Collection documents the National Photographic Society, an amateur camera club in Washington, D.C.
Scope and Contents:
The Executive Records, 1944-1978, consist of copies and drafts of the constitution, by-laws, correspondence, and the Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes. The Treasurer Records, 1956-1973, include bank account information that deals with authorization to open an organizational bank account, correspondence about monies collected and expenses incurred and the treasurer's annual reports that document receipts, disbursements, and special activities. The Membership Records, 1945-1984, contain directories (with mailing addresses and telephone numbers), officer information detailing which members served as trustees and/or on what committee. The club had several committees—slide, projector, portrait, special activities, publicity, finance, reception, dinner, membership, salon, audit, print, nominating, program, library and by-laws. The membership applications were maintained on 3" x 5 and 5" x 8" index cards. The annual awards information contains certificates awarded to Barbara Schroeder for a variety of honors, but the majority of documentation deals primarily with annual awards given for color slides. The Henry B. Shaw Memorial Trophy was a specific award and honor that was presented to the NPS member who made the greatest contribution to the well being of NPS. The award was named for Henry B. Shaw, former president of NPS.
The club published a monthly bulletin titled The Finder, 1942-1986, which was distributed to club members and photographic dealers. The Finder was a one-page newsletter from 1942 to April 1945, but in May of 1945 enlarged to four pages, in some instances with inserts. The Photographs and Negatives, 1959-1960, provide documentation of the club's annual banquet and presentation of awards in 1959 and a holiday outing to Petersburg, West Virginia. The photographs and negatives are approximately 4" x 5". The Salons, 1944-1959, includes schedules and other printed materials about salons that club members participated in or attended in the Washington, D.C. area. Camera Clubs, 1949-1967, documents the Greater Washington Council of Camera Clubs, an organization with which NPS was affiliated, and the Metropolitan Camera Club Council, Inc. of New York, New York. The newspaper clippings, 1948-1955, contain information on two columns, "Camera Angles," a weekly written by Alexander J. Wedderburn, Curator of Photography at the Smithsonian Institution and the "Monthly Print Clinic" featuring a photograph with narrative description.
Includes documents concerning the National Photographic Society's affiliations with the Greater Washington Council of Camera Clubs and the Photographic Society of America.
The collection is divided into six series
Series 1: Executive Records
Series 2: Treasurer Records
Series 3: Membership Records
Series 4: The Finder Newsletter
Series 5: Photographs and Negatives
Series 6: Salons
Series 7: Camera Clubs
Series 8: Newspaper Clippings
Biographical / Historical:
The Revenue Camera Club was organized in Washington, D.C. on March 14, 1938. It changed its name to The National Photographic Society (NPS) on April 1, 1943. It became affiliated with the Greater Washington Council of Camera Clubs and the Photographic Society of America. The NPS was incorporated in 1944 with a constitution and by-laws as a "non-profit organization under the provisions of Chapter 5 of the Code of the District of Columbia for the promotion of art and science of photography in all its various branches, through individual memberships, associated camera clubs and other photographic organizations, research and the dissemination of photographic knowledge and the promotion of photographic salons and exhibitions." The management of the society was vested in a board of trustees that was made up of nine members. The club held meetings in each other's homes, church basements or at the Mt. Pleasant or Georgia Avenue libraries where they showed member's prints and eventually held meetings at the Arts Club of Washington. The club dissolved in 1986.
Collection donated by Ms. Barbara Schroeder, February 12, 1999.
Collection is open for research.
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.
Clubs -- Photography -- 1940-1990 -- Washington (D.C.) Search this
Exhibitions -- 1940-1990 -- Washington (D.C.) Search this
Camera clubs -- 1940-1990 -- Washington (D.C.) Search this
Correspondence -- 1940-2000
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- Acetate film -- 1900-2000
Newsletters -- 20th century
Clippings -- 1940-1990 -- Washington (D.C.)
National Photographic Society Records, 1942-1986, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Ellington, Mercer Kennedy, 1919-1996 (musician) Search this
Strayhorn, Billy (William Thomas), 1915-1967 Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Musical History Search this
400 Cubic feet
New York (N.Y.) -- 20th century
Harlem (New York, N.Y.) -- 20th century
Washington (D.C.) -- 20th century
1903 - 1989
The collection documents Duke Ellington's career primarily through orchestrations (scores and parts), music manuscripts, lead sheets, transcriptions, and sheet music. It also includes concert posters, concert programs, television, radio, motion picture and musical theater scripts, business records, correspondence, awards, as well as audiotapes, audiodiscs, photographs, tour itineraries, newspaper clippings, magazines, caricatures, paintings, and scrapbooks.
