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Giuseppe M. Bellanca Collection

Creator:
Bellanca, Giuseppe M., 1886-1960  Search this
Names:
Bellanca Aircraft Corporation  Search this
Wright Aeronautical Corporation  Search this
Chamberlin, Clarence  Search this
Extent:
248.5 Cubic feet (245 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Correspondence
Financial records
Newspaper clippings
Drawings
Photographic prints
Date:
1919-1959
Summary:
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.
Arrangement:
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.
Provenance:
Mr. and Mrs. August Bellanca, Gift, 1993, NASM.1993.0055
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Topic:
Aeronautics  Search this
Bellanca WB-2 "Miss Columbia"  Search this
Transatlantic flights  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence
Financial records
Newspaper clippings
Drawings
Photographic prints
Citation:
Giuseppe M. Bellanca Collection, Acc. NASM.1993.0055, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.1993.0055
See more items in:
Giuseppe M. Bellanca Collection
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/pg271dc0842-f969-4959-847e-2fe8d6d09920
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-1993-0055
Online Media:

LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection

Creator:
Los Angeles Airways  Search this
Extent:
2.91 Cubic feet
3.88 Linear feet (4 legal size document boxes; 1 slim legal size document box; 1 28.5 x 1.5 x 22.5 flat box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1945-1997
bulk 1950-1985
Summary:
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) was founded by Clarence Belinn as a helicopter airline that operated flights from Los Angeles International Airport to the Disneyland Heliport in Anaheim, Calfornia (located on Disneyland's grounds) and to other area airports.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of records relating to LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) including photographs; news clippings and publications relating to LA Airways; financial records; stockholder information including meeting agendas and notes, annual reports, information about stockholders, and correspondence; operating information such as route maps, pilot instructions, brochures and time tables; documents relating to Civil Aeronautics Board hearings; biographical information on LA Airways staff; and legal documents and correspondence relating to litigation involving LA Airways and the Hughes Tool Company and LA Airway's subsequent bankruptcy.
Arrangement:
The materials in this collection had no original order. The processing archivists arranged them into 3 series. Within each series, the materials were arranged chronologically.

Series I: Business Papers

Series II: Publicity

Series III: Photographs
Biographical / Historical:
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) was founded by Clarence Belinn as a helicopter airline that operated flights from Los Angeles International Airport to the Disneyland Heliport in Anaheim, Calfornia (located on Disneyland's grounds) and to other area airports. LA Airways operated Sikorsky S-51 and S-55 aircraft and later became the first civilian operator of the Sikorsky S-61 family of aircraft. LA Airways is also noted for obtaining the first regularly scheduled helicopter mail route which was inaugurated on October 1, 1947. Two fatal crashes of flights operated by LA Airways spelled the end of the company. On May 22, 1968, Flight 841, operated in a Sikorsky S-61L, crashed in Paramount, California (en route to Los Angeles after leaving Disneyland) killing all 23 people on board. On August 14, 1861, Flight 417, also operated in a Sikorsky S-61L, crashed in Compton, California (en route to Disneyland from Los Angeles) which resulted in the deaths of all 21 people aboard, including Clarence Belinn's 13-year old grandson, Christopher. The causes of both crashes were failures in the rotor system. After these tragedies, Sikorsky S-61Ls were grounded until the problem could be resolved and helicopter service to Disneyland was discontinued. LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) ceased operations in 1971 upon its purchase by Golden West Airlines. Stephen J. Slade was formerly an employee of LA Airways.
Provenance:
Stephen J. Slade, gift, 2009
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Topic:
Aeronautics  Search this
Airlines  Search this
Helicopters  Search this
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA)  Search this
Sikorsky S-61L  Search this
Citation:
LA Airways Collection, Acc. NASM.2009.-0015, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.2009.0015
See more items in:
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/pg2353182ba-95ec-4d74-8dab-4179f6913d4e
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-2009-0015
Online Media:

[Legal Documents / Records Relating to Hughes Sale / Litigation and Bankruptcy]

Collection Creator:
Los Angeles Airways  Search this
Container:
Box 3, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1966-1985
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Collection Citation:
LA Airways Collection, Acc. NASM.2009.-0015, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection / Series 1: Business Records
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/pg2d14ec0e7-ac62-49be-b674-02d24e3605a3
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-2009-0015-ref30

[Legal Documents / Records Relating to Hughes Sale / Litigation and Bankruptcy]

Collection Creator:
Los Angeles Airways  Search this
Container:
Box 3, Folder 7
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1966-1985
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Collection Citation:
LA Airways Collection, Acc. NASM.2009.-0015, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection / Series 1: Business Records
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/pg2d2bddd77-e917-4260-b89d-f9727163ae5d
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-2009-0015-ref553

[Legal Documents / Records Relating to Hughes Sale / Litigation and Bankruptcy]

Collection Creator:
Los Angeles Airways  Search this
Container:
Box 3, Folder 8
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1966-1985
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Collection Citation:
LA Airways Collection, Acc. NASM.2009.-0015, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection / Series 1: Business Records
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/pg2fe4aa076-2dd2-4e84-9154-33cd72593bdb
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-2009-0015-ref554

