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MS-022 Fred F. Marshall Collection

Fred F. Marshall Collection

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Guide to the Fred F. Marshall Collection

Dayton Metro Library
215 E. Third Street
Dayton, OH 45402


Profile Description

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Lisa Rickey using the OhioLINK EAD Application in 2009
Langusage: Finding aid written in English

Overview of the Collection

Repository:Dayton Metro Library
Creator:Marshall, Fred Franklin, 1891-1975
Title:Fred F. Marshall Collection
Extent:8.0 linear feet (approximately 1,400 items)
Abstract:The collection of Fred F. Marshall, from Cedarville, Ohio, covers the period 1919-1971. The collection includes information of Early Dayton, McCook Field Era, of transition documents for the journal "Slipstream", in the course of his acquisition for title and publishing, from Chief of Air Corps, and the beginnings of Slipstream Publishing Co., which actually revolved around his position as publisher, editor, advertising manager, etc. The collection also includes testimonial letters from representatives of early day Aeronautical Industry - Idea for McCook Field Alumni Association - Publication of a book "Cradle of Aviation" under his authorship while at Simmons Boardman Publishing Co., of New York.
MS Number022
Language:The records are in English

Statement of Arrangement

The Fred F. Marshall collection is divided into the following series:

Scope and Content

The collection incorporates: * legal documents, minutes, and manuscripts of the McCook Field Alumni, 1919-1929. * correspondence with many of the companies that subscribed to Slipstream, and/or frmo those who contributed articles, 1919-1949. * printed material, including nearly all copies of Slipstream, 1919-1971. * photographs and photo albums from World War I. * postcards from his service in the Army during World War I.

The importance of this collection lies in the following: * photographs documenting the horror and destruction of World War I; * printed material documenting, through the publication of Slipstream, the history and growth of commercial aviation; * correspondence demonstrating Fred Marshall's: efforts to promote Slipstream; urging establishment of a Wright Memorial, an Aviation Museum, and a School of Aeronautical Engineering; organization of the McCook Field Alumni; and plans to write a book on early aviation history, highlighting the Wright brothers, McCook Field, and the City of Dayton.

The Fred F. Marshall Collection contains a variety of materials. They include general correspondence, magazines, photographs, photo albums, and rough drafts of feature stories, negatives, and broadsides, as well as nearly every issue of Slipstream.

Biography of Fred F. Marshall

Fred Franklin Marshall was born in 1891 in Cedarville, Ohio. He graduated from Cedarville High School and attended Cedarville College and Ohio State University. He was inducted into the U.S. Army during WWI and was placed into the Photo Section of the Signal Corps. For three months he attended the Columbia University School of Cinematography, where he studied military applications of photography. He was then sent to Europe and served in Paris and in Holland as a military photographer and photographic technician until his discharge in 1919. Returning to the Dayton area, he joined the Dayton (Ohio) Journal as a feature writer. Shortly thereafter, he obtained a position in the Engineering Division of the Army Air Corps at McCook Field in Dayton, working in the Technical Data Branch. His college and military training in engineering, journalism, and photography qualified him to become editor of the Field journal, Slipstream, publishing at McCook Field with government support. Complaints by privately financed aviation trade journals prmpted a government regulation prohibiting government support for journals such as Slipstream. In 1923, after four years as editor, Marshall resigned his position at McCook Field in order to inaugurate publication of Slipstream Monthly as a commercial periodical through his company, Slipstream Publishing Company. From 1924 to 1928, Marshall devoted himself to transforming Slipstream from a McCook Field "house journal" to a self-supporting publication with a national circulation. He met with limited success. Slipstream was always popular in the Dayton area and was supported by the local community and by advertisers, who did business with McCook Field, but despite his efforts the journal never achieved the national status that Marshall had hoped for, and obtaining and retaining advertisers was an ongoing struggle.

In late 1927 Marshall approached the Dayton Industrial Association for support in finding investors in his publishing company, with the hope of expanding the journal in size and circulation. It was a disappointment to him that the Association did not endorse his proposal.

In June 1928 Slipstream Publishing Co. was sold to Simmons-Boardman of New York City, a publisher of various trade journals. The name of the magazine was changed to Airway Age early in 1929, with Marshall as Associate Editor, working out of New York. Unfortunately, the Great Depression began later that year, and the company closed its doors soon after. By 1931 Fred Marshall had left the publishing business. During the more than 10 years that he was associated with Slipstream/ Aviation Age, Marshall had some notable achievements in promoting aviation.

He urged the establishment at Wright Field of 1) Wright Memorial, 2) an Aviation Museum to house the 1903 Flyer, and 3) a School of Aeronautical Engineering. Although his suggestions were ignored at the time, they were prophetic, for they were all realized in one form or another, witness the current Wright Monument, Air Force Museum, and Air Force Institute of Technology, all at Wright Field.

He helped organize the McCook Field Alumni, including locating, contacting and enrolling several members as the Secretary/Treasurer of the organization.

He planned books about the story of early aviation, specifically the role of the Wright brothers, McCook Field, and the city of Dayton, and proposed titles like "Building an Air Empire" and "The Cradle of Aviation." This was about the time he moved to New York, and it is likely that the Great Depression brought an end to these plans.

After Marshall left the publishing business, he worked for the Aero Supply Mfg. Company on Long Island, New York, until 1931. He then returned to Dayton and became the Dayton manufacturer's representative for the Pump Engineering Service Company (PESCO) until 1943. He continued to represent several aircraft parts manufacturers until his retirement in 1958. During these years he wrote many feature stories for the Cedarville and Dayton newspapers.

After retirement Fred Marshall continued to be active in and to write about areas that interested him: aviation history, Greene County local history and conservation. He wrote a chronology of the Wright brothers' early years of flight (Wright Brothers Chronology, 1903-1908). In 1971 the Dayton Chamber of Commerce hosted a dinner in his honor, attended by about 200 dignitaries and McCook Field alumni. He received a booklet containing commendatory letters from aviation officials and high-ranking USAF officers, and a plaque honoring him for his contributions to aviation history.

His wife of 47 years, Faith, died in September, 1970. Fred Marshall died on November 18, 1975.

Fred Marshall (1891-1975) was an editor and publisher of the field journal Slipstream, which was initially affiliated with McCook Field.

Indexing Terms

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


Marshall, Fred F.--Archives
McCook Field (Ohio)--Archives
Periodical editors--Ohio--Dayton--Archives
War photographers--Ohio--Dayton--Archives
World War, 1914-1918--Photographs


Restrictions on Use

Items in this collection are protected by applicable copyright laws.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

The Fred F. Marshall Collection, a special collection of historical materials at the Dayton Metro Library, Dayton, Ohio.

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