The Descriptive Finding Guide for the Robert V. Kerley Personal Papers. SDASM.SC.10085
San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park
San Diego 92101
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.
The collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Some copyright may be reserved. Consult with the library director for more information.
[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.
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.
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.
Sam D. Heron Collection - http://www.sandiegoairandspace.org/collections/collection_item.php?id=90
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Airplanes -- Fuel
Wright Flyer (Airplane)
Heron, Sam D.
Kerley, Robert V.
Smithsonian Institution, National Space and Air Museum
Spirit of St. Louis
Folder 06 - Wright Brothers Engine
Physical Description: Approximately 57 pages of letters and drafts of materials related to the Wright Shop Engine, with a great deal of correspondence with Leonard S. Hobbs. Materials relate to drafts of a foreword to a book about the engine, and discussions of the Wright Brothers’ engine at the Henry Ford Museum (a 1908 engine), includes 2 photos with 3 duplicates each and original envelope.
Folder 09 – Heron Autobiography 1963-1964, Input