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A Finding Aid for the Aviation Program Records 1939-1943

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Aviation Program Records

Creator: Ferris Institute. Aviation Program.

Dates: 1939-1943

Abstract: The Aviation program was run in cooperation with the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) during World War II. The records of the program consist primarily of student records and of informational materials supplied by the CAA.

Language: English

Quantity: 1.5 cubic feet; 1 records center box

Identification: UA 24.3.1

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

The course catalog for 1940-1941 is the first which lists the aviation program. However, within the collection, there are registration lists for the 1939-1940 school year.

This program was actually outside the usual departmental structures because it was hosted by Ferris and run on a contract basis with the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). The course description from the catalog noted that the program is under the direction of the CAA. Ground instruction courses took place at Ferris Institute, while flight instruction took place at Robin-Hood Airport, located north of the city of Big Rapids. President Merle Ward noted on page seven of his 1941-1942 report that programs such as the civilian pilot training program compensated for approximately 125 students who had not enrolled because of the war. Such programs were critical to the financial stability of the Institute.

A detailed course of study by program coordinator Grover Baker in 1941 lists the following subjects for the course: civil air regulations (including pilot certification, aircraft certification, flight rules, and pilot regulations), meteorology, air navigation and servicing aircraft. Relevant coursework as part of other Ferris Institute curricula included mathematics and physics. A typical session lasted for a period of months and it was offered approximately three times per year.

The program was closed in 1943 when the Civil Aeronautics Administration chose not to renew the contract.

Aviation Program Coordinators

1939- February 1941 E.M. Clark (died while serving as coordinator)

February 1941- 1943 Grover Baker

Scope and Content Note

During wartime, the enrollment for Ferris Institute dropped sharply. In order to encourage students to remain on campus, the Institute worked with the government to offer civilian training programs. One of those programs was the aviation program offered in conjunction with the Civil Aeronautics Administration. This program was a not a degree program, and limited in the number of students it would accept.

This collection is in an extremely fragile state. It appears to have been rescued from the 1950 fire and placed in the Alumni building basement. Materials are charred and slightly mildewed. Some edges have crumbled off of the papers, and some papers have been stuck together, or the ink has ran. Where staples were used, the papers have corroded corners. Use of the materials is extremely difficult. Because of the fragile nature, materials were left in their exact original order. Use of the materials will require gloves.

Most of the records deal with the mechanics of running the program. It includes student records- and the myriad reports and applications required by the federal bureaucracy. Correspondence is primarily the incoming correspondence, and is in response to information seeking requests from the Ferris Institute program. There are some materials relating to the course curriculum- including course outlines, exams and specific folders devoted to topics such as navigation and physics. These are materials provided by the CAA, and also Ferris Institute-specific courses. One folder relates to extracurricular activities such as sports (M &P).


The papers are divided into a two series.

Series 1. Program Records.

Series 2. Subject Records.

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The Aviation Program records are open to all researchers in accordance with the University Archives and Records Management access policies. Because of the large number of student records within this collection, the entire collection is restricted until 2018. Permission to use the collection must be obtained from the University Archivist. All literary rights to the Aviation Program Records are held by Ferris State University. All literary rights to other materials found in the collection are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Any questions concerning rights should be directed to the University Archivist..

Conditions of Use

Requests for permission to publish material should be directed to the University Archivist. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Copyright interests for this collection have been transferred to Ferris State University. For more information, contact the University Archivist.

Subject Headings

Below are a list of names, organizations and subjects relating to the collection. Names have been taken from Library of Congress Authority headings whenever possible.

Related Materials

None specified.

Administrative Information


Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box. Aviation Program Records. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

These records were transferred to the University Archives in 2003 by the Records Office after being located in a basement storage room of the Alumni Building.

Processing Information

The Aviation Program Records were processed to the folder level by Melinda McMartin Isler in July 2006. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 2.0. A collection level MARC-21 record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).

Separated Materials

This collection originally consisted of 2.5 boxes of materials. Duplicative materials such as government forms were removed. Additionally, large amounts of material were heavily damaged and infected with mold. These materials were discarded.