[Legal Documents / Records Relating to Hughes Sale / Litigation and Bankruptcy]

Collection Creator:
Los Angeles Airways  Search this
Container:
Box 3, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1966-1985
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Collection Citation:
LA Airways Collection, Acc. NASM.2009.-0015, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection / Series 1: Business Records
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/pg28f3abd3d-475a-426f-a349-cd00174b5e02
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-2009-0015-ref555

[Legal Documents / Records Relating to Hughes Sale / Litigation and Bankruptcy]

Collection Creator:
Los Angeles Airways  Search this
Container:
Box 4, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Date:
1966-1985
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Collection Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Collection Citation:
LA Airways Collection, Acc. NASM.2009.-0015, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection
LA Airways (Los Angeles Airways, Inc) (LAA) Collection / Series 1: Business Records
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/pg246c22e36-454b-460c-9d1c-bc3487355386
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-2009-0015-ref556

Americans All: School segregation in the District of Columbia

Creator:
Todd, Tomlinson  Search this
Names:
District of Columbia. Board of Education  Search this
Davis, John P. (John Preston), 1905-1973  Search this
Fickling, Austin L.  Search this
Galarza, Ernesto, 1905-1984  Search this
Harris, Frederick Tobias  Search this
Sutler, Walter  Search this
Collection Collector:
Whitehead, Henry P. (Prenton), 1917-2002  Search this
Extent:
3 Sound discs (lacquer)
Container:
Box 137
Type:
Archival materials
Audio
Sound discs (lacquer)
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
1947 June 1
Collection Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
Collection Rights:
The Henry P. Whitehead collection is the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/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.
Topic:
Schools  Search this
Education  Search this
Segregation  Search this
Litigation  Search this
Radio programs  Search this
Democracy  Search this
Collection Citation:
Henry P. Whitehead collection, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Michael A. Watkins.
See more items in:
Henry P. Whitehead collection
Henry P. Whitehead collection / Series 3: Tomlinson D. Todd / 3.4: "Americans All" / 3.4.2: Sound Recordings
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/qa72f5e42e0-2e06-4b2a-acb0-5369a0078da6
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-acma-06-042-ref1074

Second Year No.5

Creator:
New Negro Alliance (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Names:
Hastie, William, 1904-1976  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Text
Advertisements
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
February 3, 1934
Collection Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at ACMarchives@si.edu
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
African American newspapers  Search this
Activism  Search this
Discrimination in employment  Search this
Business enterprises  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements -- 20th century
Collection Citation:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
New Negro Opinion newspaper
New Negro Opinion newspaper / Series 1: December 1933- December 1934
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/qa7ed68c6ee-2f71-4544-8d5e-081f6f370a2c
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-acma-10-012-3-ref9
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North Hempstead -- The Point

Collection Creator:
McFarland, J. Horace (John Horace), 1859-1948  Search this
American Rose Society  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Place:
United States of America -- New York -- Nassau County -- North Hempstead -- Kings Point
The Point (Kings Point, New York)
Date:
1938
Scope and Contents note:
The folder includes a worksheet and photocopies of articles about the property.
General note:
The Point is a classic Long Island estate, thought by some to be the inspiration for the fictional West Egg home of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby. At the time these photographs were taken it was owned by Richard Church, heir to the Church & Dwight Company, makers of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. The estate, which has been the subject of more recent litigation, at one time encompassed 30 acres and included stables, English-style gardens, greenhouses, and extensive plantings of specimen trees. It now includes about 14 acres; the current condition of the gardens is unknown.
Persons associated with the site include John Alsop King, Jr. (former owner, 1851-ca. 1910) and Richard Church (former owner, ca. 1910-1951).
Collection Restrictions:
Access to original archival materials by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Collection Rights:
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: aag@si.edu.
Topic:
Gardens -- New York -- Kings Point  Search this
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Company Collection.
Identifier:
AAG.MCF, File NY206
See more items in:
J. Horace McFarland Company collection
J. Horace McFarland Company collection / Series 1: Garden Images / United States / New York
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Gardens
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/kb6783f2f4f-bd22-4696-bad6-aef2d1fa7e26
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aag-mcf-ref10818

Litigation

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1975-1977
Scope and Contents note:
File consists mainly of documents related to a lawsuit and other correspondence with attorneys.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 3: Business Records / Tax and Insurance Materials
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/bk568523e59-3e35-4235-9058-3c72b481f594
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref13986

Folk Music of the Western Congo

Recorder:
Verwilghen, Leo A. (liner notes)  Search this
Producer:
Courlander, Harold, 1908-1996  Search this
Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Extent:
1 Phonograph record (analog, 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.)
Type:
Archival materials
Phonograph records
Place:
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Congo
Date:
1952
Contents:
Babunda song.--Bapende work song.--Bambala drumming (2 examples)--Bambala litigation.--Bambala "talking" drum.--Bambala dance.--Bapindi sansas (2 examples)--Bapindi hunting calls.--Bapende xylophone (2 examples)--Bapende and bakwesi children's song.--Basuku children's song.
Local Numbers:
FW-ASCH-LP-4302

