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Finding aid of the Walter R. Brookins Aviation Collection
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Collection Contents

Folder 1-6

Series 1. Photographs 1900-circa 1950 (bulk circa 1910-circa 1912).

Physical Description: 6 folders.

Series Scope and Content

The earliest photographs are of the Wright glider of 1900 and of Wilbur Wright in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk in October 1902. These photographs were probably a gift to Brookins from the Wright brothers. The bulk of the photographs date from circa 1910 to circa 1912, and are of various air meets in which Brookins participated, first as a member of the Wright team, later as an "independent". Later photographs include an undated studio portrait of Brookins, and two photographs, 1945 and undated, from reunions of the Early Birds. The collection includes two reproductions of an original photograph, then in the collections of James N. Gillette (cf. James N. Gillette Aviation Collection, Photographic Collection P-140, Seaver Center for Western History Research, Natural History Museum of the County of Los Angeles), of Brookins with Orville Wright, General "Hap" Arnold, and others, at the dedication of the Wright Brothers Memorial at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, on August 19, 1940; these items are of unknown provenance, but are catalogued with the collection as the original photograph was inscribed to Brookins by Orville Wright.

Arrangement

Arranged in approximate chronological order.
Folder 1

circa 1900-1903

Physical Description: 1 folder.
Folder : Item 1 : 1

Wright glider strains against the ropes that tether it to the ground. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina 1900

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 2.5 x 3 in.
Folder : Item 1 : 2

Wilbur Wright flying Wright glider, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina October 24, 1902

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 2.5 x 3 in.
Folder : Item 1 : 3

Wright flyer n.d.

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w : 2.25 x 3 in.
Folder 2-4

1910-1912

Physical Description: 3 folders.
Folder : Item 2 : 1

Dominguez Field Air Meet 1910

Physical Description: 1 postcard : hand-tinted ; 3.5 x 5.5 in..
Folder : Item 2 : 2

Albert Bond Lambert (L) and Orville Wright (R) before takeoff, Simms Station, Dayton, Ohio May 18, 1910

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 4.5 x 6.5 in.
Folder : Item 2 : 3

Roy Knabenshue and dirigible 1910

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 3.5 x 5.5 in.
Folder : Item 2 : 4

Biplane at an airshow [possibly Belmont Park] October 15, 1910

Physical Description: 1 postcard : b&w ; 3.25 x 5.25 in. Annotation at lower left corner: "Brookins, 10-15-10."
Folder : Item 2 : 5

Walter Brookins and Frank Garbutt in aircraft, Los Angeles, California December 1910

Physical Description: 1 photograph [reproduction] : b&w ; 5.5 x 9.25 in.
Folder : Item 2 : 6

Walter Brookins with male passenger [Frank Garbutt] seated in aircraft, Los Angeles, California December 1910

Physical Description: 1 photograph [reproduction] : b&w ; 7 x 10 in.
Folder : Item 3 : 1

Man with cigarette in two-seat biplane 1910

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 3 x 5.25 in.
Folder : Item 3 : 2

2 men and a woman at an air meet circa 1910

Physical Description: 1 postcard : b&w ; 3.5 x 5.5 in.
Folder : Item 3 : 3

Crowd of men hoisting triumphant flyer circa 1910

Physical Description: 1 postcard : b&w ; 3.5 x 5.5 in.

Note

Photograph taken at same time as #4.
Folder : Item 3 : 4

Two men flanking flyer circa 1910

Physical Description: 1 postcard : b&w ; 3.5 x 5.5 in. (image 2.75 x 3.5 in.)

Note

Photograph taken at same time as #3.
Folder : Item 4 : 1

Group of men on airfield, Salt Lake City Aviation Carnival April 6, 1911

Physical Description: 1 photograph : sepia ; 3.25 x 5.25 in. Annotated on bottom in ink: "[illegible] M.Cory [illegible]. Salt Lake City Aviation Carnival-Apr 6-[19]11."
Folder : Item 4 : 2

4 men standing on landing strip at Salt Lake City Aviation Carnival April 1911

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 3.25 x 5.5 in.
Folder : Item 4 : 3

Pilot and 4 men at air show April 20, 1911

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 3.25 x 5.5 in.Caption at bottom: "Photo by H. B. Cole, Boise, Idaho, 4/20/[19]11.
Folder : Item 4 : 4

Glenn H. Curtiss watching the aerial antics of Horace Kearney, Souvenir of San Diego aviation meet April 6-7, 1912

Physical Description: 1 postcard : b&w : 5.5 x 3.5 in. Annotated on back: "From Collection of T. P. Faulconer, San Diego, Calif."
Folder : Item 4 : 5

Walter Brookins with a group of men on the field at an air meet 1912

Physical Description: 1 postcard : b&w ; 3.5 x 5.5 in. Message on back: "Just returned from Canton Mrs. [?] N. Mrs. L. Jane and I had dinner with Mr. Atwood and Mr. Steevens they left town at 7:15 PM Sunday".

