Manuscript Collections - Wayne W. Parrish Papers

Oct 18, 2021

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10 linear feet, 11 linear inches (25 manuscript boxes)
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

The Wayne W. Parrish Papers consist of 10.9 linear feet of material documenting the career of this noted aviation journalist and publisher (1907-1984).  Parrish was the founder and editor of American Aviation magazine, as well as the owner of its parent company, American Aviation Publications, Inc., from 1937 until 1969. 


Wayne William Parrish was born on May 2, 1907 in Decatur, Illinois.  After high school, Parrish, who had decided upon journalism as a career, attended the University of Illinois, but dropped out after not finding it to his liking.  He subsequently enrolled at Columbia University, where he received his bachelor's degree and master's degree in journalism.  After graduating from Columbia in 1930, Parrish received a Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship that enabled him to travel to Europe for the first time, which as he later acknowledged, sparked the interest in travel that marked his later life and career.  In 1935 Parrish married Frances Knight, whose similar interest in travel later found an outlet in her career with the U.S. Department of State, where she was head of the Passport Office from 1955-1977.

Early in his career Parrish wrote for the Decatur (Illinois) Herald, the New York Herald-Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Herald and Examiner, and Literary Digest.  In 1935 he assumed the editorship of National Aeronautics Association Magazine, which proved to be good preparation for his subsequent venture, the founding of American Aviation Publications in 1937, based in Washington, DC.  The flagship publication of this new company was the trade magazine American Aviation, which soon established its popularity within the still-young aviation industry.  From this beginning, Parrish's company branched out into a variety of publications that served the aerospace industry, such as American Aviation Daily (1940), Missiles and Rockets (1956), Missile Space Daily (1963) and the annual publications American Aviation Directory (1940), Who's Who in World Aviation (1954), and World Space Directory (1962). 

During the decades following the establishment of his company, Parrish became recognized as a knowledgeable and trusted insider in matters relating to both civil and military aviation.  An active member of the Aviation Writers Association, he was named President of that organization in 1943, and also received awards for excellence in aviation writing from TWA from 1938-1940, and won first place in a national competition for aviation writing sponsored by that airline in 1944.  During 1944, he was also invited to Great Britain as a guest of the Ministry of Aircraft Production, and was accredited as a war correspondent with the U.S. Navy, which sent him to the South Pacific Theatre.  These trips provided material for an ongoing column he wrote for Liberty magazine titled "On the Beam."

With the expansion in his company's activities, Parrish traveled increasingly not only throughout the United States, but internationally as well.  Some of his friends recognized his talents at spinning stories related to these travels, and encouraged him to write a regular column about them.  Therefore, in 1949 Parrish's column "En Route" appeared for the first time in American Aviation, where it remained a fixture for the next twenty years.  Parrish often mixed business with pleasure on his trips, meeting with executives of aviation companies in foreign countries as well as taking in the sights, as any other tourist would do.  This latter activity also enabled him to critique the services that airlines provided to their passengers, and his tips and insights, as well as occasional political commentary were often conveyed in his published columns.

In 1969, Parrish sold his interest in American Aviation Publications, Inc. to the Ziff-Davis Publishing Company.  By this time a semi-retired millionaire, he agreed to work as a consultant for Ziff-Davis.  However, in 1973 the Chairman of Pan American World Airways, William Seawell, asked Parrish to join that company as his Special Representative.  In this capacity, Parrish acted as Seawell's "eyes and ears," travelling around the world meeting with employees of the airline, whose impressions he conveyed back to Seawell.  Parrish also critiqued the airline's operations and service to passengers in his frequent memoranda to Seawell.  Parrish resigned from Pan Am in 1978, yet continued to stay active within aviation circles by working with a newly formed company, Aviation Publications Group, which published Airline Executive among other magazines. 

Parrish died in November 1984.