Folkways.4427
Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint):
New York Folkways 1952
General:
Program notes by L.A. Verwilghen (4 p.)inserted in slipcase. Performer(s): Sung and played by native musicians. Production notes: Recorded in the Belgian Congo by Leo A. Verwilghen, in 1951.
Restrictions:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Topic:
World music  Search this
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.ASCH, Item FW-ASCH-LP-4302
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 9: Audio Recordings / LP
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/bk5edfc4586-0056-479f-935e-7b1fd7eaa5f9
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref18121

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers

Creator:
Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, 1875-1942  Search this
Names:
American Ambulance Field Hospital (Juilly, France)  Search this
Greenwich House (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Whitney Museum of American Art  Search this
Whitney Studio Club  Search this
Cushing, Howard Gardiner, 1869-1916  Search this
De Meyer, Adolf, Baron, 1868-1949  Search this
Miller, Flora Whitney  Search this
Strelecki, Jean de, count  Search this
Watson, Forbes, 1880-1960  Search this
Whitney, Harry Payne, 1872-1930  Search this
Extent:
36.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Lithographs
Photographs
Interviews
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Blueprints
Sketches
Date:
1851-1975
bulk 1888-1942
Summary:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers measure approximately 36.1 linear feet and date from 1851 to 1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1888 to 1942. The collection documents the life and work of the art patron and sculptor, especially her promotion of American art and artists, her philanthropy and war relief work, her commissions for memorial sculpture, and her creative writing. Papers include correspondence, journals, writings, project files, scrapbooks, photographs, artwork, printed material, two sound recordings, and miscellaneous personal papers.
Scope and Content Note:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers measure approximately 36.1 linear feet and date from 1851 to 1975, with the bulk of the material dating from 1888 to 1942. The collection documents the life and work of the art patron and sculptor, especially her promotion of American art and artists, her philanthropy and war relief work, her commissions for memorial sculpture, and her creative writing. Papers include correspondence, journals, writings, project files, scrapbooks, photographs, artwork, printed material, two sound recordings, and miscellaneous personal papers.

Material relating to more personal aspects of Whitney's life include school papers, a paper doll book dating from her childhood, financial material, interviews, awards and honorary degrees, address and telephone books, committee files, and other items. Correspondence consists of incoming and outgoing letters concerning both personal and professional matters, including her patronage of the arts and sponsorship of artists, her sculpture commissions and exhibitions, and her war relief work and other philantrophic activities. Also found are family correspondence and correspondence received by the Flora Whitney Miller and the Whitney Museum of American Art after Whitney's death. Journals include personal ones that she kept periodically from the time she was a child to near the end of her life, in which she recorded her travels, her impressions of people, her experiences with friends, and her thoughts on art, among other topics; and social ones, in which she recorded dinners and dances attended, and people invited to different social gatherings, and in which she collected invitations received and accepted.

Scattered files can be found that relate to the Whitney Studio Club and the Whitney Museum of American Art, consisting of notebooks, catalogs, a financial report, and other material. Files relating to Whitney's own sculpture projects are more extensive and consist of correspondence, contracts, printed material, notes, financial material for proposed and completed commissions for fountains, memorials, and monuments. The Whitney Museum of American Art, rather than Whitney herself, seems to have kept these files. Files relating to Whitney's philanthropic activities span from the time just before to just after the First World War and consist of correspondence, minutes, reports, and printed material stemming from her contributions to charities and war relief organizations, her sponsorship of the war hospital in Juilly, France, and her support of the Greenwich House Social Settlement.

Whitney's writings include extensive drafts, and handwritten and typed manuscripts and copies of novels, plays, and stories, as well as some autobiographical and early writings, notes and writings on art, and clippings of published writings, documenting her principle means of creative expression towards the end of her life. Also found are some writings by others. Scrapbooks consist of clippings, photographs, letters and other material, compiled by Whitney, Flora Whitney Miller, and possibly others, documenting Whitney's public life, her sculpture commissions and exhibitions, exhibitions at the Whitney Studio, the war hospital in Juilly, France, the death of Harry Payne Whitney in 1930, and the sickness and death of Whitney in 1942.