Note

Brookins identified in picture with year "1912" in green ink.
Folder 5-6

1940-1945

Physical Description: 2 folders.
Folder : Item 5 : 1-2

(L to R) R. M. Wright; Bernard Whalen, Robert G. Fowler, General Hap Arnold, Orville Wright, Capt. Kenneth Whiting, and Walter Brookins, taken at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, at the dedication of a plaque honoring the pioneer fliers who had trained at Wright Field. August 19, 1940

Physical Description: 1 photograph [reproduction] (2 copies) : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. Inscribed to Brookins by Orville Wright.

Note

Reproduction of the original in the James N. Gillette collection.
Folder : Item 5 : 3

Caption for #'s 1-2, indicating that the image is a "[c]ollectors Item photo from the files of James N. Gillette" 1940

Physical Description: 1 sheet : 8 1/2 x 11 in.
Folder : Item 6 : 1

Formal portrait of Walter Brookins circa 1940

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 10 x 8 in.
Folder : Item 6 : 2

"Earlybirds", group portrait of 18 pilots posed in front of a military airplane September 1944

Physical Description: 1 photograph : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. Annotated at lower left: "556 BU 18 SEPT. 44 1048.1 EARLYBIRDS". Annotated on back: "Property of Walter R. Brookins, 6547 Cahuenga Terrace, Hollywood 28, Calif"; "I used this head for the portrait--which I thought more suitable--L.E. Thompson".
Folder : Item 6 : 3

19 men in civilian clothes, wearing medals, by brick wall circa 1945

Physical Description: 1 photograph : sepia ; 8 x 10 in. Annotated on back: "Property of Walter P. Brookins, 6547 Cahuenga Terrace, Hollywood 28, California".
Folder 7-8

Series 2.  Printed Matter 1910-1953

Physical Description: 2 folders + 1 loose-leaf binder.

Series Scope and Content

The materials in this series include a legal-sized loose-leaf binder containing typescript copies (primarily carbon copies) of book chapters and newspaper articles, 1910-1952, concerning the early history of fixed-wing flight in the United States, in particular the contribution of the Wright brothers and the career of Walter Brookins. The materials also include numbers 2-8 and 10-14 of a portfolio of photographic plates published on December 17, 1952, by the National Aerographic Society, a subsidiary of the Institute of Aeronautical History, to commemorate important events in the history of flight. Much of the material reproduced is now in the James Carruthers Memorial Aviation Collection of the Institute of Aeronautical History, Special Collections Department, Honnold/Mudd Library, Claremont, California. The remaining materials in the series are a page from Popular Mechanics Aviation Album, reproducing a photograph of Roy Knabenshue demonstrating the motor airship Arrow at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, and a limited edition reproduction of the line sketch "Evolution of Flight", commemorating the golden jubilee (1953) of the Wright brothers' first flight.
Aviation Folio TL508 .B791

Typescript copies of newspaper articles and book chapters, 1910-1952, concerning the Wright brothers and the career of Walter Brookins 1910-1952

Physical Description: 1 loose-leaf binder : 14.5 x 12.5 in.

Note

The binder contains multiple copies-primarily carbon copies, with some originals-of most items. A full list of the contents, arranged chronologically, is appended to this finding aid. A 1953 typescript copy of a 1948 account by Charles E. Taylor, "My Story of the Wright Brothers", formerly in this binder, is now in box 12, folder 8, James Carruthers Memorial Aviation Collection of the Institute of Aeronautical History, Special Collections Department, Honnold/Mudd Library.
Folder 7

Prints 1931-1953

Physical Description: 1 folder.
Folder : Item 7 : 1

Edward Louis Throm, Popular Mechanics Aviation Album (Chicago: Popular Mechanics Press), pages 23-24. 1953

Contents

Page 23 (above) J. C. McCoy making a balloon ascent outside New York in 1910.
Page 23 (below) August Piccard, seen through the glass-barred porthole of the aluminum sphere in which he reached a record altitude.
Page 24 Roy Knabenshue demonstrates the motor airship Arrow at the Saint Louis World's Fair in 1904.
Folder : Item 7 : 2

Wright brothers' first flight. Golden Jubilee Plate, "Evolution of Flight" 1931

Physical Description: 1 line sketch : cream paper ; 11 x 8 in.

