1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Collection
Scope and Contents
- 1909-1999; undated
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Following the Reims International Aviation Meet in 1909, enthusiasm for aviation began to increase in the United States. In between meets in the South, Charles Willard and Roy Knabenshue discussed holding a meet in the winter, with Los Angeles being a good choice for weather reasons. After receiving a promise of participation from Glenn Curtiss in New York, Knabenshue contacted Dick Ferris, a Los Angeles athletic promoter and balloon enthusiast. Ferris gained the support of the local business community, formed an organizing committee, and Curtiss and Willard out to Los Angeles to find a suitable location for the meet.
The first location considered was a field in Santa Anita, but physical obstructions such as tall trees led the aviators to search for another site. About a month before the January start date, Dominguez Field was agreed upon. This field was located on the top of a small hill in land once a part of the Ranch San Pedro, an early Spanish land grant. The dates were set as January 10 to 20, with eleven full days of events planned. Once the site was settled, promotion of the meet began and grandstands were erected. Also, an expanded passenger platform was constructed at the Pacific Electric Station located closest to the Aviation Meet site to accommodate the large number of spectators expected to attend the event. Organizers invited a variety of participants to pilot airplanes, balloons, and dirigibles, including Louis Paulhan, a French aviator known for his flying at the Reims Meet. Because the meet was being billed as "international," Paulhan’s participation was crucial and he was guaranteed a small sum of money as encouragement to attend. Cash prizes were allotted for scheduled events, including altitude, speed, and endurance competitions
Aviation Meet spectators were thrilled by the performances of aviators Louis Paulhan, Glenn Curtiss, Charles Willard, and others. Paulhan brought to the event two Bleriot Monoplanes, two Farman Biplanes, and an entourage which included his wife, two student pilots/mechanics, the Baron and Madame de Pennendreff, and his black poodle. At the aviation meet he set a new altitude record (4164 ft.), endurance record (64 miles in 1 hr. 49 minutes 40 seconds), and won $14,000 in prize money. Glenn Curtiss won two events-fastest speed with a passenger (55 mph) and quickest start (6 2/5 seconds covering 98 ft.). Curtiss took home $6500 in prize money. Charles Willard was credited with the most accurate take off and landing skills, for which he receive a prize totaling $250. Attendance at the meet surpassed all expectations. An estimated 226,000 spectators purchased tickets for the show, with up to 250,000 in attendance overall, and gate receipts for the event equaled over $137,500. The event was considered a phenomenal success and helped to alleviate a perceived economic drought in the Los Angeles area. Annual aviation meets were held on Dominguez Field in 1911 and 1912.
4 Linear Feet
- Series I. Committee Papers, 1972; 1996-1997
- Series II. Official Programs, 1910-1911
- Series III. Newsclippings, 1909-1996
- Series IV. Books and Journal Articles, 1910-1995
- Series V. Maps, undated
- Series VI. Anniversaries and Marker Dedications, 1941-1996
- Series VII. Commemorative Airshow, 1968-1969
- Series VIII. Aviation Ephemera, 1910-circa 1950
- Series IX. Reference Materials, circa 1910-1999
- Series X. Photographs, 1909-circa 1915
- Series XI. Slides, 1909-circa 1915
- Series XII. Sheet Music, undated
- Series XIII. Stereographs and Postcards, 1910-1912, 1960, undated
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Boyne, Walter J. "The Smithsonian Book of Flight". New York: Orion Books, 1987. [TL 515 B665 1987]
- Bynum, Lindley and Idwal Jones. "Biscailuz, sheriff of the new West". New York: Morrow, 1950.
- Doolittle, James Harold, with Carroll V. Grimes. "I Could Never Be So Lucky Again: an Autobiography". New York: Bantam Books, 1991.
- Gibbs-Smith, Charles Harvard. "Aviation: An Historical Survey from its Origins to the end of World War II". London,: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1970. [TL 515 G48 1970]
- Harris, Sherwood. "The First to Fly: Aviations Pioneer Days". New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970. [TL 515 H36]
- Prendergast, Curtis. "The First Aviators". Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1980. [TL 515 P68]
- Schoneberger, William A. "California Wings: A History of Aviation in the Golden State". Woodland Hills, CA,: Windsor Publications, 1984. [Spec Coll TL 522 C2 S36]
- Villard, Henry Serrano. "Contact! The Story of the Early Birds". New York: Thomas V. Crowell, Co., 1968. [Spec Coll TL 670 V5]
- Inventory of the 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Collection
- Jennifer Allan Goldman, 1996; updated in 2019 by Reyes Contreras
- updated 2019
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2019: Finding Aid was updated by Reyes Contreras to include new additions to the collection.