Photographs include ones of the Whitney and Vanderbilt families, ones of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (including portraits taken by Baron Adolf de Meyer and Count Jean de Strelecki), ones of various Vanderbilt and Whitney residences and of Whitney's studios, ones of Whitney's sculpture exhibitions as well as exhibitions at her studio, and ones of her sculptures, as well as some miscellaneous and unidentified ones. Artwork consists of sketchbooks and sketches by Whitney (including sketches for sculptures) and artwork by others (including a sketchbook of Howard Cushing's containing a sketch of her and albums of World War I lithographs) collected by Whitney. Also found amongst the collection are printed material (clippings, exhibition catalogs, programs, and publications) and blueprints (including drawings for Whitney's studio on MacDougal Alley and various of her sculptures).
Arrangement:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers are arranged into twelve series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Miscellaneous Personal Papers, 1888-1947, 1975 (Boxes 1-3, 33-34, OV 42; 2.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1889-1949, 1959 (Boxes 3-9; 6 linear feet)

Series 3: Journals, circa 1886-1939 (Boxes 9-12, 33; 2.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Whitney Studio Club and Whitney Museum of American Art Files, 1921-1943 (Box 12; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 5: Sculpture Files, 1900-1960 (bulk 1909-1942) (Boxes 12-15; 3 linear feet)

Series 6: Philanthropy Files, 1902-1923 (bulk 1915-1920) (Boxes 15-17; 2 linear feet)

Series 7: Writings, 1889-1942, 1974 (Boxes 17-26; 10 linear feet)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1893-1942 (Boxes 26-27, 33, 35; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1859-1942 (Boxes 27-28, 36; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographs, 1862-1942 (Boxes 28-32, 36-41, OV 43-51; 6.4 linear feet)

Series 11: Artwork, 1871-1930s (Boxes 32, 41, OV 52-54; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 12: Blueprints, 1913-1945 (OV 55; 0.1 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
New York art patron and sculptor, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942), was the eldest daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt, and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Whitney was born January 9, 1875 in New York City, the. She was educated by private tutors and attended Brearley School in New York. From the time she was a young girl, she kept journals of her travels and impressions of the people she met, and engaged in creative pursuits such as sketching and writing stories. In 1896, she was married to Harry Payne Whitney. They had three children, Flora, Cornelius, and Barbara.

In 1900, Whitney began to study sculpture under Hendrik Christian Anderson, and then under James Fraser. Later, she studied with Andrew O'Connor in Paris. From the time she started studying sculpture, her interest in art grew, as did her particular concern for American art and artists. In 1907, she organized an art exhibition at the Colony Club, which included several contemporary American paintings. She also opened a studio on MacDougal Alley, which became known as the Whitney Studio and was a place where shows and prize competitions were held. (She also had other studios in Westbury, Long Island and Paris, France.) Over the years, her patronage of art included buying work, commissioning it, sponsoring it, exhibiting it, and financially supporting artists in America and abroad. From 1911 on, she was aided in her work by Juliana Force, who started out as Whitney's secretary, was responsible for art exhibitions at the Whitney Studio, and became the first director of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The first recognition Whitney received for her sculpture came in 1908 when a project on which she had collaborated (with Grosvenor Atterbury and Hugo Ballin) won a prize for best design from the Architectural League of New York. The following year she received a commission to do a fountain sculpture for the Pan-American Building in Washington, D. C. She went on to do numerous other commissioned works over the next several decades, including: a fountain for the New Arlington Hotel in Washington D.C. (the design of which was reproduced in various sizes and materials, one cast being submitted to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition where it won a bronze medal and a later cast being installed on the campus of McGill University, Montreal, Canada in 1930); the Titanic Memorial (designed in 1913 and erected in 1930); the Buffalo Bill Memorial (1924) in Cody, Wyoming; the Columbus Memorial (1929) in Port of Palos, Spain; the Peter Stuyvesant statue in Stuyvesant Square (1939); and The Spirit of Flight (1939) for the New York World's Fair. In 1916, she had her first one-man show at the Whitney Studio, another at the Newport Art Association, and a retrospective at the San Francisco Art Association Palace of Fine Arts. A traveling exhibition in the Midwest followed in 1918.

During the First World War, Whitney was involved with numerous war relief activities, most notably establishing and supporting a hospital in Juilly, France. She made several trips to France during the war, keeping a journal and eventually publishing a piece on the hospital in several newspapers. Her sculpture during this period was largely focused on war themes. In 1919, she exhibited some of these works at the Whitney Studio in a show called "Impressions of War." In the years after the war, she was also commissioned to do several war memorials, including the Washington Heights War Memorial (1922) and the St. Nazaire Memorial (1926) commemmorating the landing of the American Expeditionary Force in France in 1917.

In 1918, Whitney opened the Whitney Studio Club, which served as pioneering organization for American art, putting on exhibition programs and offering social space and recreational amenities to its members (one point numbering over four hundred artists living in New York). She planned an "Overseas Exhibition" of American art, which traveled to Paris and other European cities in 1920-1921, and had her own shows in Paris and London in 1921. In 1928, the Whitney Studio Club was transformed into an art gallery, known as the Whitney Studio Galleries and directed by Juliana Force, which eventually became the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1931.

Whitney pursued creative writing throughout her life, but beginning in the 1930s writing became her principle means of creative expression. Over the years, she produced numerous manuscripts for stories, novels, and play. One novel, Walking the Dusk, was published in 1932 under the pseudonym L. J. Webb. Beginning in 1940, Whitney took a "Professional Writing" course at Columbia University with Helen Hull, which resulted in the production of numerous short stories. In 1941, she collaborated with Ronald Bodley to adapt one of her stories as a play and attempted to get it produced, although unsuccessfully.