Scope and Contents:
Dating approximately from the time Duke Ellington permanently moved to New York City in 1923 to the time the material was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution in 1988, the bulk of the material in the Duke Ellington Collection is dated from 1934-1974 and comprises sound recordings, original music manuscripts and published sheet music, hand-written notes, correspondence, business records, photographs, scrapbooks, news clippings, concert programs, posters, pamphlets, books and other ephemera. These materials document Ellington's contributions as composer, musician, orchestra leader, and an ambassador of American music and culture abroad. In addition, the materials paint a picture of the life of a big band maintained for fifty years and open a unique window through which to view an evolving American society.
The approximate four hundred cubic feet of archival materials have been processed and organized into sixteen series arranged by type of material. Several of the series have been divided into subseries allowing additional organization to describe the content of the material. For example, Series 6, Sound Recordings, is divided into four subseries: Radio and Television Interviews, Concert Performances, Studio Dates and Non-Ellington Recordings. Each series has its own scope and content note describing the material and arrangement (for example; Series 10, Magazines and Newspaper Articles, is organized into two groups, foreign and domestic, and arranged chronologically within each group). A container list provides folder titles and box numbers.
The bulk of the material is located in Series 1, Music Manuscripts, and consists of compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and other composers. Series 6, Sound Recordings also provides a record of the performance of many of these compositions. The materials in Series 2, Performances and Programs, Series 3, Business Records, Series 8, Scrapbooks, Series 9, Newspaper Clippings, Series 11, Publicity and Series 12, Posters provide documentation of specific performances by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Ellington was a spontaneous and prolific composer as evidenced by music, lyrical thoughts, and themes for extended works and plays captured on letterhead stationery in Series 3, Business Records, in the margin notes of individual books and pamphlets in Series 14, Religious Materials and Series 15, Books, and in the hand-written notes in Series 5, Personal Correspondence and Notes.
During its fifty-year lifespan, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra were billed under various names including The Washingtonians, The Harlem Footwarmers and The Jungle Band. The soloists were informally called "the band", and Series 3 includes salary statements, IOU's, receipts and ephemera relating to individual band members. Series 1, Music Manuscripts contains the soloists' parts and includes "band books" of several soloists (for example; Harry Carney and Johnny Hodges) and numerous music manuscripts of Billy Strayhorn. The changing role of Strayhorn from arranger hired in 1938 to Ellington's main collaborator and composer of many well-known titles for Duke Ellington and His Orchestra including "Take The A' Train" and "Satin Doll" can be traced in these music manuscripts. Series 7, Photographs and Series 2, Performances and Programs contain many images of the band members and Strayhorn. This Collection also documents the business history of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Series 3, Business Records contains correspondence on letterhead stationery and Series 11, Publicity contains promotional material from the various booking agencies, professional companies, and public relations firms that managed the Orchestra.
The materials in the Duke Ellington Collection provide insight into public and institutional attitudes towards African Americans in mid-twentieth-century America. The business records in Series 3 beginning in 1938 and published sheet music in Series 1 depict Duke Ellington's progression from an African-American musician who needed "legitimization" by a white publisher, Irving Mills, to a businessmen who established his own companies including Tempo Music and Duke Ellington, Incorporated to control his copyright and financial affairs. Programs from the segregated Cotton Club in Series 2, Performances And Programs and contracts with no-segregation clauses in Series 3: Business Records further illustrate racial policies and practices in this time period. The public shift in perception of Duke Ellington from a leader of an exotic "Jungle Band" in the 1930s to a recipient of the Congressional Medal Of Freedom in 1970 is evidenced in Series 2, Performances And Programs, Series 12, Posters, Series 7, Photographs and Series 13, Awards. Reviews and articles reflecting Ellington's evolving status are also documented in Series 8, Newspaper Clippings, Series 9, Scrapbooks, Series 10, Newspaper and Magazine Articles.
