Library Special Collections

C.E. Bowden's "Diesel Model Engines" shows the wear and tear of age.
C.E. Bowden's "Diesel Model Engines" shows the wear and tear of age.

If you’ve been to the Lee Renaud Library at the Museum before, the next time you visit it is going to look a bit bare.  Recently, we’ve been going through the library collection and pulling books that were printed before 1945 from the public shelves.  Although the books are valuable resources on early aviation experiences, often needed information on planes, engines and people and are a lot of fun to read, the majority of them have been read and handled so much that the bindings and pages are coming undone.  To protect them and help them last longer, the books are being moved into a special collections room where they will be safe from unscrupulous handling.  Besides, it will mean we have more room for other books on the public shelves.

A cartful of books published pre-1945 that were pulled to create the Library's Special Collection.
A cartful of books published pre-1945 that were pulled to create the Library's Special Collection.

We recognize, however, that the books still should be read – after all isn’t that what books are for?  So, if there is a book you are looking for the next time you visit the museum on a weekday, just ask at the store desk and someone will retrieve it for you.  If you are planning on visiting on a weekend, though, you’ll have to plan ahead a bit.  You’re going to have to call Maria or Jackie in the Museum department.  Once they know the date you plan on visiting, and what you are interested in they will leave the items at the store desk the day of your visit (this goes for the magazines in storage as well).

If you want the trip down memory lane – without the trip to the museum – some of the books that have already moved into the public domain have been scanned and placed online by Google Books.  Here’s a small selection: (the links take you to Google Books)

Cavanagh, George A.  Model Aeroplanes and Their Motors: A Practical Book for Beginners.  New York: Moffat Yard & Company, 1916.

Johnson, V.E.  The Theory and Practice of Model Aeroplaning.  London: E&F N. Spon Ltd. 1910.

Collins, Francis A. The Boys’ Book of Model Aeroplanes: How to build and fly them, with the story of the evolution of the flying machine.  New York: The Century Co., 1910.

Collins, Francis A.  The Second Boys’ Book of Model Aeroplanes.  New York: The Century Co., 1911.

Verrill, A. Hyatt.  Harper’s Aircraft Book: Why aeroplanes fly, how to make models, and all about aircraft, little and big.  New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913.

If reading off a computer screen isn’t your thing, you can also find reprints of several of the books for sale in the museum store.

2 comments

  1. Get them all scanned and make them all available to menbers online. The copyright is probably expired anyways.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Sadly, most of the books in our library are not in the public domain quite yet. However, the museum staff are more than happy to help with any research needs of the members.

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