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Collection Overview

McCormick, Harold F. Harold Fowler 1872-1941
Harold F. McCormick Collection of Aeronautica
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1780-1940 (mostly 1910-1920)
17 boxes and 13.1 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-17


Consists of selected papers reflecting the many aeronautical activities and interests of industrial magnate Harold F. McCormick (Princeton Class of 1895) and papers which he collected concerning the history of aviation.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected papers reflecting the many aeronautical activities and interests of McCormick (Princeton Class of 1895) and papers which he collected concerning the history of aviation. Included are correspondence with George A. Spratt, Grover Sexton, Sydney V. James, A. C. Bosch, Glenn H. Curtiss, and others active in the early days of flying; a copy of his paper "From My Experiences Concerning Aviation" (1917) and related diagrams; material about the first International Aviation Meet held in Grant Park, Illinois, in 1911 which was organized, in part, by McCormick; autograph albums including letters of 18th-century balloonists Jacques and Joseph Montgolfier and Charles Bragdon, and a manuscript (1858) of "Des Aerostats et de Leur Direction" by Jules Latrige; correspondence regarding patents; and plans and designs for airplanes, including McCormick's "umbrella" plane.

Six volumes of photographs (1910-1913) include pictures of Wilbur Wright, Walter Brookings, Glenn H. Curtiss, Grover F. Sexton, Rene Simon, Thomas Sopwith, and other pioneer pilots with their various flying-machines, the first pictures taken from an airplane in America, scenes of Chicago and the International Aviation Meet, and McCormick's Curtiss-built hydroplane. Also present are several model airplanes, souvenirs, pamphlets, early aviation magazines, and prints.

Collection Creator Biography:

McCormick, Harold F. Harold Fowler 1872-1941

The youngest son of Cyrus McCormick, inventor and manufacturer of the harvest reaper, Harold F. McCormick graduated from Princeton in 1895. Later that year on November 26, he married Edith Rockefeller, daughter of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, in Chicago, Illinois. In 1935 he became chairman of the board of International Harvester Company. McCormick later divorced Edith and married opera star Ganna Walska, whose career he lavishly promoted. Over many years, McCormick donated a number of important and rare materials to the Princeton University Library.

Collection History


Gift of Alexander Stillman. 2 Letters are a gift of Fowler McCormick. A portion of the collection was given to McCormick by Grover F. Sexton.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

The contents list was compiled by Rafael Abrahams in July 2010.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Harold F. McCormick Collection of Aeronautica; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-17