NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID
RG3726.AM: Encil Chambers, 1895-1979
Papers: 1864-1974; mostly 1919-1939
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.: Aviator
Size: 1 box
Born in Cameron, West Virginia on October 2, 1895, Encil Chambers worked on his father's farm until 1917 when he enlisted in the armed forces. He served for a short time in France (1919) as a corporal in the Machine Gun Company of the 325th Infantry, 82nd Division. After the war he re-enlisted in the Aviation Corps, serving 3 years as a sergeant in the Army Air Service.
Chambers graduated from mechanics school at Kelly Field, Texas in April of 1920, and was subsequently stationed at Post Field, Fort Sills, Oklahoma. His true call to fame would be in the area of aviation dare-deviltry, particularly as a parachutist. From February to November of 1921, Chambers and a Lieutenant Arthur Hamilton traded the world's record for the highest parachute jump ever made. On November 1, 1921, Chambers finally made the jump that would retain said record for years to come, when he made a descent from 26,800 feet over Kansas City, Missouri.
After leaving the Air Service, he continued his aviation career in association with Page's Aerial Pageant and with the Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company (at one time the midwest's largest manufacturer of airplanes). Both enterprises were based in Lincoln, Nebraska, and were headed by Mr. Ray Page. During the 1920s Chambers traveled the mid-west with Page's Pageant, particularly in Nebraska, Kansas, and as far away as Arizona. He eventually became one of the controlling personalities of the Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company, which was sold to Victor Roos in 1930. In 1931 that company consolidated with the American-Eagle Aircraft Corporation. By 1937 Chambers was a director and superintendent of this new company, the American-Eagle Lincoln Aircraft Corporation.
Chambers eventually terminated his aviation associations and worked for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad of Lincoln, Nebraska, until the death of his wife (Ellen Jane Schwabaugh of Lincoln). They had no children and after she died he moved to Wheeling, West Virginia, where he resided until his death on August 2, 1979.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
This collection consists of one box of manuscript material arranged in six series: (1) Incoming Correspondence, 1921-1929; (2) Military documents and pamphlets, 1919-1939; (3) Lincoln Standard Aircraft material; (4) Broadsides and photos dealing with Page's Aerial pageant; (5) Newspaper clippings dealing with Chambers' parachute jumps, Page's Aerial pageant and the Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company, 1921-1939, 1974; and (6) Miscellany. This collection relates primarily to the aviation career of Encil Chambers, including his military service during and after WWI. Its primary emphasis is on his parachute jumping work with Page's Aerial pageant, and the development of the Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company.
Series 1 consists of incoming correspondence, 1921-1929. The letters are of a personal nature, including one from the mother of a boy recently killed in an air accident. Series 2 contains military documents and pamphlets, 1919-1939, dealing with Chambers' service career. These include histories of the 325th Infantry and 82nd Division, certificates, passes, business letters, Liberty engine maintenance instructions and pictures of Chambers and the plane from which he jumped to break the world parachute record in 1921.
Series 3 consists of material relating to the Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company. It includes company envelopes, pictures of planes, maintenance and construction manuals and the company publication Flight. Also provided are seven Aviation Study Course pamphlets and quizzes to accompany them. This series also contains two full sets of blueprints, one for the plane "Baby Lincoln," and the other for the "Lincoln Sport Plane." Series 4 contains broadsides, photos and tickets from Page's Aerial Pageant.
Series 5 consists of photocopies of loose and scrapbook newspaper clippings, 1921-1929 and 1974. They deal primarily with Chambers' parachute jumps and aerial pageant work. There is also quite a bit of material on Ray Page (President of Lincoln Standard Aircraft) and the expansion of his business to Kansas City, Phoenix, and Tucson. A few articles also deal with the development of inter-city air routes (Omaha, Kansas City, Tulsa, Phoenix) and early air personalities such as Charles Lindbergh and Jimmie Angel. Series 6 consists of several miscellaneous items: Chamber' grandfather's Civil War discharge papers, 1864; his grandmother's pension papers, 1890; a name card; a postcard; and a program for a Sesostris Temple Ceremonial.
The NSHS holds various collections relating to aviation in Nebraska including: Ray Page collection [RG2801]; Arnold Gavin collection [RG4882]; Lincoln Aircraft Company [RG1163]; Lincoln Airplane and Flying School [RG1475]. See the NSHS Library catalog and the Nebraska History index for various published materials relating to aviation in Nebraska.
Series 1 - Incoming Correspondence, 1921-1929
Series 2 - Military Documents and Pamphlets, 1919-1939
- Includes histories of the 325th Infantry and 82nd Division, WWI passes, certificates, business letters, company menus
1921 Thanksgiving menu for the Observation School, Flight "A" (see oversize)
Series 3 - Lincoln Standard Aircraft Material
- Manuals, company publication “Flight”, photos and envelopes
- Aviation Study Course Material
Blueprints for the "Baby Lincoln" (see oversize)
Blueprints for "Lincoln Sport Plane" (see oversize)
Advertisement for the Lincoln Airplane School - feature on Charles A. Lindbergh (see oversize)
Series 4 - Broadsides and Photos of Page's Aerial Pageant
- Pageant broadsides, photos, and tickets
One broadside for Page's Aerial Pageant (see oversize)
Series 5 - Newspaper Clippings
- Deals with Chamber's parachute jumps, work at Page's Aerial Pageant, The Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company – its expansion and general aviation development of the 1920s and 1930s
Series 6 - Miscellany
Aeronautics -- Nebraska
Chambers, Encil, 1895-1979
Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company (Lincoln, Neb.)
Page, Ray, 1882-1933
Page's Aerial Pageant
United States. Army. Airborne Division, 82nd
World War, 1914-1918
Encoded TMM 03-10-2010