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Matthew Bacon Sellers II Collection, 1889-1924


Collection Item Summary:

This donation includes the following: eighteen diaries of Sellers, 1899-1903 and 1907-1909; his laboratory daybook in which he wrote many of the details of his aeronautical work; Sellers' personal correspondence, 1899-1917; photographs, including images of Sellers quadruplane hang gliders, wind tunnels, and biplane; photographs by Sellers of the Wright Model A at the 1909 Fort Myer Military Trials; miscellaneous reports; and family papers.

Collection Item Long Description:


  • Aerodynamics
  • Wind tunnels
  • Aeronautics, Military
  • Aeronautics, Commercial
  • Aeronautics
  • Sellers 1908 Quadruplane (Sellers No 5)
  • Sellers 1909 Quadruplane (Sellers No 6)
  • Sellers 1924 Multiplane
  • Wright (Co) Type A Family

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives


Sellers, Matthew Bacon, II 1869-1932


  • Sellers, Matthew Bacon, II 1869-1932
  • 1909 Fort Myer Military Trials

Physical description

0.68 cubic feet (2 legal document boxes)


  • 1889
  • 1889-1924
  • 1903-1916


Fort Myer (Va.)


Matthew Bacon Sellers II (1869 - 1932) received a LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1893 and during 1893-94 studied chemistry, physics, and mechanical arts from the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University, and Drexel Institute. From childhood, Sellers exhibited an interest in artificial flight, making his own kites, hot-air and hydrogen balloons, and various kinds of 'mechanical birds.' In 1903 Sellers began to direct his full attention to aeronautical research and invention. From 1903 to 1925, Sellers was involved with building gliders, aircraft and wind tunnels to accurately measure lift and drag of various airfoil curves. Sellers made his first powered hop in 1908 and among the mechanical innovations that he received patents on was an undercarriage design featuring retractable wheels. He was considered a leading authority on aerodynamics and was appointed to several boards, including the Aerodynamic Laboratory Commission, and the Naval Consulting Board as an expert on aviation and related matters. Sellers was also the technical editor of 'Aeronautics' and authored 30 articles on aerodynamics.


  • Reports
  • Collection descriptions
  • Photographs
  • Correspondence
  • Notes
  • Diaries

Local number