Guide to the Ormer Locklear Collection, 1898-1920
H07-75

Collection Overview

Repository
Special Collections Department, History of Aviation Collection
Creator - Creator
Locklear, Ormer L., Mr., (Ormer Leslie ), 1891-1920
Title
Ormer Locklear Collection
ID
H07-75
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1917-1920
Date [inclusive]
1898-1991
Extent
6.5 Linear feet (2 Manuscript Boxes, 1 Oversize Box (13x10.5x3), 1 Oversize Box (15x12x3), 1 Oversize Box (17x13x3), 1 Oversize Box (22x16x2)).
Language of Materials
Collection is in English.
Abstract
Ormer Locklear, born in 1891 in Greenville, Texas, learned to fly in the United States Army Aviation Service during World War I. On leaving the military after the Armistice in 1919, Locklear flew around the country pioneering a number of barnstorming feats including the wing walk, and the midair transfer from one plane to another. His fame as a stunt pilot brought him to Hollywood where he completed one film, before being tragically killed during a stunt on his second movie in 1920. The collection contains photographs, documents, and scrapbooks related to his career as a pilot, barnstormer, and movie star.

Citation

Ormer Locklear Collecton, Document name or type, Folder number, Box number, Series number, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Special Collections Department, History of Aviation Collection 8 March 2012

800 West Campbell Road, MC33
Richardson, TX, 75080-3021
972-883-2570
LIBSPCO@utdallas.edu.

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection are open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish material from this collection in any form, current or future, must be obtained from the Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Provenance Statement

The Ormer Locklear Collection was donated to the History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas, by Anita Locklear in 1978, with an additional donation of pictures depicting the dedication of Ormer Locklear's Texas Historical Marker in 1991.

Note to the Researcher

The materials in the collection were orginally processed by Gay Orczy-Baristow. The contents of one of the scrpabooks in the collection, were removed from the orignal scrapbook due to condition problems and rehoused and refoldered.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Locklear, Ormer L., Mr., (Ormer Leslie ), 1891-1920

Subject(s)

  • History of Aviation Collection

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Biographical Sketch

Ormer Leslie Locklear was born on October 28, 1891 in Greenville, Texas. At a young age his parents moved to Fort Worth, and it was there in 1911 that he witnessed the early cross country aviator Calbraith P. Rogers land to fix a clogged fuel line. This spurred an early interest in flying in Locklear, and later in that year he and his brother built their own glider. Locklear went to work, as a carpenter, and in 1915 he married Ruby Graves. On October 25, 1917 Ormer Locklear enlisted in the United States Army Air Service in San Antonio, and was sent to Camp Dick in Austin, Texas for training. He was later transferred to Barron Field near Fort Worth to complete his pilot training. Locklear mastered a number of aviation stunts while learning to fly at Barron, including leaving the cockpit of a plane in flight (according to stories in order to reattach a dangling radiator cap, and in November of 1918 being one of the first people to transfer between to aircraft in mid-air. Locklear was promoted to a position as squadron commander at Barron Field, and was placed in charge of cross country flight training.

On May 7, 1919 Locklear left the United States Air Service with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and with two of his fellow discharged pilots (Milton Elliot and Shirley Short) decided to make a career out of barnstorming. They toured the country performing a number of feats, and Locklear is credited with demonstrating the first public mid-air aircraft transfer at the Uniontown Speedway in Pennsylvania on May 16th, 1919. In June of that year Universal pictures contacted the Locklear, to star in an aviation action-adventure movie called The Great Air Robbery. Locklear preformed all of his own flying stunts, including the first transfer from a moving automobile to a flying aircraft. He also met, and became involved with a Hollywood starlet named Viola Dana.

Locklear continued to fly in barnstorming expeditions throughout the rest of 1919, and the beginning of 1920. Later that year he was cast in Fox Film’s The Skywayman. On August 2, 1920 filming for  The Skywayman had almost completed, and Locklear only needed to complete one final stunt. He was supposed to simulate his aircraft crashing into the ground during nighttime shooting. In order to signal Locklear when to pull up and prevent a crash, a number of landing lights were supposed to be turned off when he reached a safe altitude to pull out of the dive. As Locklear entered the dive he was either blinded and disoriented by the landing lights, or the lights were not turned off in time for him to successfully pull out of the dive (sources are unclear as to which was the cause of the crash), and Locklear and his co-pilot Milton Elliot were killed when their aircraft impacted with the ground. The horrific crash was witnessed by Viola Dana, who was on set to watch Locklear’s stunt.

