Guide to the Dayton Air Service Incorporated Committee Records

Dayton Air Service Incorporated Committee Records
Wright State University, Special Collections and Archives
Phone: 937-775-2092
Dayton Air Service Incorporated Committee (Dayton, Ohio)
.5 linear feet
The Dayton Air Service Incorporated Committee was incorporated November 14, 1922 as the legal successor to a previous voluntary committee led by Frederick B. Patterson, son of John H. Patterson. The purpose of the corporation was to further the permanent retention in the Dayton area of the Army Air Service Experiment Station, then McCook Field, and to establish a memorial to Orville and Wilbur Wright. This collection contains administration records, including articles of incorporation and board minutes, correspondence from the secretary of the corporation Ezra Kuhn, and additional correspondence relating to fundraising and subscriptions to the fund.
The records are in English

History of Dayton Air Service Incorporated Committee (Dayton, Ohio)

Following World War I the U.S. Government began to look at abandoning McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. McCook Field was bounded by the Miami River on one side and residential housing on the other as such it could not be enlarged to handle all of the work involved in the Army aviation research and procurement programs. The city of Dayton was faced with the shuttering of McCook Field and it's relocation to another city, the front runner was Langley Field in Virginia.

John H. Patterson, founder and president of the National Cash Register Company, vowed to keep Army aviation in Dayton and began a local campaign to raise money to purchase land large enough for a new field. The idea was that the land would be subsequently donated to the U. S. Government to house a new air service experiment station. John H. Patterson passed away in May, 1922 before the plan came to fruition.

His son, Frederick B. Patterson, took up the mantle to maintain the air service experiment station in Dayton. In October, 1922, Frederick B. Patterson organized the Dayton Air Service Committee, a coalition of prominent local figures and businessmen including; J. C. Haswell, Valentine Winters, C.F. Kettering, W.R. Craven, Edward Wuichet, E.M. Kuhns, H. E. Talbott, Fred Rike, Geo. W. Shroyer, Harry H. Darst, Geo. B. Smith, H. D. Wehrly, I. G. Kumler, Ferdinand Ach, John Ohmer, H. W. Karr, C. E. Comer, F.T. Huffman and George B. McCann, dedicated to raising the money necessary to purchase land for the air service experiment station.

Frederick B. Patterson laid plans for a campaign, whose goal was to 5,000 acres of land near Dayton. The land included the existing Wilbur Wright Field that was leased by the Army Air Service and Wright Brothers' flying field on Huffman Prairie.

The campaign lasted two days and resulted in subscriptions totally $425,000 from some 600 people and businesses. With this money the 4,520.47 acres of land was secured and gifted to the U.S. Government on February 4, 1924 and August 9, 1924. The new facility was named Wright Field in honor of the Wright brothers.

On July 6, 1931, a portion of Wright Field east of Huffman Dam was separated from Wright Field and named Patterson Field in honor of both Lieutenant Frank Stuart Patterson and the contribution of the Patterson family.

Patterson Field and Wright Field were officially merged on January 13, 1948 as a base for the newly created United States Air Force, and was named the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The final act of the corporation was to provide remaining funds and land to the Miami Conservancy District and the Wright Memorial Commission for the express purpose of erection and maintenance of a memorial to Wilbur and Orville Wright, now the Wright Brothers Memorial Park.

Scope and Content

The collection contains articles of incorporation and board minutes, correspondence mainly to and from the secretary of the corporation Ezra Kuhn, and additional correspondence relating to fundraising and subscriptions to the fund.

Series I: Administration contains the original articles of incorporation and the meeting minutes from the original committee meeting on Oct. 25 1922 and the subsequent meeting minutes for the incorporated committees starting Nov. 14, 1922 until their final meeting Dec. 6, 1943. Included in these minutes is the Code of Regulations and all resolutions of the corporation including the resolutions to convey land to the U.S. Government and to the Wright Memorial Commission. This series also contains oversized maps relating to the land donation.

Further this series contains blank subscription cards that the committee used to solicit funds, information about and the leases for Wilbur Wright Field, and assorted deeds, mortgages, and quit claim deeds. Of particular note is the Gift of Land Agreement, officially giving the land now occupied by Wright Patterson Air Force Base to the Federal Government and a study conducted by the Army Air Service in November of 1922 about sites for the Engineering Division.