The Wayne W. Parrish Papers are divided into the following series:

Business Records (Boxes 1-4)
This series contains papers documenting the administration of American Aviation Publications as well other companies that Parrish was affiliated with, and measures approximately 1.7 linear feet.  The files on American Aviations Publications also contain an extensive sub-series of photographs, depicting a variety of activities and staff from the 1940s and 1950s. The business series also includes a fairly complete set of files of Parrish’s memoranda while at Pan Am, which provide a glimpse inside of this company during the mid 1970s, when the airline industry was on the brink of deregulation and was faced with rising operating costs and sharper competition. 

Travel Files (Boxes 4-17)
Within the 10.4 linear feet of the Parrish Papers, the largest series consists of files relating to his travels (5.4 linear feet).  This series contains correspondence, photographs, maps, brochures, and ephemera that document most of his international trips from 1944-1981, as well as detailed mileage logs that he kept of his flights from the mid-1930s until 1970.

Writings (Boxes 18-22)
This series, totaling 1.7 linear feet, contains Parrish’s published columns and articles as well as his speeches.  The latter, which range from the late 1930s through the 1970s, display Parrish’s thoughts about military aviation during World War II as well as the development of civil aviation afterwards, with the later speeches also expressing his political opinions during these years.
The remainder of the collection is divided between

Miscellaneous Papers (Boxes 22-23)

Family Papers (Boxes 24-25).



Box      Folder title

1          American Aviation Publications, Inc. (AAP)
                     Contracts:  Wayne W. Parrish, Consultant, 1962-1973
                              Readers, 1937, 1941-1942 (2 folders)
                              30th anniversary, 1967
                              Henzey, William, 1958-1972
                              General memos at AAP, 1970-1973
                              Ziff-Davis takeover, 1966
                              Board of Directors meetings, 1967-1968
                              Stockholders annual meetings, 1958-1969
                              Awards, 1938-1952 (6 folders)
                              Events, 1940-1973 (30 folders)

2                            Staff, 1950-1958, undated (19 folders)
                              Staff parties and dinners, 1943, 1945, undated (7 folders)
                              Directors meetings, 1967-1969 (7 folders)
                              Stockholders annual meetings, 1958-1969
                              Ziff-Davis purchase of AAP, 1969
            Compass Publications Inc., 1971-1984

3          Pan American World Airways
                     Correspondence, 1973-1979 (5 folders)
                              To William Seawell, 1973-1977 (9 folders)
4                            To William Seawell, 1978
                              To Dan Colussy, 1975-1978 (3 folders)
                              Administrative, 1975-1978 (4 folders)
            Airline Publishing Group
                     Administrative, 1978-1982 (3 folders)
                     Editorial, 1978
                     Legal, 1977-1984 (2 folders)


4          England, Jan-Feb, 1944
            Pacific-Australasia, Sep-Nov 1944
                     General (2 folders)
5                   Photographs
                              Parrish in war correspondent's uniforms (4 items)
                              Parrish with natives in Bougainville (17 items; 5 negatives)
                              South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command (SCAT) (23 items)
                                       (beach, grounded shipwreck, natives, Guadalcanal, C-47 planes)
                              Australia, October 1944 (12 items)
                              New Zealand, October 1944 (aircraft) (4 items)
                              Royal New Zealand Air Force (aircraft) (9 items)
                              Parrish in Honolulu (2 items)
                              Naval Air Transport Service facilities, Honolulu (3 items)
                              Parrish dining with Naval Air Transport Service Officers, Honolulu (2 items)
                              Naval Air Transport Service officers (7 items)
                              Naval Air Transport Service activities, Saipan and Peleliu (12 items)
            Mexico, March 1945
            Europe, June-July 1945
                              England, Italy, Austria, and Southern Germany (20 items)
                                       (German aircraft, Salzburg, Pompeii, Dachau, Berchtesgaden)
                              Berlin (19 items) (Chancellery, Templehof, Russian soldier)
                              Hamburg (33 items) (harbor, submarine pens, wrecked ship)
                              Destruction of air raids on Germany, ca. 1943-1945 (3 folders)
                                       (photos from German High Command, copies obtained by Parrish)

