returned to the University of Cincinnati as a teaching fellow in the electrical engineering department. In 1935, he began his position with the Aircraft Radio Laboratory at Wright Field as a physicist. In 1940, Keto was reassigned as a project engineer developing airborne radar equipment for the Army Air Forces. He became chief engineer of the Radar Lab in 1943. Later he assumed the role of chief engineer for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s newly established Radiation Lab. Keto eventually became the chief engineer of the Aeronautical Systems Division until his retirement in 1969, at the age of 60.

Dr. John E. Keto was heavily invested in the field of research and development. He was known for pioneering the field of bionics, the study of mechanical systems that function like living organisms. In 1946, he was awarded the Medal for Merit for his work developing airborne radar equipment during World War II.

Though it is not evident in his papers, he was an active member of the Wright State community. Keto sat on the Wright State University Advisory Committee in its founding year, 1966-1967. He continued his involved as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, the Academic Affairs Board, and the Executive Committee. His position on the Board of Trustees ended in 1979. John E. Keto died in June of 1996 and is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.


4.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



The Dr. John Keto Papers consists of materials collected throughout his professional career as a research scientist. Dr. Keto was known for his work developing airborne radar equipment during World War II, pioneering the field of bionics, and heading the Aeronautical Systems Division on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio as the Chief Scientist in the 1960s. The collection includes correspondence, pamphlets, research reports, speeches, and symposium papers covering such topics as United States Air Force history, bionics, technical education, and scientific research and development in the military, universities, and other private companies.


The collections is arranged into 6 series:

Series I:
Advancements in Aerospace Technology, 1954-1966
Series II:
United States Air Force, 1959-1977
Series III:
Bionics, 1961-1966
Series IV:
Cox Memorial Coronary Heart Institute, 1963-1965
Series V:
Education in Scientific and Technical Disciplines, 1955-1972
Series VI:
Research and Development in the Military, 1951-1981

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives at Wright State University by Dr. John E. Keto on June 20, 1981.

Guide to the Dr. John Keto Papers (MS-118)
Special Collections and Archives
1981 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2018 December: Finding aid updated according to DACS standard by Alyssa Stark and Toni Vanden Bos.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA