Guide to the George I. Hockensmith Papers, 1887-1951
L050-84

 Finding aid prepared by Patrizia Nava, CA

Collection Overview

Repository
Special Collections Department, History of Aviation Collection
Creator - Engineer
Hockensmith, George I., Mr., (George Ignatius), 1887-1951
Title
George I. Hockensmith Papers
ID
L050-84
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1917-1944
Date [inclusive]
1917-1984
Extent
0.45 Linear feet (one half-size manuscript box and one non-standard box 2.5x6x5).
Language of Materials
Collection is in English.
Abstract
George I. Hockensmith worked mainly as a Superintendent for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company building hangars such as the Wingfoot Lake airfield, southeast of Akron, Ohio. He also helped build bridges like the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. and the the Trinity River Bridge in Dallas, Texas to name only a few. In South America, he built airfields and the British Guiana Air Base at Georgetown, British Guiana, for which he received the Ordem Do Cruzeiro Do Sul or Medal of the Order of the Southern Cross. Hockensmith received his Dirigible Balloon Pilot License in 1918, which was signed by Orville Wright.

Citation

George I. Hockensmith Papers, 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.

Return to Table of Contents »


Administrative Information

Publication Information

Special Collections Department, History of Aviation Collection 16 April 2014

800 West Campbell Road, MC33
Richardson, TX, 75080-3021
972-883-2570
[email protected]

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 George I. Hockensmith Papers were donated to the History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas, by his son Harold N. Hockensmith on July 30, 1984.

Note to the Researcher

The collection is in good condition. Only a few documents on onion skin paper are deteriorated. All fasteners were removed. The photographs were housed in polypropylene sleeves.

Materials Removed List

0.01 linear ft (one folder) of duplicate magazine, photographs, and clippings not pertaining to the collection have been deaccessioned and sent back to the family.

Existence and Location of Copies note

Because of the size of the collection and by request of one of Hockensmith's granddaughters, the entire collection has been digitized and posted on the digital archive - Treasures @ UT Dallas.

Return to Table of Contents »


Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Hockensmith, George I., Mr., (George Ignatius), 1887-1951

Subject(s)

  • Lighter than Air Archives

Return to Table of Contents »


Biographical Sketch

George Ignatius Hockensmith was on October 6, 1887 in Wooster, Ohio to George Hockensmith and Mary Burns. He had two sisters, Mrs. Harry Pickering and Mrs. Ray Williamson. He had lost his parents and home during a raid by Mexican bandits, thus was raised by Texas Rangers. He was married to Anna F. Withrow from Newett, Colorado. The couple had seven children.

In 1914, the Hunkin-Conkey Company hired Hockensmith to oversee the construction of the Detroit-Superior High Level Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio in the position of Superintendent.

During World War I, Hunkin-Conkey won the bid to build the Goodyear blimp factory at Wingfoot Lake southeast of Akron, Ohio. Hockensmith was contracted to be the superintendent overseeing the construction of the rubber plant facilities. Over a 1,000 balloons of various types and makes were assembled for the army and navy there. At the Wingfoot Lake Air Naval station, because of a balked landing by the test flight of the first dirigible, Hockensmith, without prior training or experience, volunteered to fly the airship.

In 1918 he received his Dirigible Balloon Pilot License and after the construction of the Wingfoot Lake facilities were completed, Hockensmith stayed with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The latter established at strategic points in the country facilities to support their dirigible program.

Hockensmith worked as field manager at the Goodyear flying field at Los Angeles, CA and was elected director of the Aero club of Southern California. In Los Angeles, Goodyear developed a small version of a dirigible named the Pony Blimp for commercial use, with which Hockensmith went onto promotional tours.

In 1929, Hockensmith started his own construction company. He was again approached by Hunkin-Conkey to oversee the building of the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C. Upon completion of this monument, Hockensmith worked for Booth and Flinn in Pittsburgh as General Superintendent supervising the construction of the George Westinghouse Bridge and the Ohio River Boulevard.

During the 1930s, he built the British Guiana Air Base at Georgetown, British Guiana, and air bases in Brazil for which he received the Ordem Do Cruzeiro Do Sul or Medal of the Order of the Southern Cross.

Until his death at age 64 on October 31, 1951, Hockensmith had built many bridges, among which is the Trinity River Bridge in Dallas, Texas.