The materials in the Duke Ellington Collection reflect rapid technological changes in American society from 1923-1982. Sound recordings in Series 6 range from 78 phonograph records of three minutes duration manufactured for play on Victrolas in monaural sound to long-playing (LP) phonograph records produced for stereo record players. Television scripts in Series 4, programs in Series 2 and music manuscripts (for example, Drum Is A Woman) in Series 1 demonstrate how the development of television as a means of mass communication spread the Orchestra's sound to a wider audience. The availability of commercial air travel enabled the Ellington Orchestra to extend their international performances from Europe to other continents including tours to Asia, Africa, South America and Australia and archival material from these tours is included in every series.
Series 4, Scripts and Transcripts and Series 6, Audio Recordings contain scripts and radio performances promoting the sale of United States War bonds during World War II, and Series 7, Photographs includes many images of Duke Ellington and His Orchestra's performances for military personnel revealing the impact of historic events on Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Series 2: Programs and Performances, Series 9, Newspaper clippings and Series 8, Scrapbooks document the 1963 Far East tour aborted as a result of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
The Duke Ellington Collection contains works by numerous twentieth-century music, literature, and art luminaries. Series 1, Music Manuscripts contains original music manuscripts of William Grant Still, Eubie Blake, Mary Lou Williams, and others. Series 4, Scripts and Transcripts contains a play by Langston Hughes, and Series 12, Posters contains many original artworks.
Series 1: Music Manuscripts, circa 1930-1981, undated
Series 2: Performances and Programs, 1933-1973, undated
Series 3: Business Records, 1938-1988
Series 4: Scripts and Transcripts, 1937-1970
Series 5: Personal Correspondence and Notes, 1941-1974, undated
Series 6: Sound Recordings, 1927-1974
Series 7: Photographs, 1924-1972, undated
Series 8: Scrapbooks, 1931-1973
Series 9: Newspaper Clippings, 1939-1973, undated
Series 10: Magazine Articles and Newspaper Clippings, 1940-1974
Series 11: Publicity, 1935-1988
Series 12: Posters and Oversize Graphics, 1933-1989, undated
Series 13: Awards, 1939-1982
Series 14: Religious Material, 1928-1974
Series 15: Books, 1903-1980
Series 16: Miscellaneous, 1940-1974
Biographical / Historical:
A native of Washington, DC, Edward Kennedy Ellington was born on April 29, 1899. Edward was raised in a middle-class home in the Northwest section of Washington described by his sister Ruth--younger by sixteen years--as a "house full of love." Ellington himself wrote that his father J.E. (James Edward) raised his family "as though he were a millionaire" but Edward was especially devoted to his mother, Daisy Kennedy Ellington. In 1969, thirty-four years after his mother's death, Ellington accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom with these words, "There is nowhere else I would rather be tonight but in my mother's arms." Both his parents played the piano and Ellington began piano lessons at the age of seven, but like many boys he was easily distracted by baseball.
In his early teens, Ellington sneaked into Washington clubs and performance halls where he was exposed to ragtime musicians, including James P. Johnson, and where he met people from all walks of life. He returned in earnest to his piano studies, and at age fourteen wrote his first composition, "Soda Fountain Rag" also known as "Poodle Dog Rag." Ellington was earning income from playing music at seventeen years of age, and around this time he earned the sobriquet "Duke" for his sartorial splendor and regal air. On July 2, 1918, he married a high school sweetheart, Edna Thompson; their only child, Mercer Kennedy Ellington, was born on March 11, 1919. Duke Ellington spent the first twenty-four years of his life in Washington's culturally thriving Negro community. In this vibrant atmosphere he was inspired to be a composer and learned to take pride in his African-American heritage.
Ellington moved to New York City in 1923 to join and eventually lead a small group of transplanted Washington musicians called "The Washingtonians," which included future Ellington band members, Sonny Greer, Otto Hardwicke and "Bubber" Miley. Between 1923 and 1927, the group played at the Club Kentucky on Broadway and the ensemble increased from a quintet to a ten-piece orchestra. With stride pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith as his unofficial guide, Ellington soon became part of New York's music scene; Smith proved to be a long-lasting influence on Duke's composing and arranging direction. At the Club Kentucky, Ellington came under the tutelage of another legendary stride pianist, "Fats" Waller. Waller, a protege of Johnson and Smith, played solos during the band's breaks and also tutored Ellington who began to show progress in his compositions. In November 1924, Duke made his publishing and recording debut with "Choo Choo (I Got To Hurry Home)" released on the Blu-Disc label. In 1925, he contributed two songs to Chocolate Kiddies, an all-black revue which introduced European audiences to black American styles and performers. By this time Ellington's family, Edna and Mercer, had joined him in New York City. The couple separated in the late 1920's, but they never divorced or reconciled.
