This collection consists of 355 biographies written by Harold E. Morehouse and intended for publication. These biographies discuss Morehouse's fellow early aviation pioneers, many of whom belong to the Early Birds, an organization open to those who soloed before December 17, 1916. Each biography discusses the subject's life and the majority of biographies include a photograph of the individual.
The Harold E. Morehouse Flying Pioneers Biographies Collection (accession XXXX-0450) contains
approximately four cubic feet of material. It is also known as The Harold and Marvel Morehouse Aviation Pioneers
Collection. The collection includes photographs, negatives, and typewritten material.
Container List: Series I: Biographies of Flying Pioneers; Series II: Miscellaneous related materials; Series III: Oversized materials
This collection consists of over 350 short biographies of early aviation's trailblazers written by Harold E. Morehouse (1894-1973). Conspicuous by its absence is a biography of the author, himself an innovator.
Born in Michigan, Morehouse channelled a youthful fascination with flight into training in the field of
mechanical engineering. He began work in 1915 for the Van Blerck Motor Company and assisted in their
development of aircraft engines. In 1917, Morehouse was working as a layout draftsman on the Standard J-1 Training Airplane for the Dayton-Wright Aeroplane Company. However, this assignment was quickly superseded by his placement on a secret project, supervised by C.F. Kettering and Orville Wright. Its aim was the production of a selfflying aerial torpedo which has since become known as the Kettering Bug. Morehouse contributed to all phases of this project, including its design, engine development and flight testing. The armistice arrived before the actual deployment of the Bug; Morehouse was to spend the next few years in engine design and development.
In 1925, Morehouse joined the Wright Aeronautical Corporation and both the Wright-Morehouse engine
and the Wright-Whirlwind J-5 (a re-design of the J-4) were developed here under Morehouse. The latter engine was later to serve as the powerplant for the historic 1927 trans-Atlantic flight of the Spirit of St. Louis and this was a great source of satisfaction to Morehouse. He left Wright Aero in 1929 and in subsequent years designed the inverted Rover for the Michigan Aero Engine Company, the A-50 for the Continental Motors Corporation and the Engineering and Research Corporation's Erco engine.
About ten years prior to his retirement in 1965, Harold Morehouse began work on a personal project. His
aim was to gather information on significant contributors to early aviation and distill this data to produce a set of
brief biographies of these innovative men and women. He was assisted in this by his wife, Marvel Dyer. After
Harold's death, Marvel worked in concert with Paul E. Garber of the National Air Museum to procure publication of
the work. Sadly, the passing of Marvel Dyer and later of Paul Garber seemed to bring plans for publication to a halt.
This collection consists of hundreds of biographical narratives concerning the lives of the "Flying
Pioneers." Many of those featured were members of the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc., a group whose members had
the distinction of having soloed prior to 1916. Most of the biographies are accompanied by one or more photographs of their subject and comprise an invaluable resource on the accomplishments and sacrifices of those intrepid individuals who forged the history of American aviation. However, it should be borne in mind that the biographies are based in large measure on personal interviews and are concerned primarily with their subjects' careers in aviation.
Other sources should be consulted to obtain a complete portrait.
Mr. and Mrs. Harold E. Morehouse, gift, 1960-1972, XXXX-0450, NASM
0.68 Cubic feet (1 legal document box; 1 20 x 24 x 3 flatbox; 1 slim legal document box)
George W. Beatty (-1955) was an Early Bird, aviator, and instructor.
Scope and Contents:
The George W. Beatty Collection (accessions 1989-0013 and 1991-0069) contains approximately one cubic foot of material relating to the career of this pioneering aviator. The bulk of the material dates from 1910 to 1912 and includes an Early Birds plaque, several small banners from flying meets, and a 1928 letter from Orville Wright. The collection also includes correspondence, a great deal of photographic material, and scrapbooks.
Original order, when identified, has been maintained.
