Ford A. Carpenter Papers, 1935 - 1944 (MSS 0273)

Extent: 1.5 Linear feet (2 archives boxes, 1 shoebox, 4 oversize folders, 1 art bin item)

Papers created by Ford Ashman Carpenter, meteorologist, aeronaut, author and photographer. The papers contian photographs, including several aerial and panoramic photographs of the Los Angeles area and images of the Pacific Northwest and Panama Canal. Also included is an edited typescript of a lecture on General Billy Mitchell given by Carpenter in 1944; small books published by Carpenter, writings, and miscellaneous materials.

Ford Ashman Carpenter was born on March 25, 1868, in Chicago, Illinois. His career as a meteorologist and aeronaut included employment with the U. S. Weather Service (1888-1919), a lectureship at The War College in the War Department (1915-1943) and an appointment as a meteorological observer of aerial bombing of ex-German battleships (1921). Carpenter authored numerous monographs, pamphlets and articles of meteorology and employed photography in his research and documentation of weather events.

The first accession contains four photograph albums and a typescript lecture created by Carpenter in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The materials are arranged in two series: 1) MANUSCRIPTS and 2) PHOTOGRAPH ALBUMS.


The MANUSCRIPTS series contains a single typescript of a biographical lecture given by Carpenter before the University Club of Los Angeles on April 19, 1943 entitled "General Billy Mitchell as I knew him." In it, Carpenter recounted the development of the aerial bombing of ships after World War I, his experiences serving under General Mitchell as air meteorologist for air bombing tests at the Virginia Capes between 1921 and 1923, and provided anecdotal sketches of General Mitchell.


The PHOTOGRAPH ALBUMS series comprises four black and white albums and a folder of loose prints created by Carpenter during the 1930s and 1940s. The albums are arranged alphabetically by title.

The first album entitled "Four Voyages to New York from Los Angeles via Panama" documents passage through the Panama Canal from shipboard and aerial perspectives, landscape scenes and places along the canal, people, and cloudscapes. Included is a laid in photograph of Carpenter in flight gear next to an army biplane.

The second album entitled "Flying Vancouver's Route of Discovery" contains a mixture of aerial and on-the-ground photographs taken on Carpenter's trip from Southern California to Queen Charlotte Sound in 1937. Of particular interest is Carpenter's opening aerial photograph of Burbank.

"A June Four O'Clock in the Gardens of the Los Angeles University Club, 1943" contains numerous environmental portraits of an unidentified woman seated in a garden. The last album, "Retreat on Huntley Hill," documents Carpenter's Los Angeles home and its environs on Huntley Drive. The album includes several panoramas of downtown Los Angeles in the early 1940s. Finally, the collection contains a folder of loose, unidentified photographs.

Accession processed in 2008


The SMALL BOOKS PUBLISHED BY CARPENTER series contains small publications by Carpenter, mainly ones he created, designed and gave away to others as gifts. Many of the publications contain photographs taken by Carpenter with his poems or text included.


The WRITINGS series includes manuscripts and reprints. It is arranged in two subseries: A) By Carpenter, and B) By Others.

A)The By Carpenter subseries is comprised of typed copies of Carpenter's writings, including those written during his tenure as Manager of the Department of Meteorology and Aeronautics, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, during the 1930s, and other typed drafts of stories.

B) The By Others subseries contains typed carbon copies of short story manuscripts given to Carpenter by family or friends.


The PHOTOGRAPHS series contains photographs of mainly Carpenter, but also includes photographs he took of locations.


The MISCELLANEOUS series includes news clippings and other miscellaneous manuscripts. It also includes a Melanesian lime spatula, which had been given as a gift to Carpenter.

The University of California, San Diego, Mandeville Special Collections Library also holds in its collection an additional album of photographs taken by Ford Carpenter. (Rare F866 .C37 1903) The album contains photographs, taken between August 3 and September 9, 1903, of the San Pedro Martir mountain range located in central Baja California.

Container List


Box: 1 Folder: 1
General Billy Mitchell as I Knew Him - Typescript with laid in letters and ephemera, 1944


Box: 1 Folder: 2
Four voyages to New York from Los Angeles via Panama, 1935 - 1937
Box: 1 Folder: 3
Flying Vancouver's route of discovery, August 3-17, 1937
Box: 1 Folder: 4
June Four O'Clock in the Gardens of the Los Angeles University Club, 1943
Box: 1 Folder: 5
Retreat on Huntley Hill (Los Angeles), 1941
Box: 1 Folder: 6
Loose photographs - Includes probable images of Carpenter