Hockensmith passed away in Newark, New Jersey and was survived by wife Anna F. Hockensmith, two sons, George L. and Harold N., five daughters, Mrs. Clement Smith, Mrs. John J. Moffet, Mrs. A.G. Ford, Mrs. E.K. Gleason, and Mrs. John A. Crawford, and thirteen grandchildren: Arthur Smith, Terry Smith, Guy Smith, Susanne Steele, Patricia Steele, Sally Gleason, William Gleason, Judy Gleason, Theresa Ellen Gleason, Barbara Jean Gleason, Joan Hockensmith, Sandy Hockensmith, and Lorraine Hockensmith.

Source
 Anonymous, "George Ignatius Hockensmith," Ancestry.com,  http://records.ancestry.com/george_ignatius_hockensmith_records.ashx?pid=45386348. Online, 04/14/2014
Source
 George I. Hockensmith Papers, Pilot License, Folder 1, Box 1, Series I, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
Source
 George I. Hockensmith Papers, Letter to C.A. Stillman, July 27, 1929, Folder 2, Box 1, Series II., Subseries 1., History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
Source
 George I. Hockensmith Papers, Clipping, Anonymous, "Obituary",  Pittsburgh Press, November 4, 1951, page 47. Folder 6, Box 1, Series V, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
Source
 George I. Hockensmith Papers, Clipping, Anonymous, "Goodyear Flying Manager Named to Aero Club Board,"  Los Angeles Evening Express, n.d. Folder 6, Box 1, Series V, History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.
Source
 George I. Hockensmith Papers, Article, Anonymous, "The Remarkable Mr. Hockensmith,"  Dimensions, The Hunkin-Conkey Construction Company, Cleveland, Ohio, Spring 1968, pp. 13ff, Folder 7, Box 1, Series V., History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Return to Table of Contents »


Scope and Content

This collection contains personal papers, business and private correspondence, notes, memorabilia, photographs, clippings, magazines, and reports that were created or collected by George I. Hockensmith or his son Harold N. Hockensmith. The George I. Hockensmith Papers are housed in one half-size manuscript box and one non-standard box totaling 0.45 linear feet.

The collection arrived in one accession. Original order was not discernable so the processing archivist established the current arrangement of five series. The first series is the Personal Papers Series, which contains the Dirigible Balloon Pilot license of the National Aeronautic Association of U.S.A. issued to Hockensmith and signed by Orville Wright.

The second series is the Correspondence Series, which is further organized into two subseries: Subseries 1. Business Correspondence and Subseries 2. Private Correspondence.

Subseries 1. contains a copy of Instructions relative to Goodyear Flying Field Wingfoot Field formerly know as Fritch's Lake Field, which includes a detailed description of Hockensmith's job duties as Field Superintendent, signed by Don Stevens the Assistant to Factory Manager of Goodyear; a letter to various parties stating that all civilian work will be under the supervision of Hockensmith; a letter to P.W. Litchfield, Vice-President of Goodyear, stating detailed instructions regarding the operation of the Goodyear Caquot type kite balloons at the exhibition event in Chicago, IL from September 21, 1917; a letter signed by Hockensmith to Don Stevens regarding the danger of the handling of the kit balloons at the Kite Balloon Show to the general public; a letter requesting the verification of Hockensmith's work qualifications; and a thank you letter from the War Department to Hockensmith in reference to his work in British Guiana.

Subseries 2. includes a letter from Harold N. Hockensmith to Howard Tolley, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company requesting the installment of his father George I. Hockensmith in the Aviation Hall of Fame, a note to Ed Rice -former curator of the History of Aviation Collection (HAC) at The University of Texas at Dallas - from Harold N. Hockensmith thanking him for the description of the History of Aviation department, and an unidentified note.

The third series is the Memorabilia Series, which contains a letter of appreciation and an étui with the Medal of the Order of the Southern Cross in the class of an officer. The sign of the medal is a white enameled, five wings, ten point cross with golden edging and small golden pellets on the wing tips. Right and left are laurel wreaths visible through the edges of the cross. A bearer ring holds the medal in place. The center of the obverse depicts on light blue enameled ground with white stars the constellation of the Southern Cross. The scripture on a dark blue rim reads Praerium Bene Merentium. On the reverse, in the center, in a golden medallion the image of the founder is depicted. The scripture on a dark blue rim reads  Republica dos Estados Unidos do Brasil. The étui also contains two cufflinks in the same color blue like the cordon. The second item is an aviation flight calculator by the Phillips Petroleum company in a brown leather pouch (9x9cm).