6          Europe, Oct-Dec 1945 (photos, 2 folders)
            Europe-Africa, Oct-Nov 1946 (photos, theatrical group)
            Africa, Oct-Nov 1946 (photos, boat, fort, hotel)
            Alaska-Orient (Northwest Airlines), Feb 1947 (short snorter club)
            Hawaii (United Air Lines), April 1947 (photos)
            Scandinavia, July 1947

7          Braniff South American Inaugural Flight, May 1948 (photos)
            Scandinavia, June 1949
            Orient, Dec 1950
            U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe, Nov-Dec 1955
                     Correspondence and ephemera from trip
                     Photographs and postcards (train, Red Square)
                     Soviet criticism of Parrish's articles, March 1957
            Belgian Congo (Sabena Airlines), June 1956 (photos, natives, river boat, Nigeria)
            Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) Copenhagen-Tokyo Inaugural Flight, Feb-Mar 1957
                     Correspondence, trip planning, Jan-Feb 1957
                     Japan background booklet, Feb 1951
                     Press kit
            Taiwan, March 1957 (Civil Air Transport)
            Australia, March 1957 (Qantas)

8          Australia, March 1957
            New Zealand, March 1957
            U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe, Sep-Oct 1958
                     Briefing on the Soviet role in International Civil Aviation. Hans Heymann, Jr., 1957

9                   General correspondence and itinerary
                              Irkutsk (village, villagers, negatives)
                              Moscow (2 folders, churches, airport, postcards, Red Square, negatives)
                              Central Asia (2 folders, apartment, villagers, negatives)
                              General (planes, Tu 114, IL 18Warsaw, Afghanistan, color slides)
                     Articles by Parrish
            Afghanistan-Ariana Airlines, Aug 1958
            India – International Air Transport Assn. (IATA) meeting, Oct-Nov 1958
            Nepal, Nov 1958

10                 Photographs (2 folders, buildings, airport, people, markets, negatives)
            Turkey-Istanbul - Photographs, Nov 1958 (negatives)
            General notebook, 1958
            Correspondence – Travel arrangements, Feb-Sep 1958
            Tahiti, April 1960
                     General (2 folders)
            Tahiti-Moorea – Photographs, Oct 1961 (car, boat)
            Southern Africa, 1960-1961
                     Brochures and postcards
                     Photographs (ostriches, bridge, ruins, Victoria Falls, coast, beaches, natives,
                              monkeys, giraffes)
            New Zealand, Nov 1961
                     Photographs (floatplane)

11        England and Ireland – IATA meeting, Sep 1962
            Pakistan, Feb-March 1963 (2 folders)
                     Photographs (market, helicopter, paddle wheel river boat)
            Northwest Territories, Canada, Aug 1963
                     Photographs (staff, church, airports, canoe, Snare Lake settlement, flying boats,
            Venice, Italy - Photographs, Sep 1963
            Rome, Italy – IATA meeting - Photographs, Oct 1963 (delegates, labeled)
            Pan-Am Inaugural Flight to Buenos Aires – Press kit, Dec 1963
            Israel, March 1964
                     Photographs (Elat, Tel-Aviv)

            Pakistan-Hunza, April-May 1964 (photos, Hunza palace)
            Wheeler Airlines, Northern Quebec, Canada - Photographs, Aug 1964 (2 folders)
            Kashmir, Oct 1964
                     Photographs (houseboats, gardens)
            Air India Inaugural Flight - Menu, Oct 1964
            Rio de Janeiro, May 1965
            B.C. Airlines, Canada, May 1965
            Greenland, Sept 1965

13        Air Transport Command 20th Reunion, New York, Oct 1965
            Moscow, Oct-Nov 1965
            Flight over North and South Pole, Nov 1965
            India, Jan-Feb 1966 (3 folders)
            Alaska, April 1966
            TWA Hong Kong Inaugural Flight, Nov 1966