Note

Limited edition, courtesy of Nolie Mumey, MA, MD, copyright 1931, reproduced by Evan F. Lovett, Hollywood.
Folder 8

Portfolio of photographic plates published by the National Aerographic Society, a subsidiary of the Institute of Aeronautical History, to commemorate important events in aviation history December 17, 1952

Physical Description: 1 folder ; 15 sheets : 11 x 8.5 in.
Folder : Item 8 : 1-3

Plate II. Bleriot for France officially embraces Navy aeronauts Noville and Byrd, Paris, July 1927, honoring trans-Atlantic flight of 'America,' one month after Lindbergh's crossing in thirty three plus hours July 1927

Physical Description: 3 copies.

Note

Attribution: Lt. Commander George Noville Archives, President National Aerographic Society.
Folder : Item 8 : 4

Plate III. General Lahm's winning flight plan 1906-Gordon-Bennet Race; First military pilot trained by Wright Brothers 1908-09 1906, 1908-1909

Note

Attribution: Institute of Aeronautical History Library, Lahm Collection.
Folder : Item 8 : 5-6

Plate IV. Santos-Dumont 1901. Paris first gas-powered dirigible 1901

Physical Description: 2 copies.

Note

Attribution: Santos-Dumont Aeronautical Foundation.
Folder : Item 8 : 7

Plate V. Langley Book Lilienthal's copy 1891 first edition 1891

Note

Attribution: Institute of Aeronautical History Library Claremont, Carruthers Collection.
Folder : Item 8 : 8

Plate VI. Kitty Hawk Wright plane 1903. Original signature by Orville Wright 1903

Note

Attribution: Institute of Aeronautical History Library Claremont, Carruthers Collection.
Folder : Item 8 : 9

Plate VII. Original piece of Kitty Hawk Hangar 1903, first in the world 1903

Note

Attribution: Institute of Aeronautical History Library Claremont, Carruthers Collection.
Folder : Item 8 : 10

Plate VIII. Kitty Hawk fabric from 1903 first plane 1903

Note

Attribution: Archives of Walter Brookins President of Institute of Aeronautical History.
Folder : Item 8 : 11

Plate X. Moisant circling the Statue of Liberty 1910

Note

Attribution: Institute of Aeronautical History Library Claremont, Moisant Collection.
Folder : Item 8 : 12

Plate XI. "The Brothers Montgolfier, 1783 ..." With text from Francesco Lana Terzi, Prodromo (1670) 1670, 1783

Folder : Item 8 : 13

Plate XII. Lana 1670 lighter than air device 1670

Note

Attribution: Institute of Aeronautical History Library Claremont, Carruthers Collection.
Folder : Item 8 : 14

Plate XIII. D'Arlandes and De Rozier 1783 Paris: first free flight by men 1783

Note

Attribution: Institute of Aeronautical History Library Claremont, Carruthers Collection.
Folder : Item 8 : 15

Plate XIV. First use of "Aerographique" 1783: first five balloon ascents-Paris 1783

Note

Attribution: Institute of Aeronautical History Library Claremont, Carruthers Collection.
Folder 9

Series 3.  Correspondence circa 1940-circa 1954

Physical Description: 1 folder.

Series Scope and Content

The correspondence series consists of two items: (1) the second page of a letter, circa 1950, from Brookins to an unnamed correspondent concerning exhibition flights, and (2) a sheet of blank letterhead, circa 1954, for the Brookins Lahm Wright Aeronautical Foundation.
Folder 10

Series 4.  Newspaper Clippings July 26, 1930

Physical Description: 1 item.

Series Scope and Content

The newspaper clippings series consists of a single clipping, "Air Pioneer recalls start with Wrights," Los Angeles Times , July 26, 1930, section 2, p. 3:3-4, with reminiscences of Brookins of his early days with the Wright brothers, with a photograph of Brookins and Roy Knabenshue at the Dominguez Hills air meet in January 1910.
Aviation Folio TL508 .B791

ADDENDUM: 1910-1952

Scope and Content Note

Brookins, Walter. Typescript copies of newspaper articles and book chapters, 1910-1952, concerning the Wright brothers and the career of Walter Brookins. Aviation Folio TL508.B791.
This binder contains multiple copies-primarily carbon copies, with some originals-of most items. A 1953 typescript copy of a 1948 account by Charles E. Taylor, "My Story of the Wright Brothers", formerly in this binder, is now in Box 12, Folder 8, James Carruthers Memorial Aviation Collection of the Institute of Aeronautical History.
The items are arranged in the binder without apparent order. The following is a list of the items in chronological order by the date of the event(s) each item describes. The number(s) preceding each entry indicate the relative position of each item in the binder.
Unless otherwise noted, all items are carbon copies.