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of typed and handwritten papers of various sizes. There are also pamphlets and brochures. These papers were greatly damaged in a fire and are both charred and mildewed. Gloves must be worn to use this collection and they are extremely fragile. There is no specialized software required for viewing.

Content Listing

<p"> Series 1. Program Records. 1939-1943.

This series consists of consists of approximately 0.75 cubic feet of records. . Typical documents within a file include student applications, grade sheets, release forms, special governmental instruction, flying logs and teaching materials.

The program records are organized chronologically by term.

Box Folder Contents
Box Folder Contents
1 1 Program records. 1939-1940.
1 2 Program records. Summer 1940.
1 3 Program records. Correspondence. Summer 1940.
1 4 Program records. Fall 1940.
1 5 Program records. Spring 1941.
1 6 Program records. Summer 1941.
1 7 Program records. Spring 1942.
1 8 Program records. Summer 1942.
1 9 Program records. Fall 1942.
1 10 Program records. Section 43-C. 1943.
1 11 Program records. Section 43-E. 1943.
1 12 Program records. Section 43-F. 1943.
1 13 Program records. Section 43-G. 1943.

Series 2. Subject Records. 1939-1943; undated.

This series consists of approximately 0.75 cubic feet of records. Included in this series is a circular file of correspondence, typical subjects taught (such as mathematics and meteorology), and other information such as board.

These files are arranged alphabetically by title/function.

Box Folder Contents
1 14 Aviation cadets. 1939-1943.
1 15 Certificates. 1939-1943.
1 16 Circular file. Correspondence. A. 1939-1943.
1 17 Circular file. Correspondence. C. 1939-1943.
1 18 Circular file. Correspondence. F. 1939-1943.
1 19 Circular file. Correspondence. H. 1939-1943.
1 20 Circular file. Correspondence. L. 1939-1943.
1 21 Circular file. Correspondence. M. 1939-1943.
1 22 Circular file. Correspondence. N. 1939-1943.
1 23 Circular file. Correspondence. P. 1939-1943.
1 24 Circular file. Correspondence. R. 1939-1943.
1 25 Circular file. Correspondence. S. 1939-1943.
1 26 Circular file. Correspondence. U. 1939-1943.
1 27 Circular file. Correspondence. X-Z. 1939-1943.
1 28 Civil air regulations. 1939-1943.
1 29 Clothing. 1939-1943.
1 30 Codes. 1939-1943.
1 31 Contracts. Civil Aeronautics Administration. 1939-1943.
1 32 Course outlines. 1939-1943.
1 33 Elementary ground school courses. 1939-1943.
1 34 1
1 35 Extra space class record books. 1939-1945.
1 36 Ground school instructors course. 1939-1943.
1 37 High schools and aviation. 1939-1943.
1 38 Insurance. 1939-1943.
1 39 Instruction. 1939-1943.
1 40 Leave requests. 1939-1943.
1 41 M & P (Athletics). 1939-1943.
1 42 Mathematics. 1939-1943.
1 43 Medical reports. 1939-1943.
1 44 Meteorology. 1939-1943.
1 45 Meteorology applications. Form 75. 1939-1943.
1 46 Milway Manual for First Year College Physics. 1939-1943.
1 47 Naval reserves. 1939-1943.
1 48 Navigation. 1939-1943.
1 49 Orders. 1939-1943.
1 50 Physics. 1939-1943.
1 51 Procedures. 1939-1943.
1 52 Rationing board. 1939-1943.
1 53 Recommendation form. 1939-1943.
1 54 Receipts. 1939-1943.
1 55 Room and board. 1939-1943.
1 56 Safety bulletins; reports. 1939-1943.
1 57 Schedules. 1939-1943.
1 58 State of Michigan. Department of Public Instruction. 1939-1943.
1 59 United States. War Manpower Commission. 1939-1943.
1 60 Vouchers. 1939-1943.
1 61 Washouts. 1939-1943.