The Aeronautic Society of New York and the Birth of American Aviation, 1908-1918

This article describes the Morris Park, New York, “Exhibition and Tournament” held in November 1908 and sponsored by the Aeronautic Society of New York. The author frames his study of this event, and of the group that organized it, as an important insight into the nature of the community of aeronautical experimenters at the dawn of the air age. The event also demonstrates how eager ordinary Americans were to catch their first glimpse of a human being in winged flight. The article first reviews the other happenings in the world of airplanes and flight, reminding readers that the first photograph of the Wright brothers’ airplane in the air was published in May of 1908. Morris Park, in the Bronx, was chosen as a flying field because it was close enough to the city to be accessible by public transport, it had plenty of acres of level, open ground, and had a number of sheds and buildings that could prove useful for the pioneering aeronauts. The author describes some of the politics and issues that were involved in organizing the first Meet, then reports on the activities of the Meet itself, as well as the boon to membership that the Aeronautic Society experienced in 1909. A final section outlines some of the politics and ill-will between the new Aeronautic Society and the previously-established Aero Club of America. The article is illustrated with numerous black-and-white photographs of the Morris Park Meet and of the founders of the Aeronautic Society.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos; References;
  • Pagination: pp 268-289
  • Serial:
    • New York History
    • Volume: 92
    • Issue Number: 4
    • Publisher: New York State Historical Association
    • ISSN: 0146-437X

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01375646
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 14 2012 9:06AM