James V. Martin Scrapbook, 1910-1956 (bulk 1910-1916)


Collection Item Summary:

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.

Collection Item Long Description:


  • Aeronautics
  • Aeronautics--Exhibitions
  • Aeronautics--Competitions
  • Aircraft industry
  • Aeronautics--Law and legislation

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions on access


Martin, James Vernon 1885-1956


  • Martin, Lilly Irvine
  • Martin, James Vernon 1885-1956
  • United States Merchant Marine
  • Harvard Aeronautical Society
  • Aeromarine Plane & Motor Co
  • Martin Aeroplane Co (Martin, James Vernon)
  • Martin Aeroplane Factory (Martin, James Vernon)
  • Manufacturers Aircraft Association
  • Harvard Boston Aero Meet

Physical description

0.56 cubic feet (1 flatbox)


  • 1910
  • 1910-1956
  • bulk 1910-1916
  • 1903-1916


United States


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.

Repository Loc.

National Air and Space Museum, Archives Division, MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560


  • Clippings
  • Collection descriptions
  • Scrapbooks
  • Photographs

Local number