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Archives at The Museum of Flight

McLeland, James R., 1929-2017



  • Existence: 1929 May 7 - 2017 December 20

Biographical Note: James R. McLeland

James R. McLeland was a photographer and darkroom manager at Kennedy Space Center in the 1960s-1980s.

James Rary "Whitey" McLeland was born May 7, 1929 in Hiawatha, Kansas to Roy Whitman and Helen Irene (Swartz) McLeland. At 13 years old he had his first newspaper photography assignment: to photograph a housefire for the local Hiawatha newspaper. After graduating from high school he worked for a short time at G.N. Winter Motor Company. He studied psychology at Kansas State University but also worked as a photographer for the school newspaper. He served in the military during the Korean War and received further photography training during that time. He worked as staff photographer for the Bend Herald Tribune in Kansas before transferring to the Hollywood Sun-Tattler in Florida in about 1957.

McLeland started working at Kennedy Space Center in 1958. He worked as a contracter as a staff photographer, dark room lab manager, and manager of the media center. His contract initially began through RCA but was later through Boeing. He worked there until 1988. Following his work at Kennedy Space Center he ran a private photography business shooting weddings, fashion, car races and drivers and more until the 2010s.

McLeland married Vida Mae Scheck on March 30, 1957 and they had two children but divorced in 1968. James McLeland died December 20, 2017 in Palm Bay, Florida. He is buried at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

James R. McLeland U.S. Air Force Missile Test Center Photograph Collection

 Collection — Box: One
Identifier: 2019-04-04
Content Description The James R. McLeland U.S. Air Force Missile Test Center Photograph Collection documents missile and rocket launches at the U.S. Air Force missile test center at Patrick Air Force Base as well as at Kennedy Space Center from the mid 1950s through about 1970 with 52 color and black-and-white photographic prints. The photographs are primarily official Air Force photographs taken by McLeland as well as other staff and contract photographers. They are all 8x10-inch prints, with six...

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