On May 9, 1898, Smithsonian Secretary Samuel P. Langley wrote to Professor Robert Thurston of Cornell University, looking for a "young man who is morally trustworthy ('a good fellow') with some gumption and a professional training" to serve as Langley's assistant in his aeronautical work. Thurston recommended a senior majoring in electrical and mechanical engineering, Charles Matthews Manly (1876-1927) of Staunton, Virginia. Langley hired Manly and placed him in charge of the construction of his Great Aerodrome, the large manned aircraft being built under the sponsorship of the Army's Board of Ordnance and Fortification. One of Manly's main contributions to the project was his vastly improved redesign of Stephen M. Balzer's five-cylinder water-cooled radial gasoline engine. Manly piloted the Great Aerodrome on its two unsuccessful launch attempts in 1903. He resigned from the Smithsonian in 1905. Manly served as a consulting aviation engineer for different government agencies and corporations, including the British War Office, 1915; the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation 1915-1919 (from 1919-1920 as the assistant general manger); and as a member of the US Commission to the International Aircraft Conference, London, 1918. Manly also completed and edited Langley's Memoir on Mechanical Flight which was published by the Smithsonian in 1911. Manly was granted over fifty 50 patents relating to automotive transportation, power generation, and transmission. In 1929, Manly was posthumously awarded the Langley Medal for outstanding aeronautical achievements.
Arranged and described by Allan Janus, 2008. Encoded by Amanda Buel, 2014.
Manly, Charles Matthews, 1876-1927
Brian Bailey, gift, 1998, 1999-0004, deed pending.
0.9 Cubic feet (2 legal document boxes)
This collection consists of material relating to Manly's aeronautical career, specifically his work with Samuel Langley's Aerodrome. The material consists of programs, publications, newspaper clippings, work notebooks, waste books, (mostly letterpress) and correspondence between Manly and the aviation and Smithsonian communities, circa 1885-1925. Correspondents include the following personalities: Glenn Curtiss, Carl Myers, Charles Walcott, Frank Lahm, Cyrus Adler, Augustus Post, and Samuel Langley.
No restrictions on access.
The Charles M. Manly Papers are organized in three series: Series I --Letter Copy Books and Notebooks Letter copy books were used to make and preserve copies of letters and memoranda --one placed a sheet of oiled paper under a page of the copy book, dampened the tissue copy page, then laid the original letter in the book under pressure for a few seconds. The quality of the copies ranges from quite readable to very faint. Because of the fragility of the paper, Archives Division staff should be consulted before working with the material. The two notebooks in the series (Folder 4) were carried by Manly in his day to day work on the Aerodrome project and contain his notes on the progress of the work. Series II --Correspondence Letters in this series are arranged by year. Series III --Additional Material Newspaper clippings, Manly Family records, a photograph of Langley's Aerodrome No.5 in flight, and miscellaneous material.
This collection consists of material relating to Manly's aeronautical career, specifically his work with Samuel Langley's Aerodrome. The material consists of programs, publications, newspaper clippings, work notebooks, waste books, (mostly letterpress) and correspondence between Manly and the aviation and Smithsonian communities, circa 1885-1925. Correspondents include Samuel Langley, Charles Walcott and Richard Rathbun of the Smithsonian; Cyrus Adler, Glenn Curtiss, Benjamin D. Foulois, Carl Myers, Frank Lahm, and Augustus Post. Of particular interest is the correspondence between Manly and Smithsonian Secretary Charles Walcott on Manly's work on the preparation of the Langley Memoir on Mechanical Flight for publication between 1908 to 1911; and his correspondence with Glenn Curtiss concerning the test flights of the rebuilt Great Aerodrome on Lake Keuka, Hammondsport, New York, in 1914, and the resulting controversy between the Smithsonian and Orville Wright. Researchers may also wish to consult the National Air and Space Archives Division's Samuel P. Langley Collection (Accession No. XXXX-0494), and these collections held by the Smithsonian Institution Archives: Record Unit 31, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence, 1866-1906, with related records to 1927. Record Unit 34, Office of the Secretary, Correspondence, 1887-1907 Record Unit 7268, J. Elfreth Watkins Collection, 1869, 1881-1903, 1953, 1966 and undated.
Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
Adler, Cyrus, 1863-1940
Curtiss, Glenn Hammond, 1878-1930
Lahm, Frank Purdy, 1877-1963
Langley, S. P. (Samuel Pierpont), 1834-1906
Manly, Charles Matthews, 1876-1927
Myers, Carl, 1842-1925
Walcott, Charles D. (Charles Doolittle), 1850-1927
Airplanes -- Motors
Langley Aerodrome Family
Charles M. Manly Papers, Acc. 1999-0004, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsoinan Institution.
National Air and Space Museum Archives