A small exhibition entitled "Selections from the George Hardie Aviation and Aerospace History Collection" was on view in the Special Collections reading room at the Golda Meir Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from January through April 1995. The exhibition of biographies, popular literature, trade catalogs, technical reports, training manuals, and U.S. government publications focuses on aviation pioneers and explorers, aviation in the military, flight technology, and the airline industry. A little over ninety years have elapsed since the Wright Brothers made their first controlled, powered flight over the beach at Kittyhawk, North Carolina. Much has transpired in the history of aviation since that historic day in 1903, and the materials on display from the Special Collections' George Hardie Aviation and Aerospace History Collection highlight some of the developments in that history while demonstrating the depth and strength of the Hardie Collection as a resource for research and teaching.
The George Hardie Aviation and Aerospace History Collection is a unique resource of the Golda Meir Library's Special Collections Department. A gift of aviation enthusiast and historian, George A. Hardie Jr., the collection currently consists of over 2,000 titles. George Hardie has made a life-long study of aviation, and built the collection as his personal library before donating it to the Golda Meir Library starting in 1988.
The chronological scope of the collection is broad: from the earliest concepts of flight by man to recent space missions. Areas of coverage include engineering and technical manuals, biographies, military aircraft designs, notable achievements in the history of aviation, pilot training guides, and early printed sources on astronautics.
The George Hardie Aviation and Aerospace History Collection is a useful resource not only for studying the history of flight and aviation technology, but also for studying the broader history of science and technology in the twentieth century and its impact on contemporary culture.
Examples of materials on display include John Alexander's pre-Kittyhawk history of flight, The Conquest of the Air, the Romance of Aerial Navigation (New York, 1903); a U.S. government-censored edition of Lieutenant Victor W. Page's Aviation Engines Design, Construction, Operation and Repair (New York, 1918); Claude Grahame-White's early study of the fledgling airline industry, Our First Airways, Their Organization, Equipment, and Finance (London; New York, 1919); the Wright Aeronautical Corporation's technical manual, Wright Aircraft Engines, Complete Instructions for Their Installation, Operation and Maintenance (Paterson, N.J., 1921); Charles Lindbergh's "We" (New York; London, 1927), published soon after his historic 1927 transatlantic flight; a signed, limited edition of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Little America, Aerial Exploration in the Antarctic: The Flight to the South Pole (New York; London, 1930); a 1930 parts and supplies catalog of the Nicholas Beazley Airplane Company, one of the most extensive catalogs of its kind at the time; Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth F. Gantz's pre-Mercury Program publication, Man in Space: The United States Air Force Program for Developing the Spacecraft Crew (New York, 1959); examples from the Hardie Collection's comprehensive holdings of books from the respected Putnam Aeronautical Books Series.
"Selections from the George Hardie Aviation and Aerospace History Collection" was researched and designed by Special Collections Intern Cindy Herzog, a graduate student in UWM's School of Library and Information Science.
A guide to the collection, An Introduction to the George Hardie Aerospace Collection was published in 1991, and is available upon request in the Special Collections Department. A digital exhibit about the collection, created by Rick Krause in 2005, is also available online.