Walter Matthews Jefferies Aviation Collection (MS-344)
Scope and Content
The Walter Matthews Jefferies Aviation Collection primarily consists of aviation photographs. Most of the photographs document military aircraft produced by a variety of aircraft manufacturers. However, the collection also contains a significant number of photographs taken by movie studios during the filming of aviation-themed movies. The collection is divided into four series.
Series I, Research and General Information, is divided into several subseries, including aircraft information, publications, maps, drawings, and other materials. Researchers should take note that there may be some overlap of subjects and formats between Series I and Series II and III. The material in Series I was received primarily with the original donation in 2003, which was mostly photographs, whereas Series II and III were received as part of the donation in 2016, which was mostly paper materials. Materials in this series date from 1917 to 2002.
Subseries I-A: Aircraft Information contains airplane records from 1922 to 1943, in both paper and microfilm format. The subseries also contains information on aircraft, by license number, information on a variety of aircraft including the P-12 and P-26, articles about aircraft, and promotional material. Materials in this series date from 1917 to 1998.
Subseries I-B: Correspondence contains correspondence, most of which is general in nature. Correspondents include the American Aviation Historical Society, Harold Cabot Jr., Robert Cavanagh, Margaret Clark, National Air and Space Museum (NASM), actor William Shatner, and others. The bulk of the materials in this series date from 1956 to 2002, but one file of correspondence dates from 1932 to 1933.
Subseries I-C: Newsletters, Newspapers, and Magazines contains a variety of publications and articles. Of particular note are articles on the National Air Races during the 1940s at Cleveland, Ohio, and the New York Times series “Along the World’s Airways: The Week in Aeronautics from 1931 and 1932. Materials in this series date from 1927 to 1999.
Series I-D: Maps, Drawings, Press, and Ephemera contains press releases, maps, drawings, and commemorative items accumulated by Mr. Jefferies. Materials in this series date from 1932 to 1981.
Series II: Technical Orders and Maintenance Manuals, contains instructions for a variety of aviation topics and tasks, including erection, maintenance, operations, flight, service, overhaul, parts and repairs, etc. The booklets are arranged according to the manual number, with T.O. (the most numerous) first, followed by AN (second most numerous), then NAV, NACA, and finally manuals with varied title codes or naming conventions. The materials in this series date from 1918 to 1971, with the bulk dating from about 1935 to 1950, particularly the World War II era. This series is stored off-site, so a minimum of two business days advance notice is requested for use of materials in this series.
Series III: Subject Files, focus mainly on aircraft and to a certain extent other, more general aviation topics. Please note that this entire series is minimally described (box-level only description, not individual file level); however, materials have been rehoused into archival folders. Materials in this series are estimated to date from approximately 1930 to 1990. The series is divided into two subseries. This series is stored off-site, so a minimum of two business days advance notice is requested for use of materials in this series.
Series III-A: Aircraft Subject Files, includes files on various aircraft, arranged alphabetically. The description within this document is box-level only, but the files themselves are separated according to different individual aircraft models.
Series III-B: General Subject Files, includes files on airports, NACA, air shows, aviation art, the military, and space.
Series IV, Photographic Material, contains more than 15,000 photographs, as well as many slides, dating from about 1920 to 2002. Overall, the collection documents aircraft developed by a wide-variety of aircraft manufacturers from the 1930s to the 1960s. While virtually every aircraft manufacturer can be found in the collection, the largest concentrations are Boeing, Curtiss, Douglas, Lockheed, and WACO. This series is divided into three subseries.
Subseries IV-A: Mounted Photographs, contains more than 12,000 photographs mounted on cardboard. Each photograph is briefly identified on the top left of the cardboard mount with the manufacturer (abbreviated) and the model number. On the upper right is a number assigned to the photograph by Mr. Jefferies. To find out more information about the photograph, such as the airplane manufacturer, aircraft number, when the photograph was taken and by who, refer to the small (5” x 7”) books found in Boxes 5 and 5A. These books were developed by Mr. Jefferies to track his collection of photographs. Materials in this subseries date from 1921 to 1984, with many photos undated though likely still falling within this time frame.
Series IV-B: Photograph Albums, contains more than 3,000 photographs stored in album sleeves in the photograph album boxes. These photographs are minimally described on the reverse of the photograph and divided according to manufacturer. Materials in this subseries date from approximately 1960 to 1970, with many undated.
Series IV-C: Other Photographs and Related Information, contains a variety of other images and related descriptions. Many items in this series do not even related to aircraft but to Jefferies’ other work and personal activities in California. Most notably, there are nearly 500 slides (35mm color) depicting scenes from nearly every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969). These slides have been digitized for preservation purposes, and researchers must use the reference prints rather than the original slides. An item-level index for the slides is available. Furthermore, it should be noted that the circumstances of the slides’ creation, and by extension their copyright status, has not been verified, so reproduction, publication, or other uses of the Star Trek images may be restricted. Materials in this subseries date from approximately 1920 to 2002.
A selection of aircraft photographs from Series IV have been scanned and are available online in Wright State University’s Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar): https://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms344_photographs/. To search for images from this collection in CORE Scholar, search for available items from a given folder using the following format: ms344_BBB_FFF*, where “BBB” is the three-digit Box number listed in the finding aid, “FFF” is the three-digit File number, and be sure to include the asterisk (*). For example, to locate any digitized images of Aero Commander 1121 airplanes from Box 6, File 2, enter “ms344_006_002*” into the search box. To check whether any images from a particular box (not specific to a certain folder) are available in CORE Scholar, search for ms344_BBB* (leaving off the folder code but including the asterisk).
