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Mss:736 1909-1911 R842

Early Aviation Photograph Collection, 1909-1911: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Mss:736 1909-1911 R842
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Title: Early Aviation Photograph Collection
Date(s): 1909-1911
Quantity: .5 linear feet (2 boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: This collection consists of black and white photographic prints of scenes of early aeroplanes and aviation meets.


Gift of Arthur Rotch, March 1949.

Processing Information:

Processed: August 2001
By: Maggie Hale, assisted by Naomi Singer

Processing Note:

The collection was reprocessed during the Historical Collections photographic survey project of 1999 to 2001. The photographs were formerly part of the large PM (Pictures of Manufacturing) file. The photographs were rehoused into acid-free buffered folders and the negatives placed in individual envelopes. The entire collection was then placed in two acid-free boxes.

Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact specialcollectionsref@hbs.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: Early Aviation Photograph Collection. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School.

Related Collection:

Photograph Album of The Harvard-Boston Aviation Meet at Atlantic, September 3 to September 13, 1910.

Historical Note:

Public interest in aviation developed quickly in the years after Orville and Wilbur Wright's 1903 first successful powered and controlled flight. The Wright Brothers and other early aviation pioneers presented their aeroplanes to the public in exhibition flights. By 1910, air shows, exhibitions, and meets had become popular events. One of the earliest aviation meets was the first Harvard-Boston Aviation Meet, held September 3 to 13, 1910 at Atlantic, Massachusetts, a large field and marsh west of Squantum. The Harvard Aeronautical Society was sponsored the meet in cooperation with the Aero Club of New England. Aviators from the United States and England flew American and European aeroplanes at this meet. Another notable early aviation event was the International Aviation Tournament, held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York from October 22 to 30, 1910. These meets included contests for rapid starting, speed, altitude, target bombing, landing accuracy, and distance races. Additional aviation meets held in the Boston area during 1911 included the first Intercollegiate Glider Meet, hosted by Harvard at Squantum Field from May 28 to 30, 1911 and the second Harvard-Boston Aviation Meet, held from August 26 to September 4, 1911.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists of seventy-eight black and white photographic prints, two postcards. There are also negatives of seventy-five of the photographic prints. The photographs depict scenes of early aeroplanes and aviation meets circa 1909 to 1911. A number of the photographs were taken at several early airfields including Fort Myer, Virginia, Governors Island, New York, and College Park, Maryland. The bulk of the photographs were taken by spectators at several notable aviation exhibitions held in 1910 and 1911: the Harvard-Boston Aviation Meets of September 1910 and September 1911, the International Aviation Tournament held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York held in October 1910, and the Intercollegiate Glider Meet of May 1911. The photographs show biplanes, monoplanes, and gliders, both in flight and on the ground. Most of the photographs have brief captions on versos. Wilbur and Orville Wright, Claude Grahame-White, Earle Lewis Ovington, Walter R. Brookins, and Eugene Burton Ely are among the aviation pioneers identified in the captions on the photographs. The collection is arranged chronologically.

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