Locklear’s body was given a funeral procession in Los Angeles, as it was escorted to the train that would take it home to Fort Worth. Locklear’s body arrived in Fort Worth on August 7th, and on August 8th a funeral service was held at Mulkey Memorial Methodist Church. Locklear was later buried in Greenwood Cemetery. Although Locklear’s career was brief, he originated a number of stunts that would become the staples of barnstorming shows around the world. In 1975, the Robert Redford movie The Great Waldo Pepper was dedicated to Ormer Locklear, and several other airmen who had died performing aviation stunts, and drew on elements of his life for its story. Another honor was received in 1991 Ormer Locklear’s grave at Greenwood Cemetery was dedicated with a Texas Historical Marker.

Sources

Source
 Ronnie, Austin. 1973. Locklear: The Man Who Walked on Wings. A.S. Barnes and Company: Cranbury, NJ.
Source
 Ormer Locklear Collecton, Biographical Information, Folder 1, Box 1, Series I, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains photographs, press clippings, lobby cards, and other material related to Ormer Locklear’s career as a United States Army Air Service pilot in World War I, barnstormer, and movie star. It also contains material related to Ormer Locklear: The Man Who Walked on Wings, a 1973 biography of Locklear by Austin Ronnie. The Ormer Collection Locklear is housed in two manuscript boxes, and four oversize boxes totaling 6.0 linear ft. The collection arrived in good condition and the archivist identified ten series:

The first series is the Ormer Locklear Biography Series which includes photographs, clippings, and biographical notes about the life of Ormer Locklear.

The second series is the Ormer Locker and Stunt Flying series which contains photographs, advertisements, and articles discussing Locklear’s various acrobatic and exhibition flying exploits, as well as discussing some stunts involving ground vehicles.

The third series is the Ormer Locklear in The United States Army Air Service Series, which consists of photographs of Ormer Locklear at Barron Field in Fort Worth, Texas.

The fourth series is the Ormer Locklear and Other People Series, which includes photographs of Ormer Locklear’s friends, family, and famed boxer Jack Dempsey.

The fifth series is the Oremer Locklear’s Death and Funeral Series which contains photographs of Ormer Locklear’s fatal crash site in California, his funeral process in Los Angeles, CA, and his procession, funeral, and burial in Fort Worth, Texas.

The sixth series is the Locklear: The Man who Walked on Wings Series by Austin Ronnie (a biography of Locklear) and consists of information about the book, book reviews from various magazines and newspapers, and photographs of a Fort Worth, TX book signing.

The seventh series is the Ormer Locklear in Hollywood Series and includes photographs of Ormer Locklear and actress Viola Dana in various locations around Los Angeles, CA, Viola Dana and her family, and stills from the sets of the films The Skywayman and  The Great Air Robbery.

The eighth series is the Ormer Locklear Clipping Series and consists of articles about Ormer Locklear’s barnstorming act, movie career, accident and funeral, as well as reviews of the film The Great Waldo Pepper, which is based partially on events from Ormer Locklear’s life.

The ninth series is the Ormer Locklear Scrapbook Series which contains three scrapbooks of photographs related to Ormer Locklear’s life and legacy collected by his sister Anita Mae Locklear, of Fort Worth, Texas.

The tenth Series is the Ormer Locklear Oversize Series and includes a number of colored lobby cards for the film The Great Air Robbery, and several full page newspaper clippings discussing Ormer Locklear’s accident and death.

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Series Description

Series I: Ormer Locklear Biography .1 linear ft. (two folders), 1973-1974.

Arranged chronologically.

Series II: Ormer Locklear and Stunt Flying .1 linear ft. (nine folders), 1911-1973.

Arranged chronologically.

Series III: Ormer Locklear in The United States Army Air Service (USAAS) .1 linear ft. (two folders), 1917-1920.

Arranged chronologically.

Series IV: Ormer Locklear and other People .1 linear ft. (one folder), 1918-1920.

Arranged chronologically.

Series V: Ormer Locklear’s Death and Funeral .1 linear ft. (three folders), 1920.

Arranged chronologically.

Series VI: The Man Who Walked on Wings by Austin Ronnie .1 linear ft. (one folder), 1973.

Arranged chronologically.

Series VII: Ormer Locklear in Hollywood .25 linear ft. (ten folders), 1919-1920.

Arranged chronologically.

Series VIII: Ormer Locklear Clippings .25 linear ft. (five folders), 1920-1974.

Arranged chronologically.

Series IX: Scrapbooks 3 linear ft. (three oversize boxes), 1898-1991.

Arranged chronologically.

Series X: Oversize Material 2 linear ft. (one oversize box), 1920-1973.

Arranged chronologically.

