Throughout its history the Engineering Division/Materiel Division at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, maintained a catalogued library of technical documents, which was turned over to the Air Force Museum and later donated to the National Air and Space Museum. The collection consists of reports and other documents on a variety of aviation-related topics, including general science (aeronautics, physics, chemistry, etc); military air service personnel, organization, and equipment for both US and foreign air forces; as well as operations, and so on. Currently, the finding aid only covers documents from the D52.1 subject code (Airplanes, arranged alphabetically) and only those that are physically located in the Wright Field Technical Documents Library.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of reports and other documents on a variety of aviation-related topics, including general science (aeronautics, physics, chemistry, etc); military air service personnel, organization, and equipment for both US and foreign air forces; as well as operations, and so on. Information on foreign services and equipment is usually from military intelligence reports, although some foreign documents or translations are included. The material also includes a large section of test reports from the Material Division itself.
Every document in the collection has been assigned a multi-part Wright Field Number. This number is adapted from the Air Force central decimal correspondence filing system. Wright Field Numbers are written in the format:
Subject Code: This number begins with an alpha-numeric subject code. For example, D52.1 (Airplanes, arranged alphabetically).
Category Suffix: A more specific textual subject reference. For example, in the D52.1 subjects, the suffix is usually a manufacturer name, aircraft name, or a general type of aircraft. (Original Wright Field cataloguers could be inconsistent in how they classified an airplane. For example, a document on a Japanese Mitsubishi A6M could be filed alphabetically under A6M, Mitsubishi, Zeke, Zero, or Misc. Japanese.) It is possible to not have a category suffix.
Sequence Number: The individual number assigned to the document within its subject code and category. If a document was formerly classified as "Security Information," the sequence number starts with "S," for example "S-1." These are usually filed at the beginning of a range of documents. Sometimes technical manuals are filed using the technical order (TO) number. For example, 01-20EE-3 is the sequence number used for a Boeing B-17 Handbook of Overhaul Instructions, TO-01-20EE-3.
Sequence Modifier: If there is a revision or multiple parts of a document, this is reflected in a sequence modifier. Ex. Dates, revision numbers, etc.
The documents are arranged alpha-numerically by Wright Field Number in the order of:
Each record contains the title and source from the index cards. Information from the subject field on the cards appears as a scope and content note.
Currently, the finding aid only covers documents from the D52.1 subject code and only those that are physically located in the Wright Field Technical Documents Library. Please contact the NASM Archives regarding additional documents. Some may be located in the Technical Reference Files, cataloguing information may be only on the index cards, or the document has been catalogued as missing from the collection.
Biographical / Historical:
In 1917, the United States Army Air Service established an aviation engineering section at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. In 1927, the Engineering Division, as it was then known, moved to nearby Wilbur Wright Field and remained there as the Air Force Materiel Division (AFMD) and Air Materiel Command (AMC) until Wright Field combined with Patterson Field to become Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1948. The Engineering Division was responsible for Army Air Services research and development and served as a clearinghouse for information on aviation development worldwide. Throughout its history the Engineering Division/Materiel Division maintained a catalogued library of documents, which was turned over to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson and was later donated to the National Air and Space Museum.
United States Air Force Museum, Transfer, 1962, NASM.XXXX.0428.
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