AuthorHenderson, Clifford W. (Clifford William), 1895-1984. collector.
TitleClifford W. Henderson National Air Races Collection, 1924-1983 [microform].
Description14 rolls of microfilm.
Summary NoteScope and content: The collection is a comprehensive body of documentary evidence reflecting the organization and implementation of the races, consisting of press releases, letters, programs, posters, tickets, buttons, and newspaper and magazine clippings. Photographic and electrostatic copies of oversize materials (mostly posters) and buttons and badges are included in these standard sized files. Because of their size or composition, the originals are stored in oversize containers or elsewhere in the Western Reserve Historical Society Research Center.

<|b> This collection is useful for studying the National Air Races either as a popular amusement or as an aviation industry activity concerned with research, development, and marketing. The collection contains an excellent sampling of the graphic design and illustration of the period in the form of posters, tickets, and programs. Press releases, letters, and administrative material provide information about the promotion and organization of large national events in the 1930s. Lists of exhibitors and contestants and race results are to be found here as well as biographical information on the fliers, including a large number of women aviators. This collection is also useful for researchers studying the history of Cleveland, Ohio, and the aviation industry there in the 1920s and 1930s.
Preferred CiteCite as: [Container , Folder ] MS. 4309, Clifford W. Henderson National Air Races Collection, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.
Reproduct. NoteMicrofilm. Cleveland, Ohio : Western Reserve Historical Society, 1988. 14 microfilm reels : positive and negative ; 35 mm.
Acq. Note SourceClifford W. Henderson Family Trust, DTD March 19, 1973, in 1985.
Historical NoteClifford William Henderson (1895-1984) was managing director of the National Air Races from 1928 until 1939. Known for his showmanship and promotional talent, he was called a "master of ballyhoo" and a "roman candle promoter." A 1936 National Air Races press release gives Henderson's "genius for organization. . . full credit for the development of this great international aviation sports classic" including the original conceptions of the Bendix, Thompson, Shell and Aerol trophies. Henderson was born in the Quaker colony of Lenox, Iowa, the son of a druggist. He moved to California when he was fourteen years old as part of the first transcontinental trip by motor truck, riding a mascot from Colorado to San Francisco. From an early age he showed an inclination for promotion and organization, producing circuses and shows among his friends. When an air meet was held near Los Angeles in 1910, it inspired young Henderson to organize a model plane building contest. He later worked his way through high school and college with his own small dance band, graduating from the University of Southern California in 1917. He enlisted as an ambulance driver in World War I, and transferred to the Air Corps just before the Armistice. After the war he bough an old "Jenny" plane from the government, flying solo after four hours of instruction. In 1924 he managed his first air show, arranging the departure from and return to Santa Monica of the United States Army round-the-world tour. He went on to manage local air races in Santa Monica and Los Angeles until he was hired to promote the 1928 National Air Races at Los Angeles. His work at this event brought him success and national prominence. Henderson continued to organize other air races and expositions along with the National Air Races. These included the Western Aircraft Show of 1929, the New York Aircraft Salon of 1930, and the Pan-American International Air Races of 1934. However, his consistent commitment was to the National Air Races which he successfully staged annually from 1928 until the races were suspended after 1939 due to the outbreak of World War II in Europe. In 1935 Henderson and his brother Phil (business manager of the National Air Races) built the Pan Pacific Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles. After resigning from the Air Races in 1939, they managed and promoted sporting and cultural events, expositions, and conventions there. During World War II, Henderson again volunteered for service in the Air Corps, rising to the rank of colonel and eventually becoming military commissioner at Dakar in North Africa. He received l'Ordre de l'Etoile Noire du Benin from the government of French West Africa for his wartime service. Following the war, Henderson founded the community of Palm Desert near Palm Springs, California, in 1946. He maintained his interest in aviation in later years and was made a member of the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1972. He was named an "elder statesman of aviation" by the National Aeronautic Association in 1976, and in the same year was presented with the Aerospace Trophy by the International Order of Characters. Henderson died at Rancho Mirage, near Palm Desert, on March 26, 1984, survived by his wife, the former actress Marian Marsh.
Cum. Index NoteFinding aids: Finding aid available.
Action NoteProcessed by Daniel T. Postotnik in 1988. Microfilmed by Michael McCormick and Robert Ray in 1988.
SubjectsAeronautics -- Competitions -- Ohio -- Cleveland.
Aeronautics -- Competitions -- United States.
Air pilots -- United States -- Biography.
Aircraft industry -- Ohio -- Cleveland.
Aircraft industry -- United States.
Airplane racing -- Ohio -- Cleveland.
Airplane racing -- United States.
Amusements -- Ohio -- Cleveland.
Commercial art -- United States.
Henderson, Clifford W. (Clifford William), 1895-1984. collector.
National Air Races (U.S.)
Women air pilots -- United States -- Biography.
OrganizationsNational Air Races of Cleveland, Inc.
California Air Race Association.
Chicago Air Race Corporation.
National Aeronautic Association (U.S.)
Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Suppl./Special IssueHas supplement: National Air Races photographs,.
Electronic Res.Finding aid for the Clifford W. Henderson National Air Races Collection
Call Number/Copies 
 WRHS Research Library: Microfilm (Cab. 56:9)
mq205410: Positive microfilm, microform room: Microfilm of MS. 4309. [status: NON-CIRCULATING]
[Record 132655]