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Related Materials

Additional Sources

Additional material about the life of Ormer Locklear can be found in the W.G. Fuller Collection, and the  Aviation Personalities Biography Collection. The History of Aviation Collection's library also has a copy of Austin Ronnie's  Locklear: The Man Who Walked on Wings (the definitive biography of Locklear). Ormer Locklear's story and his experiences at Barron Field are also recounted in J.Nell L. Patie's  Arsenal of Defense: Fort Worth's Military Legacy, and in several other books about stunt flying and barnstorming held by the History of Aviation Collection.

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Image ID

It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission from copyright holders of materials to which this institution does not own copyright.

Images in this collection are identified by a unique number that provides information about the format, record group, collection, series, box, folder, and image numbers. Please use this number when ordering reproductions of images from this collection.

Record Group Code

1 = CAT/Air American Archives

2 = Doolittle Archives

3 = Lighter than Air Archives

4 = George H. Williams, Jr., World War I Aviation Library

5 = History of Aviation Archives

6 = University Archives

7 = HAC Stacks

8 = WPRL Stacks

9 = Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Collection

10 = Belsterling Collection

11 = Closed Stacks

12 = Unidentified

13 = Chance Vought Archives

14 = Twirly Birds Archives

Image Format Code

P = Photograph/Postcard

S = Slide

N = Negative

T = Positive Transparency

B = Black and White

C = Color

Example : 5OL2-1-3PB1

5 = History of Aviation Archives (HAC)

OLL = Ormer Locklear Collection

2 = Series Number

1 = Box Number

3 = Folder Number

P = Photograph/Postcard

B = Black and White

1 = Image Number

Images archived in plastic image holders may also have a location code in the format: 1/TL. In this example, the number is the sheet number and the letters indicate the top left position on the sheet. Position indicators are T = top, L = left, R = right, M = middle, and B = bottom. Position indicators may be combined to describe the position on the sheet, as shown in this example.

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Ormer Locklear Biography 

Three Articles by Art Ronnie about the Life of Ormer Locklear. 1973-1974 


    Box Folder
Text   1 1

The Life of Ormer Locklear - by His Mother, Odessa Locklear. Undated 


    Box Folder
Text   1 2

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Series II: Ormer Locklear and Stunt Flying 

Photographs: Air Shows/Stunt Flying - 4OLII-1-3PB1 to 4OLII-1-3PB8. 1911-1918 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 3

Photographs: Movie Stunt Flying - 4OLII-1-4PB1 to 4OLII-1-4PB6. 1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 4

Photographs: Painting of Locklear Changing Planes in Mid-Air - 4OLII-1-5PC1 to 4OLII-1-5PC2. 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 5

Photographs: Pet Monkey and Race Track - 40LII-1-6PB1 to 4OLII-1-6PB2. 1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 6

Photographs: Ormer Locklear and the Aero Club of America (Atlantic City, New Jersey) - 4OLII-1-7PB1. 1919 June 28 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 7

Photographs: Ormer Lockler Posing - 4OLII-1-8PB1 to 4OLII-1-8PB2. 1918-1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 8

Photogaphs: Ormer Locklear Advertising - 4OLII-1-9PB1 to 4OLII-1-9PB4. 1919-1973 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 9

Photographs: Ormer Locklear's Flying Circus - 4OLII-1-10PB1 to 4OLII-1-10PB4. 1918-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 10

Negatives: Ormer Locklear and Aviation - 4OLII-1-11N1 to 4OLII-1-11N5. 1911-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 11

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Series III: Ormer Lockler in The United States Army Air Service (USAAS) 

Photographs: Ormer Locklear in the United States Army Air Service, World War I - 4OLIII-1-12PB1 to 4OLIII-1-12PB2. 1918-1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 12

Photographs: Ormer Locklear's World War I Veteran's Honor Badge - 4OLIII-1-13PB1. 1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 13

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Series IV: Ormer Locklear and Other People 

Photographs: Ormer Locklear and Others - 4OLIV-1-14PB1 to 4OLIV-1-14PB10. 1918-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 14

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Series V: Ormer Locklear's Death and Funeral 

Photographs: Ormer Locklear's Funeral in Fort Worth, Texas - 4OLV-1-15PB1 to 4OLV-1-15PB11. 1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 15

Photographs: Ormer Locklear Funeral Procession in Los Angeles, California - 4OLV-1-16PB1 to 4OLV-1-16PB9. 1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 16

Photographs: Ormer Locklear Crash Site and Wreckage - 4OLV-1-17PB1to 4OLV-1-17PB4. 1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 17

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Series VI: The Man Who Walked on Wings by Art Ronnie 

Photographs: The Man Who Walked on Wings by Art Ronnie - 4OLVI-1-18PB1 to 4OLVI-1-18PB3. 1973 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 18

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Series VII: Ormer Locklear in Hollywood 

