21 Cubic feet (64 document boxes, one oversize folder)
United States -- Race relations
Papers and photographs documenting the lives and descendants of Samuel and Mamie Anderson Bridgewater of Helena, Montana.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the lives of the family and descendants of Samuel and Mamie Anderson Bridgwater. The papers primarily belonged to the family and descendants of their daughter Mary Emma (1893-1981), who married Charles H. Harrell (1878-1948), a Pullman porter. The collection includes materials from collateral relatives and from those who married into the Bridgewater and Harrell families. The women of these families were extensively involved in community, religious, and social organizations. The collection contains materials about social and religious life in the relatively small African-American communities surrounding Helena, Montana. It also contains family papers including Samuel and Mamie's marriage certificate from 1892; educational memorabilia and school diplomas; scrapbooks and photogaphs documenting family members, vacations, life events and friends; baptismal records; hand-written birth and death entries; and correspondence between family members and friends living in other states.
The collection includes records of many of Montana's social and religious organizations from the 1890s to the 1950s, including the Colored Women's Clubs of America; the Pleasant Hour Club in Helena; the Helena Negro Chorus; the local chapter of the Society for the Relief of Worthy, Aged, Indigent Colored Persons, Pleasant House Club; and numerous Baptist and Roman Catholic congregations. Generations of women in the Bridgewater and Harrell families were members or officers of these organizations. The collection contains records and photographs relating to several African-American and integrated churches in Helena. Friends and community members, primarily other African-American Montanans, are represented in the collection as well.
Photographs and other documents record the lives of nearby neighbors and friends as well as lives of more distant family members and friends. Subjects covered in the collection are: the formerly enslaved parents of Samuel and Mamie Bridgwater; Samuel Bridgwater and his fellow Buffalo soldiers; Octavia Bridgewater's experiences at the Lincoln School of Nursing in New York City; Octavia Bridgewater's service with a segregated unit of the Army Nurse Corps in World War II while stationed at the Tuskegee Air Base, Alabama and her later life after returning to civilian life in Helena when she worked mostly as a midwife.
Some of the arrangement of the collection was done by family members prior to its donation to the Archives Center. The families had a vigorous and wide ranging network of family and friends in Montana and elsewhere in the United States, and materials related to all family members and friends may be found across multiple series.
Subseries 2.8: Harrell, Richard Francis, 1960-1996, undated
Subseries 2.9: Harrell, Cornelius Eckart, 1940-2001
Subseries 2.10: Harrell, Jr., Charles Henry, 1925-2005
Subseries 2.11: Family Memorabilia, 1960-1990, undated
Subseries 2.12: Photographs, 1929-1996, undated
Series 3, Trahan Family, 1923-1995, undated
Series 4, Family Friends, 1912-1979, undated
Series 5, Photographs, 1907-1992, undated
Biographical / Historical:
The Bridgewater family is a multi-generation African American family descended from Samuel (1862-1912) and Mamie Anderson Bridgwater (1872-1950) (note: later family members spelled the name with an "e"). The son of slaves, Bridgwater was born in Dixon Springs, Smith County, Tennessee, on February 25, 1862. He later enlisted in the all-Black 24th Infantry Regiment, USCI (United States Colored Infantry), one of the famous "Buffalo Soldier" regiments. The 24th Infantry served in the Department of Texas from 1869-1889, Indian Territory from 1880-1888 and following 1888 in the Department of Arizona. In 1892 he married Mamie E. Anderson the daughter of Levi Anderson and Emma Lucy in Fort Huachuca, in what later became the state of Arizona.
Bridgwater fought in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, where he was wounded. He retired from the United States Army at Fort Harrison, Montana, after twenty years of service on August 22, 1906. The family remained in Helena, Montana purchasing a home at 502 Peosta Avenue. The 1910 United States Census lists Samuel has having retired from the United States Army and lists Mamie as being a matron in the US Army hospital. They raised five children, three boys and two girls.
