Guide to the Henry R. Clay, Jr. Papers
F009-79

 Finding aid prepared by Ally Boland.

Collection Overview

Repository
Special Collections and Archives Division, History of Aviation Collection.
Creator - Creator
Clay, Henry R., Mr., Jr., (Henry Robinson), 1895-1919
Title
Henry R. Clay, Jr. Papers
ID
F009-79
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1917-1922
Date [inclusive]
1913-1995
Extent
1.91 Linear feet (One manuscript box, one half-size manuscript box, and one non-standard box (25.5 x 19 x 2.5).)
Language of Materials
Collection is in English and French.
Abstract
Henry R. Clay, Jr. is one of the lesser known pilots from WWI, despite his outstanding service. Originally from Missouri, his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas while he started law school at The University of Texas at Austin before signing up for the Air Force in 1917. Clay served with No. 43 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force (RFC/RAF), where he was named First Lieutenant while stationed in France. He then was moved to the 148th Aero Squadron and finally to the 41st Aero Squadron before his untimely death in 1919. He has eight confirmed aerial victories during his short time in service, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), the Aero Club of America's War medal, and the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). Both the Aero Club of America's War metal and the DSC were awarded posthumously.

Citation

Henry R. Clay, Jr. 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.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Special Collections and Archives Division, History of Aviation Collection.

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

Revision Description

 The first revision was a conversion to HTML Format. 9 March 2015. The collection has been rearranged and reprocessed from the initial arrangement at the time of the donation. 9 March 2015

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 Henry R. Clay, Jr. Papers were donated to the History of Aviation Collection, Special Collections Department, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas, by Mr. Lee A. Clay on April 3, 1979.

Note to the Researcher

Paperclips were removed and replaced with coated paperclips. Photographs have been placed into protective sleeves. Oversize materials have been removed and placed into a non-standard size box.

Material Removed List

0.1 linear ft. (one folder) of duplicate photographs were deaccessioned.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Clay, Henry R., Mr., Jr., (Henry Robinson), 1895-1919

Subject(s)

  • George H. Williams, Jr. World War I Aviation Library

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Biographical Sketch

Henry R. Clay, Jr. was born on November 27, 1895 in Plattsburg, Missouri to Henry and Harriet Clay. His had one older brother, James Ashton "Ash" Clay. He attended University of Missouri before studying law at The University of Texas at Austin while his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas.

After the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Aviation Section. He attended the aviation ground school at The University of Texas at Austin before graduating and was sent to Oxford in England to continue with his training. Clay became a member of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) due to an agreement between the RFC and the United States Air Service (USAS). He was a member of No. 43 Squadron (RFC/RAF), where he was named First Lieutenant while stationed in France. He then was moved to the 148th Aero Squadron in July 1918, where he remained until his final move to the 41st Aero Squadron in November 1918. On December 14, 1918, he was made permanent commander of the 41st Aero Squadron. On January 23, 1919, he was relieved of his duty for the 41st Aero Squadron and was sent to Coblenz, Germany for occupation duty.

Clay died on February 7, 1919 in Coblenz, Germany from influenza and pneumonia.

His total flying time at the end of the war was 362 hours with eight confirmed aerial victories. Clay was awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross in 1918 for his gallantry and skill. On April 9, 1919, Clay was awarded the Aero Club of America's War medal for his valor and distinguished service. He was also honored with the Distinguished Service Cross in 1920. Clay was reburied in Plattsburg, Missouri in September 1920.

Source
 "Henry Robinson Clay," Wikipedia, last modified on 29 April 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Robinson_Clay.
Source
 Skelton, Marvin L. and George H. Williams, Jr. Lt. Henry R Clay Sopwith Camel Ace. [Richardson, Tex.]: University of Texas at Dallas, History of Aviation Collection, 1998.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence, military special orders, combat reports, military publications, a military ID card, a military uniform, maps, photographs, a travel guide, a high school yearbook, and other materials created by Henry R. Clay, Jr. and collected by Lee Clay documenting Henry R. Clay, Jr.'s time in the military as a pilot during WWI. The Henry R. Clay, Jr. Papers are housed in one manuscript box, one half-size manuscript box, and one non-standard box, totaling 2.11 linear feet.