Ellington's achievements as a composer and bandleader began to attract national attention while he worked at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York City, from 1927 to 1932. The orchestra developed a distinctive sound that displayed the non-traditional voicings of Ellington's arrangements and featured the unique talents of the individual soloists. Ellington integrated his soloists' exotic-sounding trombone growls and wah-wahs, their high-squealed trumpets, their sultry saxophone blues licks and Harlem's street rhythms into his arrangements. In the promotional material of the Cotton Club, the band was often billed as "Duke Ellington and His Jungle Band." With the success of compositions like "Mood Indigo," and an increasing number of recordings and national radio broadcasts from the Cotton Club, the band's reputation soared.
The ten years from 1932 to 1942 are considered by some major critics to represent the "golden age" for the Ellington Orchestra, but it represents just one of their creative peaks. These years did bring an influx of extraordinary new talent to the band including Jimmy Blanton on double bass, Ben Webster on tenor saxophone, and Ray Nance on trumpet, violin and vocals. During this ten year span Ellington composed several of his best known short works, including "Concerto For Cootie," "Ko-Ko," "Cotton Tail," "In A Sentimental Mood," and Jump For Joy, his first full-length musical stage revue.
Most notably, 1938 marked the arrival of Billy Strayhorn. While a teenager in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Strayhorn had already written "Lush Life," "Something To Live For" and a musical, Fantastic Rhythm. Ellington was initially impressed with Strayhorn's lyrics but realized long before Billy's composition "Take the A' Train" became the band's theme song in 1942 that Strayhorn's talents were not limited to penning clever lyrics. By 1942, "Swee' Pea" had become arranger, composer, second pianist, collaborator, and as Duke described him, "my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine." Many Ellington/Strayhorn songs have entered the jazz canon, and their extended works are still being discovered and studied today. Strayhorn remained with the Ellington Organization until his death on May 30, 1967.
Ellington had often hinted of a work in progress depicting the struggle of blacks in America. The original script, Boola, debuted in Carnegie Hall in November of 1943, retitled Black, Brown and Beige. The performance met with mixed reviews, and although Ellington often returned to Carnegie Hall the piece was never recorded in a studio, and after 1944 was never performed in entirety again by the Ellington Orchestra. Nonetheless, it is now considered a milestone in jazz composition.
After World War II the mood and musical tastes of the country shifted and hard times befell big bands, but Ellington kept his band together. The band was not always financially self-sufficient and during the lean times Ellington used his songwriting royalties to meet the soloists' salaries. One could assign to Ellington the altruistic motive of loyalty to his sidemen, but another motivation may have been his compositional style which was rooted in hearing his music in the formative stage come alive in rehearsal. "The band was his instrument," Billy Strayhorn said, and no Ellington composition was complete until he heard the orchestra play it. Then he could fine tune his compositions, omit and augment passages, or weave a soloist's contribution into the structure of the tune.
In 1956, the American public rediscovered Duke and the band at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. The searing performances of tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves on "Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue," his premiere soloist, alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges on "Jeep's Blues", and the crowd's ecstatic reaction have become jazz legend. Later that year Duke landed on the cover of Time magazine. Although Ellington had previously written music for film and television (including the short film, Black and Tan Fantasy in 1929) it wasn't until 1959 that Otto Preminger asked him to score music for his mainstream film, Anatomy of a Murder, starring Jimmy Stewart. Paris Blues in 1961, featuring box-office stars Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier in roles as American jazz musicians in Paris, followed.