Series in the collection are as follows:
Series I: Documentary Material
Series II: Photographic Material
Series III: Oversized Materials
Born in 1887 or 1888 in Whitehouse, New Jersey, George W. Beatty was employed as a young man as a
linotype operator. He was shortly to enter the field that would define much of his life. In June of 1911 he enrolled at the Wright School at Nassau to be taught by Al Welsh. Soloing on July 23 of that year, he set a new two-man
American altitude record on the same day. Throughout that summer, Beatty would set several more records, in
altitude, weight-carrying and duration. On August 6, 1911, Beatty obtained license number 41 and subsequently
attended meets where he was to break several American and world records. Also in that year, he would become the
first to fly a plane in which air to ground communication was maintained throughout the flight.
Early in 1912, Beatty established a school on Long Island. Its proximity to New York allowed Beatty to
become the first person to land on Manhattan when he flew over the city and into Central Park. He would soon need to take his skills elsewhere, however. After the unfortunate death of Al Welsh, Beatty took the place of his former instructor at College Park, Maryland, testing aircraft for the government.
The next year, Beatty shipped his Wright plane to England. The aircraft had by now been equipped with a
GYRO seven-cylinder rotary motor. He formed a partnership with Handly-Page to establish a flying school at the
Hendon Aerodrome, outside of London. This venture was highly successful and was to produce over one thousand
fliers for the Royal Air Force. After the war, Beatty worked for a Parisian motorcycle manufacturer and remained in
Europe for nineteen years.
In later life, Beatty was to return to the field of his youth, working for the Hughes Printing Company. On
February 21, 1955, George W. Beatty, a member of the Early Birds and an outstanding figure in early aviation, passed away at 67.
George W. Beatty (-1955) was an Early Bird, aviator and instructor. After finishing school, Beatty became a mechanic and linotype operator. In 1909 he became interested in a New York gliding club and assisted in the construction of an unsuccessful home-built Santos-Dumont Demoiselle. In 1911 he entered the Wright Flying School and received his license in July of that year. He spent much of the remaining years before World War I carrying passengers, flying exhibitions, and instructing, both in England and the United States. In February 1914 he established a flying school at Hendon, near London, in cooperation with Handley Page and instructed military pilots during the war. Following the war he returned to the US and became superintendent of the Hughes Printing Company, where he remained until his death.
Other materials: Artifacts from this collection were transferred to the NASM Aeronautics Division; books were transferred to the NASM branch Library.
The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) received these materials in 1988, a donation from Louise
Louise Beatty, gift, 1988, 1991, 1989-0013, 1991-0069, NASM
No restrictions on access.
The Paul E. Garber Collection documents Paul Edward Garber's life, both personal and professional, prior to and during his 72-year tenure at the National Air and Space Museum.
Scope and Contents:
The Paul E. Garber Collection includes material from both the personal and professional realms of Garber's life. It is centered on the following three areas: Garber's personal life; his aeronautics interests; and his association with the Smithsonian Institution—the National Air Museum, and later the National Air and Space Museum. The collection is a particularly rich source of material relating to Garber's development of the military target kite, his involvement in a multitude of aviation-related clubs and organizations, and as a record of his daily work duties and influence upon the National Air and Space Museum. The following types of materials, dating from 1824 to 1992, are included: correspondence; diaries; notes and writings by Garber regarding a variety of aeronautical and museum topics; lectures and interviews; scrapbooks; newspaper clippings; magazine articles; photo albums; photographs, slides, negatives, and lantern slides; pamphlets and brochures; drawings; newsletters; and audio recordings.
Little emphasis has been placed on dividing this collection between Garber's personal and professional lives, as the two capacities intersected in almost every way. Whenever possible, Garber's original folder titles and order have been preserved. All titles that appear in [brackets] are the archivist's.
