US TxAM-C 11
Name and location of repository
Level of description
Jesse L. Easterwood Notebook
- 1908-01-26-1909-02-06 (Creation)
Name of creator
Jesse Lawrence Easterwood (1888-1919), known as "Red,"a veteran World War I aviator, and pioneer in military aviation, was born 5 Dec. 1888 in Wills Point, Tex. In 1905, he enrolled in Texas A & M College, now Texas A & M University, as a member of B Company Infantry. Very popular with the other cadets, Easterwood also played second base on the college baseball team.
Easterwood left college in 1909 to become a businessman in Mexia, Tex. In 1917, however, on the day the United States declared war on Germany, Easterwood sold his business and volunteered as an aviator. He received his early training at Pensacola, Fla., and was one of the very first Americans to qualify as a naval aviator. He served as an instructor at Pensacola briefly, then was transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for engineering training.
On 12 March 1918 Easterwood set sail for Europe with the first group of American pilots going overseas to serve in World War I. During his tour with the Royal Flying Service, flying one of the first ten Handley-Page bombers, Easterwood completed 16 missions deep behind German lines. He also served with the French air force and the Italian air force, ferrying the first Caprioni bomber from Italy to France.
Surviving World War I, after many perilous missions, Easterwood remained with the U. S. Navy, flying experimental airmail flights. By 1919, having achieved the rank of lieutenant, Easterwood was transferred to Coco Solo, in the Panama Canal Zone. Preferring to fly the planes in his unit which had the worst mechanical problems himself, Easterwood was killed 16 May 1919 while attempting the emergency landing of such a plane with severe engine trouble.
Easterwood was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously, for his heroism during World War I.
Texas A & M University also sponsored a tribute paid to Easterwood's memory. At the urging of Easterwood's high school friend from Wills, Tex., Gibb Gilchrist, who had established a Department of Aeronautical Engineering during his first year (1937) as dean of the School of Engineering at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, the new college flying field in College Station, Tex. was dedicated as the "Jesse L. Easterwood Airport" 22 May 1941. Developed first as a facility for insituting a flight-training program at Texas A & M University, the airport was later expanded to serve major carriers to and from Dallas/Fort Worth, Tex. and Houston, Tex. airports.
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This collection consists of one notebook (housed in a phase box), measuring approximately 10 x 8 inches, containing 49 leaves of machine ruled paper, in cloth over cardboard covers, which was manufactured with two-hole punched metal fasteners.
The front cover design shows: at the top "…A. & M. COLLEGE…, COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS"; in the center, a black and white picture depicting the Old Main building on the Texas A & M College campus, measuring 4.5 x 4 inches; below picture, "Department of" with a ruled space filled in by hand with ink the word "Horticulture," and "Name" with a ruled space filled in by hand in ink with the name "Jess Easterwood."; at center bottom, "PUBLISHED BY, W. M. WELCH MFG. COMPANY, 100 LAKE ST., CHICAGO, WELCH'S PATENT AUTOMATIC FASTENER." The name "EASTERWOOD" and other initials, etc. are scrawled in ink or pencil on the front cover as well.
Most of the notebook's leaves are filled in on the recto page only with class notes written by hand in either pencil or ink, labeled as taken from lectures. A few pages are filled with scrawled names and phrases, repeated over and over, the phrases usually in some way related to the lecture notes, but often just variations on Easterwood's name or initials.
One exception found on leaf 19 is the beginnings of a draft letter, dated January 25, 08, to his father, noting that Easterwood has been recently ill for a "protracted" period of time. Lecture notes in roughly the first half of the notebook pertain to Animal Husbandry [l. 1-14; l. 15-18 & 20 are blank], especially causes, symptoms, and treatment of conditions such as colic, heaves, constipation, dysentery, catarrh of stomach and bowels in livestock, while the latter half are concerned with a class labeled "Horticulture 4" [l. 21-49; the top half of l. 45 is torn out], particularly the cultivating of fruit trees and the marketing of their produce.
Aside from presenting an interesting taste of curriculum offerings at Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College in the early twentieth century, some of the notebook's scrawled asides give a quite colorful glimpse into the mind of a restless and enterprising cadet straying from the lecture in progress.
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Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
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Finding Aid Authors: Aletha Andrew.
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