Table of Contents

Item # Contents
3 Fred C. Kelly. Why the Wright Plane Was Exiled. The Wright Brothers: A Biography (New York, 1943), chapter 19. [23] p.
12 Charlton Lawrence Edholm. The Noble sport of aviation. Out West , vol. 32, no. 1 (January 1910). 7 p.
1 S. B. Reeve. First International Aviation Meet at Dominguez Field, 1910. Account dated Los Angeles County, California, June 11th, 1930. 13 p.
2 William May Garland to S. B. Reeve, Los Angeles, May 6, 1930. Letter concerning 2nd Air Meet at Dominguez Hills, in 1911. 2 p.
29, 31 Extracts from the Montgomery Advertiser, Monday, April 18, 1910-May 22, 1910, concerning the Wright flying school [include references to Walter R. Brookins]. 5 p. 2 copies.
30 Extracts from Montreal Daily Star, Monday, June 27, 1910, concerning the aviation meet at Lakeside. 4 p.
10, 13 "Brookins more than a mile up. / In Wright biplane he breaks all world records for height / Flies more than an hour / Final figures of remarkable flight not determined yet, but official recognition is certain. / Progress in high flying". New York Tribune , Sunday, July 10, 1910. 3 p. 2 copies.
4, 25 "Aviator-Brookins is hurt. / High flight record holder imperils life to save spectators. / Bruised and nose broken. / Machine turns over in quick shift to avoid onlookers" [article on Walter Brookins]. Chicago Daily News, August 10, 1910. 1 p. 2 copies.
5 "Brookins Makes 12-Minute Flight". Evening American [Chicago], vol. 11, no. 77, Tuesday, September 27, 1910. 2 p. [2 copies of p. 2].
7-9 "Brookins makes great flight". Chicago American, vol. 11, no. 75, Wednesday, September 28, 1910. 3 p. 1 original and 2 copies.
6, 15 "Mr. Drexel and his speedy Bleriot reaches a height of 7,105 feet: / Mr. Brookins, his motor frozen, coasts 4,800 feet to earth / ten thousand spectators at Belmont park thrilled by masters of the air. / Ten Aviators seen in flight at once". New York Herald, Tuesday, October 25, 1910. 3 p. 2 copies [#6 has p. 1-2 only].
20-21 "Walter Brookins, daring bird man. Piercing the skies: / Met first accident of his career at Baldwin Park yesterday / Brookin's moment of peril." Quincy Daily Herald, June 17, 1911. 2 p. 2 copies.
22-23 "Gill makes new aeroplane endurance record for America at Kinloch meet; / Flyer Eugene Ely killed in Georgia / Robinson reaches Dubuque; / Goes 58 miles in 50 minutes. / Aviator, ascending at Winona at 8:15, reaches / Prairie du Chien at 11- welcomed by 25,000 / On bluffs in Iowa City." St. Louis Times , October 19, 1911. 2 p. 2 copies.
34, 36 "Four aeroplane flights. / Mr. Walter R. Brookins gave fine exhibition in flying machine at Highwood park / Carried US Mail." Morning Star (Wilmington, NC), January 3, 1912. 2 p. 2 copies.
16-17, 19 "Aeroplane flights attract attention. / Walter R. Brookins demonstrates wonderful ability. / Skilled aviator will establish an aviation camp in this section and will have pupils." Palm Beach Weekly News, January 13, 1912. 2 p. 1 original (#17) and 2 copies.
14, 18, 33 1 p. [1 original (#18) and 2 copies], with the following:
  1. "Collier passenger in Brookins' hydro-aeroplane". New York American, February 10, 1912.
  2. "Flys to his houseboat. / Robert J. Collier sends guests by motorboat-Mrs. Collier goes up." New York Sun, February 17, 1912.
  3. "Recalls Hoxsie's death." Glendale News Press, Monday, August 3, 1936.
  4. "23 years ago today." Los Angeles Times , December 12, 1936.
11, 26 "Air craft beats Kitty Hawk II in first river race. Brookins is victor in thrilling speed contest around Belle Isle, / Winning from the H\hydroplane by only seventy seconds". Detroit News , June 19, 1912. 3 p. 2 copies.
24, 27 "America seeks air speed title." Los Angeles Examiner, June 28, 1936. 1 p. 2 copies.
28 Public Law 722-79th Congress / Chapter 955-2d Session / H. R. 5144 / An Act to establish a national air museum, and for other purposes. Approved August 12, 1946.
32 "Aeronautical museum / Assured for Los Angeles / Fund presented at I A S 'Honors Night' / Establish repository in name of Dr. Durand." Western Aviation, February 1952. 2 p.
35 Almer Isackson. Walter Brookins' Career / Tells aviation history. 5 p.