Acquire Artifacts and Documents
The Friends welcome gifts of rare books and artwork, maps, diaries, films, electronic media, personal papers, photographs, correspondence, reports, and other documents dealing with aeronautical and airpower themes.
The Clark Special Collections of the Library contains a significant body of personal papers donated to the Academy by Air Force officers and civilians who were instrumental in the development of American air power. Over 1000 individual collections provide graphic insights from early attempts to master flight through the evolution of military air power.
Cadets enrolled in history, English, and military science classes are given instruction regarding research and writing from primary source materials. Following this instruction, cadets compile research papers based upon documents and other artifacts within the collections. Our collections provide a unique opportunity to the cadets as research projects of this nature usually are only conducted at the graduate level. The collections also support historical monographs, articles, dissertations, and books by the Academy faculty and other air power historians.
Please consider donating artifacts or documents in support of our mission. (Link Below).
Illustrative of the work required to preserve and catalog collections and make them accessible online is the nearly completed work with the collection of General Laurence S. Kuter (1905 – 1979).
Kuter was a brilliant planner and leader. As a major in August 1941, he was one of four principal authors of the plan that guided the use of air power in World War II. Later that year he became the youngest brigadier general in the Army. His career included command of Military Air Transport Service, Pacific Air Forces, Air University, and North American Air Defense Command.
The Kuter Collection occupies 52 large albums (five to ten pounds each) holding thousands of artifacts and documents. To preserve the collection and prepare it for online access, contracted specialists have taken more than 10,000 high resolution photographs; removed and replaced deteriorating protective tissue with over 1,500 pieces of high-quality archival tissue; and edited and digitized over 3,000 album pages.
This work was funded entirely by The Friends.
Projects like this one are immensely rewarding. But these projects are costly, and hundreds of collections await similar processing.
Please consider supporting our efforts to make the work of leaders like General Kuter accessible to future generations of Air Force leaders. (Link Below).
Supplement Library Staff
The Friends supplement McDermott Library staff by sponsoring public exhibits, galas, and reunions to inform cadets, the Academy community, aviation scholars, and the public about resources and activities of the library. Here are two examples:
The Friends’ Eagle Squadrons Exhibit
From the outbreak of World War II until after Pearl Harbor, several hundred young Americans went to Canada and Britain to train as pilots for the Royal Air Force. They joined three RAF squadrons and distinguished themselves in aerial combat. This exhibit featured twelve display cases filled with photographs, flight log books, memoirs, books and artifacts from the Eagle Squadrons’ Collection for public display. The exhibit was attended by over 200 supporters of The Friends, Academy cadets, faculty and staff and several former members of the Eagle Squadrons.
The Friends’ History of the Academy Exhibit
The Friends sponsored a major exhibit on the history of the Air Force Academy developed from official Academy archives within the Special Collections Branch. Lt. Gen. Bradley C. Hosmer, the first Academy graduate to become Superintendent opened the exhibit with a presentation on the history of the Academy and the significance of the Academy archives. The Acting Secretary of the Air Force, members of the original staff of the Academy, and members of the Academy’s class of 1959 were among the over 200 invited guests who attended the opening.
Sponsor Research Fellowships
The Friends established and funds a program of Clark-Yudkin Research Fellowships named for Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark and Maj. Gen. Richard A. Yudkin, to promote increased scholarly awareness and use of the rich materials available in the Clark Special Collections Branch of the McDermott Library. Research fellows are selected annually to receive grants ranging from $1,000 to $15,000. Recipients are expected to complete their fellowship research within one year from the date of the award. The expected output of a fellowship is a scholarly book, thesis, or paper worthy of publication.