The collection is organized into the following 15 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1901-circa 1992 and undated
Series 2: Invitations and Programs, 1910-1988 and undated
Series 3: National Air and Space Museum (NASM), 1916-1992 and undated
Series 4: World War II Target Kites and Naval Reserve, 1919-1986 and undated
Series 5: Manuscripts and Speeches, 1925-1989 and undated
Series 6: Personal Materials, 1824-1992 and undated
Series 7: Personal Interest, circa 1908-circa 1992 and undated
Series 8: Organizations, 1908-1992 and undated
Series 9: Newsletters, 1938-1992 and undated
Series 10: Biographical Files, circa 1910-circa 1992 and undated
Series 11: Subject Files, 1909- circa 1990 and undated
Series 12: Photographs, circa 1880-1992 and undated
Series 13: Negatives, Transparencies, Film, and Slides, circa 1940s-circa 1970s and undated
Series 14: Oversize Materials, 1842-1990 and undated
Series 15: Audio Recordings
Biographical / Historical:
Paul Edward Garber (1899-1992) was instrumental in obtaining a substantial portion of the National Air and Space Museum's aircraft collection. His 72-year tenure with the Smithsonian Institution and his dedication to the belief that aeronautics artifacts were worthy of preservation for the sake of National memory effectively make him the progenitor of the National Air and Space Museum we know today.
Garber was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on 31 August 1899, a few years prior to the development of powered flight. Growing up during this exciting time, young Garber was exposed to a number of experiences that ignited his interest in aeronautics. Garber recalled that, while visiting Washington, D.C., in 1909, he took a streetcar across the Potomac River to watch Orville Wright fly the world's first military airplane at Fort Myer, Virginia.
The Garber family eventually left Atlantic City and permanently settled in Washington, D.C. In 1913 Garber and his schoolmates formed the Capital Model Aeroplane Club, organizing competitions for the making and flying of model aircraft and kites. In 1915, after visiting the Smithsonian Institution, Garber made a copy of Octave Chanute's biplane glider. After testing a smaller model, which he flew as a kite, Garber constructed a 20-foot wingspan version, using barrel staves sawed into thirds as ribs and covering them in red chintz fabric. Over several weekends, Garber made numerous towed take-offs and glides. These flights would eventually qualify him for membership into the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. Between 1917 and 1918 Garber studied at the McKinley Technical School in Washington, D.C., and the University of Maryland, College Park. He also studied Aeronautical Engineering at the Research University, Washington, 1920-1921. He never received a degree from any institution he attended. Garber finished his teen years by joining the Army in 1918 and was about to begin flight training at College Park when World War I ended. Afterwards, he took a job as a ground crewman and messenger with the United States Post Office Department's Air Mail Service.
In 1920 Garber began his career with the Smithsonian Institution, starting as a "Preparator," dealing with the maintenance of exhibits. Advancing through the ranks, he was at various times an Aide, Assistant Curator, and Associate Curator. During World War II, Garber's talents in modeling and kite making allowed him to accept a commission in the U.S. Navy at the rank of Lt. Commander. His military target kites became an important part of gunnery training, serving as both targets and examples for identifying enemy aircraft. Following the ending of the war, Garber resigned at the rank of Commander and returned to the Smithsonian where, in 1952, he became the first Curator of the National Air Museum, which was created by act of Congress in 1946.
On 10 May 1952 Garber married Irene Tusch, daughter of the aeronautical enthusiast Mary E. "Mother" Tusch. Throughout the next decade plus, Garber received promotions to Head Curator and Senior Historian, serving in this last position until 1965. From 1965 to 1969, Garber was the Assistant Director of Aeronautics. Forced to retire by Federal law upon reaching the age of 70, Garber received the honorary lifetime titles of Historian Emeritus and Ramsey Fellow.
Garber wrote several books on aeronautics and flight: Building and Flying Model Aircraft. A Guide for Youthful Beginners in Aeronautics, 1920; We: The Story of Achievement in Aviation, 1929; Kites and Kite Flying, 1931; Flying in Safety, 1939; and Navy Target Kites, 1944. He wrote multiple editions on the National Aircraft/Aeronautical Collections (1941, 1949, 1956, and 1965), as well as numerous pamphlets, handbooks, encyclopedia entries, and articles on aviation-related subjects.