The fourth series is the Photograph Series, featuring images of the first Navy dirigible being built at Wingfoot Lake, Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake dirigible hanger being constructed by Hunkin-Conkey in 1917, Hockensmith landing a blimp at Pickfair to promote tires to Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Hockensmith with his wife Anna on the Cleveland Detroit-Superior High Level Bridge before 1916, bridge constructions, dirigibles, Zeppelin hangar at Treves aerodrome, an aerial view of the Los Angeles, CA factory of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and Chicago air show from 1917.

The fifth series is the Publication Series, which includes clippings regarding Hockensmith's election as director to the Aero Club Board of Los Angeles, CA, his obituary, and a series of articles regarding "History of Aircraft and Wingfoot Lake Division," The Wingfoot Clan. As well as articles covering the French engineer Henri Julliot to build balloons for The Goodrich Company in the U.S. The article in  Dimensions, of the Hunkin-Conkey Construction Company covers the life and career of Hockensmith. The report is a handwritten account regarding the balloon flights up to and including June 22, 1917 and signed by Hockensmith.

Return to Table of Contents »


Series Description

The George I. Hockensmith Papers are organized in five series:

Series I. Personal Papers 0.02 linear ft. (one folder), 1918.

Arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series II. Correspondence 0.02 linear ft. (two folders), 1917-1984.

Arranged in two subseries: 1. Business Correspondence and 2. Private Correspondence.

Subseries 1. Business Correspondence 0.01 linear ft. (one folder), 1917-1941.

Arranged chronologically by date.

Subseries 2. Private Correspondence 0.01 linear ft. (one folder), 1984.

Arranged chronologically by date.

Series III. Memorabilia 0.21 linear ft. (one folder in manuscript box and one non-standard box), 1944.

Arranged alphabetically by topic.

Series IV. Photographs 0.01 linear ft. (one folder), 1917-1920.

Arranged by size.

Series V. Publications 0.04 linear ft. (three folders), 1920-1968.

Arranged alphabetically by type of materials.

Return to Table of Contents »


Related Materials

Additional Sources

Further information and additional sources about George I. Hockensmith can be found in The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Records “Aviation Series” http://www.uakron.edu/libraries/archives/files/docs/special/GoodyearAviation-reorganized_edited.pdf. Online 4/09/2013

As well as the Inventory of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Records, 1898-1993 at the University of Akron http://www.uakron.edu/libraries/archives/files/docs/special/Goodyear_for_Web.pdf. Online 4/09/2013

For information regarding Lighter-than-Air aircraft view The Vice Admiral Charles E. Rosendahl Lighter-than-Air Collection, at the History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas. http://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/rosendahl/index.html. Online 4/9/2014

Return to Table of Contents »


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, 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 : 3GH-1-1-PB1

3 = Lighter than Air Archives

GH = George I. Hockensmith Papers

1 = Box Number

1 = 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.

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

Series I. Personal Papers 

Pilot License 1918 July 24   Dirigible Balloon Pilot License.


    Box Folder
Text   1 1

Return to Table of Contents »


Series II. Correspondence 

Subseries 1. Business Correspondence 

Correspondence Sent and Received. 1917-1941 


    Box Folder
Text   1 2

Subseries 2. Private Correspondence 

Correspondence and Notes. 1984 March-July 


    Box Folder
Text   1 3

Return to Table of Contents »


Series III. Memorabilia 

Ordem Do Cruzeiro Do Sul. 1944 March 13   Letter of Appreciation.


    Box Folder
Text   1 4

Materials Removed List

Medal moved to Box 2.

Ordem Do Cruzeiro Do Sul. 1944 March 13   14x8x2 cm green étui containing the medal and two pins.


    Box Object
Realia   2 1

Aviation flight calculator. Undated 


    Box Object
Realia   2 2

Return to Table of Contents »


Series IV. Photographs 

Photographs. 1917-1920   Image number 3GH-1-5-PB1 through 3GH-1-5-PB22.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 5

Return to Table of Contents »


Series V. Publications 

Clippings. 1920-1951 


    Box Folder
Text   1 6

Magazine. 1968   "Dimensions," Hunkin-Conkey Construction Company publication.


    Box Folder
Text   1 7

Report. 1917 June 28 


    Box Folder
Text   1 8

Return to Table of Contents »


The University of Texas at Dallas
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action University