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August 10, 2012

National Air Race and Aviation films: 1928 - 1939

We have just loaded a set of aviation films from Western Reserve Historical Society's collection.

This collection contains copies of original 16mm films (positive prints) of the National Air Races as well as general aviation-related events taken during the period 1928-1939 which are held by held by the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio
A substantial portion of the original footage was produced by Warren S. Weiant II of Newark, Ohio. Weiant operated Weiant Gardens, (a greenhouse vegetable business) and Weiant Aircraft Sales, both located in Newark. Weiant had a passionate interest in aviation which is reflected in the films he shot. In addition to footage shot by Weiant, the collection also includes film of the National Air Races produced by the Standard Oil Company of Ohio and the Ohio National Guard. Warren S. Weiant II’s son, Warren Swift Weiant III (1928 -2012) donated his father’s films to the Historical Society. These copies of his father’s films and other footage of the National Air Races have been prepared in his memory.

The digital transfer of the film was done by the staff of the Kelvin Smith Library of Case Western Reserve University as part of a cooperative program with the Western Reserve Historical Society
The National Air Races began in 1920 and by the 1930s had become a major public event comprised of closed-course pylon races, most notably the Thompson Trophy Race, cross-country derbies, and a variety of aviation-related exhibitions, both flight and static. Cleveland first hosted the races in 1929. The city remained the primary locus for the event (with the exception of 1930, 1933, 1936 and the war years, 1940-1945) until 1949.

The footage reproduced in this collection records notable figures of aviation during the 1920s and 1930s including Charles Lindberg, Amelia Earhart, James Doolittle, Roscoe Turner, Louise Thaden, Wiley Post, and Ernst Udet as well as aviation technology of the period including lighter-than-air craft, (US Navy blimps and rigid airships and the German Graf Zeppelin); notable production aircraft such as the Ford Trimotor, and the Lockheed Vega; racing aircraft including the Weddell-Williams, and the Travelair; and a variety of military aircraft including the Curtiss Hawk.

The digitization of some of these films was done in memory of Warren Swift Weiant III (1928 -2012) who donated his father's aviation films to the Western Reserve Historical Society.

Click here to access.

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