The collection consists of correspondence and scrapbooks. The correspondence is arranged into 15 sub-series: Aerial Experiment Association, Aero Club of America, Aero Club of Washington, Aeronautic Society of New York, Aeronautical Annuals, Octave Chanute and his daughters, Glenn Curtiss, House Resolution #7653, Ernest Jones, Otto Lilienthal, Henry Cabot Lodge, Hiram Maxim, Technical Matters, U.S. Signal Corps, and Albert Zahm. Of the three scrapbooks, one is a photograph album containing early glider photos and travel postcards. The second contains photos and news clippings regarding aviation in the 1890's, especially the work of Langley and Maxim with kites, balloons, and aerial bicycles. Clippings are in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch. The third scrapbook is labeled 'James Means 1892' and consists of photos, letters, manuscripts, clippings in English and German, copies of legislation, and book excerpts.
Biographical / Historical:
James Means (1855-1920) was an American industrialist who sacrificed his business to devote himself to the promotion of aviation. Determined to disseminate information on flying, he collected and edited the most significant works of Otto Lilienthal, Octave Chanute, Samuel Langley and others, producing the 'Aeronautical Annuals' which appeared in 3 volumes in 1895, 1896 and 1897. Dr. Means studied bird-flight, kites and gliders, and designed model gliders in the early 1890s. He was awarded patents for his aircraft smoke signal device (1909), his aircraft launcher (1909), and his simplified control column for airplanes (1909-1911).
James H. Means, gift, unknown, XXXX-0394, unknown
No restrictions on access
The collection consists of 109 cubic feet of material, primarily photographs with some additional documentation, covering aerospace topics. The bulk of the material relates to US space exploration, including extensive photo files on US manned missions through the Space Shuttle, and satellite and sounding rocket work. The first series consists of unmanned spacecraft material, the second series consists of manned spacecraft material, and the third series consists of aircraft material.
Scope and Contents:
The Herbert Stephen Desind Collection (acc. 1997-0014) contains approximately 109 cubic feet of material relating to aviation and space flight. The material is primarily photographic in nature and focuses on manned and unmanned space flight activities.
Series 1: Unmanned Space Programs
Series 2: Manned Space Programs
Series 3: Aviation subjects
Series 4: Country files
Series 5: Miscellaneous files
Series 6: Press Kits
Biographical / Historical:
Herbert Stephen Desind was a Washington, D.C. area native born on January 15, 1945, raised in Silver Spring, Maryland and educated at the University of Maryland. He obtained his BA degree in Communications at Maryland in 1967, and began working in the local public schools as a science teacher. At the time of his death, in October 1992, he was a high school teacher and a freelance writer/lecturer on spaceflight. Desind also was an avid model rocketeer, specializing in using the Estes Cineroc, a model rocket with an 8mm movie camera mounted in the nose. To many members of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), he was known as "Mr. Cineroc." His extensive requests worldwide for information and photographs of rocketry programs even led to a visit from FBI agents who asked him about the nature of his activities.
Mr. Desind used the collection to support his writings in NAR publications, and his building scale model rockets for NAR competitions. Desind also used the material in the classroom, and in promoting model rocket clubs to foster an interest in spaceflight among his students.
Desind entered the NASA Teacher in Space program in 1985, but it is not clear how far along his submission rose in the selection process. He was not a semi-finalist, although he had a strong application.
In 1991, Desind was named Science Teacher of the Year by Prince George's County and the Potomac Electric Power Company.
Desind died October 16, 1992, having succumbed to colon cancer.
On November 17, 1994, the Herbert Desind Memorial Space Awareness Center, a state-of-the-art facility, was created and dedicated at Laurel High School. Today that Center houses the Cooperative Satellite Learning Project (CSLP) class as well as other science classes. The CSLP is a business, government, and educational partnership, focusing on space sciences and engineering. One of the sponsors of CSLP is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In 1997, Desind's father and sister donated his collection to the National Air and Space Museum.