Series II: Correspondence contains letters and telegrams, mainly to and from Ezra Kuhns, regarding the operations of the committee dating from 1923 to the final act of the committee of giving the remaining funds and land to the Wright Memorial Commission in 1938. The series includes correspondence regarding the relationship with the Federal Government, including lobbying the government to accept the land and the requirements from the government regarding documentation and deeds. Correspondence relating to different land acquisitions and liens. Correspondence about the relationship and agreements with the Miami Conservancy District and the Wright Memorial Foundation. The series also contains other limited correspondence relating to the day to day operations of the committee.

Statement of Arrangement

The Dayton Air Service Incorporate Committee collection is arranged into two series.
Series I: Administration, 1922-1943
Series II: Correspondence, 1919-1938

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Related Material: Related Material

MS-128 Miami Conservancy District Records

MS-134 Wright Memorial Commission

Separated Material: Separated Material

Oversized materials are stored in a separate location. Location 106, file 7.

Subject Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Military bases, American -- Ohio


Kuhns, Ezra M., 1872-1960
Patterson, Frederick B.
Wright, Orville, 1871-1948 -- Monuments
Wright, Wilbur, 1867-1912 -- Monuments


Dayton Air Service Incorporated Committee (Dayton, Ohio)
Miami Conservancy District (Ohio)
National Cash Register Company
United States. Air Force -- History


Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Ohio) -- History

Material Types:

Maps (documents)
Minutes (administrative records)

Technical Requirements

The collection contains numerous letters from Ezra Kuhn, all on very acidic and brittle paper.

Preferred Citation

[Box #, Folder #], MS-136, Dayton Air Service Committee Records, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.

Acquisition Information

The Dayton Air Service Incorporated Committee collection was donated to Wright State Special Collections & Archives by Phyllis Smith of the Miami Conservancy District in October 1983.

Processing Information

The collection was originally processed by Vicki Cooper, Winter 1984. The collection was reprocessed and the finding aid was revised to DAC standards by Craig Finnell, March 2018.

Other Finding Aid

A complete box and folder inventory for this collection is available on the Special Collections and Archives web site at

Collection Inventory

Series I: Administration, 1922-1943

Box 1 / Folder 1
Articles of Incorporation, 1922 Nov 14

Box 1 / Folder 2
Committee Minutes, 1922-1943

Box 1 / Folder 3
Gift of Land Agreement, 1924 Mar 17 - Aug 14

Box 1 / Folder 4
Proposed Gift of Land, undated

Box 1 / Folder 5
Site for Engineering Division Air Service Study, 1922 Nov 28

Box 1 / Folder 6
Blank Subscription Cards and Paperwork, 1922

Box 1 / Folder 7
Description of Wilbur Wright Field, undated

Box 1 / Folder 8
Lease for Wilbur Wright Field, undated

Box 1 / Folder 9
Deeds, Mortgages, and Agreements, 1919

Box 1 / Folder 10
Quit Claim Deeds, 1924

Box 1 / Folder 11
Copy of H.R. 13449, 1922

Box 1 / Folder 12
Newspaper Clippings and Announcements, 1924

Drawer 106 / Folder 7
Maps (Mad River Township, Montgomery County, Ohio), 1922-1924

Series II: Correspondence, 1919-1938

Box 1 / Folder 13
Correspondence - Federal Government, 1923 Jan - 1924 Mar

Box 1 / Folder 14
Correspondence - Federal Government, 1924 MAr - 1929 Feb

Box 1 / Folder 15
Correspondence - Land Acquisition, 1922-1924

Box 1 / Folder 16
Correspondence - Collections and Pledges, 1922-1927

Box 1 / Folder 17
Correspondence - Miami Conservancy District, 1922-1924

Box 1 / Folder 18
Correspondence - Wright Memorial, 1938

Box 1 / Folder 19
Correspondence - Roger & Bridge Lawyers, 1923 Sep - 1926 Feb

Box 1 / Folder 20
Correspondence - Logan Gas Company, 1923

Box 1 / Folder 21
Correspondence - W.M. Brook and Ezra Kuhns, 1922 Dec - 1934 May

Box 1 / Folder 22
Correspondence - H.W. Karr and Ezra Kuhns, 1923-1924

Box 1 / Folder 23
Correspondence - E.T. Hall, County Recorder, 1922-1923

Box 1 / Folder 24
Correspondence - Insurance, 1923-1924

Box 1 / Folder 25
Correspondence - "May's Tract", 1925-1926

Box 1 / Folder 26
Correspondence - Miscellaneous, 1922-1926