In addition to his writing and lecturing, he was the recipient of many awards and trophies, including: the Washington Air Derby Association Trophy, 1954; the Air Line Traffic Association Citation, 1955; the Frank G. Brewer Trophy for Youth Education, 1959; the Elder Statesman of Aviation Award, 1964; the Trasvolata Atlantica Medal from Italy, 1964; the Santos-Dumont Medal of Merit from Brazil, 1966; the Paul Tissandier Diplome from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (F.A.I.), 1968; the Smithsonian Institution's Gold Medal, 1969; the Order Rio Branco, 1969; the Mérito Aeronáutico Medal from Brazil, 1974; named an honorary pilot in the Brazilian Air Force, 1982; recipient of the Medalha Mérito Tamandaré of Brazil, 1983; named to the OX-5 Club's Aviation Hall of Fame, 1974; and received the Laskowitz Gold Medal from the New York Academy of Sciences, 1979. Garber was also made Honorary Naval Aviator #17 during the mid-1980's. He was a member of the National Aeronautics Association, the Air Mail Pioneers, the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. (Secretary, 1956-1960; President 1968, 1976-77), the Connecticut Aeronautical Historical Society, the National Aviation Club, and the National Space Club.
Paul Garber died in his sleep at Arlington Hospital on 23 September 1992. His acquisition efforts and advocacy on behalf of the National Air and Space Museum continue to live on in the form of its rich aircraft collections. The National Air and Space Museum's Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility, formerly known as "Silver Hill," is named in his honor.
Paul Garber, Gift, 1991, NASM.1991.0063
No restrictions on access.
This collection consists of the records and historical materials of the Early Bird organization, including correspondence; photographs; the organization's newsletter, Chirp; financial records; reunion memorabilia; biographical material of members; and membership lists. This material was donated to the Museum after the National Air Museum was designated as the official repository for Early Bird records.
Scope and Contents:
The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. Collection (acc. XXXX-0566) contains approximately 18 cubic feet of material relating to this group of early pilots. The material includes correspondence, financial records, periodicals, photographic material, published materials and various other media containing information on the organization and its individual members.
The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) was designated by the Early Birds as the official repository for the organization in 1960 and the Museum has obtained materials at different times from various members. Much of the material in the collection is comprised of the records and memorabilia of the organization's officers, including Paul Garber, past President as well as Archivist/Historian for the group. In addition to the records contained in this collection, members have donated to NASM aircraft, plaques and other items of historical interest.
Some preliminary processing work had been done on this collection by 1996, but much of the material remained without obvious order. Original order, when identified, has been maintained.
Material was added from the Museum's Archives' Technical Files on organizations but researchers seeking information on individual members may wish to cross-reference the biographical section of the Technical Files located in NASM's Archives downtown which includes folders for most of the Early Birds.
Some members of the Early Birds remained quite active with the organization until the late 1980s. The material in the collection therefore spans over eighty years.
Container List: Series I: Core organizational documents; Series II: Organizational correspondence and records; Series III: Publications; Series IV: Events; Series V: Individual members; Series VI: Miscellaneous; Series VII: Scrapbooks
Appendices. Appendix I: Chronological List of Officers Appendix II: Membership list Related collections in NASM's holdings
Biographical / Historical:
Founded after the National Air Races of 1928, the Early Birds (later to be known as the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc.) consisted of pioneer aviators banded together for the purposes of preserving aviation history, advancing interest in aeronautics and the enjoyment of good fellowship. Membership in the group necessitated documentary evidence of solo flight in heavier- or lighter-than-air craft before December 17, 1916. This date was of some significance to the Early Birds, being the thirteenth anniversary (that number being considered propitious) of the first sustained, powered, heavier-than-air flight by the Wrights at Kitty Hawk. Those interested in flying in this pre-World War I period were often required to build their own craft and instruct themselves in the necessary skills to pilot it and members took great pride in this evidence of initiative. (For nationals of countries other than the United States which were engaged in the War the conditional date was set at August 4, 1914.)