The materials were received in good condition. For better access and preservation purposes, the archivist reorganized and reprocessed the materials from the initial arrangement, into six series with the first series being the Personal Papers Series, which contains personal documents. There are special orders from the United States Air Service, a list of pilots and other flight personnel, and Henry Clay's combat reports, mostly from his time with the 148th Aero Squadron.

The second Series is the Correspondence Series, which is further organized in three subseries: 1. Official Correspondence, 2. Personal Correspondence, and 3. Other Correspondence.

Subseries 1 includes official correspondence. Most are from the military to Clay, and there are some in regard to his death and personal belongings from the U.S. military that were sent to his parents.

Subseries 2 comprises personal correspondence from Henry Clay to various people, mainly his family. The folders start with his time at The University of Texas at Austin, then go to his brief time in New York before heading to England. There are three folders where he wrote letters to others besides his parents. They are his brother, James "Ash" Clay, his sister-in-law Velma Clay, and Jessie Hill.

Subseries 3 comprises correspondence related materials that did not fit into the above categories. It includes sympathy letters to Clay's family after his death, various telegrams and the original envelopes to many of Clay's letters back home.

The third series is the Publication Series, which is further organized into two subseries: 1. General and 2. Military.

Subseries 1 has more general publications, such as The Gleam, which is the yearbook from Plattsburg High School in Plattsburg, Missouri. It is from Henry Clay's senior year, 1913, and has a short feature on him. The other item is a guidebook to Stamford, Lincolnshire, England, where Clay spent time during his training in England.

Subseries 2 contains publications related to the military. It includes various papers on aviation military and fighting tactics.

The fourth Series is the Photographs Series, which is further organized into two subseries: 1. Family and 2. Military.

Subseries 1 comprises of all of the family photographs, including pictures of Henry's childhood. Within these photographs, there are multiple persons identified, such as: Henry Clay Sr., James Ashton "Ash" Clay, James Clay, and Harriet Clay. James Clay is the great-nephew of Henry Clay, Jr. and is photographed holding items that belonged to his great-uncle.

Also included is a folder of Henry R. Clay, Jr. in military uniform from his time in service. Another folder contains photographs of Henry R. Clay, Jr.'s tombstone in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) cemetery in Coblenz, Germany. The last folder in this subseries are photographs of supplementary text. It includes photographs of telegraphs, discharge papers, news articles, maps, and of metals.

Subseries 2 contains photographs from Clay's time in the military.

The first folder is his time at The University of Texas at Austin.

The second folder includes photographs from his time at Oxford in England. The names of the men in the photographs are as follows: Ainsworth, William Armstrong, Lindley DeGarmo, Sgt. Denreau, George Dorsey, Tom Evans, Hash Gile, Fred Koons, Curly Lauer, Alexander Matthews, Tom Mooney, Bim Oliver, Al Rothwell, George Selden, Stottler, Daniel Waters, and Frank Whiting.

The third folder contains unidentified photos from Clay's time with the 41st Aero Squadron with the USAS.

The fourth folder has photos from Clay's time in the No. 43 Squadron with the RFC/RAF. The men in these photos are identified as Trollope and Capt. Henry Winslow Woollett.

The fifth folder contains images from Clay's time with the 148h Aero Squadron. There are several men identified in photos, such as: W.J. Armstrong, Walter Avery, Clayton Bissell, Thomas J. Blake, George Brown, Jr., H. Burdick, Lawrence K. Callahan, William T. Clements, William E. Cravens, F.A. Dixon, J.F. Donahue, George Dorsey, Capt. S.B. Eckert, A.F. Everett, Tom Galbreath, W.W. Goodnow, J.R. Hogan, Terrance W. Imes, Harry Jenkinson, Johnson D. Kenyon, Field E. Kindley, Walter B. Knox, Rawolle Lochridge, Mandell, C.I. McLean, Thomas L. Moore, J.A. Myers, Capt. M.L. Newhall, W.F. Schadt, George V. Seibold, R.W. Smoke, Elliot White Springs, G.A. Vaughn, George Whiting, and Errol Zistell.