In 1934, Whitney was involved in a custody battle for her niece, Gloria Vanderbilt (daughter of her late brother, Reginald Vanderbilt and his wife, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt). In an agreement reached by the court, custody was awarded to Whitney and visitation rights to Gloria's mother. Litigation continued in the ensuing years.

In 1935, Whitney established the World's Fair Five Organization, with Juliana Force and four architects, to work on preparing a plan for the site of the 1939 New York World's Fair at Flushing Meadow, although the fair's own Board of Design ended up coming up with its own plan.

Whitney continued her work in sculpture, writing, art patronage, and philanthropy throughout the remaining years of her life. She died on April 18, 1942.
Related Archival Materials note:
Related material found in the Archives includes Research Material on Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney compiled by Flora Miller Irving and the Whitney Museum of American Art artists' files and records, available on microfilm only (originals are located in the Whitney Museum of American Art). Also found in the Archives of American Art's Miscellaneous Exhibition Catalog Collection are a bundle of Whitney Studio Club and Mrs. H. P. Whitney's Studio catalogs and announcements.
Provenance:
The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers were donated in 1981 and 1991 by Whitney's granddaughter, Flora Miller Irving.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Philanthropists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art patrons -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Genre/Form:
Lithographs
Photographs
Interviews
Sketchbooks
Diaries
Scrapbooks
Blueprints
Sketches
Citation:
Whitney Museum of American Art, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Papers, 1851-1975 (bulk 1888-1942). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.whitgert
See more items in:
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9db113d72-cc31-4974-85fe-3e99c53dd62e
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-whitgert
Online Media:

R, Miscellaneous: Ro-Ru

Collection Creator:
Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, 1875-1942  Search this
Container:
Box 7, Folder 57
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1900-1941
Scope and Contents note:
Includes a telegram from Auguste Rodin and a letters from Eleanor Roosevelt, Quentin Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt)
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Collection Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Whitney Museum of American Art, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Papers, 1851-1975 (bulk 1888-1942). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers / Series 2: Correspondence / 2.3: General Correspondence
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9a8e6d6ca-0cc0-4029-b9af-4fd8be6ad5eb
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-aaa-whitgert-ref337
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Western Union Telegraph Company Records

Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Extent:
452 Cubic feet (871 boxes and 23 map folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Administrative records
Articles
Books
Clippings
Contracts
Drawings
Photographs
Patents
Newsletters
Photograph albums
Scrapbooks
Specifications
Technical documents
Date:
circa 1820-1995
Summary:
The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into twenty-six (26) series and consists of approximately 400 cubic feet. The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into twenty-seven series.

Series 1: Historical and Background Information, 1851-1994

Series 2: Subsidiaries of Western Union, 1844-1986

Series 3: Executive Records, 1848-1987

Series 4: Presidential Letterbooks and Writings, 1865-1911

Series 5: Correspondence, 1837-1985

Series 6: Cyrus W. Field Papers, 1840-1892

Series 7: Secretary's Files, 1844-1987

Series 8: Financial Records, 1859-1995

Series 9: Legal Records, 1867-1968

Series 10: Railroad Records, 1854-1945

Series 11: Law Department Records, 1868-1979

Series 12: Patent Materials, 1840-1970

Series 13: Operating Records, 1868-1970s

Series 14: Westar VI-S, 1974, 1983-1986

Series 15: Engineering Department Records, 1874-1970

Series 16: Plant Department Records, 1867-1937, 1963

Series 17: Superintendent of Supplies Records, 1888-1948

Series 18: Employee/Personnel Records 1852-1985

Series 19: Public Relations Department Records, 1858-1980

Series 20: Western Union Museum, 1913-1971

Series 21: Maps, 1820-1964

Series 22: Telegrams, 1852-1960s

Series 23: Photographs, circa 1870-1980

Series 24: Scrapbooks, 1835-1956

Series 25: Notebooks, 1880-1942

Series 26: Audio Visual Materials, 1925-1994

Series 27: Addenda
Biographical / Historical:
In 1832 Samuel F. B. Morse, assisted by Alfred Vail, conceived of the idea for an electromechanical telegraph, which he called the "Recording Telegraph." This commercial application of electricity was made tangible by their construction of a crude working model in 1835-36. This instrument probably was never used outside of Professor Morse's rooms where it was, however, operated in a number of demonstrations. This original telegraph instrument was in the hands of the Western Union Telegraph Company and had been kept carefully over the years in a glass case. It was moved several times in New York as the Western Union headquarters building changed location over the years. The company presented it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1950.

The telegraph was further refined by Morse, Vail, and a colleague, Leonard Gale, into working mechanical form in 1837. In this year Morse filed a caveat for it at the U.S. Patent Office. Electricity, provided by Joseph Henry's 1836 "intensity batteries", was sent over a wire. The flow of electricity through the wire was interrupted for shorter or longer periods by holding down the key of the device. The resulting dots or dashes were recorded on a printer or could be interpreted orally. In 1838 Morse perfected his sending and receiving code and organized a corporation, making Vail and Gale his partners.

