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Samuel Solomon papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS2092

Collection Scope and Content

This collection consists of documents from Samuel Solomon's career in aviation. The materials range in date from 1932-64. He was manager of the Washington National Airport; organized a new airline, National Airways (the predecessor of Northeast Airlines) with Amelia Earhart in 1933; was president and trainer of the War Training Institute; and was Chairman of the Airlines Committee for the United States Air Policy.

The collection was donated in 1974.

Dates

  • 1932-1964

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Some records may be restricted.

Restrictions on Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Historical or Biographical Note

Samuel J. Solomon (1899-1978) was born in Washington, D. C. on July 11, 1899. He was educated in Washington Public Schools and Central High School. He received a four -year scholarship to Lafayette College, but did not use it due to war and the later necessity of taking care of two sisters and brother. At the time of the close of World War I he was at the Field Artillery Officers Training School, from which he graduated after the Armistice.

He worked for Treasury Department from 1919-1923. He received numerous promotions, finally heading the unit in Liberty Loan Division of Treasury. He resigned to enter real estate and building business. In August, 1933 he entered the air transport business with Amelia Earhart and Paul F. Collins, forming National Airways, Inc. to operate daily air service in northern New England States. Service now operates as Boston-Maine Airways, Inc. In the organization of National Airways, the predecessor company to Northeast Airlines, from 1933 he was successively Vice President, President and Chairman of the Board of Northeast. He resigned as Chairman of the Board on April 23, 1945 for the purpose of organizing Atlantic Airlines. On October, 1933 became Vice-President of National Airport Corporation and Manager of Washington Airport. Under that management he: combined Washington Airport and Hoover Field, built hard surfaced runways, and installed and operated one of the first airport radio control towers, initiated Military Road control.

Later in 1933 he was elected Vice President of the National Airport Corporation and Manager of the Washington Airport in which position he continued until the completion of the new Washington National Airport in 1941. . He was Vice-President of both corporations since the beginning of the organization, taking active interest in operation and management. He was the only person in the United States who was active officer of an airline and also manager of a commercial airport independent and separate from the airline. Washington Airport was known as the worst commercial airline airport in the country, if not in the world, being only 142 acres in area which was bisected by an important highway. This area contrasts with the present size of airports now in use for the same type of equipment many times that area. During that period of time the airport was operated without any injury to any passenger or untoward damage to any airplane. In regards to Military Road, in September, 1934 traffic lights were installed on Military Road which belonged to the United States Government and was part of the Fort Myer Military Reservation. The Military Road bisects the combined Washington Airport-Hoover Field property and automobile traffic passing along the Military Road was constantly in danger from the landing and taking-off of airplanes using the combined field. In October, 1934 when an Army truck disregarded the red traffic signal and passed along the Military Road at a time when it was dangerous to an airplane taking off, Solomon communicated with the Commanding Officer of the Military Reservation. Thereafter, there were frequent matters of dispute with reference to the lights controlling traffic on Military Road.

During June, 1935 the Department of Commerce insisted upon greater protection across the Military Road. In July, 1935 National Airport Corporation stationed a 24-hour watch of guards at each traffic light to further control traffic during the landing and taking-off of airplanes . This action also was without authority of the United States Government who was owner of the Military Road. Thereafter Solomon continued maintenance of the traffic lights and guards along the Military Road contrary to the law, but in the interest of the safety of motorists and of persons using airplanes. The Secretary of War referred the matter of unauthorized and illegal closing of Military Road to traffic to the Attorney General of the United States to take appropriate action against Solomon and the National Airport Corporation. In February, 1936 in an effort to force action on the part of the United States to protect the automobile and the air travelers, it was decided to remove the traffic guard patrol from Military Road in two weeks' notice unless Congress took action to legalize the guard maintained. As a result of numerous conferences, the Congress of the United States enacted legislation making legal the maintenance of the traffic lights and the guards, even authorizing erection of further barriers across the road. As a final conclusion, in April, 1938 the Congress of the United States, at Solomon's request, passed a bill authorizing the sale of the Military Road to the Airport Corporation and its final closing.

