Ernest La Rue Jones – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army Air Corps

Ernest La Rue Jones (1883-1955) contributed in a myriad of ways during his lifetime to recording and preserving the history of flight. His commitment to organizational and national service is evident in the innovation marking his involvement in each sphere. Jones’s most ambitious work, a chronology of American aviation, is contained in this collection and represents the culmination of more than a half-century of research, editing and authorship in the nascent field of aviation history.

Early glider flights at Morris Park, New York established Ernest Jones’s lifelong association with flight. He would soon become Secretary of the Aero Club of America (1906) and the editor of the first American aviation journal, Aeronautics (1907-1915). He was made President of the Aeronautics Manufacturers’ Association in 1912 and was General Publicity Manager for the Wright-Martin Company in 1917.

The advent of World War I brought a commission in the Army Air Service that would result in his becoming Chief Information Officer for the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). With the end of the War, Jones returned to civilian life, becoming editor  of The National Aeronautical Review (1924-1926). In 1926, he began work for the Commerce Department and would be instrumental in organizing its aeronautical branch which would become the Civil Aeronautics Administration and later the Federal Aviation Administration.

At the 1928 National Air Races, Jones co-founded the Early Birds, an organization of pilots having the distinction of having soloed before 1916. He would act as Secretary for the group for the remainder of his life, also editing the organization’s publication, Chirp.

The Second World War necessitated Jones’s return to national service and he was assigned to the Historical Division of the Army Air Corps in 1943. Jones retired in 1949 and after his death in 1955 was interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

 Throughout his lifetime, Ernest Jones pursued the completion of a comprehensive history of American aviation. This chronology (see Series III description), which remained unfinished at his death, is comprised of tales of flight in legend and  literature followed by a vast number of detailed factual accounts of the history of lighter- and heavier-than-air flight. It is accompanied here by a rare and splendid collection of early aviation photography. Together, these form a fitting memorial to a man whose life was dedicated to the preservation of our nation’s heritage of flight.

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