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1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Collection

Identifier: SPC-1996-001

Scope and Contents

The 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Collection (1909-1999; undated) includes journal articles, news clippings, and photographs of and about the 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet. Some of the journal articles were written at the time of the Aviation Meet while others were authored at a later date and help to shed light upon the importance of the event both on aeronautical history and for the region. The news clippings cover the period shortly before the event as well as the ten day period of the event. Many of the photographs are one-of-a-kind and detail many of the well known aviators of the period as well as heavier-than-air and lighter-than-air ships which took part in the meet. The collection has been organized into thirteen series.


  • 1909-1999; undated

Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Historical Note

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," Paulhanā€™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.


10 boxes

4 Linear Feet


This collection includes newsclippings, photos, books, journal articles, ephemera, correspondence, and minutes related to the aviation meet held on Dominguez Hill in 1910. Subjects include: early aviation history and early aviators; the Aviation Meet of Los Angeles (1910-1911); anniversaries; a commemorative airshow; and the Aviation Meet Committee. Material from the collection is available online by visiting the 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Digital Collection.


Arranged in thirteen series:

  1. Series I. Committee Papers, 1972; 1996-1997
  2. Series II. Official Programs, 1910-1911
  3. Series III. Newsclippings, 1909-1996
  4. Series IV. Books and Journal Articles, 1910-1995
  5. Series V. Maps, undated
  6. Series VI. Anniversaries and Marker Dedications, 1941-1996
  7. Series VII. Commemorative Airshow, 1968-1969
  8. Series VIII. Aviation Ephemera, 1910-circa 1950
  9. Series IX. Reference Materials, circa 1910-1999
  10. Series X. Photographs, 1909-circa 1915
  11. Series XI. Slides, 1909-circa 1915
  12. Series XII. Sheet Music, undated
  13. Series XIII. Stereographs and Postcards, 1910-1912, 1960, undated

Separated Material

oversize material related to this collection is located in map case 2, drawer 11.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records in this collection were collected over a twenty year period by CSUDH archivists and members of the Dominguez Air Meet Committee. This committee was formed in 1996 with the purpose of creating the most comprehensive repository of materials about and relating to the 1910 meet. In 2006, the committee was renamed the 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet at Dominguez Flying Field Committee and members renewed their work for the upcoming Aviation Meet centennial.

Related Materials

For local history related material please consult the Rancho San Pedro Reference Collection. For material related to aviation please consult the Northrop Millar Collection, Vernon Johns Family Papers, Aviation Magazine, Giacinta Bradley Koontz Aviation Sheet Music Collection, and Mary Nolf Diaries and Correspondence for a diary entry regarding the airmeet. Material from the collection is available online by visiting the 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Digital Collection.

Secondary Sources

Books found in the CSUDH catalog include call numbers.
  • 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]

Project Information

This finding aid was created as part of the Early Los Angeles/Rancho San Pedro Manuscript Cataloging Project, a CSU Dominguez Hills Library project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project started in 2005. Project Director was Greg Williams. Project Archivists were Thomas Philo and Jennifer Allan Goldman

Processing Information

The collection was processed in the Fall of 1996 and was opened to research without restrictions. In 2006, the collection was reevaluated, additions were made, and it was reopened. In 2019, the collection was again reevaluated and the finding aid was updated to reflect the addition of newly aquired material. It is currently a growing collection, with contributions from members of the community and the Aviation Meet Committee. The collection is considered a growing collection, with materials from committee members and the community added regularly.


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

Revision Statements

  • 2019: Finding Aid was updated by Reyes Contreras to include new additions to the collection.

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747