As an organization, the Early Birds was responsible for the preservation of aircraft and records, the erection of numerous markers and monuments and the education of the public on the importance of aviation. With members including Glenn Curtiss, Blanche Stuart Scott, Matilde Moisant, Grover Loening, Roy Knabenshue, Sir Thomas Sopwith, Katherine Stinson, Marjorie Stinson, Earle Ovington, Matty Laird, Anthony Fokker and Giuseppe Bellanca, their contributions as individuals were incalculable.
Numbering nearly 600 members at its peak, the Early Birds was conceived of as a "last man's club" whose existence would cease with the passing of its last surviving member.
Related Collections in NASM's Holdings:
NOTES FOR STAFF
NameMaterialAccession NumberLawrence M. AllisonBiographical material1988-0021Charles A. ArensScrapbooksXXXX-0016Ralph S. BarnabyPersonal Papers1987-0048Carl T. Batts Collection1992-0048George W. BeattyCollection 1989-0013/1991-0069Lucielle A. Belmont Exhibition AdvertisementXXXX-0078Edward R. BolandMemorabiliaXXXX-0063Frank T. CoffynScrapbookXXXX-0065Harry D. CoplandSlide CollectionXXXX-0439H. Paul CulverScrapbookXXXX-0401H.P. Culver Airmail Scrapbook & InvoicesXXXX-0401Glenn CurtissScrapbookXXXX-0320Glenn H. CurtissCollectionXXXX-0053Charles H. DayScrapbookXXXX-0028Curtiss LaQ. DayScrapbookXXXX-0292William Carl Diehl CollectionXXXX-0469Early Aviation ('06-'10)ScrapbooksXXXX-0404Early Aviation (ca. '10)ScrapbooksXXXX-0299Early AviationPhotograph ScrapbookXXXX-0322Early AviationPhotograph ScrapbookXXXX-0048Early AviationScrapbookXXXX-0291"Early Birds"Reunion AutographsXXXX-0124Luis DeFlorezScrapbook/MemorabiliaXXXX-0069Paul E. GarberScrapbookXXXX-0246Thomas Foster Hamilton Collection1989-0129Edward HoltermanScrapbookXXXX-0223S. Jerwan/MoisantScrapbookXXXX-0231Walter E. JohnsonScrapbook1987-0068Ernest Jones AeronauticalCollectionXXXX-0096Roy KnabenshueAutobiography ManuscriptXXXX-0136Frank P. LahmCollection1984-0044Lahm Airport Memorial& DedicationScrapbook S-118XXXX-0268R.F. MacFieScrapbookXXXX-0296Glenn L. MartinScrapbookXXXX-0018James V. MartinScrapbookXXXX-0236Thomas deWitt MillingPersonal PapersXXXX-0133Harold E. Morehouse "Flying Pioneers" BiographiesXXXX-0450George A. PageCollectionXXXX-0126Evan J. Parker ScrapbookXXXX-0348Fred ParkerScrapbookXXXX-0224Edwin C. ParsonsScrapbookXXXX-0308Roland RohlfsScrapbookXXXX-0278Martin F. Scanlon ScrapbooksXXXX-0037Blanche Stuart ScottMemorabiliaXXXX-0062William H. Sheahan Early Aviation PhotographsXXXX-0523Thomas SteptoeScrapbookXXXX-0229Paul R. StocktonWorld War I Aviation ScrapbookXXXX-0283Paul StudenskiCollection1989-0012Henry ToncrayScrapbook1989-0012John H. TowersWorld War I Aviation ScrapbookXXXX-0033Victor VernonScrapbookXXXX-0221John B.R. VerplanckScrapbookXXXX-0012Clifford L. Webster CollectionXXXX-0559Elling D. Weeks (E.D. "Hud" Weeks)Early Aviation Collection1984-0004, 1984-0006Bernard L. Whelan Photographs1992-0055Orville & Wilbur WrightMemorabiliaXXXX-0079
Early Birds of Aviation, Inc., gift, 1960s-1980s, XXXX-0566, NASM