14        Vietnam and Southeast Asia, Feb-March 1967
            LAN Inaugural Service to Easter Island, Apr 1967 (2 folders)
            East Africa, Nov 1968 (2 folders)
            Iran, Nov 1969
            747 Flight from Seattle, Dec 1969
            First Commercial Flight of 747, New York-London, Jan 1970
            Time-Concorde trip, England-France, Feb 1970
            Alaska Airlines Inaugural Service to Khabarovsk, USSR, June 1970

15        Indian Ocean, July-Sep 1970
                     Background reading
                     Brochures (2 folders)
            Ethiopia, 1971
            Ivory Coast, 1971
            Africa, Aug-Sep 1972 (2 folders)
            London-IATA, Sep 1972

16        Seychelles, Oct 1972
            Antarctica, Dec 1974
                     News clippings
                     Parrish's account of trip
                     Photographs (2 folders)
                     Press kit and brochures
            Pan-Am Flight 50, Pole to Pole Flight, Oct 1977 (2 folders)

17        Africa, [Pan Am], [1978]
            Tibet, 1980
            Chile, 1980-1981
            Antarctica, 1980-1981
                     General (2 folders)
            South Africa, 1981
            Bhutan-Sikkim-India [planned trip], 1981-1982
            Air travel logs, 1936-1970 (4 folders)
            Transatlantic crossings, 1944-1970


18        Published
            "You Can't Win in the Slot Machine Racket," Literary Digest, n.d.
            "Spanning the Continent From Dusk to Dawn," Literary Digest,  August 25, 1934
            "The State Department Brands Aviation: An Editorial," National Aeronautic Magazine,
                     July 1936
            "Competition" – editorial from American Aviation, Time magazine, March 10, 1941
            Article, National Aeronautics magazine, May 19, 1944
            Article, Nats and Bolts [sic] magazine, February 12, 1945
            "On the Beam," Liberty magazine, 1942-1947 (8 folders)
            "En Route," American Aviation, 1949-1959 (11 folders)
            "En Route," Airlift magazine, 1960-1963 (2 foilders)
            "En Route," American Aviation," 1964-1969 (3 folders)
            “Personal View” American Aviation, 1969-1972
            "The Best of "'En Route,'" 1955
            "Russia Between Two Haircuts," 1959
            "With Parrish to the Pole," Exxon Air World, Vol. 28, No.3, 1976
            "A Ticket to Anywhere," Saturday Review, April 16, 1977
            [Untitled draft], Flying, 1977
            "En Route," Airline Executive, 1979-1981

19        Speeches
            List of speeches delivered by Wayne Parrish, 1937-1945
            Aviation Planning Conference, "Aviation Publicity," Sacramento, CA, Sep 25, 1937
            Selling Aviation to the Public. Southwest Aviation Conference, Oklahoma City,
                     Mar 12, 1938
            Southeast Aviation Conference, Montgomery, AL, April 16, 1938
            W.N.A.A. Banquet, "Backseat Drivers," Kansas City, October 6, 1938
            National Air Mail Feeder Conference, Kansas City, October 7, 1938
            National Association of State Aviation Officials, Omaha, October 14, 1938
            Southwest Aviation Conference, "Civil Aviation and the Armament Program," Fort Worth,
                     TX, March 2-4, 1939
            South Carolina Flyers Club, "The Undeveloped Private Airplane Market," Camden, SC,
                     Sep 17, 1939
            Southwest Aviation Conference, "The Air Armadas of Europe," Tulsa, OK, April 26, 1940
            Sales Executives Club, "South America and the Coming Era of Air Transportation," New
                     York, NY, Nov 26, 1940
            Air Power – The Key to Victory. Advertising Club of Los Angeles, Mar 10, 1942
            Air Power and the Post-War. Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, June 11, 1942
            Air Power and the Post War. Birmingham Aero Club, Birmingham, AL, June 12, 1942
            Air Power and the Post-War. Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Sep 9, 1942
            Junior Traffic Club of Chicago, "Aviation of Today and Tomorrow," Chicago, Oct 8, 1942
            Aviation and the Post War. New Orleans Assn. of Commerce, May 13, 1943
            Aviation’s Postwar Problems. Midwest Global Air Conference, St. Paul, August 20, 1943
            Economic Development Meeting, Master of Ceremonies remarks, Broadmoor Hotel
                     Colorado Springs, Sep 22, 1943
            Aviation Forum, University Club, "The Airplane and Peace," Los Angeles, Sep 28, 1943
            First National Clinic of Domestic Aviation Planning, "Postwar Disposal of Surplus
                     Aircraft," Oklahoma City, OK, November 11, 1943
            Air Industries and Transport Association of Canada, "The Post- War Outlook for
                     Aviation," Toronto, ONT, November 15, 1943
            Freedom for the Private Flyer. National Aviation Training Assn. St. Louis, Dec 2, 1943
            Aeronautic Association of Boston, "Aviation and the Postwar," Boston, May 11, 1944
            Aviation Conference, "Opportunities in Postwar Aviation," Concord, NH, May 12, 1944
            The March of Aviation. Kansas City Aviation,  July 14, 1944