Ellington's first performance overseas was in England in 1933, but the 1960s brought extensive overseas tours including diplomatic tours sponsored by the State Department. Ellington and Strayhorn composed exquisite extended works reflecting the sights and sounds of their travels, including the Far East Suite, 1966. They wrote homages to their classical influences; in 1963, they adapted Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and celebrated Shakespeare's works with the suite Such Sweet Thunder in 1957. With Ella Fitzgerald, they continued the Norman Granz Songbook Series. Ellington also began to flex his considerable pianist skills and recorded albums with John Coltrane (1963), Coleman Hawkins (1963), Frank Sinatra, and Money Jungle (1963) with Charles Mingus and Max Roach. The First Sacred Concert debuted in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral in 1965. In his final years, Ellington's thoughts turned to spiritual themes and he added a Second (1968) and Third (1973) Concert of Sacred Music to his compositions.
In his lifetime, Duke received numerous awards and honors including the highest honor bestowed on an American civilian, the Congressional Medal Of Freedom. In 1965, Ellington was recommended for a Pulitzer Prize to honor his forty years of contribution to music but the recommendation was rejected by the board. Most likely he was disappointed, but his response at the age of sixty-six was, "Fate is being kind to me. Fate doesn't want me to be famous too young."
Ellington never rested on his laurels or stopped composing. Whenever he was asked to name his favorite compositions his characteristic reply was "the next five coming up," but to please his loyal fans Ellington always featured some of his standards in every performance. Even on his deathbed, he was composing the opera buffo called Queenie Pie.
Duke Ellington died on May 24, 1974 at seventy-five years of age. His funeral was held in New York's Cathedral of St. John The Divine; he was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. His long-time companion Beatrice "Evie" Ellis was buried beside him after her death in 1976. He was survived by his only child, Mercer Kennedy Ellington, who not only took up the baton to lead the Duke Ellington Orchestra but assumed the task of caring for his father's papers and his legacy to the nation. Mercer Ellington died in Copenhagan, Denmark on February 8, 1996, at the age of seventy-six. Ruth Ellington Boatwright died in New York on March 6, 2004, at the age of eighty-eight. Both Mercer and Ruth were responsible for shepherding the documents and artifacts that celebrate Duke Ellington's genius and creative life to their current home in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
Materials in the Archives Center
William H. Quealy Collection of Duke Ellington Recordings (AC0296)
Rutgers University Collection of Radio Interviews about Duke Ellington (AC0328)
Duke Ellington Oral History Project (AC0368)
Duke Ellington Collection of Ephemera and realated Audiovisual Materials (AC0386)
Annual International Conference of the Duke Ellington Study Group Proceedings (AC0385)
Robert Udkoff Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0388)
Frank Driggs Collection of Duke Ellington Photographic Prints (AC0389)
New York Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society Collection (AC390)
Earl Okin Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0391)
William Russo Transcription and Arrangement of Duke Ellington's First Concert of Sacred Music (AC0406)
Ruth Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0415)
Music manuscripts in the Ruth Ellington Collection complement the music manuscripts found in the Duke Ellington Collection.
Carter Harman Collection of Interviews with Duke Ellington (AC0422)
Betty McGettigan Collection of Duke Ellington Memorabilia (AC0494)
Dr. Theodore Shell Collection of Duke Ellington Ephemera (AC0502)
Edward and Gaye Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0704)
Andrew Homzy Collection of Duke Ellington Stock Music Arrangements (AC0740)
John Gensel Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0763)
Al Celley Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC1240)
Materials at Other Organizations
Institute of Jazz Studies
Artifacts related to this collection are in the Division of Culture and the Arts (now Division of Cultural and Community Life) and include trophies, plaques, and medals. See accessions: 1989.0369; 1991.0808; 1993.0032; and 1999.0148.
The collection was purchased through an appropriation of Congress in 1988.
Collection is open for research but the original and master audiovisual materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
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.
Copyright restrictions. Consult the Archives Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Paul Ellington, executor, is represented by:
Richard J.J. Scarola, Scarola Ellis LLP, 888 Seventh Avenue, 45th Floor, New York, New York 10106. Telephone (212) 757-0007 x 235; Fax (212) 757-0469; email: email@example.com; www.selaw.com; www.ourlawfirm.com.
Barnaby, Ralph S. (Ralph Stanton), 1893-1986 Search this
3.15 Cubic feet ((7 legal document boxes))
2.94 Linear feet
Ralph Stanton Barnaby (1893-1986) was an aviation pioneer. Barnaby was the first licensed glider pilot in the United States and the first to successfully launch a glider from an airship. He organized and directed the Navy's first school for glider pilots. Barnaby also served as president of the Early Birds and helped organize the Soaring Society of America, as well as authoring a number of books on gliders and paper airplanes.
