- Collection ID:
Morehouse, Harold E., 1894-1973
- Physical Description:
4.36 cubic feet
(4 records center boxes)
National Air and Space Museum Archives Division
This collection consists of 355 biographies written by Harold E. Morehouse and intended for publication. These biographies discuss Morehouse's fellow early aviation pioneers, many of whom belong to the Early Birds, an organization open to those who soloed before December 17, 1916. Each biography discusses the subject's life and the majority of biographies include a photograph of the individual.
The Harold E. Morehouse Flying Pioneers Biographies Collection (accession XXXX-0450) contains approximately four cubic feet of material. It is also known as The Harold and Marvel Morehouse Aviation Pioneers Collection. The collection includes photographs, negatives, and typewritten material.
Container List: Series I: Biographies of Flying Pioneers; Series II: Miscellaneous related materials; Series III: Oversized materials
This collection consists of over 350 short biographies of early aviation's trailblazers written by Harold E. Morehouse (1894-1973). Conspicuous by its absence is a biography of the author, himself an innovator.
Born in Michigan, Morehouse channelled a youthful fascination with flight into training in the field of mechanical engineering. He began work in 1915 for the Van Blerck Motor Company and assisted in their development of aircraft engines. In 1917, Morehouse was working as a layout draftsman on the Standard J-1 Training Airplane for the Dayton-Wright Aeroplane Company. However, this assignment was quickly superseded by his placement on a secret project, supervised by C.F. Kettering and Orville Wright. Its aim was the production of a selfflying aerial torpedo which has since become known as the Kettering Bug. Morehouse contributed to all phases of this project, including its design, engine development and flight testing. The armistice arrived before the actual deployment of the Bug; Morehouse was to spend the next few years in engine design and development.
In 1925, Morehouse joined the Wright Aeronautical Corporation and both the Wright-Morehouse engine and the Wright-Whirlwind J-5 (a re-design of the J-4) were developed here under Morehouse. The latter engine was later to serve as the powerplant for the historic 1927 trans-Atlantic flight of the Spirit of St. Louis and this was a great source of satisfaction to Morehouse. He left Wright Aero in 1929 and in subsequent years designed the inverted Rover for the Michigan Aero Engine Company, the A-50 for the Continental Motors Corporation and the Engineering and Research Corporation's Erco engine.
About ten years prior to his retirement in 1965, Harold Morehouse began work on a personal project. His aim was to gather information on significant contributors to early aviation and distill this data to produce a set of brief biographies of these innovative men and women. He was assisted in this by his wife, Marvel Dyer. After Harold's death, Marvel worked in concert with Paul E. Garber of the National Air Museum to procure publication of the work. Sadly, the passing of Marvel Dyer and later of Paul Garber seemed to bring plans for publication to a halt.
This collection consists of hundreds of biographical narratives concerning the lives of the "Flying Pioneers." Many of those featured were members of the Early Birds of Aviation, Inc., a group whose members had the distinction of having soloed prior to 1916. Most of the biographies are accompanied by one or more photographs of their subject and comprise an invaluable resource on the accomplishments and sacrifices of those intrepid individuals who forged the history of American aviation. However, it should be borne in mind that the biographies are based in large measure on personal interviews and are concerned primarily with their subjects' careers in aviation.
Other sources should be consulted to obtain a complete portrait.
Processing Information note
The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) received this collection in parts, with some arriving in 1960-63, 1965, 1967-1969 and 1971-1972. Each folder will contain a biography in several versions, each at a different stage of editorial preparation. It is believed that the final version of each biography was edited by Paul E. Garber and retyped.
In addition to these efforts, the collection received some preliminary archival processing work prior to 1997. Original order of the materials, where identified, has been maintained.
Finding aid prepared by Kate Igoe
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Mr. and Mrs. Harold E. Morehouse, gift, 1960-1972, XXXX-0450, NASM
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
No restrictions on access
Conditions Governing Use note
Preferred Citation note
Harold E. Morehouse Flying Pioneers Biographies Collection, Acc. XXXX-0450, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
National Air and Space Museum Archives Division
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA, 20151