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.
No restrictions on access
This scrapbook collection chronicles Vernon's aviation career and includes numerous photographs from the 1915-1920 period, with an emphasis on Curtiss flying boats, the Curtiss Model H America, the Curtiss rebuilt Langley Aerodrome, and Curtiss tractors. Besides the photographs, the scrapbooks contains many newspaper clippings covering Vernon's involvement with Curtiss, and his association with the Oregon-Washington-Idaho Airplane Co., as well as correspondence with William (Billy) Mitchel, Glenn Curtiss, and C.R. Smith. Miscellaneous items include route charts, correspondence, and photographs relating to Colonial Airlines and American Airlines, photographs of Bert Acosta and Vernon's naval aviator certificates. There is also material relating to Vernon's hydroaeroplane.
Biographical / Historical:
Victor Vernon was an aviation pioneer who began his career on Curtiss flying boats. In 1915 Vernon went to Toronto Canada with the Curtiss School to teach Canadian pilots. During World War I Vernon served with the U.S. Navy as an aviator and test pilot for the Naval Aircraft Factory. In 1919-1920, Vernon was instrumental in forming the Oregon-Washington-Idaho Airplane Company. In 1930 Vernon joined Colonial Airlines,a division of American Airways. He remained with American Airlines as Personnel Director and Assistant to the President until his retirement in 1948.
Victor Vernon, Gift, unknown, XXXX-0221, NASM
No restrictions on access