Scope and Contents:
The Ralph Stanton Barnaby collection consists of approximately two cubic feet of materials relating to Barnaby's personal life and his relationship with the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. This collection contains approximately one-fourth of Barnaby's personal papers, the remainder being held by the National Soaring Museum and the Franklin Institute. Before being accessioned into the Archives, documents from the Museum's biographical files were added to the collection. These documents are indistinguishable from the donated material and so remain part of this collection.
This collection consists almost entirely of correspondence, newsletters, news clippings, and publications relating to early aviation. A problem arises initially from the fact that all of the material in this collection is supposed to relate to Barnaby's relations with the Early Birds. As the majority is correspondence, it would be logical to arrange by individuals and/or offices first, but the fact that offices in the Early Birds organization were rotated yearly and that much of the correspondence is of a personal nature makes this difficult.
Materials in this collection date between 1911 and 1986 and the bulk dates ranging between 1930 and 1980, when Ralph Barnaby was most active in the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. The materials were broken down into four series.
The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Archives received from the estate only those materials relating to his Early Birds affiliation, with his other materials going to the National Soaring Museum and the Franklin Institute. Any researcher interested in information relating to Barnaby's soaring experiences or personal life which NASM does not have should contact these organizations.
Biographical / Historical:
Ralph Stanton Barnaby was born 21 January 1893 in Meadville, PA, but moved to New York City in 1900, Barnaby has his first taste of aviation in 1905, when Roy Knabenshue flew his dirigible over the city. In 1908 Barnaby went to Belleville, New Jersey to see Thomas Baldwin fly what became the Signal Corps Dirigible No. 1. With his inspiration, Barnaby designed, built and flew his first glider in Roxbury Connecticut on 18 August 1909. After improved designs and additional flights, Barnaby was awarded the Fèdèration Aèronautique Internationale Soaring Certificate #1 for the United States, signed by Orville Wright. Now thoroughly bitten by the aviation bug, Barnaby forsook his chosen career as an artist and attended Columbia University, graduating in 1915 with a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical engineering. From Columbia, Barnaby went to the Elco Boat Company, where he worked with Alexander Graham Bell on the design and production of high-speed subchasers for the U.S. Navy. In 1916, he took the position of Assistant Chief Engineer and head of the Engineering Department at the Standard Aero Corporation, under Charles Healy Day.
When America entered World War I, Barnaby resigned from Standard Aero and accepted a commission in the Navy, serving overseas until the spring of 1919. Barnaby then came home and attended the Navy Flight School at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida and the Aviation Ground School at M.I.T., after which he was awarded his wings. Barnaby served as the First U.S. Navy representative on the Army-Navy Standards Committee and, in 1920, he was made Project Engineer for the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On 31 January 1930 Barnaby performed the first successful glider release from USS Los Angeles during tests at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey. These tests led to the later operation of powered aircraft from USS Macon and USS Akron. During 1930 he also authored Gliders and Gliding, established the U.S. Navy's Glider School, NAS Pensacola, Florida and served as Chief Engineer and Assistant Manager of the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia. Following the conclusion of the glider/dirigible tests, Barnaby was promoted to the rank of Lt Commander. In 1930 Barnaby joined the recently founded organization known as the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc.
From 1933 to 1939 Barnaby was assigned to a variety of bases in as many roles ranging from aircraft inspector at the Baltimore Naval Aircraft Factory (1933-1934) to repairs officer, NAS Pensacola (1934-1939). In 1938 Barnaby was promoted to the rank of Commander and a year later became Assistant Chief Engineer at the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, where he remained until America's entrance into World War II. During the war, Barnaby was assigned to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard handling the design and procurement of troop and cargo-carrying gliders. In 1944 Barnaby was responsible for establishing and directing the Naval Aircraft Modification Unit, Johnsville, Pennsylvania, later known as the Naval Development Center and from 1945 to 1947 Barnaby served as Commanding Officer. In 1947 he retired from the U.S. Navy at the rank of Captain.
