Summary
Collection ID:
NASM.XXXX.0162
Creators:
Martin, James V. (James Vernon), 1885-1956
Dates:
1894-1979
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
1.97 Cubic feet
4 legal document boxes, 1 legal folder, 1 oversize folder
Repository:
James Vernon Martin (1885-1956) was an aviator and inventor during the early days of aviation. This collection consists of material documenting the life of James Vernon Martin. The material includes letters, photos, and documents relating to his Merchant Marine career and his aircraft and aeronautical inventions. Also included are documents pertaining to his conspiracy charges against the government and aircraft industry, as well as his attempts to revive Augustus M. Herring's patents. There are also documents regarding Lily Irvine, his wife, and her career as a pilot.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of material documenting the life of James Vernon Martin. The material includes letters, photos, and documents relating to his Merchant Marine career and his aircraft and aeronautical inventions. Also included are documents pertaining to his conspiracy charges against the government and aircraft industry, as well as his attempts to revive Augustus M. Herring's patents. There are also documents regarding Lily Irvine, his wife, and her career as a pilot.
The majority of materials were donated by Edna Jahn, Martin's friend. But there are also materials from other National Air and Space Museum Archives collections that were incorporated later into the Martin Collection. Collections include: Wright Field Technical Documents (NASM.XXXX.0428) and National Air Museum Photography Collection (NASM.XXXX.0572). When possible, these materials were placed in folders designated as "NASM Generated." There are also curatorial documents generated by the Smithsonian Institution regarding the acquisition of Martin artifacts Martin K.III Kitten (A19250004000); Model, Tractor Biplane (A19350061000) and Medal, Order of St. Stanislaus First Class (A19880024000).
Note: The digital images in this finding aid were repurposed from scans made by an outside contractor for a commercial product and may show irregular cropping and orientation in addition to color variations resulting from damage to and deterioration of the original objects.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Materials are arranged into five series: Biographical Material, Martin Aircraft and Automobiles, Patents and Litigation, Photographs, and Newspapers and Magazines. Within each series materials are arranged roughly chronologically.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
James Vernon Martin (1885-1956) was an aviator and inventor during the early days of aviation. He joined the Merchant Marine (1900) before attending the University of Virginia and Harvard (graduate degree, 1912). While at Harvard he organized the Harvard Aeronautical Society (1910), served as its first director, and, through the Society, organized the first international air meet in the United States (1910). He traveled to England in January 1911 for flight training and received Royal Aero Club F.A.I. Certificate #55.
While in England, Martin met and married Lily Irvine. Born in South Africa to Scottish parents, Irvine learned to fly from Martin, making her first successful flight at Hendon in 1911. In July 1914, with Tony Jannus as her mechanic, Irvine completed one of the largest flights across water from Sandusky, Ohio, to Euclid over Lake Erie, breaking a speed record set by Glenn Curtiss in 1910.
After returning to the U.S. in June 1911, Martin traveled the exhibition circuit for several years. He made the first flights in Alaska in 1913, accompanied by Irvine. During 1915 he flew test flights for the Aeromarine Company. In 1917, he formed the Martin Aeroplane Company in Elyria, OH on the strength of nine aeronautical patents, including his automatic stabilizer (1916) and retractable landing gear (1916). He joined the Merchant Marine and became Master of the SS Lake Fray in May 1919, earning the Order of St. Stanislaus from Russia in appreciation for assistance rendered to the Russian North-Western Army. In 1920 he moved the company to Dayton, OH as Martin Enterprises and offered free use of his patents to the American aeronautical industry, though evaluations of the efficacy of his inventions were mixed. He moved to Garden City (Long Island), NY in 1922, renaming the company as the Martin Aeroplane Factory.
In 1924, Martin sued the United States government and the Manufacturers Aeronautical Association, claiming that they conspired to monopolize the aviation industry. The suit was dismissed in 1926, but Martin continued to press his claims of collusion through the 1930s. Martin also became the assignee for aviation pioneer Augustus M. Herring and attempted to revive claims on Herring's early patents.
During World War II, he worked for the Office of Research and Development before returning to the U.S. Maritime Service in 1944, serving as first mate on a ship and then commanding a troop transport in the Pacific. After he left the service in 1946, he tried to raise interest in a large catamaran flying boat, the Martin "Oceanplane," but failed in the face of the growth in commercial trans-ocean service by conventional aircraft.

Administration
Processing Information
Originally arranged by Ruth Steen, 1987. Revised, described, and encoded by Elizabeth C. Borja, 2021.
Author
Ruth Steen, 1997; Elizabeth C. Borja, 2021
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Edna Jahn, gift, 1964, NASM.XXXX.0162. Also NASM Generated.

Digital Content
More …
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access
Conditions Governing Use
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests
Preferred Citation
James Vernon Martin Papers, Acc. NASM.XXXX.0162, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Aeronautics -- Law and legislation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics -- Exhibitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics -- Competitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics -- 1903-1916 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aircraft industry -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aircraft industry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Periodicals Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Publications Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Financial records Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Martin, Lily Irvine Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Martin, James V. (James Vernon), 1885-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Merchant Marine Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manufacturers Aircraft Association Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Martin Aeroplane Factory (Martin, James Vernon) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Martin Aeroplane Co (Martin, James Vernon) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harvard Aeronautical Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeromarine Plane & Motor Co. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harvard Boston Aero Meet Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151
NASMRefDesk@si.edu
https://airandspace.si.edu/archives