ItemFinding Aid for the James Furner Collection(UHCL Archives staff, 2023)The James Furner Collection contains autographed photos, correspondence, and autographs of NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts collected by James Furner of Chicago, Illinois. Furner began his signature collection when he was a junior in high school, when he thought he could improve his grade in his English class by soliciting (in 1963) an autograph from the author of the book on which they were assigned to write a report. The book was “Travels with Charley” and the author was John Steinbeck. A few weeks later a typed letter arrived in which John Steinbeck wished Jim the best and asked how he liked the book and signed the letter. Thus a passion for signature collection was begun. Over the ensuing 48 years of his life, James Furner collected well over 1000 signatures. His interest was broad and his signature collection includes: astronauts, cosmonauts, politicians from around the world, military heroes (donated to the Pritzker Military Museum in Chicago in 2018), authors, actors, scientists, and sports figures. He was especially proud of his collection of signatures of astronauts and cosmonauts that composes this collection.