Following his retirement, Barnaby took a position at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Pennsylvania. where he worked in a variety of capacities including Aeronautics Consultant to the Director of the Science Museum and Chief of the Aeronautics Section He was responsible for planning and directing air traffic control research and aeronautical engineering and for the acquisition of many of the Institute's early flight artifacts, most notable their Wright Model B Flyer, the type Barnaby was taught to fly by George W. Beatty in 1912. When he passed away, Barnaby held the title of "Keeper Emeritus, Hall of Aviation."
Aside from his Navy and professional career, Barnaby had a multitude of other interests. Prior to witnessing the Knabenshue and Baldwin dirigible flights, Barnaby wanted to be an artist and studied at the Art Students League in New York City. He was a skilled craftsman, working in several mediums, but is best known for his sculptures. Examples of his work include bronze busts of famous naval leaders at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, pieces at the Mariner's Museum at Newport News Virginia, the bronze of the Wright Brothers at the Wright Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and the bas relief of Thomas E. Selfridge, first man to die in an air crash at Fort Myer, Virginia. In addition, most of the medallions and pins cast and presented by the Early Birds of Aviation were designed by Barnaby. Numerous examples of self-designed greeting cards designed by Barnaby reflect his artistic talents.
Another of Barnaby's hobbies was paper airplanes. Barnaby used a design he perfected while acting as liaison officer at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio in 1927 to win Scientific America's First International Paper Airplane Competition in 1967. In 1968, he authored How to Make and Fly Paper Airplanes which sold widely and discussed holding a program with the Smithsonian on paper airplane construction.
In addition to being a Past President of the Early Birds of Aviation, Barnaby was a member and/or officer of many other aeronautical organizations. In 1960 he was named an "Elder Statesman of Aviation" by the National Aeronautics Association. He was also Fellow of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, Founder of the Soaring Society of America, member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association, Past President of Aero Club of Pennsylvania, member of the Gliding Committee of the Fèdèration Aèronautique Internationale, member of the Twirly Birds, the Philadelphia Glider Council, the Golden Eagles, the Army/Navy Club, the Society of Automotive Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, founder of the New York Model Aero Club and member of the Scientific Research Society of America.
Barnaby's awards are diverse and include the Legion of Merit for Naval Services, U.S. Navy Air Medal and the Medal of Merit from Columbia University. He was the 1955 recipient of the Paul Tissandier Diploma from the Fèdèration Aèronautique Internationale and was named to the Helms Athletic Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport of soaring and gliding in America.
Ralph Stanton Barnaby Timeline
1893 -- Ralph Stanton Barnaby born, 21 January, Meadville, Pennsylvania.
1900 -- Family moved to New York City.
1904-1908 -- Grace Church Choisters School, New York City; Trinity School.
1909 -- Designed, built and flew his own glider, 18 August, Roxbury Falls, Connecticut.
1911 -- Co-founded New York Model Aero Club.
1912 -- Took flying lesson with George Beatty, Long Island, New York.
1915 -- Graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University.
1915-1916 -- Worked with Alexander Graham Bell on designing high-speed boats for the Navy with the Elco Company, Bayonne, New Jersey.
1915-1916 -- In charge of sub-chaser assembly and testing at Montreal, Quebec.
1917 -- Joined Standard Aero Corporation with Charles Healy Day, was made Assistant Chief Engineer and head of Engineering Department.
1917 -- Accepted a commission in the United States Navy at rank of ensign; First Navy representative on the Army-Navy Standards Committee.
1944 -- Established the Naval Air Development Center, Johnsville, Pennsylvania.
1945-1947 -- Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Development Center, Johnsville, Pennsylvania.
1947 -- Retired from U.S. Navy at rank of Captain.
1947 -- Accepted position at Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1950 -- Served as Captain of the first American soaring team to participate in an international gliding event, Sweden.
1967-1968 -- Winner of the First International Paper Airplane Competition and authored How to Make and Fly Paper Airplanes.
1986 -- Passed away, 15 May, Center City, Pennsylvania.
Additional Materials: The following materials were transferred to the National Air and Space Museum Aeronautics Division -- one Early Bird cap, one trophy, two plaques, medals, pins, and official Early Bird envelopes.
Ralph Stanton Barnaby, gift, 1987, 1987-0048, Not NASM
No restrictions on access