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James Vernon Martin (1885-1956) was an aviator and inventor during the early days of aviation. He joined the Merchant Marine (1900) before attending the University of Virginia and Harvard (graduate degree, 1912). While at Harvard he organized the Harvard Aeronautical Society (1910), served as its first director, and, through the Society, organized the first international air meet in the United States (1910). He traveled to England in January 1911 for flight training and received Royal Aero Club F.A.I. Certificate #55. After returning to the U.S. in June 1911, he traveled the exhibition circuit (1911-13) before rejoining the Merchant Marine as commander of USS Lake Frey (1914). During 1915 he flew flight test for the Aeromarine Co. In 1917, he formed the Martin Aeroplane Company in Elyria, OH on the strength of nine aeronautical patents, including his automatic stabilizer (1916) and retractable landing gear (1916). In 1920 he moved the concern to Dayton, OH as Martin Enterprises and offered free use of his patents to the American aeronautical industry. He moved to Garden City (Long Island), NY in 1922, called the company the Martin Aeroplane Factory, and, two years later, sued the United States government and the Manufacturers Aeronautical Association, claiming that they conspired to monopolize the aviation industry. The suit was dismissed in 1926, but Martin continued to press his claims of collusion through the 1930s. During World War II he again returned to the sea, commanding a troop transport in the Pacific. Afterwards he tried to raise interest in a large catamaran flying boat, the Martin 'Oceanplane', but failed in the face of the growth in commercial trans-ocean service by conventional aircraft.



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Patti Williams, 2019.


Martin, James V. (James Vernon), 1885-1956



bulk 1910-1916


Edna Jahn, Gift, 1963, NASM.XXXX.0236


0.56 Cubic feet (1 flatbox)


This scrapbook consists of newspaper clippings and photos of James V. Martin's aviation exploits, 1910-1916. of the 1910 - 1916 era.


No restrictions on access


Collection descriptions

Archival materials




Arrangement note

No arrangement, just one item.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists mainly of newspaper clippings, and photos of his exploits of the 1910 - 1916 era. Among these are his proposed crossing of the Atlantic in 1912, aerial bombing demonstrations, invention of the Martin Aerodynamic Stabilizer, and early form of autopilot. Also included are newspaper clippings of his wife, Lilly Irvine Martin, who was reported to be the first woman aviator to fly solo.






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Aeromarine Plane & Motor Co.

Harvard Aeronautical Society

Harvard Boston Aero Meet

Manufacturers Aircraft Association

Martin Aeroplane Co (Martin, James Vernon)

Martin Aeroplane Factory (Martin, James Vernon)

United States. Merchant Marine

Martin, James V. (James Vernon), 1885-1956

Martin, Lily Irvine

Topics Aeronautics
Aeronautics -- Exhibitions
Aeronautics -- Competitions
Aeronautics -- 1903-1916
Aircraft industry -- United States
Aircraft industry
Aeronautics -- Law and legislation


James V. Martin Scrapbook, NASM.XXXX.0236, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid