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A Guide to the Carlstrom Airfield World War I Photographs

Finding aid created by Jason Zappulla

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections

July 2020



Descriptive Summary

Title: Carlstrom Airfield World War I Photographs
Dates: 1917
Abstract: Photographs of Carlstrom Airfield in Arcadia Florida taken by either Lieutenant W.L.G. Smith, officer in charge of the photography section at Carlstrom, or Sergeant Thomas O'Connor, who trained under Smith in aerial photography.
Extent: .21 Linear Feet. 1 Box.
Identification: MSS 0567
Language(s): English .

Biographical/Historical Note

These photographs of Carlstrom Airfield, Arcadia, Fla., were taken by either Lieutenant W.L.G. Smith, officer in charge of the photography section at Carlstrom, or Sergeant Thomas O'Connor, who trained under Smith in aerial photography. Established in 1917, Carlstrom Field served as a base for training pilots in aerial photography during World War I (although the war ended before any of the pilots saw service). During its time in operation, the camp covered 700 acres, including 14 hangars and a total of 90 buildings and structures.


Scope and Content

The pictures in this collection cover a variety of topics, from group photos of trainees and air crews, to everyday scenes of life at camp, to aerial photographs and pictures of aerial maneuvers. These pictures show the state of photography in the era of World War I, and the development of aerial photography for use in warfare.

The collection also includes a short letter to Helen Keen Howze reporting that Smith and O'Connor were safely rescued from a crash in the Everglades. In an article for the Employees Magazine of the Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway, Sergeant O'Connor later recorded a disastrous flight from Carlstrom Field to Fort Myers. Bad weather forced their bi-plane off course and they ran low on fuel. Lieut. Smith managed to land near the Big Cypress swamp. The plane turned topsy-turvy upon landing and he and O'Connor had to abandon it. For the next two days, they had no food and only swamp water to drink. After being aided by a camp of Seminoles, the pair reached the head of the Tamiami canal and were able to get help. Crew from Carlstrom were dispatched to rescue their plane, which Smith and O'Connor flew to Miami.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Related or Separated Material

For more information see the Libguide here.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Carlstrom Airfield World War I Photographs, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by donation from Thomas Graham, emeritus professor of history, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Fla., being pictures in the keeping of his great aunt Helen Keen Howse (1892-1986).


Contents List

Box Folder
11 Memo to Helen Keen about lost airmen.
12 Photo: Arcadia?.
13 Photos: The Base (8, 8 x 6).
14 Photos: The Base (13, 8 x 6).
15 Photos: Men on Base (7, various sizes).
16 Photos: Men on Base, cont. (2, 7 x 4 1/2).
17 Photos: Planes in Aerial Formation (8, 5 x 3).
18 Photos: Planes in Aerial Formation, cont. (10, 5 x 3).
19 Photos: Aerial Photography (8, 5 x 3).
110 Photos: Aerial Photography cont. (4, 5 x 3).

Bibliography

Sources:

American Air Museum in Britain

Carlstrom Field

"Florida as a Soldier Saw It" by Thomas O'Connor, Employees Magazine of the Buffalo, Rochester, and Pittsburgh Railway (June 1919), 31-37.


Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Aeronautics, Military.
Aeronautics.
Carlstrom Field (Fla.).
Florida -- Arcadia.
World War (1914-1918).




For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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