In 1843 Morse received funds from Congress to set-up a demonstration line between Washington and Baltimore. Unfortunately, Morse was not an astute businessman and had no practical plan for constructing a line. After an unsuccessful attempt at laying underground cables with Ezra Cornell, the inventor of a trench digger, Morse switched to the erection of telegraph poles and was more successful. On May 24, 1844, Morse, in the U.S. Supreme Court Chambers in Washington, sent by telegraph the oft-quoted message to his colleague Vail in Baltimore, "What hath God wrought!"

In 1845 Morse hired Andrew Jackson's former postmaster general, Amos Kendall, as his agent in locating potential buyers of the telegraph. Kendall realized the value of the device, and had little trouble convincing others of its potential for profit. By the spring he had attracted a small group of investors. They subscribed $15,000 and formed the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Many new telegraph companies were formed as Morse sold licenses wherever he could.

The first commercial telegraph line was completed between Washington, D.C., and New York City in the spring of 1846 by the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Shortly thereafter, F. O. J. Smith, one of the patent owners, built a line between New York City and Boston. Most of these early companies were licensed by owners of Samuel Morse patents. The Morse messages were sent and received in a code of dots and dashes.

At this time other telegraph systems based on rival technologies were being built. Some companies used the printing telegraph, a device invented by a Vermonter, Royal E. House, whose messages were printed on paper or tape in Roman letters. In 1848 a Scotch scientist, Alexander Bain, received his patents on a telegraph. These were but two of many competing and incompatible technologies that had developed. The result was confusion, inefficiency, and a rash of suits and counter suits.

By 1851 there were over fifty separate telegraph companies operating in the United States. This corporate cornucopia developed because the owners of the telegraph patents had been unsuccessful in convincing the United States and other governments of the invention's potential usefulness. In the private sector, the owners had difficulty convincing capitalists of the commercial value of the invention. This led to the owners' willingness to sell licenses to many purchasers who organized separate companies and then built independent telegraph lines in various sections of the country.

Hiram Sibley moved to Rochester, New York, in 1838 to pursue banking and real estate. Later he was elected sheriff of Monroe County. In Rochester he was introduced to Judge Samuel L. Selden who held the House Telegraph patent rights. In 1849 Selden and Sibley organized the New York State Printing Telegraph Company, but they found it hard to compete with the existing New York, Albany, and Buffalo Telegraph Company.

After this experience Selden suggested that instead of creating a new line, the two should try to acquire all the companies west of Buffalo and unite them into a single unified system. Selden secured an agency for the extension throughout the United States of the House system. In an effort to expand this line west, Judge Selden called on friends and the people in Rochester. This led, in April 1851, to the organization of a company and the filing in Albany of the Articles of Association for the "New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company" (NYMVPTC), a company which later evolved into the Western Union Telegraph Company.

In 1854 there were two rival systems of the NYMVPTC in the West. These two systems consisted of thirteen separate companies. All the companies were using Morse patents in the five states north of the Ohio River. This created a struggle between three separate entities, leading to an unreliable and inefficient telegraph service. The owners of these rival companies eventually decided to invest their money elsewhere and arrangements were made for the NYMVPTC to purchase their interests.

Hiram Sibley recapitalized the company in 1854 under the same name and began a program of construction and acquisition. The most important takeover was carried out by Sibley when he negotiated the purchase of the Morse patent rights for the Midwest for $50,000 from Jeptha H. Wade and John J. Speed, without the knowledge of Ezra Cornell, their partner in the Erie and Michigan Telegraph Company (EMTC). With this acquisition Sibley proceeded to switch to the superior Morse system. He also hired Wade, a very capable manager, who became his protege and later his successor. After a bitter struggle Morse and Wade obtained the EMTC from Cornell in 1855, thus assuring dominance by the NYMVPTC in the Midwest. In 1856 the company name was changed to the "Western Union Telegraph Company," indicating the union of the Western lines into one compact system. In December, 1857, the Company paid stockholders their first dividend.

Between 1857 and 1861 similar consolidations of telegraph companies took place in other areas of the country so that most of the telegraph interests of the United States had merged into six systems. These were the American Telegraph Company (covering the Atlantic and some Gulf states), The Western Union Telegraph Company (covering states North of the Ohio River and parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Minnesota), the New York Albany and Buffalo Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company (covering New York State), the Atlantic and Ohio Telegraph Company (covering Pennsylvania), the Illinois & Mississippi Telegraph Company (covering sections of Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois), and the New Orleans & Ohio Telegraph Company (covering the southern Mississippi Valley and the Southwest). All these companies worked together in a mutually friendly alliance, and other small companies cooperated with the six systems, particularly some on the West Coast.

By the time of the Civil War, there was a strong commercial incentive to construct a telegraph line across the western plains to link the two coasts of America. Many companies, however, believed the line would be impossible to build and maintain.

