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 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 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.
Gift of Martha Head and The Howard and Martha Head Fund, Inc., May 19, 1997.
This collection was donated to the National Museum of American History by Martha Head on 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.