20        Board of Trade, "Postwar Air Transport," Toronto, ON, January 10, 1945
            Aviation Writers Association dinner, Washington, DC, January 18, 1945
            [Untitled], Poor Richard Club, Philadelphia, PA, January 23, 1945
            Education for an Air Age. Commencement, University of Omaha, May 21, 1945
            World Congress on Air Education, "Keeping Pace with Aeronautical Progress," New
                     York, NY, August 22, 1946
            [Untitled], Michigan Aeronautic Conference, Lansing, MI, May 9, 1947
            “The dreams have come true,” Kansas City Rotary, October 30, 1947
            “On American railroads,” TWA Management Club, February 19, 1948
            ‘Aviation Writers Association, Washington DC, March 1, 1948
            Pegasus Club, Hagerstown MD, March 12, 1948
            Los Angeles Advertising Club, "Aviation Today and Tomorrow," May 11, 1948
            [Unidentified venue], Houston, TX, May 21, 1948
            "C.A.L. Speech," Denver, CO, May 22, 1948
            Aero Club of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, October 7, 1948
            "PAA Speech," Miami, FL, January 7, 1949
            Miami Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, Miami, FL, March 15, 1949
            TWA Management Club, Kansas City, MO, February 17, 1949
            ATA Engineering and Maintenance Conference, Kansas City, MO, March 23, 1949
            Conference on Airport Management and Operations, "Air Power Lifeline," Norman, OK,
                     Oct 13, 1949
            Aviation Notebook: A Progress Report. Friday Forum, Oklahoma City, Oct 14, 1949
            TWA Management Club of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, March 14, 1950
            Airline Progress Report 1950. Twin Cities Traffic Club, Minneapolis, Apr 27, 1950
            TWA Management Club, Kansas City, MO, May 18, 1950
            California Air Freight Clinic Luncheon, "The Airplane's Potential in The Freight Market,"
                     Berkeley, CA, Aug 19, 1950
            ASTA Convention, "What's Ahead in 1951 for International Air Travel," Nov 2, 1950
            Airport Operators Council, "An Aviation Editor Views the High Traffic Density Airport,"
                     Memphis, TN, April 19, 1951
            Advertising Club of Los Angeles, "Advertising and the Jet Age," Feb 19, 1952
            Banquet of the Airport Lighting Conference of AAAE, Columbus, OH, June 3, 1952
            Dedication of terminal building, Baer Field, Fort Wayne, IN, June 29, 1952
            General Electric Company engineers, Albany, NY, October 21, 1952
            PAA Management Club, Miami, FL, November 6, 1952
            Aero Club of New England, Banquet, Boston, MA, Dec 4, 1952
            Pan American Management Club, New York, NY, March 10, 1953
            American Airlines Administrative Association, "What's Ahead for Air Transportation,"
                     Tulsa, OK, March 21, 1953