In 1860 Congress passed, and President James Buchanan signed, the Pacific Telegraph Act, which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to seek bids for a project to construct a transcontinental line. When two bidders dropped out, Hiram Sibley, representing Western Union, was the only bidder left. By default Sibley won the contract. The Pacific Telegraph Company was organized for the purpose of building the eastern section of the line. Sibley sent Wade to California, where he consolidated the small local companies into the California State Telegraph Company. This entity then organized the Overland Telegraph Company, which handled construction eastward from Carson City, Nevada, joining the existing California lines, to Salt Lake City, Utah. Sibley's Pacific Telegraph Company built westward from Omaha, Nebraska. Sibley put most of his resources into the venture. The line was completed in October, 1861. Both companies were soon merged into Western Union. This accomplishment made Hiram Sibley leader of the telegraph industry.

Further consolidations took place over the next several years. Many companies merged into the American Telegraph Company. With the expiration of the Morse patents, several organizations were combined in 1864 under the name of "The U.S. Telegraph Company." In 1866 the final consolidation took place, with Western Union exchanging stock for the stock of the other two organizations. The general office of Western Union moved at this time from Rochester to 145 Broadway, New York City. In 1875 the main office moved to 195 Broadway, where it remained until 1930 when it relocated to 60 Hudson Street.

In 1873 Western Union purchased a majority of shares in the International Ocean Telegraph Company. This was an important move because it marked Western Union's entry into the foreign telegraph market. Having previously worked with foreign companies, Western Union now began competing for overseas business.

In the late 1870s Western Union, led by William H. Vanderbilt, attempted to wrest control of the major telephone patents, and the new telephone industry, away from the Bell Telephone Company. But due to new Bell leadership and a subsequent hostile takeover attempt of Western Union by Jay Gould, Western Union discontinued its fight and Bell Telephone prevailed.

Despite these corporate calisthenics, Western Union remained in the public eye. The sight of a uniformed Western Union messenger boy was familiar in small towns and big cities all over the country for many years. Some of Western Union's top officials in fact began their careers as messenger boys.

Throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century the telegraph became one of the most important factors in the development of social and commercial life of America. In spite of improvements to the telegraph, however, two new inventions--the telephone (nineteenth century) and the radio (twentieth century)--eventually replaced the telegraph as the leaders of the communication revolution for most Americans.

At the turn of the century, Bell abandoned its struggles to maintain a monopoly through patent suits, and entered into direct competition with the many independent telephone companies. Around this time, the company adopted its new name, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T).

In 1908 AT&T gained control of Western Union. This proved beneficial to Western Union, because the companies were able to share lines when needed, and it became possible to order telegrams by telephone. However, it was only possible to order Western Union telegrams, and this hurt the business of Western Union's main competitor, the Postal Telegraph Company. In 1913, however, as part of a move to prevent the government from invoking antitrust laws, AT&T completely separated itself from Western Union.

Western Union continued to prosper and it received commendations from the U.S. armed forces for service during both world wars. In 1945 Western Union finally merged with its longtime rival, the Postal Telegraph Company. As part of that merger, Western Union agreed to separate domestic and foreign business. In 1963 Western Union International Incorporated, a private company completely separate from the Western Union Telegraph Company, was formed and an agreement with the Postal Telegraph Company was completed. In 1994, Western Union Financial Services, Inc. was acquired by First Financial Management Corporation. In 1995, First Financial Management Corporation merged with First Data Corporation making Western Union a First Data subsidiary.

Many technological advancements followed the telegraph's development. The following are among the more important:

The first advancement of the telegraph occurred around 1850 when operators realized that the clicks of the recording instrument portrayed a sound pattern, understandable by the operators as dots and dashes. This allowed the operator to hear the message by ear and simultaneously write it down. This ability transformed the telegraph into a versatile and speedy system.

Duplex Telegraphy, 1871-72, was invented by the president of the Franklin Telegraph Company. Unable to sell his invention to his own company, he found a willing buyer in Western Union. Utilizing this invention, two messages were sent over the wire simultaneously, one in each direction.

As business blossomed and demand surged, new devices appeared. Thomas Edison's Quadruplex allowed four messages to be sent over the same wire simultaneously, two in one direction and two in the other.

An English automatic signaling arrangement, Wheatstone's Automatic Telegraph, 1883, allowed larger numbers of words to be transmitted over a wire at once. It could only be used advantageously, however, on circuits where there was a heavy volume of business.

Buckingham's Machine Telegraph was an improvement on the House system. It printed received messages in plain Roman letters quickly and legibly on a message blank, ready for delivery.

Vibroplex, c. 1890, a semi-automatic key sometimes called a "bug key," made the dots automatically. This relieved the operator of much physical strain.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Additional moving image about Western Union Telegraph Company can be found in the Industry on Parade Collection (AC0507). This includes Cable to Cuba! by Bell Laboratory, AT & T, featuring the cable ship, the C.S. Lord Kelvin, and Communications Centennial! by the Western Union Company.

Materials at Other Organizations

Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware.

