The Dembling NASA and Government Procurement Collection

The Dembling NASA and Government Procurement Collection is the gift of the late Paul G. Dembling, J.D. ’51, who in 2001 donated his professional papers to the law library. During his long career in law and public service, Mr. Dembling served the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in several capacities, including Deputy Associate Administrator and General Counsel. He is known as the principal architect of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, and a great part of the Dembling Collection concerns the legal and practical issues surrounding the creation of NASA. He later served as General Counsel of the General Accounting Office, eventually continuing his distinguished legal career as a lawyer in private practice and as a lecturer at the George Washington University Law School.

Paul G. Dembling Online Video Oral History. Paul Dembling recorded his oral history in 2001 at the time he donated his papers to the Law Library.* It runs approximately 1 hour, 13 minutes, and covers the events leading to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and also includes discussion of the key players involved in the evolution of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) into NASA.  A fascinating insider’s look at the legal background of NASA from the principle drafter of the 1958 NASA Act, the interview was conducted at the Law Library by Allen Stypeck, president of Second Story Books in Washington, DC, and Rockville, MD, who worked with Mr. Dembling on the collection. Also discussed in the oral history are intellectual property issues relating to NASA contract work and an overview of the coverage of his archives.

For Paul Dembling’s first-hand written account of the genesis of the National Aeronautics and Space Act, please see his 2008 article, “The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958: Revisited,” in Volume 34, Number 2, of Journal of Space Law, pp. 203-220.

Link to the catalog record for the Guide to the Papers of Paul G. Dembling:

Link to NASA’s 50th anniversary magazine for the interview “Present at the Creation: Paul G. Dembling, Author of NASA’s Founding Legislation” at:

Link to the obituary for Paul Dembling in A Legal Miscellanea (Volume 8, No. 1, Spring 2011):

*The video is presented in Microsoft's Advanced Streaming Format (.asf), which most often is associated with Microsoft's Windows Media Player. For most users seeking to view the video, clicking on one of the links in the prior paragraph will launch the video in Windows Media Player. If not, Windows Media Player may require an update (look under its "Help" menu) or your computer may have associated .asf files with any of a number of alternative media players.

    Other Government Procurement Papers

In 2007, the Law Library received the papers and books of the late emeritus professor of government procurement law John Cibinic, Jr., co-founder with emeritus professor Ralph C. Nash of the Government Procurement Law Program.

Also in 2007, the Law Library received the record of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) in the noted case New York Shipbuilding Co., which treated the issue of recovery of “imputed interest.”  This gift came to the archive courtesy of presiding Administrative Judge John Lane of ASBCA, and constitutes the entire record of the decision, including briefs, exhibits, and hearing transcript.


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