The Head Papers, 1926-1991, consist of correspondence, calendars, notes, company records (Head Ski Company and Prince Manufacturing Inc.), drawings, sketches, advertisements, product information, photographs, and slides documenting the development and design of both the Head ski and Prince oversized tennis racket. The collection is arranged into eight series:
The collection is divided into eight series.
Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1926-1991
Series 2: Correspondence and Writings, 1943-1991
Series 3: Head Ski Company Records, 1943-1990
Series 4: Head Ski Company Reunion Materials, 1986
Series 5: Prince Manufacturing, Inc. Records, 1971-1991
Series 6: Historical Collection Materials, 1986-1991
Series 7: Posters, undated
Series 8; Audiovisual Materials, 1940s-1991
Biographical / Historical:
Howard Head was born July 31, 1914 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended William Penn Charter and graduated from Harvard in 1936 with a degree in engineering. From 1939 to1947, Head worked for Glenn L. Martin Company as a riveter and engineer. He left Martin and founded the Head Ski Company in Timonium, MD in 1948. The former aircraft engineer, developed, designed, manufactured, and marketed the first metal laminate skis in 1950 called the "Head Standard" which revolutionized the ski industry. These skis were made of two layers of aluminum bonded around a core of plywood at very high pressure; the outer layer was made of plastic. By 1952, Head introduced skis with edges made of tempered steel. His skis were lighter and faster than wood and earned the nickname "cheaters" by the industry. In 1969, Head introduced a fiberglass/metal ski, but this ski combined with a diversified product line of javelin and aluminum tennis rackets could not strengthen his company nor stop a takeover by AMF in 1970. In 1968, Head formed a tennis division of Head Sports Inc., to develop a metal tennis racket which he introduced at the U.S. Open in 1969. After Head sold his interests in Head Sports Inc., he became chairman of the board for Prince Manufacturing Inc., in 1971. He decided to enlarge the width and length of the traditional tennis racket, more than doubling its "sweet spot." He developed and patented a line of new aluminum rackets and introduced the "Prince Advantage" in 1976. The Prince racket company was sold to Cheesebrough Ponds in 1982. Head, who died in 1991, revolutionized both the ski and tennis industries.
Artifacts donated to the National Museum of American History, Division of Cultural History (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) on May 19, 1997, include downhill skis, ski poles, ski boots, ski bindings, cross sections of downhill skis, competition medals, Prince tennis rackets, and racket covers.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
Artifacts were donated to the Division of Cultural History (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) on May 19, 1997,and include downhill skis, ski poles, ski boots, ski bindings, cross sections of downhill skis, competition medals, Prince tennis rackets, and racket covers.
This collection was donated to the National Museum of American History by Martha Head and The Howard and Martha Head Fund, Inc., May 19, 1997.
Collection is open for redsearch. No reference copies of audiovisual materials available at this time.
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.
The Benjamin Layton collection documents the life, family history, and interests of Benjamin T. Layton. Items date from circa 1865 to 1977. The collection measures 3.45 linear feet and is composed of newsletters, clippings, pamphlets, newspapers, correspondence, certificates, photographs, memorabilia, books, stamps, etchings, and programs.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the life, family history, and collecting interests of World War II veteran and federal employee Benjamin T. Layton. Layton grew up in Virginia and settled in Kensington, Maryland. Notable aspects of the collection include nineteenth-century photographs of African Americans, photographs of Layton's family, 1970s political photographs, and first editions of Richard Wright's Black Boy and Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery and Working with the Hands. Family photographs and memorabilia reflects the family's roots in Virginia and the Washington, D.C., area. Layton's historical photograph collection draws from photographers in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Items date from circa 1865 to 1977. The collection measures 3.45 linear feet and is composed of newsletters, clippings, pamphlets, newspapers, correspondence, certificates, photographs, memorabilia, books, stamps, etchings, and programs. It has been arranged in three series: Series I: Biographical Files, 1913-1977, Series II: Photographs, circa 1865-1977, and Series III: Printed Material, 1901-circa 1976. Some items in Series II and Series III are oversized.
Biographical / Historical:
Benjamin Thomas Layton was born on December 24, 1917, in Hanover, Virginia, to a prominent Virginia family. His maternal great-grandfather, Ballard Trent Edwards, was a freeborn African American man who opened a school for formerly enslaved people and served for eight years in the Virginia House of Delegates. His father, William Brown Layton, was the superintendent of the Negro Reformatory of Virginia (later the Virginia Manual Labor School), a reform school for African American boys located in Hanover County.
Layton was an athlete and scholar, playing varsity tennis and attending Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. He did graduate work in social sciences at the University of Chicago and Howard University, but his studies were interrupted by the draft in 1941.
Layton served with distinction in the U.S. Army during World War II, leading truck convoys carrying soldiers, supplies, weapons, and prisoners of war during the Battle of the Bulge. He also worked in military intelligence. His last active duty assignment was commanding a military detachment in Baumholder, Germany. His decorations included the Bronze Star, which he was awarded in 1977. He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring from the Army in 1963.
From 1963 to 1966 he worked in Europe, then returned to the United States in 1966, where he was an ROTC instructor at Chamberlain Vocational High School in Washington, D.C. He left in 1967 to become an equal-opportunity specialist at the United States Department of Agriculture, from which he retired in 1985. His brother William W. Layton also lived and worked in the Washington, D.C., area.
Layton had a passion for collecting and donated coins, paper money, and military artifacts to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. He also donated objects relating to clubs and fraternities to the Anacostia Community Museum. He was a member of numerous organizations, including the Retired Officers Association, the Reserve Officers Association of the United States, the American Legion, the Prince Hall Masons, the Kiwanis Club of Wheaton, and the Federation Nationale des Anciens Combattants, a French veterans group.
Layton was married twice, his first marriage to Irma Goode ending in divorce. He lived in Kensington, Maryland, with his second wife Marguerite, with whom he had two daughters. He died on February 15, 2001, at age 83 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Anacostia Community Museum houses more items in the Benjamin Layton Collection, including buttons, fraternity paddles, lapel pins, and medals.
Order to Report for Induction, 1941. 1993.3172.04. The Price of Freedom: Americans at War, National Museum of American History.
Notice to Appear for Physical Exam, 1940. 1993.3172.03. The Price of Freedom: Americans at War, National Museum of American History.
Layton Family Collection, 228 THL, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA, USA.
The Benjamin Layton collection was donated to the Anacostia Community Museum in two accretions in 1976 and 1978 by Benjamin Layton.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
The Benjamin Layton collection is the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the creator or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with the Anacostia Community Museum. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.
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