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
Images of various artifacts and specimens in the United States National Museum's collections, including George Washington's uniform and camp chest; the Franklin Press; Samuel P. Langley, third Secretary of the Smithsonian, supervising the installation of the Easter Island stone figures; zoological, ornithological, entomological, and botanical specimens; exhibits relating to animals and American Indians; the Daguerre Monument sculpted by J. Scott Hartley; and a model of the National Zoological Park modeled under Langley.
The United States National Museum building (later renamed Arts and Industries) opened to the public in 1881. It held displays of anthropology, art, geology, history, and natural history, while a few of the exhibits (birds, invertebrates and art) remained in the original Smithsonian "Castle." In 1911, the Smithsonian opened a new building (now the Natural History Building), which held anthropology, art and natural history collections.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 99-41
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Items depicted in this collection held in the National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of American History collections.
Additional photographs of US National Museum collections held in the Smithsonian Institution Archives and the National Anthropological Archives (Photo Lot 4).
Nitrate negatives are in cold storage and require advanced notice for viewing.