This collection consists of nearly 250 glass plates, several folders of prints, and two boxes of glass plate envelopes affixed with small prints of the image formerly contained within them. The subject matter of the photography is primarily concerned with Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral experiments of 1906, flights of the Thomas Baldwin dirigible and the United States Signal Corps SC-1 free balloon (1908), and the Wright Flyer Army Trials at Fort Meyer, Virginia (1908 and 1909).
Scope and Content:
The Carl H. Claudy Photography Collection, held by the Archives Division of the National Air and Space Museum, consists of 249 glass plate negatives, mainly 4 x 5 inches in size, taken by Claudy from 1907 to 1909 and photographic contact prints made from the negatives. The subject matter of these images are divided into three main categories: Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite experiments (1907); the U.S. Army's trial flights of the Wright brothers' Military Flyer at Fort Meyer, Virginia (1908-1909); and lighter than air (LTA) flights including Thomas Baldwin's dirigible Signal Corps No. 1 and free balloon ascents by James C. McCoy's America and A. Leo Stevens' Signal Corps No. 10. The collection includes several prints from negatives broken or lost over time.
Collection material has been arranged in the following series:
Series I: Photographs of Alexander Graham Bell's Tetrahedral Kite Experiments (1907)
Series II: Photographs of Wright Flyer Army Trials at Fort Meyer, Virginia (1908-1909)
Series III: Photographs of LTA activity, including Baldwin Signal Corps No. 1 airship flights and several free balloon ascensions (1907-1908)
Series IV: Claudy's original glass plate negatives. Due to the fragile condition of the negatives, this series is not available to researchers.
Series V: Additional material, including Claudy's original negative envelopes and contact prints, copy negatives, and copies of scans of the original negatives on compact discs.
Carl Harry Claudy (1879-1957) was a journalist, a talented photographer, and the author of books on photography, aircraft modeling, Freemasonry, science fiction, and children's books. His books and articles include The First Book of Photography: a Primer of Theory and Practice for the Beginner (1918), Beginner's Book of Model Airplanes (1930), and Prize Winners' Book of Model Airplanes (1931). Claudy also wrote a comic strip, Adventures in the Unknown.
During the early 1900s, Claudy photographed several important aeronautical events - Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral kite experiments; flights of the airship Signal Corps No. 1, the U.S. Army's first powered aircraft; and the Wright Military Flyer trials at Fort Meyer, Virginia.
Attending these events were well-known figures of the day, and Claudy photographed many of them: Orville and Wilbur Wright, Glenn Curtiss, Alexander Graham Bell, President William Howard Taft, Thomas Baldwin, and Alice Roosevelt. Claudy's photographs are a valuable record of the early days of aeronautics and of the people who played a part in them.
Carl H. Claudy, gift, 1957, XXXX-0549, unknown
No restrictions on access.
The scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, armed service memorabilia, invitations and one large photograph of Commander Sweet. The clippings are about Commander Sweet and also about the Wright Brothers.
Biographical / Historical:
Commander George C. Sweet (1877-1953) was a US Navy officer significant in promoting the early use of aircraft by the Navy. In September 1908, Commander Sweet, serving as a Naval observer, reported favorably on the Wright Brothers airplane demonstration at Fort Meyer, near Washington, DC. Following his appointment to the Naval Aeronautical Board, Commander Sweet received an opportunity to fly with the Wright Brothers, becoming the first Navy officer to travel in an airplane.
No donor information, Gift, unknown, XXXX-0017, NASM
No restrictions on access