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MS Am 2547

Hanks, Stedman Shumway, 1889-1979. Stedman Shumway Hanks papers, circa 1889-1970: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Am 2547
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Hanks, Stedman Shumway, 1889-1979.
Title: Stedman Shumway Hanks,
Date(s): 1889-1970.
Quantity: 1 collection (12 linear feet (83 volumes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Papers of Stedman Shumway Hanks, an American pioneer in civil and military aviation engineering.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

50M-196, 50M-197, 50M-198. Deposited by Stedman Shumway Hanks, Manchester, Massachusetts; received: 1950 December.
59M-232, 59M-233. Gift of Stedman Shumway Hanks, 19 East 72nd Street, New York 21, New York; received: 1960 March.
65M-161. Gift of Colonel Stedman Shumway Hanks, 19 East 72nd Street, New York, New York 10021; received: 1966 January.
70M-141. Gift of Colonel Stedman Shumway Hanks, 19 East 72nd Street, New York, New York 10021; received: 1970 November 21.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Stedman Shumway Hanks Papers, circa 1889-1970 (MS Am 2547). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

In the preface to his 1959 master index to all volumes, Stedman Hanks details his master plan for his archive. He states that "I never kept a diary. Instead, I have put many records, letters and memoranda into bound volumes ..." He goes on to state that these volumes were divided into categories and distributed as follows [organized by color of binding]. The locations listed below (other than for Houghton) may no longer be accurate:
The following repositories also have papers relating to Stedman Shumway Hanks and the Hanks family:

Biographical / Historical

Stedman Shumway Hanks (1889-1979) was an airport engineer, construction executive, banker, author, and United States Air Force Colonel. He was born on 1889 July 17 in Manchester, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Stedman Hanks (1856-1908) and Clarina Bartow Shumway (1857-1925). He attended the Groton School, and received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1912, and an A.M. from Columbia University in 1946. His first wife was Marjory Hancock Hanks (b. ca. 1890-; married on 1919 February 11) and his second wife was Helen Chappell, married in 1952. He had a son with his first wife, Roger Stedman Hanks (1921-1999).
Hanks' military history follows: Commissioned First Lieutenant, Aviation Section, Signal Officer Reserve Corps, 1917; relieved from active duty, 1920; recalled to active duty, 1940. Career assignments include: Commanding Officer, 18th Aero Squadron, 1918; Liaison Officer, Office of Assistant Secretary of War, 1940; Staff Officer, HQ Ferrying Command, 1941-1943; various staff duties, HQ USAAF, 1943-1945. Retired August 1949.
In 1936, Hanks patented a flight strip and helped gain government appropriation for its construction throughout the country. He was founder and president of American Airports Corporation, executive director of the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission, and president of Stedman Hanks & Co. He wrote many books and articles on aviation and foreign policy. His major books were: Airfields for Puerto Rico (1946), Aviation gets down to earth; the growing need for public landing fields (1940), The borzoi: the most noble greyhound (1960), Flight strips - bargain airports (1945), Flight strips for civilian use (1944), Frontiers are not borders; a brief account of a journey to meet and understand the peoples of the world (1955), International airports (1929), and others.
Hank's father established Seacroft Kennels in 1890 and brought Russian Wolf-Hounds (later named Borzoi) to the United States. Stedman Hanks kept the kennels in existence and he was active in Borzoi fanciers' activities, but his involvement in the kennel was limited. Hanks died in Manhattan, New York, at the age of 89, on 1979 May 23.


The portion of the Hanks papers housed at the Houghton Library was arranged and bound by Stedman Shumway Hanks. The papers are organized into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Volumes are essentially scrapbooks with pasted, stapled, and bound-in correspondence and memorabilia, including: correspondence with Hanks, telegrams, certificates, photographs, daily travel diary, reports, compositions, financial records, pamphlets, leaflets, clippings, family papers, government documents, maps, menus, visiting cards, business cards, wine bottle labels, wills and other legal documents, diplomas, tickets, membership cards, pins, report cards, buttons, medals, badges, genealogical materials, notes, and much other ephemera. Materials are in the formats of: autograph manuscript, typescript, typescript carbon, photostat, realia, and printed material.
Materials concern Hanks personal life, military career, Hanks' extended family, career as an aviation engineer (especially on the development of the flight strip), and all other aspects of his life.
This guide is not a detailed listing of the items included, but only a list of the titles assigned to the volumes by Hanks.


This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Container List