Carpenter, Ford A
Box: 2 Folder: 1
"Dahlias" - Photo album of still flowers, 1930
Box: 2 Folder: 2
"The Day Before Christmas: Nineteen Hundred and Thirty-six Years Ago", 1936
Box: 2 Folder: 3
"Intimate Glimpses" - Photos with text, 1934 - 1935
Box: 2 Folder: 4
"One Drop of Honey", 1931
Box: 2 Folder: 5
"Opido: A True Story of the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California" - Uncorrected draft
Box: 2 Folder: 6
"Pennsylvania Spring", 1931
Box: 2 Folder: 7
"The Poet Visits the Scientist" - Memory book, 1931
Box: 2 Folder: 8
Masefield, John, "Adventure On! Companion", 1936


By Carpenter

Box: 2 Folder: 9
"An American Aborigine's View of Wealth" - Reprint and original carbon copy, 1930
Box: 2 Folder: 10
"The Barometer is Rising" - Reprint, 1932

Written while Carpenter was Manager, Department of Meteorology and Aeronautics, Los Angeles Chamber.

Box: 2 Folder: 11
"Biographical Sketch for Malcolm Logan Project", 1931
Box: 2 Folder: 12
"The Call of the Gypsy Swimmer" - Carbon copy
Box: 2 Folder: 13
"Days of Murrietta", 1930
Box: 2 Folder: 14
"A Flying Excursion Among the Clouds: An Illustrated Address on Clouds and Weather" - Brochure for lecture
Box: 2 Folder: 15
"The Gold and Silver Lights: The Last Hours of Elizabeth Bonte Goodrich" - Carbon copy
Box: 2 Folder: 16
"Indianapolis, Indiana" - Carbon copy, 1931
Box: 2 Folder: 17
"Los Angeles After the Olympics are Over" - Carbon copy, 1933

-Written as Manager - Department of Meteorology and Aeronautics Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Box: 2 Folder: 18
"A Man's Study of the Material Instinct in Woman and its Effect on the Child" - Carbon copy, 1933
Box: 2 Folder: 19
"Old Haunts Revisited" - Typed manuscript, 1933
Box: 2 Folder: 20
"On Coming Home from Grandma's" - Carbon copy
Box: 2 Folder: 21
"Prejudices" - Reprint, 1939
Box: 2 Folder: 22
"The Rib," "The Cabin-Boy and the Carpenter," "The Poodle Dog and the Meerschaum Pipe" - Carbon copy
Box: 2 Folder: 23
"She Wanted to Play the Harp" - Carbon copy
Box: 2 Folder: 24
"The Story of a Late Breakfast in Washington Territory, Autumn of 1884" - Carbon copies
Box: 2 Folder: 25
"The Sunset Club Meeting" - Carbon copy
Box: 2 Folder: 26
"Swinging Round the Circle with the Naval Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives" - Carbon copy, 1930
Box: 2 Folder: 27
"Traditional Honesty as an Element of Efficiency" - Carbon copy, 1933

-Written as manager - Department of Meteorology and Aeronautics, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Box: 2 Folder: 28
"What Flying Means to National Business and National Defense," presentation introduction of Ford Carpenter. Typescript carbon copy, 1935

By Others

Box: 2 Folder: 29
Carpenter, Charlotte, "A Mother's Reminiscences of Her Children", 1893
Box: 2 Folder: 30
"PHOTGRAPHING RED SNOW IN NATURAL COLORS," gallery proof for printed section, 1912
Box: 2 Folder: 31
Warnack, James W., typescripts of unpublished poems
Box: 2 Folder: 32
Miscellaneous stories - Carbon copies


Box: 2 Folder: 33
Carpenter's office and weather instruments
Box: 2 Folder: 34
Ford Ashman Carpenter - in uniform and at work
Box: 2 Folder: 35
Aerial views of Chicago and cloud formations
Box: 2 Folder: 36
Washington State and other miscellaneous locations
Box: 2 Folder: 37 Oversize: FB48101
The Fairy Tree, framed
Box: 2 Folder: 38 Oversize: FB48102
Carpenter in uniform, a top building, framed
Box: 2 Folder: 39 Oversize: FB48103
Framed portrait in air officer uniform, 1938
Box: 2 Folder: 40 Oversize: FB48104
Carpenter at California Club, 1930; Home in Los Angeles; Portrait in uniform


Oversize: AB-16-C01
Frederico Georgi painting of Ford Carpenter, [35" long, 27" wide], 1932
Box: 2 Folder: 42
Lecture tours - Brochures, 1932 - 1936
Box: 2 Folder: 43
Miscellaneous correspondence
Box: 2 Folder: 44
Letter from Carpenter regarding spatula
Box: 2 Folder: 45
News clippings, 1930 - 1947
Box: 3 Folder: 1
New Guinea lime spatula - Milne Bay, Trobriand Islands

Carving on head of spatula