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Typed Letter - Signed
Chicago, Il 1930 - Signed "J S McDonnell Jr" on AirTransport Engineering Corporation letterhead and is dated June 12, 1930. The letter has a very minor marking of a paper clip on the top center area, otherwise is in fine condition. James Smith McDonnell was born in Denver, Colo., April 9, 1899. He grew up in Little Rock, Ark., where his father, also named James McDonnell, was a successful cotton merchant and ran a general store. Every morning before school, young James S. McDonnell delivered copies of the Arkansas Gazette on horseback. He graduated from Little Rock High School in 1917, just as World War I broke out. McDonnell served briefly as a private in the Army and then attended Princeton University, from which he graduated with honors in physics in 1921. While in college, he joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). After Princeton, he enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for graduate studies in aeronautical engineering. While still at MIT, he continued his ROTC affiliation, passed the Army Air Service physical and passed much of the ground-school work required for pilots. In August 1923, McDonnell was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Service Reserve and assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, for flight training. He graduated from MIT in 1925. After earning his pilot's wings, McDonnell spent a year as a "gypsy pilot," doing odd jobs for people who owned airplanes. Finally, he landed a job as aeronautical engineer and pilot with Huff Doland Airplane Co. in Ogdensburg, NY and subsequently a stress analyst and draftman with the Consolidated Aircraft Company of Buffalo, NY in 1924-1925. In April 1927, he heard about a competition offered by the Guggenheim Foundation for the design of a safe, light, training aircraft. The next year, McDonnell and two colleagues, Constantine Zakhartchenko and James Cowling, decided to leave Hamilton, which was being absorbed by the United Aircraft and Transportation Corporation, and organize J.S. McDonnell Jr. & Associates. The three entered the "Doodlebug" in the competition, but it didn't win, and the hard economic times of the Great Depression kept it out of production. Meanwhile in 1929, McDonnell becamevice-president of Airtransport Engineering Coorperation, a Chicago consulting firm, and in 1931 he left that job to become an engineer and test pilot with the Great Lakes Aircraft Coorporation in Cleveland, OH whre he remained until 1932. On June 30, 1934, he married Mary Elizabeth Finney, whose father, Dr. John Finney, was founder of the American College of Surgeons. McDonnell resigned from Martin in 1938, determined to form his own company. On July 6, 1939, he incorporated the McDonnell Aircraft Corp. in St. Louis, Mo. Within the next three decades, the company would become the leading producer of jet fighters and would build the first spacecraft to carry an American into orbit. By the mid-1960s, McDonnell Aircraft Corp. was the largest employer in Missouri, and in 1967, it expanded its operation by merging with the largest employer in California, the Douglas Aircraft Co. James S. McDonnell took over as chairman and chief executive officer of the McDonnell Douglas Corp. In 1971, his nephew, Sanford N. McDonnell, became president, and James S. McDonnell was chairman of the board and chief executive officer. His nephew took over as CEO in 1972. James Smith McDonnell remained chairman of the board of directors until his death on Aug. 22, 1980. During his career, James Smith McDonnell received numerous awards and honorary degrees. His awards included the Robert Collier Trophy, the Guggenheim Medal, Founders Medal of the National Academy of Engineering and the NASA Public Service Award. He was remembered for his many civic duties, particularly his chairmanship of the United Nations Association of the United States. In 1958, the McDonnell Aircraft Corp. was the first organization in the world to celebrate United Nations Day as a paid holiday. [Attributes: Signed Copy]
      [Bookseller: Legends In History]
Last Found On: 2014-09-28           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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