Western Union International Records form part of the MCI International, Inc. Records at the First Data Corporation, Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Records of First Data Corporation and its predecessors, including Western Union, First Financial Management Corporation (Atlanta) and First Data Resources (Omaha). Western Union collection supports research of telegraphy and related technologies, and includes company records, annual reports, photographs, print and broadcast advertising, telegraph equipment, and messenger uniforms.

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867

This collection includes correspondence, mostly to Spencer F. Baird, from members of the Scientific Corps of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, including Kennicott, Dall, Bannister, and Elliott; copies of reports submitted to divisional chiefs from expedition staff members; newspaper clippings concerning the expedition; copies of notes on natural history taken by Robert Kennicott; and a journal containing meteorological data recorded by Henry M. Bannister from March to August, 1866.
Separated Materials:
Artifacts (apparatus and equipment) were donated to the Division of Information Technology and Society, now known as the Division of Work & Industry, National Museum of American History.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Western Union in September of 1971.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but Series 11 and films are stored off-site. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audiovisual materials. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
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.
Topic:
Communications equipment  Search this
Communication -- International cooperation  Search this
Electric engineering  Search this
Electric engineers  Search this
Electrical equipment  Search this
Electrical science and technology  Search this
Telegraphers  Search this
Telegraph  Search this
Genre/Form:
Administrative records
Articles
Books
Clippings
Contracts
Drawings
Photographs -- 19th century
Patents
Photographs -- 20th century
Newsletters
Photograph albums
Scrapbooks -- 19th century
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Specifications
Technical documents
Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0205
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8b72e8493-288c-4bd0-84d5-011155da30a7
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0205
Online Media:

Speaking Telephone Interferences. Evidence for Thomas Edison. Interfering Applications and Exhibits, Vol. 1.

Collection Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Container:
Box 478A
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but Series 11 and films are stored off-site. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audiovisual materials. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
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.
Collection Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Western Union Telegraph Company Records / Series 12: Patent Materials / 12.9: Litigation Materials
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8ba53fd4f-d3cb-403a-835a-15a296cf5bb4
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0205-ref10593

Western Union vs. Pennsylvania Company. Litigation Case/Ft. Wayne Case. Vol. 53.

Collection Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Container:
Box B-71
Type:
Archival materials
Series Restrictions:
This subseries is in storage off-site. Contact Archives Center for terms of access.
Collection Rights:
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.
Collection Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Western Union Telegraph Company Records / Series 11: Law Department Records / 11.2: Law Department Publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep82face65c-fd11-4f85-b025-aa7196141c55
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0205-ref7640

Patent Materials

Collection Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1840-1970
Scope and Contents:
Many of the patents in this series trace the development and improvements in the telegraph (and some telephone) apparatus between 1840 and 1954. The patentee subseries is arranged alphabetically by inventor: Charles Buckingham, Thomas A. Edison, Elisha Gray, Samuel F.B. Morse, George Phelps, Joseph Stearn, John Skirrow, and Charles Wheatstone. The numbered patent specifications, 1900-1954, are Western Union Telegraph Company patents. They are organized by type of improvement or invention. Among the patents represented in this subseries are those relating to: signalling systems; switching systems; automatic message exchange system; multioffice systems; storage systems; facsimile systems; oscillator systems; frequency transformation systems; printing telegraph systems; reperferators; repeaters; oscillators; generators; radio antennas; rectifiers; condensers; detectors; static reducers; and batteries. Most of the miscellaneous patents are for improvements to the telegraph, though there are several for electric time-controlling systems and electric clocks.
Arrangement:
The patent materials are arranged into nine subseries:

1. By patentee, 1840-1914

2. By patent number, 1900-1954

3. Miscellaneous patents, 1846-1908

4. Patent application files, 1954-1966

5. Contract Department correspondence regarding patents, 1927-1945

6. Invention records and submission forms, undated

7. Hazeltine Electronics Division Correspondence, 1960-[1963?]

8. Western Union Transcontinental Microwave System, 1961-1962

9. Litigation materials, 1851-1887
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but Series 11 and films are stored off-site. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audiovisual materials. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
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.
Collection Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0205, Series 12
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep862bd010b-7ca9-4888-9531-06a01002981a
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0205-ref7796

Litigation Materials

Collection Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1851-1887
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but Series 11 and films are stored off-site. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audiovisual materials. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
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.
Collection Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0205, Subseries 12.9
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Western Union Telegraph Company Records / Series 12: Patent Materials
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep891930ebf-6738-4269-bd66-0f10cc2334c8
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0205-ref8053

Benjamin B. French et al. vs. Henry J. Rogers et al., Bill, Answer, and Exhibits, U.S. Steam Power Book and Job Printing Office: Philadelphia, 1851.

Collection Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Container:
Box 478, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but Series 11 and films are stored off-site. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audiovisual materials. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
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.
Collection Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Western Union Telegraph Company Records / Series 12: Patent Materials / 12.9: Litigation Materials
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep818ee81b1-efbd-46e9-8b2b-101cccc7671f
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0205-ref8054

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