Language of Materials
The materials are primarily in English, though French and German are also represented (indicated at the file or item level).
Restrictions on Access
Portions of this collection (research materials in boxes 191-239 and some oversize materials) are stored off site. Please contact us at least two days in advance if you would like to research within boxes 191-239 or oversize materials (identified by “OS”). For the Star Trek slides in Series IV, researchers are requested to use reference prints in lieu of the original slides.
Restrictions on Use
Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.
Biography of Walter Matthew Jefferies
Walter Matthews "Matt" Jefferies was born on August 12, 1921 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. From an early age, he was fascinated with flight. He became an avid builder of model aircraft after his family moved to Richmond, Virginia when his father became chief engineer at a power plant there.
Mr. Jefferies enlisted in National Guard in 1941. In 1942 he transferred to the Army Air Corps, where he became a B-17 Flight Engineer. He served with 8th Air Force in England and with 12th Air Force in Africa as a flight test engineer logging over 1,000 hours flight testing B-17s, B-24s, B-25s, C-47s and Catalina flying boats. He was awarded both the Bronze Star and Air Medal.
After the war, Mr. Jefferies returned to New Jersey where he met a neighbor, William Heaslip, a World War I fighter pilot and painter. Mr. Heaslip took a liking to Jefferies and gave him the old photo files for Sportsman Pilot, a magazine that was ceasing production. This was the start of his extensive aviation history collection; a collection that served him well in his research for paintings.
In 1946 Mr. Jefferies went to work as an artist for Erco Manufacturing Company. In this position he used his artistic talent to produce sales brochures, advertising material, and to illustrate manuals. When the bottom dropped out of the light airplane business in 1949, he free-lanced for awhile before taking a job with the Library of Congress as the Assistant Chief of Graphics in the Research Division. He quit four years later becoming a freelance aviation illustrator for aviation magazines; including Air Progress magazine here he became famous for a series of scale inboard profile cut-a-ways and perspectives of U.S. and foreign military aircraft.
His big career opportunity occurred in 1958 when Warner Brothers Studio needed a mock-up of the interior of a B-52 for the movie "Bombers B-52." He was referred by his brother who knew that Jefferies had all the manuals and also was aware that Strategic Air Command in Omaha was not cooperating with the studio. Eventually, Jefferies moved on to begin a long career in television where he was the Art Director for such shows as Ben Casey, Mission: Impossible, Riptide, Love American Style, Little House on the Prairie, and Dallas. However, his most famous work was the design of the "Starship Enterprise" for the Star Trek television series. Later he designed the updated and refitted "Enterprise" for the first Star Trek movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Mr. Jefferies was an avid flyer. In 1967 he realized a life-long dream when he became the proud owner of a 1935 WACO YOC Custom Cabin which he hangared at Santa Paula, CA airport.
Walter Matthews Jefferies died on July 21, 2003 of congestive heart failure. He was three weeks short of his 82nd birthday.
138 linear feet
The Walter Matthews Jefferies Aviation Collection consists of more than 15,000 photographs and over 1100 books, pamphlets, and journals. The bulk of the photographs pertain to aviation from the 1930s to the 1960s. Most of the photographs document military aircraft produced by a variety of aircraft manufacturers. However, the collection also contains a significant number of photographs taken by movie studios during the filming of aviation-themed movies. A large amount of technical manuals and subject files are also included.
Statement of Arrangement
The Walter Matthews Jefferies Aviation Collection consists of four series:
- Series I: Research and General Information, 1917-2002
- Series II: Technical Orders and Maintenance Manuals, 1918-1971
- Series III: Subject Files, circa 1930-1990
- Series IV: Photographic Material, circa 1920-2002
Other Finding Aids
For more information about the photographs in Subseries IV-A Mounted Photographs, such as airplane manufacturer, aircraft number, date of photograph, and photographer, consult the books created by Jefferies to track the photographs located in Boxes 5 and 5A.
An item-level index to the Star Trek slides in Series IV-C is available.
The finding aid is available on the Special Collections & Archives, Wright State University Libraries web site at https://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/collectionguides/files/ms344.pdf. It is also available in the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository at http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/.
The Walter Matthews Jefferies Aviation Collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives by Walter Matthews Jefferies and his wife, Mary Ann, in November 2003. Mrs. Jefferies also donated a large addition to the collection in June 2016.
Existence and Location of Copies
Reference prints for the Star Trek slides in Series IV-C should be used in place of handling the originals. "
A selection of aircraft images from the Walter Matthews Jefferies Aviation Collection are available online in Wright State University’s Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar): https://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms344_photographs/.
The digitized Jefferies Collection photographs, as well as aircraft photographs from other collections held by Wright State University Special Collections & Archives, can also be found online in CORE Scholar in the Aircraft gallery: http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/aircraft/.
Select aviation books, pamphlets, and journals in the collection have been cataloged and added to the Special Collections and Archives reading room.
- Aeronautics -- History
- Aeronautics in art
- Aircraft industry -- United States -- History
- Airplanes -- History
- Airplanes -- Pictorial works
- American Society of Aviation Artists
- Art directors
- Artists -- United States
- Aviation artists
- Handbooks and manuals
- Jefferies, Walter M. (Walter Matthews), 1921-2003
- Photograph albums
- Slides (photographs)
- Technical manuals
- Guide to the Walter Matthews Jefferies Aviation Collection (MS-344)
- Finding aid prepared by Melissa Schmunk and John Armstrong
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
- 2021 May 6: Lisa Rickey- revised to include the addition of many subject files and manuals
Part of the Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Repository
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA