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Carpenter (Ford A.) Papers
MSS 0273  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Contents of Collection
  • Publication Rights
  • Related Materials

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Ford A. Carpenter Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0273
    Physical Description: 1.5 Linear feet (2 archives boxes, 1 shoebox, 4 oversize folders, 1 art bin item)
    Date (inclusive): 1935-1944
    Abstract: Papers created by Ford Ashman Carpenter, meteorologist, aeronaut, author and photographer. The papers contian photographs, including several aerial and panoramic photographs of the Los Angeles area and images of the Pacific Northwest and Panama Canal. Also included is an edited typescript of a lecture on General Billy Mitchell given by Carpenter in 1944; small books published by Carpenter, writings, and miscellaneous materials.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1995, 2008.

    Preferred Citation

    Ford A. Carpenter Papers, MSS 273. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.


    Ford Ashman Carpenter was born on March 25, 1868, in Chicago, Illinois. His career as a meteorologist and aeronaut included employment with the U. S. Weather Service (1888-1919), a lectureship at The War College in the War Department (1915-1943) and an appointment as a meteorological observer of aerial bombing of ex-German battleships (1921). Carpenter authored numerous monographs, pamphlets and articles of meteorology and employed photography in his research and documentation of weather events.

    Scope and Contents of Collection

    The first accession contains four photograph albums and a typescript lecture created by Carpenter in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The materials are arranged in two series: 1) MANUSCRIPTS and 2) PHOTOGRAPH ALBUMS.
    The MANUSCRIPTS series contains a single typescript of a biographical lecture given by Carpenter before the University Club of Los Angeles on April 19, 1943 entitled "General Billy Mitchell as I knew him." In it, Carpenter recounted the development of the aerial bombing of ships after World War I, his experiences serving under General Mitchell as air meteorologist for air bombing tests at the Virginia Capes between 1921 and 1923, and provided anecdotal sketches of General Mitchell.
    The PHOTOGRAPH ALBUMS series comprises four black and white albums and a folder of loose prints created by Carpenter during the 1930s and 1940s. The albums are arranged alphabetically by title.
    The first album entitled "Four Voyages to New York from Los Angeles via Panama" documents passage through the Panama Canal from shipboard and aerial perspectives, landscape scenes and places along the canal, people, and cloudscapes. Included is a laid in photograph of Carpenter in flight gear next to an army biplane.
    The second album entitled "Flying Vancouver's Route of Discovery" contains a mixture of aerial and on-the-ground photographs taken on Carpenter's trip from Southern California to Queen Charlotte Sound in 1937. Of particular interest is Carpenter's opening aerial photograph of Burbank.
    "A June Four O'Clock in the Gardens of the Los Angeles University Club, 1943" contains numerous environmental portraits of an unidentified woman seated in a garden. The last album, "Retreat on Huntley Hill," documents Carpenter's Los Angeles home and its environs on Huntley Drive. The album includes several panoramas of downtown Los Angeles in the early 1940s. Finally, the collection contains a folder of loose, unidentified photographs.
    Accession processed in 2008
    The SMALL BOOKS PUBLISHED BY CARPENTER series contains small publications by Carpenter, mainly ones he created, designed and gave away to others as gifts. Many of the publications contain photographs taken by Carpenter with his poems or text included.
    The WRITINGS series includes manuscripts and reprints. It is arranged in two subseries: A) By Carpenter, and B) By Others.
    A)The By Carpenter subseries is comprised of typed copies of Carpenter's writings, including those written during his tenure as Manager of the Department of Meteorology and Aeronautics, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, during the 1930s, and other typed drafts of stories.
    B) The By Others subseries contains typed carbon copies of short story manuscripts given to Carpenter by family or friends.
    The PHOTOGRAPHS series contains photographs of mainly Carpenter, but also includes photographs he took of locations.
    The MISCELLANEOUS series includes news clippings and other miscellaneous manuscripts. It also includes a Melanesian lime spatula, which had been given as a gift to Carpenter.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Related Materials

    The University of California, San Diego, Mandeville Special Collections Library also holds in its collection an additional album of photographs taken by Ford Carpenter. (Rare F866 .C37 1903) The album contains photographs, taken between August 3 and September 9, 1903, of the San Pedro Martir mountain range located in central Baja California.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Panama Canal (Panama) -- Pictorial works
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Pictorial works
    Northwest, Pacific -- Pictorial works
    Southwest, New -- Pictorial works
    California, Southern -- Pictorial works
    Carpenter, Ford A. (Ford Ashman), 1868-
    Mitchell, William, 1879-1936