Samuel died on June 9, 1912. His widow and family remained in Montana becoming active in community affairs. Their descendants continued their parents' involvement in community and religious affairs as well as their fathers' tradition of military service. Their daughter Octavia served in an all-black unit of the Army Nurse Corps during World War II and then served her community as a nurse-midwife for the rest of her life. Members of the family continued to live in the home at 502 Peosta well into the twentieth century.
Donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian by Janet Harrell Campbell and Jules Harrell, descendants of Samuel and Mamie Anderson Bridgewater, 2016.
The collection is open for research.
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
United States -- Armed Forces -- African Americans
United States -- Army -- Cavalry, 9th
The collection, spanning the late 19th century to 2005 with the bulk from circa 1880 to circa 1955, measures 1.44 linear feet and documents the daily lives and activities of the Plummer-Arnold family and the military career of Henry Vinton Plummer. The collection consists of 48 color and black-and-white photographs and a framed certificate, letter, and two DVDs regarding the honorable discharge of Henry Vinton Plummer. The photographs are undated.
Scope and Contents:
The Plummer-Arnold family papers span the late 19th century to 2005, with the bulk of the material dating from circa 1880 to circa 1955. The collection contains 48 black-and-white and color photographs, one letter, one certificate, and two DVDs. The black-and-white and color photographs, mostly undated, depict the daily lives and activities of descendants of the Plummer and Arnold families. The collection also features a letter, certificate, and DVDs relating to the honorable discharge of U.S. Army chaplain Henry Vinton Plummer (1844-1905). The collection is organized into two series, Series 1: Family photographs and Series 2: Henry Vinton Plummer military service.
The Plummer-Arnold family has a long and notable history. Adam Francis Plummer (1819-1905) and Emily Saunders Arnold (1815-1876) were enslaved African Americans who married in 1841. The couple was separated on different Maryland plantations for the first 22 years of their marriage. They had eighteen children, only nine of whom survived to adulthood. Their eldest son, Henry Vinton Plummer (1844-1905), escaped slavery in 1862 to become a Civil War chaplain and founder of the Bladensburg Union Burial Association. His descendents' successful battle to upgrade his 1894 dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army is documented in this collection.
In 1862, Henry Vinton Plummer escaped from a Maryland plantation to the District of Columbia, where he joined the Union Navy as a chaplain. He was honorably discharged in 1865 and began his studies at Wayland Seminary, which educated freedmen to enter the Baptist ministry. Upon completion of his studies he became the pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church in Bladensburg, Maryland, founded by his sister, Sarah Miranda Plummer, on October 19, 1866. Henry Vinton Plummer married July Lomax of Virginia in 1867 and their marriage produced nine children.
Henry Vinton Plummer founded the Bladensburg Union Burial Association in 1870, a society that ensured that its African American members would receive a proper funeral by collecting dues and pledges. It was formed in response to a white undertaker's refusal to conduct a funeral because the family of the deceased could not afford to pay. Plummer interceded on behalf of the family and paid their debt. The Bladensburg Union Burial Association remained an active and successful organization into the 20th century.
In 1884, Plummer was appointed as the first black chaplain in the 9th Calvary, one of the Buffalo Soldier units of the Regular Army. Amidst controversy, Plummer was accused of conduct unbecoming an officer and dishonorably discharged from his post in Fort Robinson, Nebraska, by a military court in 1894. In 2005, Plummer's descendants successfully petitioned the Army Board for Correction of Military Records to eradicate his dishonorable discharge. They were issued a certificate from the Army that retroactively grants Plummer the honorable discharge he was denied during his life.
Related Archival Materials note:
These Smithsonian collections and digital exhibits contain related material:
Plummer-Arnold Collection, Permanent Collection, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum.
The Bladensburg Union Burial Association records, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Reverend L. Jerome Fowler.
Plummer Diary Website Project, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution. For a description of the preservation of the diary, see the Smithsonian blog post "A Sense of Place."