21        Conference of National Aviation Organizations Luncheon, Kansas City, Mar 23, 1953
            Early Birds Annual Reunion, "I'll Live to Regret It," Dayton, OH, September 5, 1953
            Air Industries and Transport Association of Canada Luncheon, Ottawa, Oct 27, 1953
            Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Aviation Committee, Dec 2, 1953
            Aviation Committee, Chamber of Commerce, Minneapolis, MN, Jan 18, 1955
            Northwest Airlines Annual Sales Banquet, Minneapolis, MN, January 20, 1955
            SAE Transport Meeting, Atlantic City, NJ, June 13, 1955
            Navy Intelligence Reserve Officers, U.S. Naval Base, Philadelphia, PA, October 1956
            Boeing Supervisors Club, Wichita, KS, October 15, 1956
            Dinner, United Air Lines and Hiller Helicopter Management, Palo Alto, CA, Oct 17, 1956
            Air Traffic Controllers Association, Washington, DC, October 30, 1956
            Pan American Airways Management Club, Miami, FL, November 8, 1956
            Banquet, Annual meeting of NASAO, Jackson, WY, September 16, 1960
            IATA, Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC, November 14, 1962
            International Committee, AIA, Army-Navy Country Club, March 30, 1967
            ATA Engineering and Maintenance Conference, San Francisco, Sep 28, 1967
            Lauren D. Lyman Memorial Award, September 20, 1973
            Aero Club, Washington, DC, May 28, 1974
            Boeing 747 Cargo Marketing Meeting, Seattle, July 1974
            ATA Operations Forum, San Francisco, October 9, 1974
            Radio Technical Communications for Aeronautics, Washington, November 19, 1975
            Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, January 30, 1976
            Collier Trophy Award Dinner, Washington, DC, May 12, 1976
            Clipper Pioneers (Pan Am), Washington, DC, September 25, 1976
            II Tianguiz Turistico [Tourism Fair], Acapulco, June 14, 1977
            Traffic Club, Ft. Myers, Virginia, October 13, 1977
            "Whiz Kids," Jupiter Island (Florida) Yacht Club, January 4, 1978
            Material for columns, speeches-humor, 1976-1984

22        Subject files: Airline deregulation (2 folders)


22        Art objects, imported, 1952-1975 (4 folders)
            Christmas cards received, 1940-1941
            Correspondence, 1929-1937, 1967-1976, 1982-1984 (5 folders)
            Libraries and Museums
            Donald Douglas Museum (Santa Monica, CA), 1974-1975

23        Donald Douglas Museum, 1976-1984 (2 folders)
            George Washington University, 1980
            University of Wyoming, 1974-1982
            News clippings about Parrish, 1945-1976
            Conquistadores del Cielo
                     Correspondence, 1975-1984
                     Meeting programs and rosters, 1978-1982
                     Photographs, 1968-1981
            National Aviation Club, 1962-1969
            Political solicitations
                     Reagan-Bush administration, 1982-1983
                     Other, 1980-1983
                     Senator Howard Cannon at Parrish home, Washington, DC, Feb 1977

24                 King Zwelethini and Queen Mantfombe of the Zulu Nation, Oct 1977
            Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 1957-1963


24        Photographs
            Childhood portraits, circa 1908-1918
            Adolescent portraits, circa 1920-1925
            Family portraits, circa 1907-1920
            Miscellaneous, circa 1910-1925
            Effie Wayne Parrish (mother)

25        Roy C. Parrish (father)
            Wayne and Frances Knight Parrish, 1949
            Wayne Parrish in office, 1977
            Boy Scouts, Wayne Parrish, 1924
            Calendar, Wayne Parrish, 1923
            Correspondence, Wayne Parrish to family, 1920, 1925-1926 (2 folders)
            School essays, Wayne Parrish, 1919-1921
            Genealogy Research
                     Post 1955
                     Edwin Lochner, Genealogist, 1971-1983
                     Stephen Parrish (nephew), 1969-1977
            Newspapers (Decatur, IL) containing family obituaries, 1895, 1932

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