The sixth folder, Military Personnel, contains images of men that do not fit into the other squadrons. Most are unidentified, but some are identified as: Jock Baird, Lloyd A. Hamilton, Imes, Starkey, and Taylor.

The seventh folder contains pictures of airplanes. While not all are identified, those that are idenfied are Albatros, Sopwith Camel and Sopwith Pup.

The eighth folder is of a photobook from Clay's time in the military.

The fifth series is the Maps Series, which contains maps of France and the surrounding countries. They have been numbered by the donor and most are identified.

The first folder contains maps #1-3, which are of North-Central France (East of Paris), North-Central France (Southeast of Paris), and Northern France, respectively.

The second folder has maps #4-6, which are of Northern France, Northern Coast of France (Dunkirk), and North-Central France, respectively.

The third folder houses maps #7-10, which are of Alsace-Lorraine, "Land of the Rhine" (Northwest France), City of Coblenz, and the Northern Coast (Ostend), respectively.

The fourth folder has maps #11-13, which are North-Central France (Valenciennes), Eastern-Central France, and Northeast France, respectively.

The fifth folder houses the three unidentified maps.

The sixth series is the Memorabilia Series, which includes Clay's first American Expeditionary Forces ID card, without his photograph.

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Series Description

Series I. Personal Papers 0.1 linear ft. (four folders), 1918-1968.

Arranged by topic.

Series II. Correspondence 0.45 linear ft. (eleven folders), 1917-1922.

Arranged in three subseries: 1. Official Correspondence, 2. Personal Correspondence, and 3. Other Correspondence.

Subseries 1. Official Correspondence 0.1 linear ft. (one folder), 1919-1922.

Arranged chronologically and geographically.

Subseries 2. Personal Correspondence 0.25 linear ft. (seven folders), 1917-1918.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 3. Other Correspondence 0.1 linear ft. (three folders), 1917-1921.

Arranged by topic.

Series III. Publications 0.13 linear ft. (five folders), 1913-1918.

Arranged in two subseries: 1. General and 2. Military.

Subseries 1. General 0.1 linear ft. (two folders), 1913.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 2. Military 0.1 linear ft. (three folders), 1918.

Arranged by topic.

Series IV. Photographs 0.25 linear ft. (twelve folders), 1917-1995.

Arranged in two subseries: 1. Family and 2. Military.

Subseries 1. Family 0.1 linear ft. (four folders), 1918-1995.

Arranged by topic.

Subseries 2. Military 0.15 linear ft. (eight folders), 1917-1918.

Arranged by topic.

Series V. Maps 0.18 linear ft. (five folders), Undated.

Arranged numerically.

Series VI. Memorabilia 0.1 linear ft. (one folder), Undated.

Arranged by topic.

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Related Materials

Additional Sources

Additional information about this topic can be found in the History of Aviation Collection, in the following collections:

Gorrell History of the American Expeditionary Forces 1917 - 1918 Air Service

James L. Kerr III Papers

Penttinen Collection

Ola A. Sater Collection

Olive Senn Collection

St. Martin WWI Photographic Negative Collection

George H. Williams, Jr. Collection

And in the following publication:

Skelton, Marvin L. and George H. Williams, Jr., Lt. Henry R. Clay Sopwith Camel Ace. [Richardson, Tex.]: University of Texas at Dallas, History of Aviation Collection, 1998.

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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, 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 : 4HRC-1-1-PB1

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

HRC = Henry R. Clay, Jr. 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.

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Personal Papers 

Special Orders. 1918   General Head Quarters (G.H.Q.) American Expeditionary Forces.