These items held by the Smithsonian are related material:
"Out of the Depths or The Triumph of the Cross" by Nellie Arnold Plummer, Gift of the descendants of Adam and Emily Plummer.
Plummer Family Diary, Gift of the Descendants of Adam and Emily Plummer.
United States flag Of Henry Vinton Plummer, Gift of the descendants of Adam and Emily Plummer.
These items are held outside the Smithsonian:
Interview with Reverend L. Jerome Fowler, PTIP Interview Transcripts, Center for Heritage Resource Studies, Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Images of America: Riverdale Park by Donald Lynch, Tom Alderson, and Melissa Avery, Arcadia Publishing, 2011.
The Plummer-Arnold family papers were donated to the Anacostia Community Museum on October 14, 2004, by Reverend L. Jerome Fowler.
The collection is open for unrestricted research. Use of the collection requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
The Plummer-Arnold Family papers are the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/creator or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.
This collection consists of the archives of Giuseppe M. Bellanca and his company, including the following types of mediums: drawings, stress analysis tests, reports, photographs/negatives, documents, correspondence, patent information, newspaper clippings, business records, and financial statements.
Scope and Contents:
Series I: Mr. Bellanca's professional life
Here, the researcher will find documents regarding the day-to-day operations of the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation. The material is generally divided into core documents of the corporation, correspondence, financial documents, subcontracting pursuits, patents, employee relations, and company history.
Series II: Technical Material
This material is separated into the following subseries: Miscellaneous Handwritten Notes and Sketches, Bellanca Aircraft Technical Data, Bellanca Aircraft Corporation Reports, Technical Research Files, Bellanca Aircraft Drawing Lists, Bellanca Aircraft Drawings, and Bellanca Aircraft Drawing Indexes. The Bellanca Collection is not a complete history of the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation. Over the years, it appears that many items were loaned out by the Bellanca Family to researchers and not returned. Therefore, there are significant gaps in correspondence, formal, numbered reports, and other areas of the collection. For example, the earliest report in the Bellanca Collection is Report #28, the next report which appears is report #45.
The Giuseppe M. Bellanca Collection contains over 10,000 drawings. (At the time of processing, not all drawings were entered into the Bellanca Drawings Database. These drawings will be entered as time allows.) The drawings vary in size from 8 x 11 inches to 36 x 185 inches. There are original pencil drawings, blueprints, and blueline drawings. Over 130 models of Bellanca aircraft are represented in the Collection. There are General Arrangement, or Three-View drawings for over 80 of these models. Bellanca drawings are not easy to decipher. Most of the drawings have data blocks which contain only a finite amount of information. Often the aircraft has been identified only by serial number. In some cases the model number of the aircraft is also the drawing number. Other times, the aircraft name would be given, but no model number, i.e. Skyrocket. Also, words were abbreviated and it was left up to the processing archivist to determine their probable meaning. Despite the explanation in the scope and content notes, the Bellanca Corporation was not consistent when assigning model numbers. Letters were sometimes assigned that reflected a United States War Department designation, i.e. the VSO and the VF. By using the Bellanca Drawing indexes, the processing archivist was able to supply model numbers for some of the drawings.
7136 Bellanca Aircraft Company Drawings have been added to the National Air and Space Museum Miscellaneous Drawings Database. As time allows, the remaining Bellanca Drawings will be added to this database. An Archives Staff member will assist researchers in retrieving these materials from the database finding aid.
The Bellanca drawings were stored for over thirty years in less-than-ideal conditions. Many of the drawings were drawn on poor-quality tracing paper, and have become extremely brittle and fragile. Therefore, many of the drawings in the Bellanca Collection may not be available to researchers.
