This collection consists of a photo album and a scrapbook kept by Benjamin Scovill "Ben" Kelsey to document his life and aviation career. The collection also includes Kelsey's U. S. Army Air Forces "Air Route Manual: United States to Great Britain," dated May 25, 1942, prepared for use by the first flights of military aircraft across the North Atlantic in support of Operation Bolero.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of a photo album and a scrapbook kept by Benjamin Scovill "Ben" Kelsey to document his life and aviation career. The photo album measures approximately 12.25 by 9.5 inches and documents Kelsey's early flying career and other aviation activities he was involved in from the period of about 1920 to 1932. Many of the photographs were taken around Garden City, New York or in and around Connecticut. Aircraft depicted in the album include the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, Standard (NJ) J-1, Bellanca WB-2 Miss Columbia, Dayton Wright DH-4 Mailplane, Irwin Meteorplane C-C-1, Alexander Eaglerock Biplane, Waco ASO, Martin (Glenn L.) MB-2, Ford 2-AT Air Pullman, Air Transport John Wanamaker, Sikorsky Standard-Sikorsky SN-1, Avro 504, Sikorsky S-31, Sperry Messenger, Burnelli (Remington-Burnelli) RB-1, Curtiss Oriole, Curtiss CR-1 Racer, Udet U 12 Flamingo, as well as numerous other models by manufacturers such as Fokker, Curtiss, Boeing, Stinson, and Sikorsky. Besides Kelsey, other notable aviators pictured in the album include Laura Bromwell, Charles S. "Casey" Jones, Lloyd W. Bertaud, Walter E. Johnson, Earl W. Fleet, Robert Stevens Fogg, Gus Graff, Bertrand Blanchard Acosta, Harold T. "Slim" Lewis, Harry Bradford Chin, Thea Rasche, Richard H. Depew, and Leigh Wade. The album also contains aerial photographs.
The scrapbook, which measures 11 by 16 inches, is mainly composed of newspaper clippings, but also includes magazine articles, photographs, correspondence, certificates and other ephemera. It covers the period of approximately 1934 to 1947 and documents Kelsey's military career during this period. Aircraft seen in the scrapbook include the Curtiss P-36 Hawk, Curtiss P-37 (Hawk 75I), Lockheed XP-38/P-38 Lightning, Douglas XB-19 (XBLR-2), Curtiss CW-21 Interceptor-Fighter, Bell XFM-1 Airacuda, and the Douglas C-54 Skymaster.
The collection also contains a U. S. Army Air Forces document, "Air Route Manual: United States to Great Britain," prepared by Air Movements Unit, Operational Intelligence Section AFDIS – A2, May 25, 1942 (Second Revision). This publication is a pilot's briefing document prepared in support of Operation Bolero. It was designed for use by a Lockheed P-38 Lightning pilot and provides detailed radio and navigational information for all airfields en route (U. S. and Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and the British Isles) including aerial photographs, prepared strip maps marked with the magnetic course to be flown, and general information. It also contains eight large sectional maps, two American Airlines Radio Range and Mileage Charts, and six Ordnance Survey of Great Britain Aeronautical Maps.
The collection materials are grouped into two roughly chronological scrapbooks and one military document.
Biographical / Historical:
Benjamin Scovill "Ben" Kelsey (1906-1981) completed instruction at the Curtiss Flying School in Garden City, New York in 1921 at the age of fifteen. He flew extensively, both commercially and privately, before being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army Air Corps in 1929. Kelsey was initially assigned to Mitchel Field, New York where he worked with the Guggenheim Fog Flying Laboratory. In 1934, Kelsey was transferred to the Materiel Command at Wright Field, Ohio where he served as fighter project officer in the Engineering Section and worked on blind landing and instrument flying development. Kelsey served as assistant military attaché for air in London, United Kingdom for a short time in 1940 and then returned to Wright Field as chief of the Pursuit Branch, Production Engineering Section. In 1942, Kelsey was attached to the Eighth Fighter Command at Dow Field, Maine during which time he served as a Lockheed P-38 Lightning pilot as part of Operation Bolero, the movement of U. S. forces across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom in preparation for the opening of a "second front" in northwest Europe that involved a group of P-38 aircraft following a B-17 Flying Fortress pathfinder aircraft across the North Atlantic. In September 1942, Kelsey returned to Wright Field and in 1943 was named chief of the Flight Research Branch, Flight Test Division. Later that year, Kelsey returned to the United Kingdom as the deputy chief of staff of the Ninth Fighter Command and in 1944 was appointed chief of the Operation Engineering Section of the Eighth Air Force Headquarters. In July 1945, Kelsey again returned to Wright Field and was named chief of the All-Weather Operations Section. In December 1946, Kelsey served as assistant deputy commanding general for personnel at Wright Field moving up to be the chief of personnel and administration before leaving for Air Force Headquarters in early 1948 where he served as chief of the Control Group in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Materiel. Kelsey entered the National War College in August 1948, graduating in June 1949, and then staying on as an instructor. Kelsey was appointed Deputy Director of Research and Development in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Development at Air Force Headquarters until retiring from active duty in December 1955. Kelsey was the recipient of numerous awards and honors and was involved in the development of, and/or test flew, numerous aircraft including the Bell XFM-1 Airacuda, Bell P-39 Airacobra, Curtiss P-36A Hawk, and Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Kelsey was also a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, holding a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering (1928) and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering (1931).
General Benjamin S. Kelsey, Gift, NASM.XXXX.0026.
