|Creator:||Epps, Ben, 1888-1937|
|Creator:||Epps, Ben, 1916-2001|
|Title:||Benjamin Thomas Epps papers|
|Quantity:||6.25 Linear feet (10 boxes, 1 oversize folder)|
Ben Epps, Georgia's pioneer aviator, was born in 1888. He grew up in Oconee County, was educated in Clarke County, and attended Georgia Tech in Atlanta. In Athens, Georgia he started an electrical contracting shop, which he later converted into an auto garage. He built and flew his first plane in 1907, only a few years after the Wright Brothers' successful flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In the following years he built seven more planes including the Epps Lightplane. Later he established Epps Field where he taught flying, carried passengers on short trips, and gave exhibitions. He died in a plane crash in 1937. Ben Epps, Jr. was born in 1916. He first flew a plane solo at the age of 13 making him the nation's youngest aviator at the time. He served as a flight instructor during WWII and later during the war flew a supply route from India into China. After the Air Corps, Ben Epps, Jr. was a pilot for Southern Airways. He built a replica of his father's 1912 monoplane, which he flew to air shows around the country. In addition to his father, Ben Epps, Jr. has been inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. He died in 2001.
The collection consists of many folders of loose material including clippings, letters, drawings of Epps planes, writings, and photographs. Of particular note are several good aerial views of Athens and the University of Georgia (circa 1920-1930s). Also of interest are several pages of reminiscences by Ben Epps, Jr., in which he writes about his early life and flying. Additional material received in 2002 includes flight manuals, membership cards, transcripts of interviews, etc. The most important item in this collection is a scrapbook (1904-1963) which documents Epps' life as a builder and flyer of airplanes. Included are over 200 photographs, as well as some clippings and letters. A few photographs, etc. can be found here of other pilots, planes, and Epps' children who were also flyers.
Arranged in chronological order.
Benjamin Thomas Epps papers, 1904-2001, (bulk 1904-1937). MS 3074. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.