During processing of the collection, the project archivist has gained some insight about how Mr. Bellanca chose the model designations for his aircraft. The earliest system of model designations was based upon letters of the alphabet. No model designations appear for any Bellanca design until his work for Maryland Pressed Steel in 1916. The CD, which he designed for that company, was his fourth aircraft design that was built, and the letter D is the fourth letter of the alphabet. This pattern continues through the Bellanca CF. During 1926, when Mr. Bellanca worked for the Wright Corporation, he already had in mind an improved version of the CF, which was designated the CG. This aircraft received the designation WB-1 from the Wright Corporation.
When Mr. Bellanca formed his own company in 1927, the letter pattern described above reasserted itself for a time with the introduction of the Bellanca CH. It was a common practice of manufacturers of the time to also include the engine horsepower as part of the model number, so the Bellanca CH actually received its Approved Type Certificate (ATC) as the CH-200. When the next model came out, it was the CH-300 with a 300 horsepower Wright Whirlwind engine. This system remained in place through the CH-400. Names were given to some Bellanca aircraft. It appears that the names were a marketing tool meant to appeal to the buying public. With this idea in mind, the CH-300 became the "Pacemaker", the CH-400 became the "Skyrocket", and the P 100 was christened the "Airbus". In the early 1930's, the Bellanca Corporation moved away from the alphabetical designations and moved to numerical designations. Later Bellanca aircraft model designations consist of a series of numbers, such as 31-50. The first number was the wing area, in this case, 310 square feet, divided by 10. The second number was the horsepower of the engine, 500, divided by 10. This resulted in a distinctive system of model designations, which lasted until Mr. Bellanca sold the company.
Series III: Mr. Bellanca's personal material.
In this series, the researcher will find personal correspondence among family members, from both Giuseppe and Dorothy Bellanca's families and personal, legal and financial records for Bellanca family. As the lines between Mr. Bellanca's personal and professional lives were sometimes blurred, a fine line of separation between the two was not always possible. For example, at one time or another, two of Mr. Bellanca's brothers, John and Frank, worked for the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation and Andrew Bellanca, Mr. Bellanca's nephew, was his lawyer throughout his life. Therefore, the processing archivist suggests that the researcher look in the professional series of documents as well as Mr. Bellanca's personal papers for a more complete representation of Mr. Bellanca's correspondence.
After processing was completed, publications which previously had been offered to the NASM Branch Library were returned to the collection. They are listed in an addendum at the end of this finding aid.
Series IV: Photographs.
The researcher will find photographs of Bellanca aircraft, including the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation's Master Photograph Files, photographs of the Bellanca factory and factory workers, and photographs of Giuseppe M. Bellanca, business associates, and family members.
Series V: Miscellaneous and Oversize Materials.
This series contains ephemera of the Bellanca Collection: Scrapbooks, Loose Newspaper Clippings, Artwork, Ephemera and Magazine Clippings.
The Bellanca Collection included 27 motion picture films. In May of 2000, this film was transferred to the NASM Film Archives. Researchers wishing to access this part of the collection should contact the NASM Film Archivist.
Series I: Mr. Bellanca's Professional Life
Series II: Technical Data
Series III: Personal Papers
Series IV: Photographs
Series V: Miscellaneous and Oversize Materials
Biographical / Historical:
Giuseppe Mario Bellanca was born in 1886 in Sciacca, Sicily. As a young man, he attended the Technical Institute in Milan, graduating with a teaching degree in mathematics in 1908. During his quest for a second mathematics and engineering degree, he became enamoured of aviation, and set out to design and build his own airplane. Bellanca's first aircraft design was a "pusher" aircraft, somewhat similar to the Wright Flyer. Lacking funds for such an endeavor, he joined with two partners, Enea Bossi, and Paolo Invernizzi. The union of the three produced the first flight of a totally Italian-designed and Italian-built aircraft in early December of 1909. The flight was short, but it was a start. Bellanca's second design was a tractor-type aircraft. Although the aircraft was successfully constructed, it was never flown due to insufficient funds for an engine.
