Dandridge M. Cole (my grand-hero-pa)

Welcome to my dedication page to my grandfather- an amazing genius whose books about the future could come true sooner than we thought. He was an amazing inventor and scientist, but read this first to learn about another side of him. It’s a letter I found that he wrote to his sister about falling in love with my grandmother:

Grandpa Dandridge Cole’s letter

Dandridge Cole was a genius, futurologist, and worked as a scientist for General Electric’s Space Technology Center, and sooo much more.

futurologist- (n.) The study or forecasting of potential developments, as in science, technology, and society, using current conditions and trends as a point of departure.

Wikipedia article on Dandridge M. Cole

“Another tragic near-miss occurred later in the year.[5] Dandridge M. Cole was a brilliant scientist and technological forecaster who had received a pre-publication copy of Ettinger’s book in 1963, and had been deeply impressed. His own most recent book, Beyond Tomorrow, had devoted several pages to the subject of suspended animation. He had expressed a wish to be frozen after death to several friends and relatives, and had had a long discussion on the subject with a close friend and colleague, Robert Prehoda. It was an unfortunate choice of a colleague. Prehoda was interested in cryobiology and wrote a book, Suspended Animation. He was, however, a determined opponent of cryonics, although he would later take part, reluctantly, in the Bedford freezing.

Cole was only 44 when, on Oct. 30, 1965, he suffered a fatal heart attack. After some delay a call was placed to Ettinger, who later would write, “I was consulted by long-distance telephone several hours after he died, but in the end the family did what was to be expected — nothing.” Discussing the matter in Suspended Animation, Prehoda managed to rationalize that “Rational counsel prevailed, and Dan was given a dignified burial.” 1

He was almost the first human account of ‘cryonic suspension’. Sort of like Austin Powers, but a lot cooler.
“Beyond Tomorrow: The next 50 years in space” (1965)
“Islands in Space: The challenge of the planetoids” (1964)
“Around the moon in 80 hours” (1959)
“Social and political implications of the ultimate human society” (1961)
(the only one I could find online was ‘Islands in Space’ but my grandma just might have all of them so I will begin my research ASAP)

I found this on a discussion part of the ‘Friends and Partners in space’ website (this is a thread of a longer discussion)

Commemorating the Memory of Dandridge Cole

Hello Once Again Gang,
Dandridge Cole who co wrote “Islands in Space: The Challenge of the Planetoids, with  Donald  Cox has been dead now
for 40 years. He had untimely death. His book “Islands in Space: The Challenge of the Planetoids" laid the ground work for much of our
current thinking on the Exploration, Mining, and Colonization of the Asteroids. Have there been any publications, magazine articles, or
ceremonies to commemorate his memory?
I had the great privilege of meeting Donald Cox at the National Space Society's International Space Development Congress (ISDC) when it was
held in New York City back in 1996. He autographed my copy of “Islands in Space". It is one of my most prized books in my library. When I met
Donald Cox  he was well into his 80's. I doubt if he is still living today.                       -Alex

I found pictures from ‘Beyond Tomorrow’ on an index from philosophyinc.com, and this:

Beyond Tomorrow

What can be said about ‘Beyond Tomorrow’ that hasn’t already been said?
In so many ways it’s a fulcrum there in space-age vellum; starkly reflecting our current dilemmas, our technologies and their concomitant ideologies. With it’s adolescent spirit and madman’s optimism, it speaks to a myth still alive within us all:
The Enlightenment in Cartoon/Buck Rogers-pop style! Late modern narratives to progress always parodied themselves the best anyway.

But let me not ruin this for you. These drawings and writings really are something special. The book is ‘Beyond Tomorrow’ by Dandridge M. Cole, with original space art by Roy G. Scarfo, Copyright 1965.(I like the part about the ‘madman’s optimism’)

(this is an excerpt from ‘Beyond Tomorrow’)

He had some mad awesome ideas. These are only just the beginning. I want to get some of the cool stories I heard about him from my childhood and write about them…

  • He had a degree from Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania
  • He died doing pushups at the office…or so they say
  • He talked with Stanley Kubrick about 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • He might have been an understudy for Einstein,,,,yeah i’ll get back to you about all this/that

WOOHOO FOR MY GRANDPA- Cheers to his memory!

9 Responses to Dandridge M. Cole (my grand-hero-pa)

  1. paola says:

    all i see is a vortex. i probably just lack imagination, unlike you’re genius g-fatha, so you’re gonna have to explain that picture to me.


  2. paola says:

    hey it only took me 2 months to realize that i mistakenly wrote the contraction “you’re” instead of the possessive “your” in the phrase “your genius g-fatha”.

    my bad.

  3. Gerald Earling says:

    I’m glad I found your page! I have a copy of Beyond Tomorrow that was given to me by Rev. Bob Cole when I was just a boy around 1970. It has been an inspiration and a great influence in my life. My scope of the world around me was forever changed once I read this book. Dan cole not only demonstrated that great things were to come, but proved that they could be achieved with the technology of the day. I would be glad to know if Bob is doing well, and I remember meeting his girls. I think one was named Mary. Could you be one of Rev. Cole’s daughter’s?

  4. Gerald Earling says:

    By the way, I was told that the tribute to J.F.K. in the front of the book is not a mere casual reference, but that Dan Cole knew Kennedy personally and that his work influenced Kennedy to push the U.S. into space exploration. It is a shame that neither of them got to see the historic lunar landing and other events that were to come later. Scarfo’s concepts gave life to Cole’s ideas, and the space shuttle and even the Mars lander concepts are so close to reality that it’s almost scary! What visionaries! I’m glad their work has not gone unrecognized.
    It realize that Bob was Dan’s brother and that I must have been your cousins that I remember meeting. Please excuse the error in the previous comment. Thanks!

  5. Dandridge Cole, and especially his book “Beyond Tomorrow,” were major inspirations for a lot of people who eventually wound up going into the space industry, like myself. I have researched a number of the projects your grandfather worked on (especially his internal nuclear-detonation rocket engine, an alternative to Project Orion), and have even “reverse engineered” a number of the concepts he described and artist Roy Scarfo painted. Sadly, one of his papers, “military applications of cis-lunar asteroids,” has so far evaded me…

    My copies of “Beyond Tomorrow” and “Islands in Space” are well-worn.

  6. Steph says:

    I know this comment comes such a long time after your post, but I came across your blog whilst researching the work of Dandridge M Cole for a novel I was writing. ‘Hollow Moon’ (a YA space opera) has now been published (ebook only – let me know if you want a complimentary copy!) – the story centres around an asteroid colony ship, which I named ‘Dandridge Cole’ in the hope it would rekindle interest in Cole’s work. His book ‘Beyond Tomorrow’ with Roy Scarfo’s illustrations was a big influence.

  7. I am planning on reviewing Islands in Space on Sunday and was wondering if there was ever a new edition that I could point people at.

  8. Amandoo says:

    Sorry I didn’t get this sooner, but I don’t think there have been any updates! Thanks for your interest.

  9. Grant W. Shoffstall says:

    I’m a professor of sociology and science and technology studies at Williams College. I’m writing a book about postwar science and technological innovation, in which the work of Dandridge M. Cole figures quite centrally. Would you be willing to talk about your grandfather via phone or Skype?

    Thanks for your consideration.

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