This collection consists of nearly 250 glass plates, several folders of prints, and two boxes of glass plate envelopes affixed with small prints of the image formerly contained within them. The subject matter of the photography is primarily concerned with Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral experiments of 1906, flights of the Thomas Baldwin dirigible and the United States Signal Corps SC-1 free balloon (1908), and the Wright Flyer Army Trials at Fort Meyer, Virginia (1908 and 1909).
Scope and Content:
The Carl H. Claudy Photography Collection, held by the Archives Division of the National Air and Space Museum, consists of 249 glass plate negatives, mainly 4x5 inches in area, taken by Claudy from 1907 to 1909 and photographic contact prints made from the negatives. The subject matter of these images are divided into three main categories: Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite experiments (1907); the U.S. Army's trial flights of the Wright brothers' Military Flyer at Fort Meyer, Virginia (1908-1909); and lighter than air (LTA) flights including Thomas Baldwin's dirigible Signal Corps No. 1 and free balloon ascents by James C. McCoy's America and A. Leo Stevens' Signal Corps No. 10. The collection includes several prints from negatives broken or lost over time.
The collection photographs may be viewed online through the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) on its web site, http://www.siris.si.edu, or in the Archives Division reading room.
Collection material has been arranged in the following series:
Series I: Photographs of Alexander Graham Bell's Tetrahedral Kite Experiments (1907)
Series II: Photographs of Wright Flyer Army Trials at Fort Meyer, Virginia (1908-1909)
Series III: Photographs of LTA activity, including Baldwin Signal Corps No. 1 airship flights and several free balloon ascensions (1907-1908)
Series IV: Claudy's original glass plate negatives. Due to the fragile condition of the negatives, this series is not available to researchers.
Series V: Additional material, including Claudy's original negative envelopes and contact prints, copy negatives, and copies of scans of the original negatives on compact discs.
Carl Harry Claudy (1879-1957) was a journalist, a talented photographer, and the author of books on photography, aircraft modeling, Freemasonry, science fiction, and children's books. His books and articles include The First Book of Photography: a Primer of Theory and Practice for the Beginner (1918), Beginner's Book of Model Airplanes (1930), and Prize Winners' Book of Model Airplanes (1931). Claudy also wrote a comic strip, Adventures in the Unknown.
During the early 1900s, Claudy photographed several important aeronautical events - Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite experiments; flights of the airship Signal Corps No. 1, the U.S. Army's first powered aircraft; and the Wright Military Flyer trials at Fort Meyer, Virginia.
Attending these events were well-known figures of the day, and Claudy photographed many of them: Orville and Wilbur Wright, Glenn Curtiss, Alexander Graham Bell, President William Howard Taft, Thomas Baldwin, and Alice Roosevelt. Claudy's photographs are a valuable record of the early days of aeronautics and of the people who played a part in them.
Carl H. Claudy, gift, 1957, XXXX-0549, unknown
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