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Charles Lewis Aviation Collection

Identifier: MS-204

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of glass lantern slides and postcards containing images of early aircraft up through World War I.


  • Creation: circa 1910-1918


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing most material in this collection. Reference prints for 4 broken lantern slides are available in SC-129; for those items, users must use these reference prints instead of the originals.

Conditions Governing 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 Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.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.


1 linear feet

Language of Materials




The collection is arranged into 7 subgroups, each with several series and subseries:

  1. Subgroup I: Airplanes
  2. Subseries I-1: Evolution of the Airplane
  3. Subseries I-2: Pre-1914 Airplanes
  4. Subseries I-2-A: Drawings
  5. Subseries I-2-B: Planes and Pilots
  6. Series I-3: World War I
  7. Subseries I-3-A: Aerial Combat (Drawings)
  8. Subseries I-3-B: Silhouettes
  9. Subseries I-3-C: Planes and Pilots
  10. Subgroup II: Lighter-Than-Air
  11. Series II-1: Parachutes, Kites, and Gliders
  12. Series II-2: Balloons
  13. Series II-3: Airships
  14. Subseries II-3-A: British and French
  15. Subseries II-3-B: Zeppelins
  16. Subgroup III: Engines, Diagrams, Etc.
  17. Series III-1: Aircraft Engines and Motors
  18. Series III-2: Structural Diagrams and Drawings
  19. Series III-3: Aerial Photography
  20. Series III-4: Miscellaneous
  21. Subgroup IV: Personnel – World War I
  22. Series IV-1: Air Crews
  23. Series IV-2: Aviation Recruits and Training
  24. Subgroup V: Color slides
  25. Series V-1: World War I Scenes
  26. Series V-2: Early Flight Fantasy and Fact
  27. Subgroup VI: Glass Negatives
  28. Subgroup VII: French Aviation Postcards
  29. Series VII-1: Color Lithographs
  30. Series VII-2: Wright Airplanes
  31. Series VII-3: Early Planes

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

A light box will be helpful when viewing the slides.

Custodial History

The postcards and lantern slides was the collection of Larry D. Lewis, president of the Charles C. Lewis Steel Comapny in Springfield, Massachuesetts, from 1971-1983. After his death, the collection was passed down to his son, Charles C. Lewis III.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was purchased by Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University Libraries, from Christie’s Auctions (New York), in 1983.

Existence and Location of Copies

A portion of this collection (Series VII-1: French Aviation Postcards) is available in CORE Scholar Digital Repository at

Reference prints are available in SC-129 for 4 broken lantern slides in this collection; users must use these reference prints for the broken items.

Related Materials

Ritchie Thomas (1988) The Charles C. Lewis collection; Photography of aviation, History of Photography, 12:1, 37-40, DOI: 10.1080/03087298.1988.10442095 (also available in the reading room TL515 .T46 1988).

Guide to the Charles Lewis Aviation Collection (MS-204)
Lisa Rickey
2021 June 7
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020 Apr: The finding aid was revised according to DACS standards by Lisa Rickey, April 2020.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA