A. Leo Stevens Glass Plate Photography Collection

Albert Leo Stevens (1873-1944) was an accomplished balloonist and aviation pioneer. Stevens began making ascensions when he was twelve and began manufacturing balloons and dirigibles at the age of 20. Stevens was an exhibitor in parachute, balloon, dirigible, and human cannonball shows and also was a participant in races such as the Gordon Bennett Balloon Races. Stevens flew one of the very first successful dirigibles in the United States in 1906 and opened the first private airfield in the nation in 1909. In the latter part of his career, Stevens became a flight promoter and worked with such pioneering aviators as Harry Atwood, Harry Bingham Brown, George Beatty, and Harriet Quimby. Stevens also played a key role in the development of safety features for parachutes.