At the urging of his brother Carlo, who was already established in Brooklyn, New York, Giuseppe Bellanca immigrated to America in 1911. Before the end of the year, he began construction of his third airplane design, a parasol monoplane. After construction was completed, he took the small craft to Mineola Field on Long Island, NY, and proceeded to teach himself to fly. He began by taxiing. He then, taxied faster, which gave way to short hops. The hops got longer, until, on May 19, 1912, there was not enough room to land straight ahead, and Bellanca had to complete a turn in order land safely. Having successfully taught himself to fly, Bellanca then set about teaching others to fly, and from 1912 to 1916, he operated the Bellanca Flying School. One of his students was a young Fiorello La Guardia, the future mayor of New York City. In return for flying lessons, La Guardia taught Bellanca how to drive a car.
In 1917 the Maryland Pressed Steel Company of Hagerstown, MD hired Bellanca as a consulting engineer. While there, he designed two trainer biplanes, the CD, and an improved version, the CE. With the conclusion of WWI, Maryland Pressed Steel's contracts were cancelled and the company entered into receivership. Thus, the CE never went into production.
In 1921, a group of investors lured Bellanca westward to Omaha, NE, in hopes of establishing that town as a center for aircraft manufacture. Before the aircraft could be built, the company went bankrupt, but construction of the aircraft continued under the financial backing of a local motorcycle dealer named Victor Roos. The resultant aircraft, the Bellanca CF, was called by Janes's All the World's Aircraft "the first up-to-date transport aeroplane that was designed, built, and flown with success in the United States." Among the local people helping to build the aircraft was the daughter of Bellanca's landlord, Dorothy Brown. Giuseppe and she were married on November 18, 1922.
Despite its advanced design, the Bellanca CF could not compete with the economics of the time. In the days just after World War I, a surplus Curtiss Jenny could be purchased for as little as $250.00. A Bellanca CF, with a price tag of $5000.00, was just too expensive and the aircraft never went into production. After the disappointment of the CF, Bellanca designed wings for the Post Office Department's DH-4's. His new wings were a tremendous improvement over the original design, but only a few aircraft were so modified.
In 1925, Bellanca went to work for the Wright Aeronautical Corporation of Paterson, NJ. His assignment there was to develop an aircraft around the new Wright Whirlwind engine. He already had a design in mind, which was an improved version of the CF, called the CG. This design evolved into the Wright-Bellanca WB-1.
The WB-1 enjoyed a short, but successful flying career. The aircraft had already won one race and efficiency contest before an untimely accident destroyed the craft during preparation for an attempt to break the world's non-refueled endurance record. Fortunately, at the time of the crash, Bellanca was already working on an improved version, of the WB-1 designated the WB-2.
During 1926, the WB-2 won two efficiency trophies at the National Air Races in Philadelphia. Wright considered putting the aircraft into production, but decided against it to avoid alienating other aircraft companies that were potential customers for their engines. Disappointed by Wright's decision, Bellanca left the company and joined with a young businessman named Charles Levine to form the Columbia Aircraft Company. Wright sold the WB-2 and all drawings and production rights to the new company. The WB-2 went on to a long and fruitful flying career starting with establishing a new world's non-refueled endurance record of 51 hours, 11 minutes, and 59 seconds in April of 1927.
In the latter half of 1926, Charles Lindbergh wanted to buy the WB-2, now named the 'Columbia', for his proposed flight from New York to Paris. He was rebuffed by Levine who also had designs on the flight and the $25,000 prize money. Lindbergh then went to Ryan for his specially designed NYP. Meanwhile Levine, in choosing the crew, managed to promise two seats to three people. So while the Columbia was grounded by a court order brought by the third party, Lindbergh took off on his successful flight to Paris.
Eventually, the 'Columbia' was cleared of litigation and took off on its successful transatlantic flight on June 4, 1927. In the cockpit were Clarence Chamberlin, one of the pilots of the endurance record and Charles Levine, who became the first transatlantic passenger. The plan was to fly all the way to Berlin, and Chamberlin had vowed to fly until they ran out of fuel. Forty-three hours later, they landed in Eisleben, Germany, the first of two successful Atlantic crossings for Bellanca's most famous aircraft.
Disappointed because the 'Columbia' was not the first aircraft to accomplish the New York to Paris flight, Bellanca severed all relations with Levine, and started his own company, the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of America, and rented facilities on Staten Island, NY. The new Bellanca model was designated the CH, and was basically a commercial version of the WB-2. The new company also had two other models that were built for special orders, the Bellanca Model J and the Model K.
It was not long before Bellanca caught the attention of the Du Pont family of Delaware. They wanted to start aircraft manufacturing in Delaware, and in late 1927, an agreement was made with Bellanca to locate his factory outside of Wilmington. The site was large enough for a first-class airfield, with a seaplane ramp on the nearby Delaware River.
This was a busy time in Bellanca's life. Along with all that was happening in his professional life, he and Dorothy celebrated the birth of their son August T. Bellanca in March of 1927.
With the exception of a few years immediately before and during the early stages of WWII, Bellanca was President and Chairman of the Board from the corporation's inception on the last day of 1927 until he sold the company to L. Albert and Sons in 1954. After his departure from the company, Giuseppe and his son, August, formed the Bellanca Development Company with the purpose of building a new aircraft. It would have increased performance due to the use of lighter materials for its structure. Work on this aircraft was progressing when Giuseppe Bellanca succumbed to leukemia and died on December 26, 1960. After his father's death, August continued the project, and under his guidance, the aircraft first flew in 1973.
In 1993, August Bellanca donated his father's personal and professional papers to the National Air and Space Museum Archives. Prior to that time, they were kept in the Bellanca home near Galena, MD, and administered by Dorothy and August Bellanca.
1886 -- Born in Sciacca, Sicily
1909 -- Built first airplane. It completed the first flight of an Italian-designed, Italian-built, aircraft on December 8, 1909.
1911 -- Immigrated to America, settled in Brooklyn, NY.
1912 -- Completed construction of parasol monoplane. Successfully learned to fly this aircraft at Mineola, Long Island, NY.
1912 - 1916 -- Taught others to fly the parasol monoplane, including Fiorello LaGuardia.
1917 - 1920 -- Employed as a consulting engineer for Maryland Pressed Steel Company of Hagerstown, MD. While there, Bellanca designed and built the Bellanca CD and CE tractor biplanes.
1921 - 1922 -- Moved to Omaha, NE, and with Victor Roos, formed the Roos-Bellanca Aircraft Company. Bellanca designed and built the Bellanca CF. Married Dorothy Brown on November 18, 1922, in Omaha, NE.
1923 -- Moved back to New York, and designed and built new sets of wings for the Post Office Department's DH-4 mailplanes
1925 -- Employed by the Wright Aeronautical Corporation of Paterson, NJ, designing an aircraft around their new "Whirlwind" engine. The Wright-Bellanca 1, or WB-1, was the result, and was first flown in the latter part of that year.
1926 -- First flight of the WB-2.
1927 -- Bellanca started the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of America, on Staten Island, NY. Bellanca established the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of New Castle, DE. Wright decided not to enter into quantity production of the WB-2. Bellanca entered into a partnership with Charles A. Levine, and together, they formed the Columbia Aircraft Corporation. From Tuesday, April 12 to Thursday, April 14, Clarence Chamberlin and Bert Acosta set a new world's non-refueled endurance record in the WB-2, which was shortly thereafter, renamed the "Columbia". On June 4th, the Columbia set off across the Atlantic, and landed in Eisleben, Germany.
1941 - 1943 -- Head of the aviation department at Higgins Industries, Inc., in New Orleans, designing large cargo aircraft for troop movement during the war.
1954 -- Formed the Bellanca Development Company, to conduct research in lightweight aircraft construction materials.
1960 -- Died of leukemia in New York, December 26.
Mr. and Mrs. August Bellanca, Gift, 1993, NASM.1993.0055
No restrictions on access.