Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Famous Faces in Familiar Places"

The famous Granville Brothers, originally of New Hampshire, are known as the creators and inventive minds behind perhaps the most famous aircraft in aviation history. At age 19, the eldest Granville Brother, Zantford moved to Massachusetts and spent much time at the Boston Airport, taking flying lessons after becoming “bored” with his automobile business.

In 1929, Zantford founded an airplane repair shop in Springfield, Massachusetts, as it was the only area in which he could obtain financing. Zantford made a deal with another set of famous and wealthy brothers, the Taits. The Tait Brothers were owners of a large ice cream business as well as the Springfield Airport. The finance agreement enabled the purchase of a high-powered, more advanced engine. This repair shop later became the birthplace of a series of “Sportsters,” racing aircraft that would go on to win several prestigious National Air Races.

The Gee Bees, a series of 1930s racing planes, were thought to be the fastest aircraft and perhaps the most dangerous of its time. The Granville Brothers consisted of Zantford, Thomas, Robert, Mark, and Edward, all of which migrated to the Springfield, Massachusetts area.

The advanced aerodynamic design engineered by the Granville Brothers required only the most qualified and skilled pilots. In fact, the eldest Granville Brother, Zantford, died while attempting to abort a landing in South Carolina, ultimately causing the plane to crash.
For more information, please visit http://www.centennialofflight.gov/

"Did you know..."

Our very own Tony Diaz, in the Annex Department, a document from the 1700's, as well as Register of Deeds, Donald E. Ashe are featured in a book published in 2008...
Gretchen Holbrook-Gerzina, author and editor of several books, was originally from Michiganand moved to Springfield, Massachusetts at age five with her family.

Her latest book, Mr. and Mrs. Prince, depicts a New England African American family and their challenges prior to the Civil War. During the research for the book, Ms. Gerzina’s husband, Anthony, researched documents dating back to the 1700’s where he met Tony, in our Annex Department. The experience of discovering a manumission document relative to one of the characters, as well as its photocopy are featured in pages 45 and 46 of Mr. and Mrs. Prince, courtesy of Register Donald E. Ashe.Gerzina obtained her B.A. from Marlboro College, her M.A. from Simmons College, as well as her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Gerzina is currently a Biography Professor at Dartmouth College, where she is the first woman ever to chair the English Department and the first African American woman to chair an Ivy League English Department.For more information, please visit http://www.gretchengerzina.com/

"Famous Faces in Familiar Places"

"Dr. Seuss”, Theodor Seuss Geisel, the definitive children’s book author and illustrator was born in 1904 on Howard Street in Springfield, Massachusetts. His first children’s book “And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street” is filled with imagery of Springfield, including a parade with a caricature of Mayor Fordis Parker on the reviewing stand and the police officers on their red (Indian) motorcycles.Visit http://www.catinthehat.org/