    Box Folder
Text   1 1

List of Flight Personnel. 1918-1968 


    Box Folder
Text   1 2

Pilot's Flying Log Books. Undated 


    Box Folder
Text   1 3

Combat Reports. 1918 August-September 


    Box Folder
Text   1 4

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Series II. Correspondence 

Subseries 1. Official Correspondence 

Official Correspondence. 1919-1922 


    Box Folder
Text   1 5

Subseries 2. Personal Correspondence 

From Texas. 1917 


    Box Folder
Text   1 6

From New York. 1917 


    Box Folder
Text   1 7

From England. 1917 


    Box Folder
Text   1 8

From England. 1918 


    Box Folder
Text   1 9

To James Ashton "Ash" Clay. 1917-1918 


    Box Folder
Text   1 10

To Velma Clay. 1918 


    Box Folder
Text   1 11

To Jessie Hill. 1918 


    Box Folder
Text   1 12

Subseries 3. Other Correspondence 

Other. 1918-1922   Sympathy letters to Henry's parents.


    Box Folder
Text   1 13

Telegrams. 1917-1919 


    Box Folder
Text   1 14

Assorted Envelopes. 1917-1921 


    Box Folder
Text   1 15

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Series III. Publications 

Subseries 1. General 

The Gleam. 1913   Plattsburg High School Yearbook.


    Box Folder
Text   1 16

Stamford With Its Surroundings. Undated   Guidebook to Stamford, Lincolnshire, England.


    Box Folder
Text   1 17

Subseries 2. Military 

Fighting in the Air and  Fighting in the S.B. 1918   Pamphlet and paper.


    Box Folder
Text   1 18

Operations of American Units of Air Service on the British Front and Untitled paper. Undated   Papers.


    Box Folder
Text   1 19

Tactical History of American Pursuit Aviation. Undated   Bound paper.


    Box Folder
Text   1 20

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Series IV. Photographs 

Subseries 1. Family 

Family. Undated   Image number 4HRC-1-21-PB1 through 4HRC-1-21-PB26.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 21

Henry Clay. 1918   Image number 4HRC-1-22-PB1 through 4HRC-1-22-PB9.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 22

Tombstone. 1919   Image number 4HRC-2-1-PB1 through 4HRC-2-1-PB8.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 1

Supplementary Text. 1917-1995   Image number 4HRC-2-1-PB1 through 4HRC-2-1-PB11.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 2

Subseries 2. Military 

The University of Texas at Austin. 1917   Image number 4HRC-2-3-PB1 through 4HRC-2-3-PB2.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 3

Oxford, England. 1917   Image number 4HRC-2-4-PB1 through 4HRC-2-4-PB52.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 4

41st Aero Squadron, United States Air Service (USAS). 1918   Image number 4HRC-2-5-PB1 through 4HRC-2-5-PB3.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 5

No. 43 Squadron (RFC)/(RAF). 1918   Image number 4HRC-2-6-PB1 through 4HRC-2-6-PB7.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 6

148th Aero Squadron, United States Air Service (USAS). 1918   Image number 4HRC-2-7-PB1 through 4HRC-2-7-PB30.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 7

Military Personnel. Undated   Image number 4HRC-2-8-PB1 through 4HRC-2-8-NC30.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 8

Airplanes. 1918   Image number 4HRC-2-9-PB1 through 4HRC-2-9-PB11.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 9

Small photo album. Undated   148th Aero Squadron, USAS.


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 10

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Series V. Maps 

Maps #1-3. Undated   Three maps of North-Central France.


    Box Folder
Maps   3 1

Maps #4-6. Undated   Three maps of Northern France.


    Box Folder
Maps   3 2

Maps #7-10. Undated   Four maps of France.


    Box Folder
Maps   3 3

Maps #11-13. Undated   Three maps of France.


    Box Folder
Maps   3 4

Unidentified maps. Undated   Three unidentified maps.


    Box Folder
Maps   3 5

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Series VI. Memorabilia 

American Expeditionary Forces ID Card. Undated 


    Box Folder
Realia   2 11

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