Photographs: Ormer Locklear and Jeanie McPherson - 4OLVII-2-1PB1 to 4OLVII-2-1PB3. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 1

Photographs: Dorothy Phillips - 4OLVII-2-2PB1. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 2

Photographs: Ormer Locklear and Viola Dana - 4OLVII-2-3PB1 to 4OLVII-2-3PB10. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 3

Photographs: Portraits of Viola Dana by Hoover - 4OLVII-2-4PB1 to 4OLVII-2-4PB3. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 4

Photographs: Viola Dana and Shirley Mason - 4OLVII-2-5PB1 to 4OLVII-2-5PB5. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 5

Photographs: Jack Dempsey, Ormer Locklear, and Viola Dana - 4OLVII-2-6PB1. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 6

Photographs: Ormer Locklear in Hollywood - 4OLVII-2-7PB1 4OLVII-2-7PB8. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 7

Photographs: The Great Air Robbery - 4OLVII-2-8PB1 to 4OLVII-2-8PB2. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 8

Photographs: The Skyway Man - 4OLVII-2-9PB1 to 4OL7-2-9PB35. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 9

Photographs: Ormer Locklear Race Car - 4OLVII-2-10PB1. 1919-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 10

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Series VIII: Ormer Locklear Clippings 

Clips: Ormer Locklear - "5 Stunts". 1911-1919 


    Box Folder
Text   2 11

Clips: Fort Worth Star Telegram - "Locklear, Master Birdman, Dies". 1920 August 15 


    Box Folder
Text   2 12

Clips: Remembering Ormer Locklear. 1963-1976 


    Box Folder
Text   2 13

Clips: The Great Waldo Pepper. 1975 


    Box Folder
Text   2 15

Book Reviews - Locklear - The Man who Walked on Wings. 1972-1974 


    Box Folder
Text   2 15

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Series IX: Scrapbooks 

Scrpabook 1: Ormer Locklear's Boyhood in Fort Worth, Texas - 4OLISX-3-1PB1 to 4OLIX-3-1PB14. 1890-1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 1

Scrapbook 1: Stunt Flying - 4OLIX-3-2PB1 to 4OLIX-3-2PB25. 1890-1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 2

Scrapbook 1: Crashes - 4OLIX-3-3PB1 to 4OLIX3-3-3PB19. 1890-1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 3

Scrapbook 1: United States Army Air Service (USAAS)/ Barron Field, Fort Worth, Texas - 4OLIX-3-4PB1 to 4OLIX-3-4PB79. 1890-1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 4

Scrapbook 1: Aircraft - 4OLIX-3-5PB1 to 4OLIX-3-5PB12. 1890-1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 5

Scrapbook 1: Aerial Photographs - 4OLIX-3-6PB1 to 4Ol9-3-6PB6. 1890-1919 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 6

Scrapbook 1: Ormer Locklear, Wife and Firends - 4OLIX-3-7PB1 to 4OLIX-3-7PB9. 1890-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 7

Scrapbook 1: Ormer Locklear Filming and Leading Ladies - 4OLIX-3-8PB1 to 4OLIX-3-8PB58. 1890-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 8

Scrapbook 1: California Aviation - 4OLIX-3-9PB1 to 4OLIX-3-9PB5. 1890-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 9

Scrapbook 1: The Great Airplane Robbery and  The Skywayman - 4OLIX-3-10PB1 to 4OLIX-3-10PB12. 1890-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 10

Scrapbook 1: Ormer Locklear Funeral and Dedication of Texas Historical Marker - 4OLIX-3-11PB1 to 4OLIX-3-11PC9. 1890-1991 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   3 11

Scrapbook 2: Scrapbook of Ormer Locklear's Life kept by his Sister Anita Locklear - Folder 1. 1890-1976 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 1

Scrapbook 2: Scrapbook of Ormer Locklear's Life kept by his Sister Anita Locklear - Folder 2. 1890-1976 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 2

Scrapbook 2: Scrapbook of Ormer Locklear's Life kept by his Sister Anita Locklear - Folder 3. 1890-1976 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 3

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Series X: Oversize Material 

Photographs: The Great Air Robbery (Large Size) - 4OLX-5-1PB1 to 4OLX-5-1PB5. 1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   5 1

Photograph: Ormer Locklear and Colonel Turner on Cockpit of Airplane - 4OLX-5-3PB1. 1918-1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   5 3

Clips: The Chicago Evening Post. 1920 Feburary 24 


    Box Folder
Text   6 1

Lobby Cards: The Great Air Robbery. 1920 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   5 2

Clips: Fort Worth Star Telegram. 1920 August 18 


    Box Folder
Text   6 2

Clips: Los Angeles Hearld Examiner. 1962 September 16 


    Box Folder
Text   6 3

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