He represents Boston-Maine Airways, Inc. and National Airport Corporation before Civil Aeronautics Authority, Post Office Department, Congressional Committees, State Commissions, and City Councils. He is admitted to practice before Interstate Commerce Commission in February, 1936 for purposes of representing Boston-Maine Airways, Inc .and National Airways in Air Mail Rate Cases. Not an attorney at that time but admitted to practice as one possessing special qualifications.

He attended National University Law School for the purpose of better representing his companies and graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Laws. He was admitted to practice of law in April, 1937. During period of his management of Washington Airport, the airport has been designated as the worst in the United States. Certainly it is by far the smallest airport serving the volume of traffic that it does. Nevertheless, there has been no accident nor un- toward incident of any kind even though landings and take-offs have been as high as 530 in one day. Operations conducted include the scheduled air transport operations, sight-seeing operations, transient airplanes together with a 20-minute operating schedule for lighter-than-air craft, namely, the Goodyear blimp.

He initially had no ambition to manage the new airport being built for Washington, feeling that if he could complete his career as an airport manager at Washington Airport without a fatal accident he will be satisfied. He believed that if air transportation is to reach its maximum development, it must some day perfect an airplane which can land and take off from an airport sufficiently small to be located substantially as convenient as the railroad station to the city which it serves.

Becoming President of Northeast Airlines in 1941, Mr. Solomon filed the first application of a domestic airline to fly in overseas air transportation, asking for permission for Northeast Airlines to fly from Boston, Massachusetts to Moscow. He also filed the first application by an airline to use helicopters from city center to city center.

While President of Northeast Airlines in July of 1942 he was drafted by the airlines of the United States to be President and Director of Training of the Airlines War Training Institute, an organization which was created for the purpose of supervising and coordinating the training programs of all the airlines in the training of all types of personnel - pilots, navigators, radio operators, mechanics, and control officers - engaged in the contract operations the airlines were conducting for the Army Air forces and also the training of Army personnel, both officers and enlisted men, by the airlines. In the course of this training program twenty-five books were prepared including SURVIVAL which became a reference book throughout the Armed Forces. The work of training Army personnel has been completed and the Airlines War Training Institute has terminated its activities.

On July 15, 1943, seventeen of the airlines of the United States agreed on a policy that should govern international air transportation. In formulating the policy, the airlines created a committee known as the Airlines Committee for United States Air Policy. Mr. Solomon became the committee's first Chairman continuing as Chairman for the period of one year. At that time the policy of the United States having been determined by the Civil Aeronautics Board in its determination to hold hearings on foreign applications, Mr. Solomon resigned as Chairman in order to devote his time to his other duties as an officer of Northeast Airlines and as an officer of the Airlines War Training Institute. At the request of the airlines he continued as a Member of the Executive Committee and as Treasurer of that Committee. After April 23 1945, he became President of Atlantic Airlines, Inc.

Extent

36 Linear Feet

Language

English

Abstract

Samuel J. Solomon (1899-1978) was born in Washington, D. C. on July 11, 1899. In August, 1933 he entered the air transport business with Amelia Earhart and Paul F. Collins, forming National Airways, Inc. to operate daily air service in northern New England States. He resigned as Chairman of the Board on April 23, 1945 for the purpose of organizing Atlantic Airlines. On October, 1933 became Vice-President of National Airport Corporation and Manager of Washington Airport. This collection consists of documents from Samuel Solomon's career in aviation. The materials range in date from 1932-64 and include documents such as correspondence, reports, and works of art.

Collection Organization

Organized into four series: Papers, Hearings, Printed materials, and Works of art.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to The George Washington University in 1974.
Title
Guide to the Samuel Solomon papers, 1932-1964
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by: Special Collections Staff;machine-readable finding aid created by: Jennifer King
Date
2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

Contact:
2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America