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This collection contains two groups of photographs. The first group, mounted on pages removed from a photo album, contains views of aircraft and facilities at the United States Army Air Service Fairfield Intermediate Air Depot, Fairfield, Ohio, circa 1921. The second group consists of loose photographs of aircraft, most of which are historic views of early Aerial Experiment Association and Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company aircraft by photographer Harry M. Benner.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 86 photographs collected by the donor's father, roughly divided into two groups. The first group, most of which is mounted on black paper pages removed from a photo album, shows facilities and aircraft at the Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot in 1921, including aerial views of the field. Many of the aircraft pictured (circa 1918-1921) were undergoing technical assessment by the Army Air Service at nearby McCook Field and Wilbur Wright Field. Several photographs show the wreckage of Dayton Wright DH-4 and Curtiss JN-4D Jenny training aircraft crashed in the local area. Aircraft pictured in this group include Bristol Fighter F.2B (Brisfit) [McCook Field no. P-37], Engineering Division USD-9A (D.H.9) [McCook Field no. P-43], Fokker D.VII (V.18) [McCook Field No. P-108], LePère 11 (C-11, C II, LUSAC 11), Martin (MB-1) MP Mailplane, Martin (Glenn L.) (MB-1) GMB-TA Transatlantic Aircraft, Nieuport 24, Orenco Type B [McCook Field no. P-41], Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a, SPAD XIII (S.13), Standard (NJ) Handley Page O/400 "Langley", Standard (NJ)-Built Caproni Ca.5 Night Bomber, Thomas-Morse S-4C, Verville (Alfred) VCP-R (R-1), and Vought VE-7 [McCook Field no. P-23].
The second, smaller group of photographs consists of historical images (circa 1908-1913) relating to the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, Hammondsport, New York, most of which were taken by Curtiss photographer Harry M. Benner. This group contains photographs of Aerial Experiment Association (AEA) aircraft (the Aerodrome No 1 Red Wing, the Aerodrome No 2 White Wing, the Aerodrome No 3 Loon, the Aerodrome No 4 Silver Dart, and the Cygnet II) and an assortment of Curtiss models, including Lincoln Beachey at the controls of his Curtiss Beachey Special, Curtiss C-2 (AB-2), Ruth Law at the controls of her Curtiss Model D Headless, Curtiss Flying Boat No.2 "The Flying Fish," Curtiss Flying Boat Model F, the twin-engined Curtiss Model H "America" (H-1), Curtiss J (floatplane version), Curtiss JN-2 Jenny, Curtiss NC-1, Curtiss 18-T Wasp (Curtiss-Kirkham), and the Curtiss 1914 Rebuild of the Langley (Samuel P.) Aerodrome A. These widely reproduced images also appear in other NASM Archives collections from the period.
Biographical / Historical:
The Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot, opened by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Fairfield (Ohio) in January 1918, was designed to provide supply and logistical support for wartime aviation training operations. The largest of the depot's buildings was constructed around a double spur of track connecting it with the main railroad lines (still in use decades later as Building 1, Area C, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). As World War I came to a close, the Army Air Service made plans for reducing training operations and managing war surplus materiel; accordingly, in January 1919 they shut down training at adjacent Wilbur Wright Field and shifted control and use of that field to the depot, now renamed as the Wilbur Wright Air Service Depot. In November 1919, the facility was transferred to the Air Service's list of permanent depots and renamed as the Aviation General Supply Depot, Fairfield, Ohio. As post-war demobilization continued, millions of dollars of property flowed into Fairfield from Europe and closed-down Air Service facilities in the continental United States, and a large civilian workforce was hired to deal with the massive influx of materiel. The name changed to Air Service Supply and Repair Depot after an aviation repair unit was transferred to Fairfield in September 1920; the depot's Engineering and Repair Section was tasked with the repair and maintenance of Air Service aircraft and the overhaul of engines. After undergoing four name changes in just over two years, in January 1921 the depot's name and mission as a center for supply and repair was clarified by the War Department with the establishment of four "air intermediate depots" at San Antonio (Texas), Rockwell (California), Middletown (Pennsylvania), and Fairfield, which became the Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot (FAID).
Donald G. Williams, Gift, 1992, NASM.1992.0040
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Aerial Experiment Assoc Aerodrome No 3 June Bug Search this
Aerial Experiment Assoc Aerodrome No 4 Silver Dart Search this
This collection consists of two scrapbook pages containing nine black and white, mounted photographs. The pages measure approximately 10 by 7 inches and the photographs each measure approximately 2.75 by 4.75 inches. The photographs date to 1919 and most have a handwritten caption by Dora Bertha Wilson on the obverse. Six photographs were taken at an aerial meet held at an airfield near Clark's Summit, Pennsylvania from August 18 to September 2, 1919. Aircraft depicted in the photographs include the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny and the Dayton Wright DH-4. People depicted in the photographs include Hiram W. Sheridan (misspelled as Sheriden in the caption information) and Fred C. Nelson. The pages also include three family photographs of a young child playing outside.
Biographical / Historical:
From August 18 to September 2, 1919, the Scranton Aero Club held an aerial meet at an airfield near Clark's Summit, Pennsylvania. Lieutenant Hiram W. Sheridan flew exhibition flights in his Dayton Wright DH-4 "Maple Leaf" and Lieutenant Fred C. Nelson made flights in a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny. Sheridan also attempted to set a speed record flying from Clark's Summit to Hazelhurst Field, New York. Dora Bertha Wilson is believed to have attended some part of the aerial meet as a young woman.
Thomas Arnold, Gift, 2014
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