This collection contains two scrapbooks and the personal papers of Dr. Paul Studenski, an early aviator who flew from 1910-1913. Born in St. Petersburg, Studenski studied law and medicine before earning the 292nd license from L'Aero Club de France. He immigrated to the United States in 1911 and exercised his prodigious flying skills as instructor, test pilot and exhibition pilot before retiring from flying to distinguish himself in the fields of economics and government service.
Scope and Content:
The Paul Studenski Collection (accession 1989-0012) contains approximately one cubic foot of material relating to the aviation career of this early pilot.
Container List: Series I: Correspondence; Series II: Aviation career and activities; Series III: Scrapbooks; Series IV: Oversized materials
Paul Studenski was born November 13, 1887 and raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Possessed of great intellectual talent, Studenski studied law at the University of Saint Petersburg, Russia, from which he graduated in 1908. He then attended the Sorbonne in Paris for a year, where he became a medical student. Paris was then a particularly exciting place for a young man of energy and curiosity and after Louis Blériot flew the English Channel in 1909, Studenski's plans for the immediate future dramatically changed. He soon suspended his academic coursework and spent his entire inheritance in learning to fly.
Studenski enrolled at L'École Blériot in Étampes, France. He first soloed on November 8, 1910 and received the 292nd license from L'AŽro Club de France. After flying the experimental monoplane Gremaud at Pau throughout the winter of 1910-1911, he immigrated to the United States, where he showed himself to be an extremely versatile pilot, skilled with vastly dissimilar types of aircraft. After a stint of barnstorming, he accepted employment with the National Aeroplane Company, operating out of Galveston, Texas and Cicero, Illinois. For National, he served as instructor, test pilot and exhibition pilot. On March 17, 1912, he carried the first authorized mail in Texas, indeed the first air mail carrying flights in the South. In 1913, Studenski signed on with the Silver Lake Aviation Company, operating near Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Later that year, Studenski acceded to his wife Ester's request and retired from aviation. Although his aviation career spanned only four years, these were marked by skill and sound judgement.
Studenski returned to academe, attending New York University between 1915 and 1917. The next year he entered Columbia University, where he received a doctorate in 1921. The following years were spent in a highly regarded career in teaching and government service. He was to serve as Professor of Economics at New York University for many years, from 1927 to 1955. He followed this with a two year tenure as Director of the Albany Graduate Program in Public Administration. Subsequently, Paul Studenski served as Professor Emeritus of Economics at New York University and devoted more of his efforts to consulting work, advising many entities, including municipal commissions, various state and city governments, federal agencies and private organizations. Both President Franklin Roosevelt and New York Governor Thomas Dewey were to thank him for his efforts. Among the many books he authored were The Income of Nations and Financial History of the United States.
Paul Studenski was the a member of several associations relating to his careers in aviation and economics, including the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. and the Long Island Early Fliers Club.
This accomplished pilot flew, during four scant years, Curtiss, Nieuport and Farman machines, the Beech-National biplane (at the time the largest airplane in the United States) and several Blériot models, including Earle Ovington's U.S. Air Mail Carrier No. 1. Paul Studenski, a gentle and accomplished man, pioneer aviator and fiscal expert, died November 2, 1961, while browsing in a bookstore.
Dr. Eugene Studenski and Dr. Vera Zorn, gift, 1988, 1989-0012
Having been educated in the law while in Russia, Studenski was mindful of saving all legal documentation concerning his contracts during the years in which he was employed in the field of aviation. These are contained within this series, along with legal motions and statements concerning the lawsuit pursued by Studenski against the Silver Lake Company for breach of contract.
No restrictions on access
Paul Studenski Collection, Acc. 1989-0012, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.