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Finding Aid of the James Carruthers Memorial Aviation Collection of the Institute of Aeronautical History H1950.2
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The collection consists of prints and drawings, handbills, photographs, postcards, printed materials (including books, periodicals, bibliographies, journal articles, newspaper clippings, event programs, conference agenda and reports, manuscripts, telegrams, letters, press kits and releases, corporate overviews, investment prospectuses, sales brochures, technical specification sheets, typescript histories, and guides), maps, sheet music, sound recordings, ephemera, and memorabilia collected by Dr. John F. B. Carruthers and documenting the history of aviation, with particular emphasis on the period from 1783 to the late 1950s. The prints and drawings document in particular the development of French and British ballooning from 1783 to 1785, British ballooning in the 19th century, and historic U.S. civil and military aircraft, including balloons, dirigibles, and fixed-wing airplanes, 1903 to circa 1950. Photographic, printed, and other materials document early air meets and historic flights, including the original records of Cecil Allen and Donald Moyle's 1931 transpacific flight. The materials also document pioneer aviators, including Glenn Curtiss, Amelia Earhart, Arch Hoxey, A. Roy Knabenshue, and Clyde Pangborn. Materials on the Wright brothers include a toy butterfly purported to have inspired their interest in flight, and a piece of the 1903 Kitty Hawk hangar; materials on Charles A. Lindbergh include two metal pieces from the "Spirit of St. Louis" and sound recordings of his 1927 visit to Washington, DC, upon his return from Paris. The collection also contains extensive photographic and printed materials on individual aircraft, aircraft manufacturers, and airlines, including historic 19th-century aircraft and, in particular, aircraft of U.S., British, French, and German manufacture between 1930 and 1960. The collection includes a large number of draft maps and plans of airports and airfields, circa 1924-1931, prepared by the Aeronautics Branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as sheet music of songs on aeronautical themes, 1876-1952.
John Franklin Bruce Carruthers was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, on August 31, 1889, the son of James B. and Anna (Wood) Carruthers. He graduated A.B. from Princeton in 1912. From 1912 to 1914, he served as assistant to the minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. In 1917, he proceeded A.M. at Princeton, and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary. From 1917 to 1918 he served as assistant to the minister of the Church of the Covenant (now the National Presbyterian Church) in Washington, DC. He was ordained to the ministry of the Presbyterian church in 1918. During World War I he served as chaplain of the U.S.S. Oklahoma, and in 1919 became head chaplain for morale, education and recreation, 6th Division, Bureau of the Navy. In 1919, he married Mabel Grandin, by whom he had one son and three daughters. From 1919 to 1924 Carruthers was chaplain, Manson professor, and head of the Bible department of Lafayette College, from whom he received the D.D. in his final year. In 1924, the family moved to California, settling the following year in Pasadena, where Carruthers and his wife became active in civic affairs. From 1924 to 1926, Carruthers served as professor of religious education and from 1926 to 1928 as lecturer in archaeology at Occidental College. Carruthers also served as lecturer in archaeology on the University of California extension faculty, 1927-1928. From 1930 to 1935, Carruthers was research assistant to Rufus von KleinSmid, president of the University of Southern California (USC) and chancellor of the Los Angeles University of International Relations (forerunner of the USC department of international relations), and as secretary of the USC Institute of Arts and Sciences. During World War II, Carruthers was chaplain of the First Aero Squadron, Camp Hopkins, Bainbridge Island, Washington, and president of the Pacific Coast Japanese Problem League. In 1944, he ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic Party primary for the 47th assembly district in the California state legislature. In 1950, Carruthers and his wife deeded his collection of aviation books and materials, which constituted the library of the Institute of Aeronautical History, to Claremont Men's (now Claremont McKenna) College, and in 1952 the president of the college, George C. S. Benson, appointed him to the honorary position of Director of Research, Library of Aeronautical History. He died at his home in Pasadena on January 13, 1960.
16.25 Linear feet (13 archive boxes, 6 archive half-boxes, 8 clam-shell boxes, 3 shoe boxes, 15 oversize print boxes)
Researchers wishing to publish material must obtain permission in writing from Special Collections as the physical owner of the material. Note that permission to publish does not constitute copyright clearance. Special Collections can grant copyright clearance only for that material for which we hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other material from the copyright holder(s).
The collection is open to researchers when Special Collections is open, and at other times by appointment. There are no access restrictions.