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Leiser (Edward) Personal Papers
SDASM.SC.10233  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection covers aviation history dating back to the first flights and includes extensive background and research material. It was the personal collection of Ed Leiser. It focuses on the History of Aviation in San Diego.
 
 Ed Leiser wrote World War I aviation history for the journal Cross & Cockade until about 1974 and then began researching San Diego Aviation History. He composed many volumes detailing San Diego's rich history in aviation. He theorized that aviation began in San Diego with John Montgomery's man-carrying glider in 1883. Ed documented the activities of many San Diego pilots following Montgomery, telling of their trials and tribulations, accidents, and records of achievement. Also documented are the beginnings of the North Island Naval Base, the Army Aviation School, and the Aero Club of America. He also wrote about air shows, aviation activity during World War I, and many more aviation-related topics. The Library and Archives of the San Diego Air and Space Museum houses many of his historical records, including, in a Special Collection, which contains much of his basic research material. Some of his notable works are "San Diego Flying Days," "Out of the Overcast" which were newsletters for the Museum docents' use, "San Diego Aviation by Year," "In Your Face with Air and Space," "Out of the Past This Month at San Diego," and many more well-researched historical pieces.
Background
Edward L. Leiser was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 13, 1928. He grew up in a Navy family, moving from Washington, D.C. to Honolulu, and several cities in between. The family eventually ended up in San Diego, California where Ed graduated in 1945 from San Diego High School. After taking some flying lessons in Piper Cubs, but without soloing, Ed enlisted in the U. S. Navy. After learning the aviation metalsmith trade in airplane hangars and flying Navy planes as a target drone controller, he was accepted for Officer Candidate School. In 1954, he met and married Nellie A. Kitch. They raised three children, two sons and a daughter. Ensign Leiser joined the fleet aboard the destroyer USS THE SULLIVANS (DD-537) in 1958, and later served on the USS CHUKAWAN (AO-100). In 1965, in San Diego, First Lieutenant Leiser served on the USS COMSTOCK (LSD-19). After several more ships, and the Vietnam War, Lieutenant Leiser retired in 1970 from the Fleet Training Group in San Diego. On July 2, 1970, the day after leaving the Navy, he was hired by the San Diego Aerospace Museum where he worked as Supervisor, and later as Curator of Exhibits until 1966, and then as Historian. By about 1982, the docent program at the Aerospace Museum was taking shape and the volunteers required educating. Ed took on this task and produced weekly and/or monthly information sheets that he provided to the docents, as well as conducting training sessions. Ed Leiser wrote World War I aviation history for the journal Cross & Cockade until about 1974 and then began researching San Diego Aviation History. He composed many volumes detailing San Diego's rich history in aviation. He theorized that aviation began in San Diego with John Montgomery's man-carrying glider in 1883. Ed documented the activities of many San Diego pilots following Montgomery, telling of their trials and tribulations, accidents, and records of achievement. Also documented are the beginnings of the North Island Naval Base, the Army Aviation School, and the Aero Club of America. He also wrote about air shows, aviation activity during World War I, and many more aviation-related topics. The Library and Archives of the San Diego Air and Space Museum houses many of his historical records, including, in a Special Collection, which contains much of his basic research material. Some of his notable works are "San Diego Flying Days," "Out of the Overcast" which were newsletters for the Museum docents' use, "San Diego Aviation by Year," "In Your Face with Air and Space," "Out of the Past This Month at San Diego," and many more well-researched historical pieces. After leaving the employ of the Museum, he continued to volunteer his time in the Museum Library. Ed Leiser died on June 24, 2011 in Chula Vista, California.
Extent
10 Cubic Feet The collection covers aviation history dating back to the first flights and includes extensive background and research material. Description: The collection consists of nine archival boxes; eight measuring 16-1/2” x 13” x 10-1/2” and one measuring 12-1/2” x 10” x 5”.
 
 The collection consists of nine archival boxes; eight measuring 16-1/2” x 13” x 10-1/2” and one measuring 12-1/2” x 10” x 5”.
Availability
The collection is open to research.