Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Kerley (Robert V.) Personal Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
    Title: Robert V. Kerley Personal Papers
    source: Kerley, Robert V.
    Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10085
    Physical Description: 0.42 Cubic Feet 1 box, 12”x5”x10”.
    Date (inclusive): 1909-1995
    Abstract: Robert Kerley was an engineer at Wright Field, specifically researching, creating, and managing the production of lubricates and fuels through the 1930s until his retirement in 1970. Afterwhich he worked extensively on the autobiography of Sam D. Heron.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open to researchers by appointment.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Some copyright may be reserved. Consult with the library director for more information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item], [Filing Unit], [Series Title], [Subgroups], [Record Group Title and Number], [Repository “San Diego Air & Space Museum Library & Archives”]

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The materials in this Collection were donated to the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

    Biographical / Historical

    Robert V. Kerley, often called Bob, was born June 20, 1909 in Helix, Oregon. He received his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State College in 1931. While there, he completed two years of Basic Training in Field Artillery however he was prevented from continuing due to eye-sight issues. On June 13, 1934, he married Elaine J. and they would have four children. He was employed at Wright Field from 1932 to 1945 where he was placed in charge of fuels and lubricants research and development in 1937. He received the War Department Commendation for exceptional Civilian Service for accomplishments in this field. In October 1945, he joined Ethyl Corporation in Gerndale, Michigan as Director of Aeronautical Research and retired in June 1972 as Director of Automotive Application.
    A large portion of his collection relates to Sam D. Heron, who proved through his experimental work that the air-cooler cylinder could successfully match the liquid-cooled. Heron’s demonstration likely sparked the air-cooled engine revolution and all of the later successful air-cooled engines incorporated the features he utilized in some form. Kerley worked with him at Ethyl Corp and after Heron passed away in 1963, Kerley worked towards creating a biography and memorial fund for Heron. Kerley passed away January 21, 1995 at 85 years old.

    Scope and Contents

    Collection consists of 1 box, 12”x5”x10”. Contents have been left in original order. The collection consists primarily of correspondence with various individuals regarding the Sam D. Heron memorial fund and autobiography. There are also research notes and information regarding materials and development of fuel and engines – including the fuel Charles Lindbergh used in his transatlantic flight, and the Wright Brother’s engine.

    Related Materials

    Sam D. Heron Collection - http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org/collections/collection_item.php?id=90

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Airplanes -- Fuel
    Wright Flyer (Airplane)
    Curtiss-Wright Corporation
    Ethyl Corporation
    Heron, Sam D.
    Kerley, Robert V.
    Smithsonian Institution, National Space and Air Museum
    Spirit of St. Louis